Each of us has our own definition and way in which we express “love”, however, despite the diverse ways we express ourselves, I believe it’s fair to say that there are some things which may be considered universal.
Consider for a moment, that your significant other gets some very disturbing news from the doctor (i.e. he or she has a tumor, but it’s operable or they are diagnosed with a terminal illness, etc) , loses their job, or a close family member becomes very ill. Suddenly, your mate’s life has been turned upside down. Not only is this something completely unforeseen, but it is also uncharted territory, because let’s face it: Most of us are lucky enough to be spared such tragedies and if not, then we experience them only once in a lifetime – and that’s more than enough. So what would you do? What is the first thing that comes to mind? For me, and I could be wrong, but I believe that anyone (that is, anyone truly in love) would immediately empathize with their mate and quite literally, feel their pain. I, for one, would naturally offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on because I know that if the shoe was on the other foot, I would certainly need it.
Depression and anxiety would be expected and comfort would be a given, in whatever manner necessary…that includes, personal space (everyone is different) or extra attention to help ease the pain and aid in coping. This doesn’t mean you are expected to solve all their problems or make the pain go away. Everyone has their limitations & it’s important to know your own as well as your mate’s. Whatever the case, there are things you do and then there are things you just DON’T….
When someone you love is experiencing any form of extreme grief, particularly if it is still relatively fresh and/or ongoing, avoid cliches, i.e There’s nothing to worry about, You’re making too big a deal out of it, etc. DON’T tell them they have absolutely nothing to be sad about.
DON’T mock them, call them a “cry-baby”, refer to them as “negative” or otherwise. Having a mate who is suffering from depression is undoubtedly challenging, however, not impossible. This will only add to their grief and make them question your love for them. After all, it is especially in times of need that we should be able to turn to our spouse or significant other for comfort. If one’s turmoil is met with animosity and ridicule, how can that be considered “Love”? Being supportive and providing encouragement to seek treatment is more likely to benefit you both in the end.
According to Mental Health America, “Nearly 70% of people who suffer from depression completely recover from these symptoms with the right treatment”. Accept the fact that recovering from depression takes time so be mindful that there will be good days and bad days.
It is common for even the strongest relationships to suffer during such trying times and for partners to start resenting each other. This is normally the result of lacking a clear understanding of the underlying cause of the depression. For this reason, it is important to educate yourself & be a source of strength and support. Continuous patience, love, and affection are key in overcoming these seemingly insurmountable hurdles.
If you are true interest lies in your mate’s happiness, learn more about depression and make efforts to HELP, not HURT.