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Identifying Depression in Your Partner

Sometimes the closer you are to someone, the harder it can be to notice they’re suffering from depression.

You may notice your partner is often grumpy.

Or, constantly watching TV or playing video games.

Or, perhaps you worry about how much they’re drinking.

Whilst these behaviours may indicate underlying depression, most people tend to observe their partner as “just moody” or a recluse.

In fact, it’s quite common to overlook signs of depression in someone you love (read blog post – The Often Ignored Signs of Depression). In males and teenagers especially we tend to view depressive symptoms of anger, irritability and social isolation as part of their life stage or gender stereotype.

Overlooking depression in a partner is a missed opportunity for providing support.

However, perhaps what’s worse is you won’t recognise the affect your partner’s depression may be having on your relationship. When someone experiences depression they can exhibit behaviours that can be difficult to deal with.

If your partner is depressed, you may feel:

  • Frequently criticised. When your partner suffers from depression, their perception is negative, thus affecting their perception of you.
  • Distance from your partner or that they’re emotionally absent in the relationship. Depression often causes social withdrawal; social engagement can be unrewarding and feel like an effort.
  • They’re disinterested in intimacy and sex.
  • Frustrated that your partner is not lifting their weight via organising activities or contributing to house duties.
  • Dragged down or held back in your own life. Often when someone is depressed, they socialise less, withdraw from activities and disengage from their hobbies and interests; and thus lose the “zest” that you previously admired.
  • Disappointed with your partners unhelpful behaviours, such as drug-taking, drinking excessively, or gambling. Depression can give rise to desperate attempts at coping, even if they’re unhelpful.
  • Your partner is snappy and easily “set off”. Depression affects self esteem, which naturally causes sensitivity. Find out more on How Low Self-Esteem Affects Relationships.
  • You’re walking on eggshells, due to your partners irritability. This typically means you try to appease (and as such overcompensate in your attempts to please) your partner.

If you’re unknowing that your partner has depression, you may find yourself doing one of 3 things:

  • Arguing all the time
  • Distancing yourself from your partner
  • Breaking up the relationship

To recognise depressive symptoms in a partner can save your relationship. Naturally, even just understanding your partner’s struggles makes it easier to respond to their needs. You will be less likely to take things personally and you can take practical steps towards getting your partner support. For understanding depression treatment, it’s worth reading blog post, Depression Treatment: What Is Involved?

So ask yourself next time your partner snaps, is grumpy, sits in front of the TV for hours, or avoids intimacy; could they be suffering from depression?

How can Peaceful Mind Psychology help?

We are a team of warm and professional psychologists based in Melbourne, who are well trained and experienced in treating depression. We also provide support for individuals who may be experiencing relationship difficulties, including difficulties that may arise from living with a partner who is struggling with their mental health. If you would like some professional assistance contact us at Peaceful Mind Psychology.