How to keep yourself from feeling down when you’re living with a depressed person
Dealing with someone else’s depression can make you feel a variety of things. You may feel resentful, overwhelmed, and frustrated. It’s important that you also remember to take care of yourself when you are helping someone who is living with depression. It can wear you down and cause you to feel quite low too.
Learn about Depression
As a real illness, there is a lot that you can study about depression. It’s important to educate yourself. You can even join a group that will help you find out about mental illness, like NAMI.org. The more you learn, the better armed you’ll be to help your loved one as well as yourself.
Get Outside Help
Don’t try to help your loved one alone. The worst thing you can do is help them hide their condition, because things done in private can end up going downhill real fast when it comes to depression. Depression can be a fatal illness if not treated properly.
Care for Your Emotional Health
It can be draining dealing with a depressed person, even when you love them dearly, when they are so full of negative emotions. You’ll need to find a way to take a break from it with other people who aren’t depressed. If you don’t know many people, try joining a book club or volunteering.
Realize You Can’t Fix Someone Else
While you can be a safe place for them to fall, you can’t fix them. They should be responsible for fixing themselves. You can encourage, but you can’t force, so you must learn to let it go. If they won’t help themselves, it’s not your fault.
Don’t Enable Them
Speaking of not forcing them, don’t enable them either. If someone is depressed and they refuse to get professional care, try exercise, eat right, or get any type of medical assistance, there is nothing that can be done. You can’t give them ultimatums either, but let them know that you’re not falling for it.
It’s Not Personal
The biggest thing to remember about depression is that it’s not personal. They’re not depressed because of you. They’re depressed due to something else going on in their body. Of course, if you do have a bad marriage or a bad relationship that can contribute, but it’s not your fault.
You’ve heard the analogy about taking care of yourself first on an airplane, should the oxygen masks come down. Life is so much like that. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself or acknowledge that you can’t deal with it on your own. It’s okay. If you are clear about your own feelings and needs while offering a safe place for your loved one, that’s all you can do.