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Perhaps everything was going great.
You and your partner were having fun, going out, and felt deeply connected at home. You loved your friends and careers, reading good books, or pursuing hobbies. Then, for some reason, things started to change.
Gradually, you noticed that your partner wasn’t the same. They had less energy and excitement, becoming disconnected and lethargic.
Now, you’re really worried and confused. What happened? Is your loved one just down or clinically depressed? Here’s how to tell the difference and what you need to know going forward.
Loss of Interest with Their Passions
One thing to watch for is your partner’s lack of interest in their passions. This could be hobbies, sports, or other recreational activities. This can be a sudden shift, even a surprise. Though this often happens gradually over time. Either way, it’s a warning sign that your loved one might be depressed.
Lack of Desire for Romance
Along with a loss of interest in their passions, another warning sign is a lack of physical desire or intimacy. It seems as if the spark has just gone out in your relationship. Nor is your partner interested in having sex, when you ask or encourage them to do so. This can be very confusing and frustrating for you, but it’s important to ask yourself more questions. Consider that what you are seeing is actually a sign of depression, not a lack of interest in the relationship itself.
Feeling Moody with Depression
People who have depression can be moody, snappy, and irritable. This occurs for several reasons:
Their attention is focused less on the present and more on the depression.
They haven’t been getting enough sleep or practicing much self-care.
Their self-esteem is slumping because depression sufferers tend to isolate and ruminate unproductively.
On the surface, it will appear that your loved one is being unkind or moody. When, in reality, they are actually struggling with depressive thinking and hopelessness.
Substance Abuse and Depression
Was your partner the kind of person that liked to relax with a beer or glass of wine occasionally? Yet, now seems to be drinking more frequently and in larger amounts? Have you noticed warning signs that they are taking drugs? It can be easy to second-guess yourself. However, trust your gut when it comes to this issue. Self- medicating this way only exacerbates the depression. Don’t wait for a full-blown crisis.
What You Need to Know about Depression
Consider these thoughts below as they may address some of the feelings you have about depression and your loved one.
Remember that it’s not your fault that your partner has depression. They have a medical condition that affects millions of Americans each year and can be managed and treated effectively.
Depression takes time to develop. So you might not be aware of the changes immediately.
Look deeper into their behavior and try to “connect-the-dots”, understand triggers, etc.
Depression can have its origins in childhood experiences or those as an adult. Your loved one may or may not know why they are depressed.
Your loved one’s personal history and biology may play a part if family members have struggled with mental health issues in the past.
Help Your Loved One Seek Counseling
As mentioned above, depression can be treated and counseling is a common method of treatment. However, your partner may not be willing to go seek help. Maybe they don’t want to bother anyone. Or, they believe that there isn’t actually anything wrong with them. Still. it’s important that you support them and encourage your loved one to get help.
Even though depression is a common problem, not everyone gets treatment. If you think your loved one is struggling with depression, you can support them by being a reliable and responsible friend or family member. Be direct, not judgemental. Encourage treatment and offer your help securing it, getting to sessions, and sticking with it.
Together, you can get through this. I can help too. Please contact me for a consultation if it would be helpful.