You don’t have to do this alone — and neither does he.
When you start seeing someone and fall in love with them, the world can feel like a cartoon full of rainbows and bluebirds and sparkling stars shining overhead at all times. You know, all that schmaltzy garbage that’s so sickeningly sweet your teeth start to ache just thinking about it.
1. It’s got nothing to do with you.
If he asks for space, give it to him. When a person who is depressed asks for time to themselves, you may feel tempted to insist that being alone isn’t really what they need, but that isn’t your call to make.
You aren’t his mom, and you certainly aren’t going to magically “fix” him by showing up at his place, ripping back the curtains and yelling, “Good morning, Sunshine!”
While sleeping too much and isolating themselves can be an unhealthy coping mechanism for some people trapped in a cycle of depression, your boyfriend might be asking for that time and space because he doesn’t want his current mood to have a negative effect his relationship with you.
2. Know your role.
When you love someone you want to take care of them. That’s just how it is. That’s an impulse you’re probably going to have a hard time shaking off. But while you can definitely be there for him, you are not his therapist. You can take care of your partner by loving them, by listening to them, and by offering advice when it is solicited, but that’s where you’ve got to draw the line.
3. Take care of yourself.
If the relationship becomes unhealthy, you don’t have to stay. That might seem like a cold thing for me to say. It might even seem callous. But it’s important to remember that you do not have to stay with this man (or anyone, for that matter) if it gets too hard. If he refuses to get help or gets mired in a cycle of depression and refuses to acknowledge it, you are under no obligation to stay and care for him just because he has a mental health diagnosis.
4. Educate yourself.
Learning about depression is a great idea if your boyfriend, or anyone in your life for that matter, suffers from it.Not only does educating yourself give you a feeling of power over a situation in which you are essentially powerless, but it will help you understand the intricacies of what he’s really going through.
5. You don’t have to do this alone.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. He might be worried about asking for help himself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to get help for yourself if you feel like you need it.