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Being in a relationship with someone who suffers depression

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    • Thread Starter

    Relationships and Mental Health
    Mental Health Awareness Week 2016
    Being in a relationship with someone who suffers from depression or another mental illness is in so many ways no different to being in a relationship in general. There is love, there are great times and there is someone for you to share your life with. However if your partner is going through a difficult time there can also be pressure and it can put strain on your relationship. From my personal experience here are a few things that I have found helpful during past relationships that I have had with people struggling with depression particularly.

    Look after yourself

    Firstly and most importantly look after yourself. I don’t mean be selfish or unsupportive but just have an awareness of how when your partner is going through a difficult time it might affect you. Have friends that you can talk to and ways to de-stress so that you remain in a position where you can continue to be there for and support your partner.

    It is also worth noting that in a minority of people struggling with depression they can have problems with anger and difficulty in managing it. However it is worth remembering that however severe it should not be an excuse for violence or emotional abuse. Whatever your partner is going through this is not ok, and if this is happening please seek help.

    Be understanding

    If your partner is struggling be understanding that they are trying, let them talk about fears or anxiety that they might have and sometimes most importantly give them time. Let them know it is ok if they don’t feel up to doing something that you have planned and either offer to spend time with them or offer to give the some space if that is what they need.

    Work together

    How much you do this will obviously depend on the seriousness of your relationship. However sitting with them and talking about the things they struggle with and together coming up with a plan about how you can face this together.

    Don’t underestimate

    Don’t underestimate the impact the depression can have on someone. If you have never suffered with depression in the past it can be hard to appreciate how difficult it can make even the things that you might find straight forward like getting up and going out of the house. Some people also find that depression or the medication that is used to treat depression can impact on their sex drive which if you don’t talk about it can cause tension in a relationship. Talk about the difficulties that they are facing and don’t underplay how significant they are to them.

    Encourage them to get help

    If your partner is struggling with existing depression or you think that they might have depression it is worth talking to them about it. There are so many sources of support out there for them both online and also from their GP and local health services. So while it can be a difficult conversation to start sometimes it is one that is worth having. Remember that while being personally supportive is important you don't have to do it alone.

    My story

    Very soon after I started taking T I realised that he struggled a lot with anxiety however I wasn’t until we had been together for about six months that he first felt able to fully open up to me about the way that he was feeling. He described the fact that he struggled to find enjoyment in things he used to love and that his mood was getting very low. He also described panic attacks. Together we talked about it and made a plan to go to the GP to talk about things. Over the time that we were together he was started on medication and got help through counselling and that seemed to really help. However there were still times where he struggled and that was something that I occasionally found frustrating as I couldn’t see why things had got worse.

    So how about you. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who struggles with their mental health? What advice would you give people? If you struggle with depression what could your partner do which would help you?
    We've held various events and wrote about lots of different themes throughout this week. Take a look here!

    (Original post by randdom)
    This is incredible, thank you so much for sharing your story and these tips. I hope it will help anyone going through a tough time in their relationship. :hugs:

    Thanks for sharing. I've never been in a relationship with someone who has mental health problems. But someone I used to know did have mental health problems. He wanted me to deal with his problems. He was clingy. I was told that because he has mental health problems, him harassing me, is absolutely fine and the stuff I was going through, (my grandfather had just been diagnosed with cancer and so had his sister in law) didn't matter. He got sectioned, which I got blamed for. Apparently, it was also my fault he'd decided to leave a club we both joined. I had to leave the club in the end because I really could not deal with his behaviour.

    I admit when I get depression, I do get a bit clingy. The last time this happened, my friend (I was at uni) decided he was going to contact my dad and tell him was going on. I was not impressed at all. He did explain that he had no choice because of my behaviour.

    I do find that it can be hard for my partner when I'm feeling down. She's always been brilliant and she came into our relationship knowing my situation well. However, I think a lot of people don't realise that it's not something that just gets better. No matter how well things are going, how great I fell around her or how happy I should be; sometimes it just doesn't seem to work out that way. I know I find this frustrating that I'm not as happy as I should be all things considered and, though she never mentions it, I know she finds it hard as well.

    Tricky topic, thanks randdom for making such a worthwhile thread!

    This is why I abstain from dating. I don't want someone eventually deciding I'm not worth the days when I don't want to talk to them or anybody else. I'd rather not risk ever having someone I love resent me.
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by EllainKahlo)
    This is why I abstain from dating. I don't want someone eventually deciding I'm not worth the days when I don't want to talk to them or anybody else. I'd rather not risk ever having someone I love resent me.
    It is hard but I would say that the highs definitely outweighed the difficult periods of time for me. But if with where you are at the moment you don't feel that it is the right thing for you then waiting sounds like the right decision.
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