As we hear from members of The Depression Project's community every single day, depression can impact every single aspect of a person's life - including, of course, their relationships.
On that note, in this blog post, we'd like to share with you some of the most common ways that depression can affect your relationships - as told to us, in their own words, by members of The Depression Project's community.
15+ Quotes About How Depression Can Affect Your Relationships
"Stigma. So, SO many people believe that depression is just a buzzword and/or that you're faking / over-exaggerating it. This doesn’t encourage you to want to initiate conversations about mental health and makes you feel alone and isolated from people."
"When you have severe depression, your thoughts can be very dark and scary. And, if you’re transparent about them, then the people you talk to often become permanently worried about you. I don’t want that."
"It causes frustration. Many people don't understand that depression is not about a bad attitude or weak faith or a personality flaw or anything like that. It's an illness."
"Depression makes you feel so exhausted, and sometimes it takes so much energy just to talk on the phone that I don't call anybody. The distance between us just deepens. My loved ones don't know that I love and care about them."
"I push people away and convince myself they’re sick of my s**t and better off without me."
"When mired in depressive seasons, I find it difficult to engage in relationships any more than what is absolutely necessary. Even when I intentionally plan activities that I know are safe with people who are aware of my struggles, I still find myself practically unwilling to participate. Depression and anxiety have definitely narrowed my circle of relationships, for better or for worse. I know that I’m not alone, but still have problems connecting."
"When things get bad, I tend to self-isolate and push my partner away. I don't want her to worry, even though I know rationally that she only wants to help. I feel like a burden if I open up, so I keep to myself. It turns into a vicious cycle of constantly trying to make sure I'm not ruining our relationship, but still trying to protect myself."
"I feel like my partners always get tired of dealing with my anxiety/depression. I have so many triggers that it makes life hard for them. I don’t know what to do anymore. The pills I take make me numb and zombie-like and I feel like I’m in a shell. I can’t regulate my emotions and I can’t control myself."
"Lots of people who've never experienced depression don't understand how deeply it affects you. Depression is not just simply 'being in a bad mood' or 'having a bad day'. It’s using every fibre of your being just to get through the day sometimes, and at the end of it, feeling emotionally and mentally exhausted from fighting a constant internal battle. Sometimes just getting yourself up in the morning is a huge victory. It’s all the things most people do without thinking twice because it’s second nature to them, but us folks with depression have to literally push ourselves through it. These things can be mentally and emotionally taxing on our partners who try to be as supportive as they can. But sometimes even for them, it’s too much, and oftentimes they can’t help but feel like something is wrong with them, when really it has nothing to do with them."
"When I'm in a depressive episode, I can't be the partner that I want to be. The numbness sucks all the joy out of anything you would do together. Other times I'm irritable and snap at them when they don't deserve it. I don't have the energy to do nice things for them or sometimes even ask how their day was. I constantly feel guilty and not good enough to be with."
"I'm simply unable to have a relationship. Haven't got the energy to put into it. I'm hard work - unable to smile and I sap the energy out of others. No sexual desire whatsoever due to the side-effects of the SSRIs. Haven't got the energy to even have a bath or clean my teeth so who'd want to date me?"
"Depression makes me feel like such a burden to my partner. They could be out and having fun, but instead they're home with miserable me trying to do their best to make me feel better."
"Depression can drive a wedge between you. Even if they're supportive and want to help, often they don't know what to do. Often there's nothing they can do, which can make them feel helpless and frustrated. Other times what they do or say can unintentionally make you feel even worse. It's really difficult to navigate and I'm still learning how to do it."
"My partner is burned out. It can be tiring having to support someone with depression. It's better during my good days, but lately, I've been going through a really rough patch and it's taking its toll on them."
"In my experience, when you withdraw because of depression, people take it personally and think it's because of them. They think it's because you don't care about them or want to see them, or otherwise because you're just too lazy to leave the house. But it's none of those things. When I'm really depressed it's so hard to see people. It takes all my energy just to get out of bed - so social events are out of the question."
"I can't always show up for my partner in the way I want to. It feels so awful cancelling plans with them - particularly when they've been looking forward to something. It fills you with shame and thoughts that they would be better off without you."
A Helpful Suggestion For How To Navigate Depression In A Relationship
When it comes to navigating depression in a relationship, perhaps the most important observation we've made at The Depression Project is that:
The more each person in the relationship understands depression, the easier it will tend to be to navigate its challenges.
With this objective in mind, we have a few other blog posts and resources in particular that we'd like to share with you:
- Tips For Dating Someone With Depression (From People With Depression)
- A Framework To Help You Better Understand Depression
- Our "Depression Letter" - which we drafted for people with depression to use as a template to explain to their loved ones exactly what depression feels like, as well as the ways they'd like to be helped through it.
We hope you find these resources helpful ❤️
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.