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5 Things Your Partner Who Has Depression Wants You to Know

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If you’re romantically involved with a person who suffers from depression, you’ve likely searched the internet more than once for answers. Answers to questions like: “How do I tell my boyfriend to get out of bed?”; “Who do I call when my partner is suicidal?”; or even, “How long can a person cry before they become dangerously dehydrated?” The answers you find will vary greatly, and you’ll always need to alter the suggestions you find based on what will help your partner the most.

The following are five things I want my romantic partners to know, as a sufferer of chronic depression:

1. I hate it when you ask me why I’m crying, because I don’t have a reason for it. Well, actually, I do have a reason for it. I’m crying because I have chronic depression. No, I may not have a concrete reason for the tears cascading down my face. No, I didn’t undergo a recent tragedy, and I haven’t been watching those military home-coming videos again. You haven’t done anything wrong, I’m just crying. I’m. Just. Crying.

2. What I need from you on my “bad days” is not a lecture, a guilt trip or a “push” to get me out of bed. Sometimes I am not OK, and if today is one of those days, you need to let me not be OK.

3. If you notice I haven’t been doing well lately, please don’t run away. I need people to not run away from me when I’m unwell. I might need you to hold me on the bathroom floor for hours, I might need you to rub me on the back, I might need you to give me some space. Most importantly, I will definitely need to know you’re still there for me.

4. Frozen yogurt, bubble tea, and all of my other comfort foods will be much appreciated on my off days, but please also make sure I’m drinking water and eating actual nutritious food. Sometimes when I am depressed I fail to look after myself and having someone there to keep me healthy is much appreciated.

5. I will not hate you forever if you call for help. I know in the moment I may be angry at you, but once I am out of my suicidal place/dark times, I will realize you did the right thing, and I won’t hold it against you. And if I hold it against you, just remember the help you reached out for might have saved my life, and that should be worth more than our relationship anyway.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Originally published: July 1, 2016
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