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Do You Love Someone With Depression?

If you have a partner or are close to someone who struggles with depression, you may not always know how to show them you love them. One day they may seem fine, and the next they are sad, distant and may push you away. It is important that you know that as a person who is close to them and trusted by them, you can help your friend or partner have shorter, less severe bouts of depression. Mental illness is as real as physical illness (it is physical actually, read more about that here) and your partner needs you as much as they would need to be cared for if they had the flu.

Your relationship may seem one-sided during these times, but by helping your partner through a very difficult and painful affliction, you are strengthening your relationship and their mental health in the long term.

1. Help them keep clutter at bay.

When a person begins spiraling into depression, they may feel like they are slowing down while the world around them speeds up. The mail may end up in stacks, dishes can pile up in the sink, laundry may go undone as the depressed person begins to feel more and more overwhelmed by their daily routine and unable to keep up. By giving your partner some extra help sorting mail, washing dishes or using paper plates and keeping chaos in check in general, you’ll be giving them (and yourself) the gift of a calm  environment. (I’m a fan of the minimalist movement because of this, you can read more about that here.)

2. Fix them a healthy meal.

Your partner may do one of two things when they are in a depressed state. They may eat very little, or they may overeat. In either case, they may find that driving through a fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza online is just easier than fixing a meal. Eating like this, or neglecting to eat will only degrade your partner’s health, causing them to go deeper into their depression. Help your loved one keep their body healthy, and their mind will follow. This is a great article that talks about the “Brain Diet” which can help the symptoms of depression, and this article talks about how our modern diet could contribute to the recent rise in depression. Here is a recipe for a trail mix that is quick to make and has mood-boosting properties.

3.Get them outside.

 The benefits of getting outside for a depressed person are huge. And it is possibly the last thing on earth your partner will want to do. Take them to be somewhere in nature. Pack a picnic and lie in the sun, take a leisurely hike or plant a garden. Being barefoot in the dirt, or “earthing” helps ground the body and reverse the effects of living in a world of emf’s, and digging in soil can actually act as an antidepressant, as a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of seratonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety. Sunshine increases Vitamin D production which can help alleviate depression. My friend Elizabeth wrote an excellent post about Vitamin D and its link to depression here.  For more information about other sources of Vitamin D, this is a great post as well as this.

4. Ask them to help you understand what they’re feeling.

If your partner is able to articulate what they are going through, it will help them and you better understand what you are dealing with, and may give insight into a plan of action for helping your partner. Also, feeling alone is common for a depressed person and anything that combats that feeling will help alleviate the severity and length of the depression.

5. Encourage them to focus on self-care.

Depressed people often stop taking care of themselves. Showering, getting haircuts, going to the doctor or dentist, it’s all just too hard, and they don’t deserve to be well taken care of anyway in their minds. This can snowball quickly into greater feelings of worthlessness since “Now I’m such a mess, no one could ever love me”. Help your loved one by being proactive. Tell them “I’m going to do the dishes, why don’t you go enjoy a bubble bath?” can give them the permission they won’t give themselves to do something normal, healthy and self-loving.

6. Hug them.

Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver. Depressed people often don’t want to be touched, but a sincere hug with no expectation of anything further can give your partner a lift.

7. Laugh with them.

Telling a silly joke, watching a comedy or seeing a stand up comedian will encourage your partner to laugh in spite of themselves. Laughing releases endorphins and studies show can actually counteract symptoms of depression and anxiety.

8. Reassure them that you can handle their feelings.

Your partner may be feeling worthless, angry and even guilty while they are depressed. They may be afraid that they will end up alone because no one will put up with their episodes forever. Reassure them that you are in the relationship for the long haul and they won’t scare you away because they have an illness.

9. Challenge their destructive thoughts.

A depressed person’s mind can be a never-ending loop of painful, destructive thoughts. “I’m unlovable, I’m a failure, I’m ugly, I’m stupid”. Challenge these untruths with the truth. “You’re not unlovable, I love you. You aren’t a failure, here are all the things you’ve accomplished.”

10.Remind them why you love them.

Look at pictures of happy times you’ve had together. Tell them your favorite things about them. Reminisce about your relationship and all the positive things that have happened, and remind your partner that you love them and they will get through this.

(via The Darling Bakers)

More people need to know this.

This is so incredibly important. I’ve seen people with depression ostracized so many times, and I cannot stress how much it means to each and every person I’ve tried to reach out to after whatever “falling-outs” they’ve had due to depression. Remember to always be compassionate and kind to all friends like this, because you never know what they’re going through.

Nico Mirallegro + hairstyles

You are what I never knew I needed.

"There’s a part in all of us that’s scared and not sure. And when you get the ability to see that in yourself, you start to see that everyone is fighting everyday."

(Source: mmfdblog)

Everyone’s got stuff, really.

dietchola:

this guy at my school wears really short shorts all the time and i asked him why he doesn’t wear normal cut shorts and he said “if the sky is out, then my thighs are out” god bless

fallenforbands:

hoffmango:

cause-shes-bittersweet:

smindersonfan:

secretmindreader:

Okay, this is actually what you do if you’re being sexually harassed in any kind of public space. Draw attention to it, preferably pull away and let EVERYONE know that someone is touching you. This will not only get him to get off you but he’ll definitely think about this situation next time he wants to do something like this.

Spreading the word.

My mom and I were talking about this today after hearing about a woman who was molested on a plane who said nothing until she was picked up at the airport by her parents. My mom looked at me and asked what I would do in that situation and I looked her dead in the eye and I told her “it would take me .02 seconds to realize what was going on and yell angrily, and then I would be straight on to bitch slapping him so hard he wouldn’t be able to see the punch I’d throw with the opposite hand”.

She nodded and accepted my salty language like a seasoned sailor.

I’ve had experience with this before, in Prague a group of five girls and I were followed by three men at night. After a while they started yelling at us, the most common being “how much?” Meaning how much we “cost” as prostitutes. Seeing as they weren’t going to stop, I turned on my heel, faced them (which surprised them), spat at their feet and responded with “You couldn’t afford me.” This prompted the other girls to start yelling back at them as well, starting with our spitfire Czech friend to start slinging curses in Czech as she and the rest of the girls came up beside me. Needless to say the men backed off and pretty much fled. They weren’t expecting a fight. It empowered me and encouraged the rest of the girls to yell back too.

I’ve heard that a lot of people don’t know what to do in this situation because they’ve been taught all their lives to be polite and non-aggressive. Keep your heads down or whatever.

Keep in mind that studies have shown that rapists look for victims who won’t fight back.

Remember that nobody has the right to touch you without your consent or harass you, and you have all the right to make the biggest fuss about it that you can possibly make.

Get angry. Be in command.

FUCKING RELEVANT

If someone is doing something that makes you uncomfortable like this, you do not need to be nice. Swear, kick, scream, make the asshole cry. You don’t have to nice, be as rude as you want

(Source: nothingbutobsessions.tumblr.com\)