Many people suffer from mental illness before, during and after their relationships. Sometimes, depression may be the cause of problems within the partnership. Depression can affect the quality of your relationship, as well as having an effect on your partner. When you’re depressed, everything can seem ten times harder – relationships included.
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” – Laurell K. Hamilton
Something that once brought you joy can start to become a source of stress, all because of the way your depression is affecting your relationship. The signs of depression hurting your relationship can be both overt and subtle. The best way to combat the issues depression causes in your relationship, is to be aware of it.
7 SIGNS DEPRESSION IS HURTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
1. DECREASED SEX LIFE
People with depression often report a lower libido and a lack of a sex drive. When your sex life with your partner starts to diminish, it can be part of the natural cycle of relationship libidos – but when it starts to become long-term with no end in sight, that’s when the depression is starting to affect your relationship.
By being aware of how your depression is affecting your sex drive, you’ll be able to better communicate with your partner ways that you feel you can stay intimately connected, without pushing boundaries.
2. YOU ARGUE WITH YOUR PARTNER MORE THAN USUAL
Depression affects your moods, and sometimes the depression can manifest as irritability. If you find that you’re no longer able to stand your partner’s quirks that you once found endearing, this may be a sign that your depression is making your relationship harder than it needs to be.
Arguing more with your partner is a sign that your depression is getting the best of your relationship. The best way to combat this is to acknowledge the way your mood is making you act out, and have a talk with your partner about ways that you both can work around this.
3. YOU FEEL HOPELESS IN REGARDS TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Depression makes your reality become distorted in ways that it wasn’t before. When you’re depressed, you can get a general sense of hopelessness, and this can seep into your relationship. What you’re feeling isn’t an indicator that your relationship is doomed to fail.
The best thing to do is talk about these feelings with your partner, and let them know your worries. They’ll be able to help abate your fears, and make you feel more secure in your relationship until the feelings pass.
4. EMOTIONS ARE OVERWHELMING
When conflict arises in the relationship, you’re affected by it two-fold. Normally, when you’re not depressed, you’re able to engage with the ups and downs of a relationship in a healthy manner. However, when you’re depressed, you may have a harder time dealing with the intensity of your emotions, which may cause you to blow arguments out of proportion and have a hard time dealing with your feelings.
Finding a way to discuss problems in the relationship without getting overwhelmed is the best course of action when your depression makes emotions feel like they’re too much for you to handle.
5. YOU’VE BECOME ISOLATED
Depression makes it harder and harder to connect with people, even your significant other. You may find yourself withdrawing from everyone around you. When you begin to isolate yourself, you’re shutting yourself off from your partner, who still needs you to reciprocate emotionally in the relationship. This can cause strain and stress between you both. If you have a hard time with socializing, try to connect with your partner in other ways – texts, phone calls, emails.
Make sure that the both of you are connecting with each other even if you have trouble being face to face.
6. YOU’RE NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
Depression makes everything harder – including things like eating properly, showering, or brushing your hair. Your relationship may take some strain if you find yourself struggling to take care of your body. Even the simple task of brushing your teeth can be overwhelming.
The best way to combat this is to make sure your partner understands that you want to take care of yourself, but it’s hard right now. Then, you can take everything in small, manageable chunks. Take a shower, but then wear your hair back without styling it. Brush your teeth, but skip makeup.
7. YOU’VE TURNED TO SUBSTANCES
This can greatly harm a relationship, especially when you’re using them as a crutch or to self-medicate. Drinking or using drugs in order to drown out the depression can make you out of control in ways that can emotionally harm your partner and your relationship. The first step is admitting that you are starting to have a problem with using substances to combat your depression, and allowing your partner into your thoughts and emotions. Together, the two of you can find better coping mechanisms.
Having depression is hard enough without adding relationship stress on top of that. You and your partner will be able to work together to fix the problems in your relationship caused by depression once you’re able to see the signs. Loving someone while combating a mental illness isn’t easy, but it doesn’t mean you have any less love to give. When you start to find ways to healthily deal with your depression, you’ll also find ways to connect with your partner emotionally again, even if all you can do is take baby steps each day.