When Your Girlfriend Has Depression

 
 

When Your Girlfriend Has Depression


 Photo: via  The Notebook

Photo: via The Notebook

By Anonymous

 
 

I really struggled to understand my girlfriend’s depression.

To begin with, I didn’t know what was happening; she just didn’t seem herself.  She was sleeping copiously, had low energy, and was neither contributing to the housework nor exercising. Until she was diagnosed, I was deeply confused and it was hard for me not to view her behavior as selfish.

Once her depression was diagnosed, I still found it difficult to empathize with what she was going through. I’m a (selfish) guy, who has a stiff upper lip and values resilience. While I can be very moody myself I value a “get-on-with-it” attitude towards life. “Everyone gets sad”, “The Sunday Blues are normal”, and “You make the bed you sleep in” were a few of the not-so-choice epithets that I threw out during this period. 

Six months passed and things were getting worse post-diagnosis. I tried cajoling her out of bed, bringing her to workout with me, scolded her about how she had so much to be happy for. Despite my best efforts, which I thought were well intentioned, she seemed to spiral further. Depression is humbling to live with.  It does not pay heed to the best-laid plans and it cannot be ordered out of the door. Fixers beware…


"Depression is humbling to live with.  It does not pay heed to the best-laid plans and it cannot be ordered out of the door."


Over Thanksgiving break, I travelled back to London. I sat down with my father and I told him how difficult I had found this whole experience. The depression had been with us for almost 9 months and I was now also unhappy. I told him that I wasn’t sure if I could stay in the relationship if she didn’t get better. He gave me some great advice. He told me that I should let go of any resentment that I was harboring and to go back to LA and shower her with unconditional love. “Love”, he said, “is the best medicine.”

So, when I arrived back in LA I did just that. Slowly but surely, my girlfriend’s state improved and today she is better than she has ever been. I know that I wasn’t the reason she got better, but my hard-nosed criticisms were no longer contributing to her not getting well. Now, I don’t think every depression story has such a happy ending.  I’ve learned that depression never leaves the house completely; it may, however, be banished from the living room. After all, depression is a disease.

But here’s my two cents to any boyfriends who find themselves in a similar situation. Let go of your desire to “control” the situation. The best thing that you can do is act supportive, educate yourself, and shower your partner with love. Hopefully, time will do the rest. And if it doesn’t, at least you know that you did everything you could to help.


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