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What This Small but Significant Gesture Can Show Us About Loving Someone With Depression

It’s easy to feel hopeless when your significant other is caught in the clutches of depression — because if you can’t “love” depression away, what can you do? While small gestures can’t cure depression, they can help — and Reddit user bovadeez shared an adorable and creative example of what significant others can do when their partners are struggling.

[Image] My girlfriend suffers from, at times, [debilitating] depression and anxiety. I saw this idea somewhere online and decided to make her something like it.

On Reddit, he posted a photo of a jar filled with different colored popsicle sticks, with a label to show what each color means. On each popsicle stick he wrote something his partner might need to hear when she’s struggling with depression. He explained:

For the yellow, [they are] reminders… So for example I said things like, ‘You’re beautiful,’ ‘I love you,’ ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help.’ The quotes were taken from some of my favorite authors that were based in inspiration and positive words. For accuracy and other quotes I just searched for inspirational quotes. The relaxation portions were things that I know she forgets to do like, ‘Take a break,’ ‘Listen to your favorite song’ and so on.

He also left a section for white slips of paper, where she could add her own happy memories.

Other Reddit users were touched by his gesture, TheWorldCanBeAwesome said, “Wow this is a really great idea. Sometimes depression makes it really hard for people to hear what you are trying to say and sometimes talking doesn’t help. I’m gonna pass this idea along if you don’t mind.”

Another user, chiprana, who struggles with depression, called the gesture “life saving.” “Thank you for deciding to help her instead of treat[ing] her like a burden. I’m glad to know I live in a world with people like you,” they said.”

To find out what other small ways concerned partners can help their loves ones with depression, we asked people with depression in our mental health community to share little, but significant, ways their partners help them. Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “My husband has me repeat words of affirmation after him. He always starts with, ‘Repeat after me, I am enough…’ And then goes on to say things he thinks will help in the moment. His patience amazes me!” — Allie B.

2. “He tells me to go relax and put on PJs, and will often get dinner ready with my son, and then lights candles for supper and calls it a little date. When I finish eating he tells me to go to bed and not to worry about the mess. And then after he cleans up and bathes our son, he brings me my son to cuddle and rubs my back. This lifts me up so much, more than words can say.” — Rebecca S.

3. “I was having one of the worst days, and had to go work. It felt like the day was dragging, and I just wanted to run home, jump into bed and cry my heart out. When I got home, I found my fiance who had cleaned the entire house, went grocery shopping and was making a home-made soup to make me feel better. I was very impressed, and very lucky to have him!” — Stephanee B.

4. “My husband took the time to do some research about depression and what might help someone if they are experiencing a depressive episode. He came home one day from work thrilled to share with me that he had learned about sound tones and how they can be used to help heal. He puts them on every night before bed, and rubs my head to help me fall asleep. It’s a small but so very significant gesture, I feel that this time helps us be closer and helps him to understand me even more.” — Charlotte M.

5. “Before I met my partner, we sat across from each other in college, and he used to draw butterflies on then edge of my work (we had our work swapped for peer assessment). At the time I was self-harming and loved the butterfly project, and even something like that from someone I didn’t know yet, was super encouraging. I was lucky enough to meet him properly and to fall for him; now been together for a year and I couldn’t ask for a more loving partner.” — Abby A.

6. “She sometimes asks me if I want to go for a drive, getting out driving around and listening to my music helps a little.” — Erin S.

7. “He would hold me tight and say nothing…some times this is all I need.” — Emma J.

8. “He makes me small pieces of art, like drawings or pipe cleaner crafts, etc., to hang around my room.” — Emily T.

9. “My husband bought me a lavender plant. He knows that I love the calming scent and went out and got a cute owl flower pot to put it in.” — Natasha A.

10. “My boyfriend starts a bath when I’m depressed. Sometimes I’m frozen in place so he picks me up to where I need to go, He’ll lay beside me and just hold me till I relax and tell him everything, he let’s me draw over his tattoos with my fingers to relax, and he’ll tell me,’Everything’s going to be OK, and I’m here with you.’ I don’t know where I’d be without him.” — Ethan W.

11. “After I spent most of the day curled up in bed due to feeling sad that day, he came in and picked me up into a hug, told me he loved me and kissed my forehead. Then he tucked me back in. It was such a small gesture, but it helped me a lot to know that he didn’t resent me.” — Angela S.

12. “He saw me having a panic attack, and it was the first one he had seen me have. We were in his parents’ living room with his parents, his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. He didn’t say anything, he just grabbed my hand and kept having conversation as normal with everyone else, and answering questions for me since I couldn’t talk. It was really sweet.” — Kaitlyn R.

What would you add? Let us know in the comments below. 

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