Depression sometimes makes it difficult for an individual to build and maintain close, healthy relationships with family members, friends, work colleagues, and others. To understand why, let’s examine depression, how it affects a person’s overall well-being, and how a person can cope with symptoms while also maintaining healthy relationships.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent sadness, and affects a person’s behaviors and thoughts.
A person with depression often struggles to go to work or school and perform other everyday activities. Additionally, depression causes a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, slowed thinking, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. In some instances, depression results in body aches, headaches, and other physical issues as well.
Depression sometimes causes social withdrawal, and people dealing with depression may pull away from others and shut down. Social withdrawal may also increase a person’s risk of alcohol abuse or excessive consumption of junk food in the hopes of masking his or her pain.
Social withdrawal hampers a person’s ability to develop healthy relationships, despite the fact that healthy relationships can play key roles in an individual’s ability to cope with depression symptoms.
What Is a Healthy Relationship?
Healthy relationships may help people coping with depression get the care they need to manage their depression symptoms.
Healthy relationships are built on honest communication, and provide outstanding sources of support, comfort, and love. Healthy relationships also enable people coping with depression to communicate their thoughts and feelings to someone who cares, which ultimately can help these individuals manage their depression symptoms.
Different types of healthy relationships include romantic relationships, friendships, and work relationships.
A healthy relationship is sometimes intimate in nature, and it develops based on things like a person’s ability to show and accept affection, work through conflicts and disagreements, and maintain realistic expectations with a partner. There are various signs that a romantic relationship is healthy, and these signs include that each partner feels accepted, loved, and appreciated, and is encouraged to explore his or her own interests. At the same time, trust is maintained by both partners in a healthy romantic relationship, and both partners are also comfortable with showing intimacy toward each other.
In addition to healthy romantic relationships, healthy friendships are important for people experiencing depression. Research shows that good friends provide social support that can help people cope with illness. In one study of ovarian cancer patients, researchers discovered that patients who received lots of social support during chemotherapy found that their treatments were more effective than patients who did not receive the same level of social support. Also, in a study of breast cancer patients in a support group, these patients lived twice as long and experienced less pain in comparison to patients who were not members of a support group.
People dealing with depression have two choices when it comes to healthy relationships: they can choose to embrace people who care about building and maintaining these relationships, or they can hold on to negative thoughts and feelings. If people dealing with depression choose the former, they can build and maintain healthy relationships, and move past negative thoughts and feelings that otherwise contribute to depression symptoms.
Tips to Maintain Close Relationships with Depression
A close, healthy relationship generally cannot thrive without effective communication, regardless of whether or not a person is coping with depression. Fortunately, there are several things that a person can do to become an effective communicator.
First, it helps to listen and reflect when others speak to you. For example, when someone expresses concern or worry, people often want to share their own opinion or experience in response. But you should try to simply listen to what someone else has to say about a concern or worry, then reflect back what this individual is saying. This allows you to avoid the risk of offering advice that the other person doesn’t want or need. Instead, you can be empathetic and show that you’re willing to help once this individual tells you what he or she wants or needs.
You should also be mindful of what others have to say, and how they are expressing themselves. Little things like a person’s tone of voice and facial expressions can help give you a good idea about how an individual is feeling in the moment. After you hear and see how a person expresses himself or herself, you can respond with purposeful intent, resulting in a meaningful interaction.
“I” statements can make a world of difference in healthy relationships as well. If you want to communicate your viewpoint about a difficult topic, choose to use “I” statements over “you” statements so you can share your perspective without expressing blame or accusation. This can be especially helpful when discussing a difficult or uncomfortable situation, like if a family member or friend suddenly drops in without notice or a co-worker tells you that he or she needs extra time to complete a time-sensitive project.
Finally, if you’re dealing with depression and want healthy relationships in your life, you can learn and use different depression coping strategies and treatments. Sometimes, people choose psychotherapy to learn how to manage their depression symptoms. They may also use medication on its own or with psychotherapy to help manage their depression symptoms. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy may also be used to help reduce depression symptoms, and may be used either as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with medication and psychotherapy.
What Is TMS Therapy?
TMS therapy involves the use of magnetic pulses that stimulate regions of the brain that are responsible for depression. These pulses help normalize neurotransmitter levels in different areas of the brain to reduce depression symptoms.
TMS therapy is noninvasive, and may be a good option for depression patients who previously tried antidepressant medication but found that medication did not deliver the desired results. It is often conducted over the course of six weeks, with five treatment sessions per week. TMS is not painful and does not carry side effects the way prescription medications often do.
A typical TMS treatment requires approximately 20 minutes to complete. Once it’s done, a patient can return to his or her normal activities with no waiting period.
Schedule a TMS Therapy Consultation with Achieve TMS
Close relationships are critical for providing emotional support at all stages of life, but depression can impact a person’s ability to create or maintain healthy relationships. Fortunately, many treatment options are available to help people manage their depression symptoms so they can maintain long-standing relationships and continue to build new relationships over time.
At Achieve TMS, we offer a revolutionary TMS therapy program for depression. Our team of expert medical clinicians is happy to help individuals coping with depression determine if TMS therapy can be used to help them manage their depression symptoms. To learn more about TMS therapy or to schedule a consultation with Achieve TMS, please contact us online or call us today at 877-296-4968.