Depression within a romantic partner can be one of the most challenging things a couple goes through. I wish I could say it is not that common, but it seems to be a theme among those I’ve worked with over the years.
It is so painful to see those we love, those that we were so enraptured by their vitality, suddenly slip out of life.
For some, it can be outright traumatic and ultimately shift the relationship to the point of feeling as though you have lost your partner.
On a psychological level, somethings begun to shift. For some, it comes about from a massive transition. Some form of loss. Loss of something that was highly valued; one's profession, relationship to self, physical ability, a relationship with another.
Please keep in mind that when I say depression, I am not just referring to a list of symptoms you can Google. Those are just the outside of depression. It is window dressing or veneer. I am referring to the deep inner experience of depression. I talk about this at length in Pt.1 of Living With Depression, but it is a sense that life - my life - has gotten very off track and I have lost connection to my-self, to that which is essential to me.
I hope that it may bring about new connections within yourself and more importantly, your partner. This is not about being right or wrong or being helpful - it is about being kind, open, and bringing about some feeling and sensations within yourself, your partner, and a shared experience between the two of you. They are, and aren’t themselves and should not be held to what once was. That has passed. New life and relationship is what you’re striving for.
What was/is it that you liked/like about your partner? Or didn’t/don’t like in your partner?
Were/are you attentive with your partner? Were/are interested in him/her?
When did/do you feel close to your partner? What did/does it mean to be close?
What made/makes you attractive to one another? What about love and sexuality?
What was/is your contribution? Where did/do you see your effort? Or paid/paying the price?
What picture had/have you of your partner? What did/do you think of his/her contribution?
What do you think about your behavior? Did/do you expect too much? Or not enough?
What were/are you missing from your partner? What was/is missing from you for him/her?
My name is Caleb Dodson I’m a private psychotherapist in the Fremont Neighborhood of Seattle, WA and I’m most passionate about bringing kindness to and excavating a sense of humanity in the most challenging experiences to bring about a more full life.
If you’ve enjoyed this check out Pt.1 and Pt.2 on Living With Depression. If anything said above touched you and you’d like to visit, I’d encourage you to shoot me an email or schedule a time to visit. These questions are from a clinical seminar on working with couples in my training in Existential Analysis through the Existential Analysis Society of Canada.