Do you have anyone in your life right now who’s struggling with depression? If so, then you should know firsthand how much it can complicate your life. When you fall victim to depression, it doesn’t just take a hold of you – it takes hold of everyone who cares about you. Seeing someone you love in so much pain and not quite knowing how to help them is its own kind of emotional torture. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone you love suffer in silence, but it’s important that you continue to care for them and support them through their most difficult times.
Loving someone with depression can be difficult. They tend to talk themselves down and wallow in their feelings of self-hatred and hopelessness, convinced that they’re undeserving of love. Depression builds walls around people, and it can put a lot of emotional distance between you and your loved one, but you shouldn’t let it stop you from reaching out to them. After all, one of the most beautiful and powerful things in life is true human connection. Nurturing it can help you find happiness even in the darkest of times, and it will help you restore what depression has taken away.
With that said, here are 8 reasons to love someone with depression:
1. They’re More Understanding
People who have depression become more understanding and sympathetic towards the suffering of others. They are some of the most open-minded and non-judgmental people you will ever have the pleasure of meeting, so don’t be afraid to let your guard down around them. It’s easy to let yourself be emotionally vulnerable with them, because they can easily empathize with whatever it is you may be feeling, and they will likely understand your point of view better than others.
2. They’re More Honest
One thing you will notice about depression is that ithas a tendency to make those who suffer from it more brutally honest. Depressed people won’t try to waste your time with flowery words or false promises. You can always trust them to tell you the truth, no matter how ugly or painful it may be. They don’t usually have any ulterior motives behind their words or their actions, because they put a lot of value in a person’s sincerity and straightforwardness.
3. They’re More Appreciative
Although their actions may tell you another story, anyone who’s battling against depressiondoesn’t really want to be left alone. They value the people who stay by their side and they love it when others make the effort to try to connect and reach out to them. They appreciate every ounce of care and compassion you send their way, but they don’t want to burden you by seeming like they want it too much.
4. They’re More Sensitive
Another good reason why you should love someone who has depression is because they are often more in tune with their feelings and the feelings of others. This kind of emotional awareness makes them more sensitive and more attentive to the people they care about. They are quick to pick up on your emotions by reading your body language, facial expressions, and non-verbal cues, and will do their best to make sure that you are doing alright.
5. They’re Deep Thinkers
A lot of recent studies have linked overthinking with depression, but there are a lot of upsides to being a deep thinker. Deep thinkers are more perceptive, intuitive, and profoundly insightful about life. They want to find meaning in their life and make sense of the world around them. Oftentimes, people who are depressed long to achieve their full potential, live their life to the fullest, help as many people as they can, and make their life mean something.
6. They’re Good Listeners
Someone who is depressed usually goes out of their way to make their loved ones feel more heard and accepted. They’re good listeners because they know how much it can mean to have someone be there for you and listen to what you’re going through. They are often eager to give back the sympathy and support others have shown in them in any way they can – usually by listening.
7. They’re Stronger Than Most
If you know anyone who has ever fought against depression, you’d know that they are some of the strongest and most resilient people you will ever meet. Day after day, they are constantly fighting with their own mind to overcome feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and emptiness, and it’s not one they can always win. To bear the kind of emotional pain, trauma, and distress that they do takes a lot of courage and determination.
8. Their Depression Does Not Define Them
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, you should love someone in spite of their depression because they are not defined by their mental illness. Some of the most influential and most accomplished people in the world – like Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Sylvia Plath, and Vincent Van Gogh – have struggled with depression for a lot of their lives, but they rose above it all and managed to make their life mean something more.
People flourish when they are showered with love and support from those around them, so how can we hold it against them when they don’t? Loving someone who struggles with depression can feel like an uphill battle a lot of the time, but it’s important not to give up on the ones you love. Encourage them to work through their problems on their own and be there to offer your help, empathy, and understanding when they need it. Support them through their suffering. It might sound counterintuitive or cruel, but really, it’s the best thing you can do.
- Teo, A. R., Choi, H. J., & Valenstein, M. (2013). Social Relationships and Depression: A Ten-Year Study from a Nationally Representative Sample. University of Michigan Press.
- Whitbourne, S. K. (2016). How Depression Can Affect Your Relationships. Psychology Today, 13 (24), 210-213.
- Schultz, K. (2017). What It Means to Love Someone with Major Depressive Disorder. New York: Wiley.