In this article we will discuss some of the steps that you can take to maintain a healthy long distance relationship when you have severe depression.
We will also discuss some of the possible threats to your mental health when you are part of a long distance relationship.
How to maintain a healthy long distance relationship when you have severe depression?
Here are a few things that you can do to help yourself through long distance relationships depression:
Be consistent with treatment
If you have been diagnosed with depression, it shouldn’t be surprising that the first things you can do to maintain positive mental health when you are part of a long distance relationship is to remain consistent with your treatment.
Depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition.
Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time.
Talking to your therapist and working on various issues like negative schemas can help you maintain a mindful balance that can protect you from the challenges of being part of a long distance relationship.
Communicate with your partner
One major issue when it comes to long distance relationships is the problems caused by lack of communication.
Partners that do not communicate tend to struggle with anxiety, distress, conflicts, and dissatisfaction leading to unhappiness and frustration that can lead to worsening mental health.
It is imperative that you and your partner set up clear channels of communication to develop emotional intimacy between you and your partner so as to avoid miscommunication and dissatisfaction.
Have realistic expectations
It’s good to think positively when you are in a long distance relationship with whoever you have to be realistic when it comes to expectations.
For example, while you might be wishing your partner would text you all day, everyday, while you’re both at work, it’s not really realistic or healthy.
This means discussing when both of you spend time together, what the end goal of the relationship is, and what the future could look like for both of you.
Setting expectations can be a way you and your partner can build on a healthy relationship even if you are far apart and this can help you avoid disappointments which could be emotionally distressing for you.
Be mindful of your thoughts
Another important aspect of maintaining your mental health is to be mindful of your thoughts by developing awareness about your negative assesumptoms and working to challenge these assumptions.
You can work with your therapist to be able to challenge your irrational beliefs or negative assumptions that fuel negative emotions by openly discussing them with your therapist as well as taking intentional time on your own to do so.
Engage in life outside of the relationship
According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being.
For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.
Take active action to seek out these positive experiences in your day to day life that are outside of your relationship.
Even if you do not want to, even if your body is refusing to- take that chance for yourself and choose to do something that makes you feel less miserable.
This means that you stop being dependent on your partner’s calls, messages etc for your happiness and instead focus on the many things in your life that you have on hand that can make you happy.
This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.
Focus on other relationships
Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. Focusing on them, investing yourself in them is important to make your life meaningful.
This means being present with your friends and family that are with you, engaging with them, and creating memories with them.
Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them.
Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships.
Focus on self-care
While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things.
It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward.
Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first.
You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself.
Join a support group
Another thing you can do for yourself is to join a support group of people struggling with depression so that you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other.
It is possible that people with depression can also struggle with a sense of worthlessness, a feeling that you have nothing of value to offer.
By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey.
What are the threats of a long distance relationship to mental health?
There are plenty of factors that can act as a threat to mental health when one is in a long distance relationship:
Distance can be an obstacle for any relationship no matter how strong and healthy the relationship might be.
Distance can become barriers to intimacy and the lack of intimacy- be it physical and emotional that is caused by lack of communication due to conflicting schedules etc- can lead to feelings of loneliness and ultimately depression.
Lack of clarity
When partners are separated and there is a lack of clarity about the condition of the relationship or where each partner stands with the other, it can lead to conclusion and conflict.
When the partners are unable to rationally and calmly communicate to create clarity about their situation, it can be distressing to the partners and the distance between them does not help.
If you find yourself in a long-distance relationship where you are no longer happy due to the lack of intimacy, clarity, connection, etc- it can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction.
If the couple is able to resolve this the relationships and the mental health of the partners can remain healthy however, in the case that one is unable to resolve the feeling of dissatisfaction, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness and unhappiness.
Lack of communication
One major issue when it comes to long distance relationships is the problems caused by lack of communication.
When partners are separated it is possible that conflicting schedules can get in the way of connecting and communication or the changes that occur over time can lead to emotional distance that make it hard for couples to communicate.
Partners that do not communicate tend to struggle with anxiety, distress, conflicts, and dissatisfaction leading to unhappiness and frustration that can lead to depression.
Loneliness in solitude is one of the reasons why people who isolate themselves experience low moods and this desire for social connection is what causes much mental and emotional distress.
Loneliness while also wanting social connection tends to be caused by involuntary separation, rejection, or abandonment by other people. For example, partner had to leave for their job even if the other partner did not want this change.
When people go through unwanted social isolation and alienation, it can bring about intense emotional distress. They might feel hopeless, worthless as they perceive themselves as unwanted or unvalued.
Lack of physical intimacy
Lack of physical intimacy in terms of sexual intimacy can create sexual frustration and put a strain on your relationship.
This strain on the relationships can be further worsened by conflicts, isolation and misunderstanding due to the lack of intimacy and communication.
This continuous feeling of loneliness and the belief that there is nothing you can do about it may lead to you feeling depressed.
BetterHelp: A Better Alternative
Those who are seeking therapy online may also be interested in BetterHelp. BetterHelp offers plenty of formats of therapy, ranging from live chats, live audio sessions and live video sessions. In addition, unlimited messaging through texting, audio messages and even video messages are available here.
BetterHelp also offers couples therapy and therapy for teenagers in its platform. Furthermore, group sessions can also be found in this platform, covering more than twenty different topics related to mental health and mental illness. The pricing of BetterHelp is also pretty cost-effective, especially considering the fact that the platform offers financial aid to most users.
In this article we have discussed some of the steps that you can take to maintain a healthy long distance relationship when you have severe depression.
We have also discussed some of the possible threats to your mental health when you are part of a long distance relationship.
FAQ related to How to maintain a healthy long distance relationship when you have severe depression?
Are long-distance relationships bad for mental health?
It is not exactly that long distance relationships are bad for mental health however it does come with a special set of challenges.
These challenges can become huge obstacles in the absence your partner’s presence, leading you to become susceptible to loneliness, longing, and even occasional jealousy if you don’t feel secure in your bond.
Does depression make you end relationships?
Depression can make it difficult to maintain one’s relationships and in the case that an individual is unable to maintain a supportive and fulfilling relationship can lead to a fall out with the relationship ending.
What psychology says about long-distance?
According to psychological research on long distance relationships, the quality of a long distance relationship depends on love for a partner, having fun with a partner, how well they are able to adjust their expectations from each other, and quality of conversation.
How long can a long-distance relationship last without seeing each other?
According to a study by the Centre for the Study of Long-distance Relationships, the average long distance couple can go months without seeing each other and at times even years.
The length of the time they are able to maintain a healthy relationship depends on how healthy the foundation of their relationship is- based on health boundaries and honest communication.
What is a good long distance relationship?
A healthy and good long distance relationship is one that is honest and transparent where the couple communicates openly and honestly and has set healthy boundaries that allows them to value each other and maintain that warmth and intimacy.
7 Ways to Maintain Your Mental Health in a Long Distance Relationship. TalkSpace. Retrieved on 29th March 2022. https://www.talkspace.com/blog/healthy-long-distance-relationship/
10 Ways to Crush Long Distance Relationship Depression, Backed by Science.Lasting The distance. Retrieved on 28th March 2022. https://lastingthedistance.com/long-distance-relationship-depression/
Depression in a Long-Distance Relationship. Couples Coaching Online. Retrieved on 28th March 2022. https://couplescoachingonline.com/depression-in-a-long-distance-relationship/