How to support someone with depression?

Im not going to lie. im a guy. I have a really bad problem, ive been searching over the internet and this place seems the best to ask. and once i have my answer i shall be gone!

i have a gf of over 5years (we're  22) and my gf has recently been really down (for a very long time, years) and has finally seen a Dr and been given some anti-depressants. now that she has been labelled as someone with depression, she is starting to seem a bit better, but we rarely have sex, she isnt as intimate and affectionate as she used to. i really dont mind this and totally understand and i have no thought of leaving her. (i might add, ive seen other topics of girls saying they fear for their relationships, trust me, if its a serious relationship your bf will 100% understand and be there to support you and will not hate you for not being intimate etc) but she keeps on acknowledging this and saying that shes sorry for not being affectionate or intimate and that is something that gets her down because she feels sorry for neglecting me.

I understand depression pretty well (studied it a bit at university) but that is all science and research, it doesnt help me on a way to be supportive. what i want to know is whats the best i can do to help? i persoanlly am an immature person, and im always happy. I live by the motto "if you aren't happy, you;re living life wrong" and i always make my gf smile with stupid little jokes whenever i can. i try to keep her distracted with happiness but even after all this i still know shes upset, and so does she. is there anything I can do that will help. or maybe things i shouldnt do?

I understand this is a female community, and i apologies for intruding, but i really really want to help my gf through this. any advice is greatly appreciated. ive read through some of the other topics on depression in here and this is a great community and i hope some of you will help me.

sorry again and thanks.

(I'm a bit beyond college too.) I'm going to take a long shot, though only you can tell if I hit the bullseye. Based on the brief description of yourself:

im always happy. I live by the motto "if you aren't happy, you;re living life wrong" and i always make my gf smile with stupid little jokes whenever i can.

 

I'm going to guess you have the SP Artisan personality type. Read this and see if it seems to fit you or not (only you can tell):

 

http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/artisan_overview.asp

 

If I hit the bullseye (then congrats to me I'm pretty good, else oh well it was a long shot and the rest will be off the mark) SP Artisans make up about 35% of the population, they base their self-esteem on their Physical Performance. Their weakness is being called, "Chicken". You can get an SP Artisan to do just about anything by threatening to label them "Chicken" if they don't. Other personality types would just agree "Damn right I'm chicken. Jumping off that cliff with a paraglider strapped to my back sounds risky!" The SP Artisan loves taking a risk. They feel they live a charmed life. They are fearless.

 

Other personality types don't base their self-esteem on the same thing. NT Rationals want to be "competent". SJ Guardians want to be "dependable". NF Idealists want to be "authentic" (something that doesn't even make sense to other personality types who say "How can I possibly be anything else other than who I am?" but it's a real life long ambition for the NF Idealist.)

 

That aside, I can now take yet another long shot, and say if you are indeed an SP Artisan, then your concern is you want to create a good performance that will cheer up your gf. Failing to cheer her up may seem like a reflection upon you. You might start to think that maybe your cheering up performance isn't good enough, it didn't work, your jokes aren't funny enough, you didn't deliver them right, etc. IT's a reflection on you, perhaps a bite to your self-esteem.

 

And so you might want to examine how much of this is about you and how much of this is about her. Obviously on the surface it's about her, but underneath you might be unconsciously taking it a bit personal if she's not happy it's somehow a bad reflection on you. The cure for that is to just be aware of it. It's not something that can really be 'cured', just take a step back and observe and make note of it.

 

That was of course a long shot and I could be totally off the mark and completely missed the side of the barn.

 

That aside, the key to helping her is to put your focus on her and ask her what sort of things help her. It's different for different people. (By the way that's also the key to being great in bed and having a good relationship all over. Focus on her needs, wants, desires, feelings, forget about yourself and focus oh her world and how she's feeling and the feedback will guide you.)[Gosh I get off topic easily enough. Now I have to segway back to what I was talking about—what sort of things might help her.] For some people such as myself when I'm seriously depressed (I do have clinical depression, fortunately we found some medication that works and I'm fine now) when I'm depressed I want to be around people I know, or with someone I know. I'll go to the ends of the earth to find someone who's safe to be with and just be with them. Doesn't matter what we do, I just don't want to be alone. Once I went and sat in my orthodontist's office waiting room. I didn't have an appointment, I just wanted to be somewhere safe, where there were other people around, the staff knew me and knew I was going through a hard time and they allowed me to just sit there so I could feel safe and with people. So if your gf is like that then just being there is simple enough. Doesn't matter what you do as long as you're with her.

 

On the other hand, no everybody is like that. Some people prefer the opposite (so my psychiatrist tells me). Some people prefer to be left alone, they want to get away from the crowd of people and find a nice quiet serene place to just sit and be.

 

So it really matters on the individual. Communication. Ask her.

 

That aside there are a few tricks which can help, though they are not a cure. If she's seriously depressed she needs to go see her doctor and get some anti-depressants. (If she's bipolar then she needs to tell the doctor that and get a mood stabilizer too. Bipolar people often just treat the depression side when that part of the swing happens, but when they swing the other way and become manic, they love it too much and it's only afterwards they think back and can't believe how stupid they were doing all those things they did while they were manic. They may have indiscriminate sex with anyone and everyone, give all their money away, they really aren't thinking rationally when they're manic though to them it seems like the thing to do at the time.)

 

But I digress (again). One trick which you already mentioned is Distraction or Redirection. Get them to focus their mind on something else, a project, a task, a TV show, anything that can distract their focus of thought away from how depressed they are feeling and onto something else.

 

Hmm, I'm sure they taught me something else when I was living in that house for mental people briefly, —Exercise! That's always good for your brain whether you're depressed or not. She may not be in the mood for vigorous exercise, but a nice walk in the park, along the beach, where ever a nice place to walk is, just around the block, yes a nice walk can get some exercise, fresh air, sunlight, outdoors, it can momentarily help, and will do her good if she's up to it. Have to make it something not to exhaustive. Depressed people often have low energy.

 

Here's another good link: SP Artisan Men & Romance:

http://www.keirsey.com/personalityzone/lz27.asp

 

and there's a list of other related articles on the right side.

 

Communication between different temperament types (we speak differently):

http://www.keirsey.com/personalityzone/lz54.asp

 

How Not to Annoy Your Partner if you're an SP Artisan:

http://www.keirsey.com/personalityzone/lz82.asp

 

Well that ought to be enough to get you going. Main thing is don't take it personally if you can't cheer her up. Take if personally if she says your mere presence makes her happier. It's easy to be present. You don't even have to do anything. It's not the performance, it's the being there. (Sort of like when you have surgery. You don't have to do anyting. All you have to do is show up. They do the rest. You just stay relaxed and calm and let them do all the work.)[Wow, I just made an analogy between romance and surgery. I think I'd better stop now before I dig myself in deeper and deeper.] Focus on her. Be present, look for that spiritual bond, figure out which personality type she has then read all about it and what sort of things those people like. If she's not an SP Artisan like yourself then she's not just a copy of you, she will respond to things quite different from what you would respond to. It's all there in those articles have a look.

 

 

 

http://www.keirsey.com/4temps/artisan_overview.asp

haha! i enjoyed reading that. unfortunately your long shot did not pay off (would have been amazing if it did though, id have seen you as some sort of oracle!) I know that if i fail to cheer her up its not my fault, i never take it personally, I fully understand the condition, as i said, i had to study it for a module at university and i even try to implement some of the strong findings (such as exercise as you suggested).

with the exercise , I encouraged this a couple of years ago when i started noticing her behaviours, and she is very active now, the problem is she just got a full tiem job and her vigorous exercise is now limited. I totally understand what you mean when people deal with stuff in different ways (me, like you said, like to deal with any isuues alone. i love to be alone with some music and a bit of time to myself to think it through in my head, boom sorted) but i persoanlly genuinely am not sure how she best deals with it. i see my self as a very good judge of people and a reader of people, and especially my gf that iver been with for over 5 years and known for several years but when it comes to her lows, i dont know whats best to get her through it. i dont think she does!

I think the thing you highlighted that i recognise most is doing what she wants. I am guilty of getting lazy and turning down things that sound **bleep**ty. i dont particular enjoy the company of a lot of her friends (i can easily put up with them though) so i guess my main area to focus on would be to do thigns she wants, go out when she wants me there. i cna understand exactly why she would benefit from that so thank you for that.

Thanks for your informative answer. it kind of reinforces me that i have been going the right way about it and htat i should do more for her when possible.

im also glad to hear that you have some medication that works and that you are recovering/recovered!

better luck guessing my personality next time!

My track record at guessing people's personality type is pretty abysmal!:smileyvery-happy: 

 

Hope you and her can share some time together.

 

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