How to Help a Depressed Loved One

Ask the Expert Patient Health Guide
  • Question:

     

    Flower asked...

     

    I'm new to this depression help site. My fiancé has depression and anxiety and it is very hard for me. I do love him and I won't leave him alone, I want to be there for him for everything he needs me. But sometimes I think I don't know how long I'll be able to do it. I told him that no matter what happens, I'm gonna be with him. It's true but I'm scared at the same time. Sometimes I think I'm going to end up with depression too.

    He lost his mom last year due to cancer. I didn't meet his mom but he was very close to her. He says she was his best friend and the person he loved the most. I understand his pain about his mom. I'm sure is very hard for a person to love so much his mother and suddenly not having her by his side. I wouldn't even think what would happen if my mom wasn't with me anymore. To make things worse about his mom, his dad started a new relationship after 2 or 3 months his mom died. He is getting married in February next year. This obviously affects him so much and it increases his pain or more stress.

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    He was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when he was 18 years old. Now he is 34. Since his mom died I think he is not doing so well. He tries very hard I know but it's so difficult for me to see him sad, tired all the time, with no interest in work, therefore having difficulties with money, etc. We are going to get married next year and I'm excited about it but at the same time I'm so scared.

    He goes to work, he tries very hard to go when he is supposed to go, but he has lost interest in what he does. He has a masters degree and was working on a second one but he says he has no motivation to do it anymore, his mom was his motivation.

    I just need to talk to a person who knows what I'm going through, how can I help him to have more energy (he is on medication), how can he get to sleep easily when he can't, how can he not feel tired all the time, how can he stop getting stress out for everything, and how can I help to ease a phobia he has.

    Thank you if you read this. S.

     

     

     

    Answer:

     

    Dear S.,

     

    It's wonderful that you're so concerned and want to help. There are many things you can do. Here are some suggestions:
    • Encourage your fiancé to talk with his doctor about how he's feeling. A medication adjustment may be in order. Sometimes, in addition to medication, counseling / therapy is needed.
    • If possible, and if your fiancé agrees, schedule an appointment to talk with his doctor about how you can help.
    • Ask his doctor if there's a depression support group that meets in your area? These groups are helpful not only for the person with depression, but also for family and friends. See if your fiancé will attend with you.
    • Find out if he has major depressive disorder (clinical depression) or if his depression is situational depression (event triggered). Then learn all you can about the type of depression he's dealing with and encourage him to learn too.
    • Learn some relaxation exercises and do them with him. This could help with many issues, including sleep.
    • Encourage him to eat right, exercise, and other things for his general physical health. Depression tends to make us less aware of these things, but physical health can significantly impact depression.
    • Be sure you and he are getting quiet time together. Activities are important, but time together reading, listening to music, or just sitting quietly together is important too.

    Good luck to you and your fiancé,

     

    About Ask the Expert Patient:

     

    If you would like to ask a question about depression or living with depression, please write a SharePost and be sure to select “a question” in the drop-down menu next to “I want to create a SharePost that is a,” which is Step 2 on the SharePost creation screen.  I will post my responses to your questions each week.

     

    Please keep in mind that I am not a physician. I cannot diagnose or give medical advice. This section is for sharing information and offering support as a nonphysician “Expert Patient.”

Published On: September 17, 2007