1. Your love won’t cure her.
I think this comes from a good place, really, I do. When we love someone, we want to take away all their pain. We never want to see them suffering. It’s a natural response, a nurturing desire to help the people we care about. But you need to remember your love is not a medication.
2. She’s not broken.
This is such a damaging stereotype we assign to people with depression — that they are ‘broken’ people who need fixing. No. She has an illness that she didn’t ask for. No one does.
3. It’s not just in her head.
And yes, I get the irony in that sentence. But this isn’t something she just made up or imagined. It’s very real and affects her life in ways you’ll probably never even realize.
4. And no, she can’t positively think it away.
You wouldn’t encourage someone with cancer or diabetes to just think better thoughts, would you? This kind of mentality is dangerous and one that stops people from actively getting the real help they need. Instead, encourage her to talk to her medical or mental health professionals to figure out the best route to take.
5. She’s afraid of being perceived as a burden.
You might notice that she doesn’t readily open up or (especially if the relationship is new) tries to hide her symptoms. Because depression can be so consuming, it’s not uncommon for feelings of guilt to accompany it. She never wants you to feel like this is something you got stuck with. So as a result, she might withhold certain things.
6. It hurts. Physically.
Research has shown that people suffering from depression have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain.
7. She doesn’t expect you to fully understand.
It’s impossible to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes if we haven’t been there. We can try all we want, but that’s all it ever will be. Trying. She knows that. She’s not anticipating you’re going to always get it. But she does want you to validate what she experiences. Saying something like, “Though I might not know how this feels, I support you and am here for you,” can go a long way.
8. The way she feels about you is totally separate from her illness.
It can be hard loving someone with depression. Hard for both people. And one thing she never wants you to think is that because she struggles, it somehow means she isn’t happy to be with you. Just because this is something she deals with, she can still love you with her entire heart. She never wants you to question that.