I clearly remember the day. It was May 6, 2023. Early morning. My partner is peacefully asleep when I suddenly get up and sit right up. My face in my knees and I'm controlling my sobs. Noticing my absence, he wakes up and asks me 'Is everything okay?'
I can't say anything except to tell him 'Yes.' He knew something was up. He doesn't know what. And then suddenly I start sobbing. Trust me on this, I didn't know where it was coming from. We have just had a huge party the night before. The man beside me loves me despite everything in my 26 years of life. Everything is more than perfect.
He is there, continuously asking me, 'What happened?' Waiting for me to tell him, but not receiving an answer. I know he feels helpless. I can see it in his eyes, a desperate need to help me in any way possible. I ask him to leave me alone, to let me lie on the bed and wait for this feeling, whatever it was, to calm down. He gets me water, passes me tissues, and does everything he can in his control to somehow help me.
I am writing this today, sharing this, because I realise I am not alone. Neither is my partner. I watched the latest episode of Koffee With Karan featuring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, the power couple of Bollywood, and realised why it's important to talk about a shared struggle.
This is for every partner who struggles to help their partners during their breakdowns.
The Gully Boy actor, sharing his first encounter with such helplessness said, "One morning during breakfast, Deepika was sitting across from me, and she was in tears, with copious tears streaming down her face." Singh expressed that he experienced a sense of powerlessness during this moment and reached out to her parents for assistance.
Furthermore, he said that he would remember this, and so clearly because he had never felt so helpless.
Padukone shared how Singh, learning from the experiences went on to create a safe space for her. She said, "Back then, he didn't have a deep understanding of it, but today, he has gained a much better grasp. He was fully present and remarkably patient. It provided me with valuable insights into his character and who he is as a person."
What Is It Like To Be With Someone Who Struggles With Depression?
Having a partner who suffers from depression can be a complex and emotionally challenging experience. It can be different for everyone.
I personally think it's an emotional rollercoaster. You may experience ups and downs in your partner's mood, and this can be emotionally draining. Your partner might have good days where they seem relatively stable, but they can also have bad days when they are overwhelmed by sadness.
You may feel helpless at times because you can't "fix" your partner's depression. This feeling of helplessness can be frustrating and disheartening.
Padukone and Singh's is just one of many stories that touch the silent struggles of depression and that love and understanding can make all the difference.
When you love someone, you'll move mountains to help them, but it is not easy when you can't pinpoint what is the cause of your partner's troubles. Being in a relationship with someone who suffers from depression can be an emotional rollercoaster, requiring patience, empathy, and understanding.
Mental Toll On The Other Person
As if it was not enough that depression is bothering you, it gets worse when your issues start taking a mental toll on your partner. Most people forget to take care of themselves and switch to the 'saviour' mode while caring for their partner. One must remember to take care of themselves.
Being a support system for someone with depression can be emotionally draining. It's essential to have your own support system and engage in self-care activities to maintain your own mental and emotional well-being.
It's essential to realise that you can't "fix" your partner's depression. Your role is to provide support, love, and understanding.
Avoid offering unsolicited advice or trying to force them to "snap out of it." Instead, be there to listen and support their journey to recovery. Learn to be patient, compassionate, and nonjudgmental.
What Helped Me?
Supporting a romantic partner who suffers from depression can be a challenging and emotionally demanding journey. Depression is treatable, and with the right support, love, and understanding, you can be an essential part of their healing journey.
The first step in helping a partner is to educate yourself about their condition. How they behave, what they need, how they react, what triggers them; learn. Learn about them. It will help you understand their needs when they suffer a bout of mental breakdown.
My partner, like Padukone said, created an environment where I felt safe to open up about my feelings. Listen. When they talk, really listen and don't just pretend to be interested in what they have to say. It will help you understand their psyche.
Another thing is to be patient. Depression can lead to mood swings, irritability, and emotional instability. Be calm and understanding when your partner experiences these fluctuations. It is extremely important to understand that these changes in mood are often beyond their control.
One of the things that helped me the most was my partner planning different sets of activities. He encouraged me to engage in enjoyable activities that I once loved like doing crafts or going out or just dancing randomly in the kitchen at midnight in the night, even if most days I didn't feel like it. Gentle persistence can help them reconnect with things that bring them joy.
Here's my conclusion. While the journey may be tough, for both you and your partner, it can also lead to personal growth, stronger relationships, and a deeper appreciation of the power of love and support in overcoming adversity.
Views expressed by the author are their own.
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