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Depression & Relationships

If you have ever been in or are currently experiencing depression, you know that it has an impact on your relationships.  It can be a struggle to maintain a sense of connection and mutuality.  Depression influences your choice to engage with and be responsive to others.  Taking responsibility and asking for support are two important elements in taking care of your relationships in the face of depression.  

Taking responsibility for the challenge you face involves actions on your own as well as letting those close to you know what's happening for you.

Sharing your process with others is an important way to keep loved ones close even as depression would have you withdraw.  Also, talking about how you are feeling, what you are noticing, and what you are doing to take care of yourself keeps you from becoming completely entranced by the depressive state.  As long as you are reporting to others in a detailed way, a bigger witnessing part of you stays connected and aware.

If you have family and friends who can listen to your reports, without reacting in fear or fixing, then these conversations can be of tremendous support.  These are the people that can help you hold the truth that you are not a "depressed person", but rather someone facing this particular challenge.  In addition, hearing your process and what you are doing, can meet a need for relief and reassurance in others.  They get to see that you are facing the challenge rather slipping away from them into the trance of depression.

Asking for support from others while you face depression can look a lot of ways of course.  Here are a few simple requests that can be effective:

  • Exercise dates:  ask a friend to make at least a weekly date with you to do some form of exercise.

  • Depression Voice Reality Checks:  If you are mindful of the voice of depression you know that once it gets rolling, it tells you all sorts of things about who you are, and what you should or shouldn't feel, need, or experience.  Ask a friend to check in with you about what the depression voice is saying and what the bigger you knows to be true.  Bringing an internal reactive voice into the light of a loving relationship reveals truth.

  • Nourishment Reminders:  The people who know you well have seen what in your life brings you a sense of nourishment and aliveness.  Ask them to remind you about these things and check in with you about whether you are doing them or not.

  • Empathy dates:  Ask for help in guessing the feelings and needs that are up for you regarding what's going on in your life.  Take equal time to offer empathy for your friend.  Both giving and receiving empathy are important ways to stay connected.


Whether you are currently facing the challenges of depression or not, the bulleted requests stated above are useful to have in place.  Take a moment to review them now.  Which do you already have in place?  Which request would you be willing to follow up on this week?

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