It’s not uncommon to have feelings of sadness at times. These feelings are a normal reaction to loss, major life changes or issues with self-esteem. However, when feelings of intense sadness last for days to weeks and interfere with your daily functioning, it could be related to clinical depression which is a treatable medical condition. Feelings of intense sadness include feeling helpless, hopeless or worthless. This guide will introduce you to depression and give you suggestions for when you are thinking “My girlfriend has depression, what can I do to help her?”
Why My Girlfriend Is Depressed?
It is agreed upon that depression is a brain disorder; however, the exact cause is unknown. There are many factors that contribute to depression and those include genetic characteristics, hormonal changes, medical illnesses, major life changes causing stress or grief, and substance abuse.
How Can You Tell Your Girlfriend Has Depression?
As depression can influence mood, sex drive, energy levels, sleep and appetite, it is necessary to know how to help a depressed girlfriend cope. There are many other signs of depression and they include the following:
Difficulty with memory, concentration and decision making
Decreased energy and fatigue
Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, helplessness or worthlessness
Sleep disturbance such as difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Anxiety, restlessness and irritability
Loss of interest in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed
Displeasure in life
Decreased appetite or overeating
Persistent aches, pains or digestive problems
How to Help Her Cope with Depression
Be understanding – When you notice it is a huge effort for her to do the most basic things like take a shower and get dressed, remember your girlfriend may have an illness - clinical depression which can be a serious and debilitating mental health condition.
Encourage her to take care of herself – Help her keep in good hygiene as that always makes someone feel better, and you can also incorporate things in her life that makes her feel better such as comfort items, favorite music, magazines, food or watching a favorite DVD.
Be patient, not dismissive – Recovering from depression takes time and support. Remember, your girlfriend didn’t make a choice to be depressed. Statements like “cheer up” or “you shouldn’t be unhappy about anything” only hasten the recovery.
Don’t wait for her to ask for help – Depression at times can make people feel worthless so your depressed girlfriend may not reach out for help. Sometimes a simple text message relaying that you are thinking of her and wondering how she is doing is great for her spirits.
Help her get proper treatment – Your girlfriend has depression and she may not recognize that help is available. If you are wondering, “my girlfriend has depression but what do I do?” Simply, in a very gently manner, let her know what you are seeing and tell her it is nothing she should be ashamed of. Offer support by going to appointments with her if she prefers, that will give her a positive feeling about your involvement.
Be patient during her treatment process – It is difficult sometimes to nail the exact treatment necessary at first; at times, it involves trial and error. It takes time, support and therapy for the cloud of depression to be lifted. So try to be as patient as you can and tell her you’ll be by her side all the time.
It can be difficult getting through a relationship when you have a depressed girlfriend. If you take these few steps and stay by her side during treatment, you will be amazed at what you will see as a result of seeking the proper medical treatment and having a good support system.