In this blog guide, we will find out how to deal with a depressed girlfriend and what not to do when your girlfriend is depressed.
Although you are not dealing with depression, being the partner of someone who is suffering from this condition can be challenging in its way. When you love and care about someone, it makes it hard for you to see them suffer.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can help and make a difference or at least not add to their struggles. Let us see how you can help your depressed girlfriend and what you should avoid doing.
How to Deal with a Depressed Girlfriend
Here are several ways to deal with a depressed girlfriend:
- Allow yourself time to learn about depression;
- Create a judgment-free atmosphere;
- It is okay to be frustrated;
- Show her you want to be there for her;
- Be supportive of her treatment;
- Have positive conversations;
- Only be her partner;
- Surround yourselves with closed ones;
- Show her you love her;
- Engage in shared interests;
- Physical intimacy; and
Allow yourself time to learn about depression
To be able to listen to her and understand her experiences compassionately, you need to know more about the illness. Talk to a therapist, a reliable expert, or people who have been through depression. To be a genuinely caring partner, you need to understand more about the condition.
Create a judgment-free atmosphere
Provide her space and comfort to talk about her feelings and experiences without the fear of judgment. Reassure her with words and actions that it is a judgment-free zone, and she can talk about whatever she wants.
It is okay to be frustrated
There will be times when it may get frustrating for you, and that is okay. Communicate to her that you still love and support her even when you are frustrated. Reassure her that you are upset with the circumstance, not her, and no way is it her fault.
Show her you want to be there for her
Being there for her without any pressure or prompt communicates volumes. Although she may not tell you, she could feel guilty and like a burden on you. Show her you are there for her because you want to choose to be there for her. Small gestures go a long way; cook her favorite food, organize a movie night for the two of you, or just hold her hand.
Be supportive of her treatment
Enquire from time to time about her treatment, and allow her to share what she wants as regards the recovery. Remember that there are mental health professionals she can depend on to treat her psychological distress effectively.
Have positive conversations
When she mentions negative things, ask her if she has any takeaways from it. If she speaks of something that does not make her feel good, ask her what elicits good feelings. When she mentions suffering, ask her what would help her feel comfortable. Try to instill hope in her through such minor acts.
When talking about your feelings, be truthful but gentle about it. Speak about what you derive happiness from in the relationship and see the two of you do. Talk about your fears, sorrows, frustrations, dreams, joy, fantasies, and other emotions and thoughts. Discuss the exciting parts of the relationship and how to use this optimally.
Provide her space to heal and grow
Encourage her as regards her pursuit of hobbies and interests. Allow her to engage in her choice of enjoyable activities that relaxes her, boost her confidence and self-esteem. If she wants to try something new, like joining a yoga class, be supportive and cheer for her!
Be aware of her triggers
Certain things that don’t make a difference to you may end up upsetting her. Be attentive to such triggers by noticing her body language, like when her body tenses up or seems visibly upset.
Only be her partner
Remember that you are not her parent, her therapist, or her doctor. Comfort her and let her know you are there for her but do not try to therapize her, give unsolicited advice, or try too hard to make her feel okay.
Surround yourselves with closed ones
Having a strong and supportive social system is important. Make sure these people are considerate, compassionate, and respectful of your girlfriend’s courage. Although they say “more the marrier,” in this case, it is less drama when the crowd is small.
Show her you love her
When someone is diagnosed with depression or anxiety, they are also affected by a low sense of self-esteem and self-awareness. You cannot change this for the individual, but you can help by making them feel reassured. Remind your girlfriend of her strengths and let her know you love her as often as you can.
Engage in shared interests
Whether it is hiking, going to the beach, going somewhere on the weekends, concerts, or just driving around, ensure you spend quality time by engaging in activities both of you love.
Physical intimacy expresses love and offers a sense of comfort, which elevates our mood. Show affection. Physical intimacy will help not just her but also you in these trying times and instill in both of you a sense of calming hope.
Ask her if there is anything you can do to help. She may not explicitly ask you for something, but she will probably appreciate your offer. If she does ask you to help her with something, do it. This whole process helps her become more self-aware and unashamed of asking for help when she needs it.
If she does not know what to ask for, try making a few suggestions. Ask her if you can pick up something for her at the store, make dinner, call to check on her, and so on.
If her diagnosis is out in the open, carefully ask her if she would like for you to call her parents, therapist, or anybody else.
The bottom line is that you need to communicate. You are not doing anything without her permission. When she is feeling helpless, offering her some strength and courage can be affirming.
What Not to Do When Your Girlfriend is Depressed
Here are certain things you should not do when your girlfriend is depressed:
- Advise against medication
- Internalize her condition
- Compare her experiences
- Avoiding the topic of suicide
- Unsolicited advice
- Talking about your experiences
Advise against medication
If your girlfriend’s physician has prescribed medication, do not try to interfere and wrongfully encourage her to deal with this by herself.
Internalize her condition
Understandably, you would want to make her happy. Do not internalize her illness and take it personally that she has depression and might be withdrawing from you emotionally. Her condition is not your fault, and in no way is it reflective of you.
Compare her experiences
Do not tell her things along the lines of, “look at it positively,” or “you have so much for which to be grateful.” Such statements trivialize her experience even if you have the best intention. It would indicate that her negativity is her doing. Depression is more than being ungrateful or sad.
Avoiding the topic of suicide
If you notice signs that indicate your girlfriend is suicidal, do not fear talking to her about it directly. Bringing up this discussion may be intimidating, but doing so will make a world of difference to her and yourself.
You may feel like you have some great advice to offer her to make her feel better. With that said, your advice may feel unhelpful, impossible, or even unwanted to her. It is advisable to listen, be supportive, and offer words of encouragement unless she explicitly asks for your advice.
Talking about your experiences
If you have not experienced depression yourself, do not say things like, “I know how you feel,” or “I have been through this.” Despite the right intentions, you may end up doing more harm than good. She may feel less understood or feel like you are trivializing her depression. Try to validate her experiences and feelings and reassure her by saying, “I cannot imagine how difficult this must be for you, but know that you do not have to go through this alone.”
In this blog guide, we found out how to deal with a depressed girlfriend and found out what not to do when your girlfriend is depressed.
The healing process of depression can be complicated, but it can help solidify your companionship. Communicate, clarify, and respond compassionately. A nurturing relationship is one in which you respect and honor each other’s needs.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions: How to Deal with a Depressed Girlfriend?
How to cheer up my girlfriend, who is depressed?
There are several ways to cheer up your girlfriend, who is depressed:
Communicate with her;
Cook for her;
Take her out;
Listen to her;
Try to understand how she is feeling;
Show her you are there for her.
What to say to my girlfriend when she is sad?
Here are a few things you can tell your girlfriend when she is sad:
“I am sorry you are in pain.”
“I am here for you.”
“You are not alone.”
“I cannot imagine what you are going through.”
Is it okay if I am sad in a relationship?
Yes, it is okay if you are sad in a relationship. Sadness can help you step back and reassess your life, feelings, people close to you, and dreams. It allows you to think about your relationship. Sadness does not imply you are dealing ineffectively; it enables you to come to terms with a situation to move forward.
How can I make my girlfriend feel comfortable when she is on her period?
You can make your girlfriend feel comfortable when she is on her period by:
Not blaming her when she is irritated;
Giving her space;
Bringing her food that she is craving;
Being there for her;
Letting her know that you are ready to help her;
Offering to give a massage.
How can I comfort my girlfriend when she is crying?
You can comfort your girlfriend when she is crying by doing some of the following:
Do not minimize her feelings;
Do not try too hard to cheer her up;
Validate her feelings;
Allow her time and space to process her emotions;
Express that you understand how she is feeling;
Offer physical affection when deemed necessary and appropriate;
Do not try to “solve” her issues;
Suggest ways in which you can help.
What does a toxic relationship mean?
A toxic relationship is one in which the partners are not supportive of each other. There is constant conflict. One tries to undermine or demeans the other, and there is unhealthy competition.
Is it okay for me to cry in front of my partner?
Yes, it is okay for you to cry in front of your partner. Doing this conveys that you are comfortable expressing yourself to them and are being open about how you feel. Hiding your emotions, on the other hand, is not suitable for you and the relationship.
How do you know there are red flags in a relationship?
The main red flag in a relationship is that everything from conversations and daily life revolves around one person. There are also signs of manipulation and exploitation of power.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.