How to Love Someone With Depression

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About Andrew Lawes

Having dealt with depression since childhood, Andrew Lawes writes passionately and honestly on the subject of mental health issues in the hopes that he can make a difference in the lives of others with similar struggles. Hailing from Northern England, he is currently a support worker for adults with learning difficulties. In addition to his social work, Andrew is pursuing a degree in English with the Open University of England. Find him on Facebook, Twitter @laweslaweslawes, and Or email him at [email protected].


  1. Jocelyn Santana says:

    Thisi is an important article and one that I hope helps loved ones of depressed partners. I experienced the worst kind of abusive anger, verbal/emotional abuse from my soon to be ex husband when I was in the darkest depression of my life. His lack of empathy, angry helplessness and witholding of emotional connection almost led me to kill myself. He admits that he just doesn’t understand depression and he stays away from things he does not understand and calls depression “my crotch.” Amazingly enough, I am not depressed even though we are divorcing and i was demoted from my job. Once I was well enough to see that I was in an abusive relationship, the depression lifted. Depressed people need love, empathy, not abuse.

    • Pia, I actually had mt fiance leave me the very day that I had a brwak down and needed him most. Worked on trust and my own issues, and I am slowly beginning to trust that my current partner won’t do the same. He has got me through a job that nearly killed me, my Mother’s death, a serious illness, stress and sometimes serious depression that leaves me unable to even think let alone get anything done. The right person will do all the right things. Don’t be saddened by those who give up – they weren’t willing to give as well as take in the first place.

  2. I started crying as I read this article. I have suffered from clinical depression for 23 of my 35 years, and I know that people are at their wits’ end trying to deal with me, and I don’t have an answer for them, nor have I ever been able to pull myself out of it for more than a few weeks at a time. I am going to forward this article to them in the hopes that it will be easier to understand the problem if it comes from someone other than myself… Thank you.

  3. So listening is very important, I hear that. But how do you deal or comfort a depressed partner(loosely used term) who refuses to talk. For 2 years I’ve been dying to hear anything real come from his mouth, anything regarding how he feels and what brought about this vicious change in personality. The closest he gets is when he’s so drunk he can’t walk straight…that’s the only time he opens up about how miserable he is. It’s so sad. Other wise, it’s almost like he’s become an unfeeling, robot version of himself. Even most of his laughter doesn’t sound real..

    • Monica – Please get some help for yourself to get through this, either through Al-Anon or a counselor or both. I have struggled with depression for years myself, and I can’t say strongly enough that it does not excuse not working on getting healthy and trying to do right by the people around us. You need to protect yourself and take care of yourself first and foremost. I can see that you care very much for this person, but his refusal to even talk with you has got to be hard on you and, I’d argue, pretty unfair. Get some help and support from people who understand how to deal with these problems. Lot of free support groups out there if money is the issue. Good luck.

    • Monica … I think we have a lot in common. After financial and legal problems, the man I love has turned into a monster. He tells me he feels empty, a no good bum, he also tells me that the person he was is gone. One day he said he hates his life … He hates his job … He hates coming home. He also drinks too much and this is not helping finances, he drinks at home, but that is money going out each month that could be used for bills. He doesn’t see it that way. He gets angry when I try to have a reasonable discussion about it, he is in denial, and he always tells me he doesn’t want to talk about it (whatever the subject), if it has to do with our relationship or too much drinking. He always tries to blame outside himself, he lies, and turns it on me somehow. He says things that don’t make any sense.
      I found out there is an Alanon meeting nearby, I think I will try that for myself … I have talked to a counselor for myself, can’t afford to go again, but the one visit helped as she knows him.
      I keep praying for a miracle. This is so hard. Hope you are ok, would like to share experiences with you.

  4. Christian Lyons says:

    As a lifelong depressive who self-medicated for twenty-some years, this article rings true. Unfortunately, the downside to this debilitating illness is: we often don’t WANT to burden others with our problems, and so would rather keep quiet than force someone listen to the “woe is me” talk. When we’re depressed, we’re also hypersensitized to how others might react, and choose silence over talk, even if it’s with a therapist. At least that’s how it manifests for me.

  5. Duncan Rogers says:

    Very insightful article. However it seems incongruous to me to say at one point “What you must remember is that depression isn’t a mood – it’s a very debilitating illness.” and then at the end of the piece imply the very thing you argue against, that the loved ones should just hang in there until “they find the strength to get better.”. As if the person with depression just needs to buck up and “find the strength” to get better. While the rest of the piece shares some thoughtful, articulate insights…that last bit undermines it.


  1. [...] This is the second in a series of essays on depression from some of the Good Men Project’s most valued voices. The first in the series is here. [...]

  2. [...] on depression by some of the Good Men Project’s most valued voices. The first two parts are here and [...]

  3. [...] on depression by some of the Good Men Project’s most valued voices. The first three parts are here, here, and [...]

  4. [...] read there, but the site sounds like an excellent idea!  You should read their article about living with someone who has depression.  Good Men Project also republished my latest [...]

  5. [...] How to love someone with depression. [...]

  6. […] How to Love Someone With Depression – This is an old article, one which I know I have read before, and I am pretty sure I have linked it on this blog before as well. But I don’t think it can be shared too often. If you have someone in your life who has been diagnosed with depression, be they friend or family, please take a minute or two and read this. It outlines what depression feels like and what you should and should not do in your effort to help. […]

  7. […] recently read an article ( that has helped me to continue to gain insight into myself, my life, and how to “move […]

  8. […] 19, 2012 BY ANDREW LAWES 48 COMMENTS   […]

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