Forming and maintaining relationships of any kind while suffering from depression is a difficult task, but experts have some tips for how you can have successful relationships.
Selina Matthews, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles and an author, said there are four important aspects of successful relationships:
1) Integrity. “You say what you do and do what you say … Integrity in a relationship holds it together.”
3) Authenticity. “To be authentic is to be honest and truthful about your feelings, because if you’re not honest and you’re trying to hide or feel bad about a situation … [that] ruins the intimacy of a relationship.”
4) Communication. “If you’re not having a dialogue, you can’t have a good relationship.”
Matthews said women with depression can struggle a lot more with making and maintaining successful relationships.
“Depression will make you feel depleted, fatigued, it will make you isolate, hide, remove your self-esteem, your self-confidence,” she said. “A lot of these things, when you’re trying to have a relationship, and you’re dealing with depression, it’s making it much more difficult. However, everybody has to go through difficult and challenging times, and if you have a good partner, [then] they should have no trouble understanding that. And that’s where being authentic and communicating what’s going on [is useful].”
She said relationships are about “meeting each other’s needs,” which can be more of a struggle when one person has depression.
“When someone is depressed, they have a harder time at it, but the partner will understand as long as they go into the basic requirements of meeting their needs,” Matthews said. “There’s a spectrum of needs that we all need in a relationship.”
It’s important for people with depression to get a psychiatric evaluation to see if medication can help the process of recovery, she said. Counseling and non-traditional methods, like herbs, acupuncture, massages, meditation, exercise and different foods, can also help people with depression help themselves, and therefore help their relationships.