I'm going to do this as a Q&A. If you feel I missed anything or have other questions please comment below.
How do I start?
- For my first doctor's appointment I took my husband with me. He explained to the doctor how I had been when I struggled to get the words out, he asked questions too
- If your worried about telling your partner remember they will probably already expect you to say something isn't right, they know you inside out after all and have probably been worrying what it is that's wrong
- Can't get the words out? Tell them you want to speak but it's hard- write it in a letter, find a youtube video, pick up a leaflet or find a trusted mental health site and let them read through it while sat with them
- Ask them to be patient with you and let them know you might not be able to answer their questions- it's hard to explain to someone else when you can't understand it yourself
What do I say?
- Whatever you can put into words. I found concentrating, speaking, typing, texting very hard in the beginning, I couldn't make sense and it was like I had constant pains in my head- like electric shocks
- Make sure you use the word depression "the doctor says I'm not ok" leaves them to worry and wonder what is wrong
- Show them your medication or referral to a psychiatrist, let them read the information and know your dose and time you need to take it so they can help remind you of this
- Show them the leaflet explaining side effects you may have and warning signs that may occur from bad reactions to medication that need medical attention (rare cases)
- Tell them your plans on how you want to deal with recovery
- Let them know your worries, fears, how you feel mentally and physically
When is a good time?
- As soon as possible
- Make sure you are able to talk openly and won't be distracted
- If you start and can't continue let your partner know that you need a rest and will try to talk about it again later
- Do whatever you need to do to make you feel more at ease- talk while cuddling, talk in bed, wrap yourself up in a blanket, hug a pillow, talk inside a tent, be indoors or out- whatever feels right for you and most comfortable
They say I'm pushing them away?
- You could be- it is very common
- Remember a partner wants to feel loved and appreciated
- They may worry they are the cause of your depression or can't help you
- Let them know they are appreciated
- Pay a compliment and say I love you
- Have cuddles, hold hands, snuggle up together watching films, look at old pictures together, spend time alone together, play cards together
- We used to play a game where we would say "name 5 things you love about me?"
What if I can't answer their questions?
- Tell them you don't have the answer, don't leave them waiting or guessing
- Ask them to listen patiently while you try to describe it in different ways, it might not make sense but you tried and they will appreciate that
- If you get frustrated, upset or confused not knowing the answer hug it out and try later
I'm starting to feel better or worse, should I bring it up?
- YES! keep your partner informed
- If you tell them you're starting to feel better they will feel relief and know what you and they are doing is working- this is a huge help to them
- If you tell them you feel worse they can prepare for it and make sure they step up their support for you
- Let your partner know from the beginning that it won't be a straight path, you might feel better one day, worse the next and go in and out of good and bad stages
Will I upset them talking about it?
- They may get upset or angry with the situation as they can feel powerless but it's better than being kept in the dark
- You are in love and sharing a life together whether it's the good times or the bad you need to keep them in the loop
What if they don't support me at all?
- Are they struggling with it and don't know what to do?
- Do they need to talk to someone about how they feel with the situation?
- Are they wrapped up in looking after the children/ the home/ their work to keep money coming in?
- Are they not showing you the love and care you deserve?
- Concentrate on yourself then look into your relationship
- Find support wherever you can and make sure you always have someone to talk to
Remember you are loved by someone and they have your back. But if needed you can do this alone because you are strong, you are a fighter and you want to get better. You are amazing!