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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Are you supporting a depressed partner? My tips from 18 years of experience

Topic: Are you supporting a depressed partner? My tips from 18 years of experience

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Carmela
    Champion Alumni
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    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Carmela avatar
    182 posts
    15 July 2016
    This list has been compiled from experiences supporting my husband with depression. There is no one size fits all, so please take what you are comfortable with based on your circumstances and resources.

    1. Reach out to family and/or friends to feel supported - this also covers support groups - online or face to face. Don't let stigma stop you from reaching out.

    2. Relationship boundaries - identify what is acceptable and not. My general platform is that physical abuse is unacceptable as well as regular demeaning/berating comments. Communicate this openly so everyone understands.

    3. Coping tools - this could be exercise, meditation, reading a book, meeting friends, etc. They are important for your mental health.

    4. Knowledge is power - research to understand about depression. The more you know, the better care you can provide.

    5. Remember your partner in the good times - this is their true selves, not the darkness.

    6. Listen and show receptivity - without judgement or anger. If communicate becomes strained, the timeout can provide clarity. Encourage communication gently and try not to push.

    7. Seek counselling - sharing your feelings can provide an opportunity to off load the heavy stuff and identify resilience and coping strategies.

    8. Work as a team - don't let mental illness be in the driver's seat. Offer to go to the Dr's and support them. Understand medication and side effects. Be understanding that some days are harder than others.

    9. Words are powerful - remember what you say cannot be taken back.

    10. Carer Self-esteem and self-worth - if you compromise these for the sake of supporting your partner, you are likely to live with resentment towards your partner and the circumstances you find yourself in.

    11. Don't forget the children - challenging circumstances at home can affect them mentally and emotionally. Speak about mental illness (COPMI.com.au - has some great resources) and be a strong foundation toward maintaining normality in their daily activities.

    12. Intimacy - there are many variables here, so from my experience - keep communication open and make couple time to connect. When my husband was depressed, daily hugs or holding hands wherever possible worked for us. Some carers I have spoken with said their partner would demand intimacy. My personal position is that intimacy is about love without demands or attachments relating to expectation. Demands only deplete the goodness in the connection and sharing a a loving experience.


    53 people found this helpful
  2. RidgeyDidge...
    RidgeyDidge... avatar
    3 posts
    26 April 2017 in reply to Carmela
    What a wonderfully put together set of guidelines, thank you it's been helpful to my circumstances.
  3. geoff
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    8925 posts
    26 April 2017 in reply to RidgeyDidge...
    hi RidgeyDidge, Carmela has been such a strong force not only on Beyond Blue but also for The Black Dog Institute and has had an incredible journey, I won't say too much because I hope that she receives this reply to her own post. Geoff.
  4. Quercus
    Community Champion
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    Quercus avatar
    1547 posts
    26 April 2017 in reply to Carmela

    Hi Carmela,

    I'm going to print this out and put it on my fridge. Sounds a bit random but I think it will be really helpful to read every day.

    When I'm lost in depression it becomes all about me sometimes so it will be good to remember every single day that my health impacts on the people I love most and I need to focus on taking care of them as well.

    Thank you for your advice and sharing your experience Carmela.

    3 people found this helpful
  5. Helenange
    Helenange avatar
    1 posts
    21 July 2017 in reply to Carmela

    Hi Carmela, it's my first time navigating this on line group. I hope I'm in the right area.

    I read and found some support from your post.

    I am single and have my 30 yo daughter living with me who suffers from depression. Her 4 yo daughter lives with me as well.

    my daughter can't get up in the mornings... any help/ ideas out there so I can get her going ?

    Thanks

  6. geoff
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    8925 posts
    24 July 2017 in reply to Helenange
    hello Helenange, forgive me but Carmela has been tied up with 'A Black Dog' and she was truly a terrific person that we had on this site, but this other site takes up most of her time and unfortunately we don't hear from her, but if you contact this other site then there is no doubt she will get back to you.
    I am terribly sorry that your daughter is suffering from depression and I'm sure that this puts more pressure on you having to look after her as well as her 4 year old daughter, it actually reminds me when my ex had PND but fortunately her mother was living with us and I'm not sure if we could have coped if she wasn't living with us, as I was running a family owned hotel and my ability to be able to help her was very limited, plus the PND rubbed onto me as well.
    At that stage, we had 2 sons aged 2 and 1.
    Her daughter won't understand why her mum feels like this, but would take it as though she is very sad, and I know that the stress for you would slowly be building up, which I can't explain how very sorry I feel for you, but to begin with I need to know whether she is seeing a doctor/psychologist and taking any medication.
    If you could get back to us that would be lovely, as we seem to be about the same age. Geoff.
    1 person found this helpful