We’ve been living in a Prozac nation for a long time, which means chances are you’re going to stumble upon an awesome girl who just happens to suffer from depression. Maybe you’ve been depressed yourself some time in your life, maybe you have no fucking idea what it would be like to want to kill yourself or struggle to get out of bed. Maybe you’re just a happy-go-lucky dude. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you find the girl you want to date or your girlfriend is depressive or falling into depression, here are 8 tips for how to deal.
Do not ask why.
Ask anyone who has depression what their biggest pet peeve is. Most likely, it’s someone asking them “why” they’re depressed. Newsflash: there is no why. People don’t just get depressed from a shitty job or a bad relationship with their mom. That shit doesn’t help, but depression, at its roots, is caused by a chemical imbalance. It’s just as physical as a broken leg, which is why so many people need medical intervention like therapy and medication.
Avoid the pep talk.
A ton of people give the pep talk as automatic response to someone’s depression. As in, “You just need to force yourself to get out of bed!” “Today’s gonna be a great day!” or “Just start eating healthier and working out!” A girl who’s depressed isn’t going to respond well to this, because depression is out of her control and prevents her from doing things to help herself. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just listen and cuddle.
Understand and support her need for medication.
If she decides to get on medication or she’s already prescribed pills, don’t judge her for it and don’t encourage her to get off of them, either. If she needs them to function and they’re really working for her, understand and support that. Depression can be a lifelong illness, and some people need pills their entire lives.
Getting on and off medication is exhausting for her and jam-packed with side effects and seesawing moods. Understand that she’s going through chemical changes in her brain and to some extent can’t control the way she’s reacting until her brain balances out again.
Don’t take it personally.
It isn’t your fault she’s irritable or in a bad mood. Don’t blame yourself or feel bad about your relationship just because she’s going through a tough time.
Try to get her moving.
Decreased libido and mental and physical exhaustion often come with depression. The more she lays in bed, the easier it seems to do it forever. Don’t say “you should go out more” (avoid giving advice!) but do try to plan dates that involve walking around, leaving the house, and doing new things. This will really help her feel better.
You’re allowed to be frustrated.
It is really, really hard to date someone with depression, especially when she isn’t being treated for it. Just because she has an illness doesn’t mean she can’t be selfish, bitchy, or a bad girlfriend.
Take care of yourself.
It’s easy to become depressed when you’re with someone who’s depressed. If you need a break or if she’s not getting help or improving, it may be time to walk away. Remember that you can’t save anyone but yourself – and she has to want help and get it on her own.