When you’re dating someone with depression, it’s almost like you’re dating two people. With all the severe ups and downs resulting in strange, inexplicable behavior (or lack of it) from your partner, it’s bound to cause some friction.
Things are kinda depressing right now, so I’m sure this info is more critical than ever. These tips are 100% guaranteed to work if both parties want them to. As a person who has lived to stare at the ceiling for days, totally neglecting all of my bodily needs, I know that sounds laughable. But in this case, if they can’t afford desire, store bought ambivalence will work just as well.
1. Take your medication/make sure they take their fucking medication:
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but as a two-pill-a-day depression sufferer and ADHD haver, it can be really hard to remember. Part of what makes depression so difficult is the way it zaps your motivation to take care of yourself. For me, that means I probably won’t eat, shower, brush my teeth, go to the bathroom and/or take my pills. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have a reminder – even if it’s a reminder from a phone, sign on your wall, or your partner covering your face with their boobs and throwing the pills in your mouth. Whatever works.
2. Check in with your partner/self:
Sometimes people with depression deal with the fog and numbness by zoning out. This can lead to them going through life on autopilot, which can cause some id-centric behavior. Making a point to regularly ask them/yourself how they/you feel is an easy way to bring them/you back into the moment.
Make sure you’re listening to yourself and not letting too much misery pour out. Even if your partner is a damn saint, they can only take so much. Remember, while depression feels real, it’s 100% fake. The sadness is a chemical delusion. The only thing that’s real is the lack of energy. The negative thoughts and feelings are purely symptoms of a body that’s disquieted.
3. Remind them to/remember to relax and energize:
Depression, like most brain disorders, lives only partly in your brain. There are many physical symptoms of depression like excessive fatigue, muscle soreness, general bitchiness/douchery, headaches and problems only Pepto can solve. A lot of times, these problems are a result of the physical tension depression and stillness are causing. Doing some yoga, fucking each other silly, lying in a quiet room, dancing like Beyoncé at the 2013 Super Bowl and getting some exercise are great ways to get the gunk out of the mental gears.
I’ll be honest and say that arguments can also be a useful way of getting a person going. If they’re irritable, poke ‘em a little more. Tell them Avengers End Game was C+ at best, Sharpies are the best permanent marker, knitting is better than crochet, or Magic the Gathering just doesn’t make sense. Tell them something just annoying enough to get them talking, their blood pumping and you’ll notice more energy in them overall. It’s the same mechanism that makes negative content work so well on social media.
4. Get all up on those lumps and humps:
Next to laughter, there’s probably nothing better for depression than some real, intentional, and loving physical contact. Sex would work, but just cuddling is enough to release brain-bliss chemicals that make us feel all gooey. If it’s a nice day outside, getting cuddled up in the grass might be just the thing to fight the funk. If you’ve got a pet pal or stuffy buddy, don’t be afraid to keep them close.
5. Lend/accept a helping hand:
When it’s hard to remember to wash your ass, it’s unlikely cleaning one’s space is going to seem too important. I’m messy in general, but when I’ve got the sad, I won’t do anything more strenuous than endlessly scrolling Tiktok. As things become increasingly messy, I start to scold myself about how shitty I must be to keep letting my apartment get that way. Sometimes, it’s nice to just have someone take care of that so I can take care of myself the best I can.
6. Make self-care sexy and fun
A combination of tips 4 and 5. Often hygiene is just not gonna happen unless it’s initiated by someone else. Even if the situation for you or your partner isn’t that bad, adding some fun or joy to something that’s a bit more menial will definitely make you/them want to do it more. Whether it’s taking a shower together or making a point to be intimate as a reason for hygiene, the result will be the same. You’ll end up taking care of yourself/them and maintaining one of the most important parts of your intimate relationship.
7. Fake it til you make it
Depressed person: Remember you don’t actually have to feel good while doing these things just know that they will help – doing what’s best for you doesn’t always feel good. Even if all you can manage is to stand there while it happens to you, it’ll still make things better. Try not to be a friction point in getting yourself help.