How to Live With a Depressed & Angry Partner
According to Suicide and Mental Health Association International (SMHAI), depression and anger go hand-in-hand, meaning if you are depressed you are likely to be angry as well. Further, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) states that 15 million adults in the United States suffer from depression yearly. Living with a partner who is depressed and angry is a challenge; a romantic relationship can fail as a result.
Handling a Depressed and Angry Partner
Listen to your partner. If she is depressed she may be battling demons within herself. Often she just wants to be heard by someone who truly cares about her. You may view listening to her woes as being too gloomy for you, especially if you are the optimistic type. Realize she is depressed for a reason and in listening to her you may learn that cause. As her partner, you are probably the person closest to her, physically and emotionally; therefore, if you shut her out, she will become more depressed and angry.
Examine your own behavior. It can be quite easy to blame your partner when a fight ensues between you. Her anger could have been spurned by her own depressed feelings; however, note that in a partnership it often takes two to combat. Do some introspection and do not shy away from your own flaws. See if maybe you said or did something that you could have handled better. If so, admit this to her. If you are willing to take responsibility for your part in the dispute, her feelings of worthlessness can diminish.
Do not judge her. If while communicating with you she says something that is far removed from your opinion, do not view her in a judgmental light. Do not call her “crazy” or even think it. Regardless of how deluded her thoughts may be to you, to her they are very real. Understand that this is simply how she views the situation. If you disagree with her stance, point this out gently—do not yell, scream or use forceful or intimidating language.
Gauge her symptoms by examining the frequency and severity of her depression and anger. You have to know her well to be able to accomplish this feat. Examine how she reacts to your speech and actions, and how she views the world at large. In knowing her triggers you can learn how to avoid upsetting her and how to coax her into seeing the brighter side of life.
Get her the help she needs. Depression and anger can cause her to become violent, suicidal or extremely abusive on all levels. Do not try to match her on this level. Remember, she is battling a mental illness. Some individuals can snap out of depression without medical help, others can’t. If the situation is becoming unbearable for both of you, take her to see a therapist. Ask your doctor to recommend one, or see Resources for a comprehensive list of mental health professionals.