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How Depression Can Impair Communication

Updated on February 14, 2018
It is incredibly challenging to maintain healthy lines of communication between yourself and your loved ones when you are simultaneously dealing with depression.
It is incredibly challenging to maintain healthy lines of communication between yourself and your loved ones when you are simultaneously dealing with depression.

Why Depression Affects Communication

With symptoms that zap your energy and cause you to retreat from your loved ones, it can be challenging to communicate when suffering from depression. Nearly all of the common symptoms of major depressive disorder inhibit your ability to maintain relationships with others, including:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal thoughts

It is incredibly challenging to maintain healthy lines of communication between yourself and your loved ones when you are simultaneously dealing with these difficult thoughts and feelings. For many individuals, it can feel almost impossible to concentrate on anything when depressed.

Communication can break down quickly as a result of depression. However, with the help of those closest to you, it is possible to maintain your relationships and keep those lines of communication open.

The Importance of Communicating About Your Depression

Inform Your Loved Ones When You Are Struggling

When you are affected by depression, it might seem easier to alienate yourself from those around you and just stay in bed until you begin to feel better. The truth is, those that are closest to you can actually help you cope.

You don’t have to go through this alone. If you are struggling, your loved ones want to know.

Keep the communication between yourself and others alive by telling them the truth, as soon as it happens. There is no need to be embarrassed when you need to reach out to others for help.

They may not understand exactly what you are going through, but it will likely satisfy them to know that you are comfortable enough to share your struggles with them. Tell them how you feel and what emotions are affecting you.

Opening up about how you feel could make you feel a bit better, or at least you won’t have to feel alone. Help your loved ones understand how you are affected by your depression and don’t forget to reassure them that you still care.

When the symptoms of depression try to put a rift in your partnership or friendships, simply reminding those you care for that they mean so much to you can do wonders for your relationship.

Keep in mind that communication is very difficult for the majority of those struggling with depression.

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Understanding the Effects of Depression

Before you can lend your support to your loved one, it is important that you have an idea of what they are going through. This can be difficult if you are someone who has never experienced depression for yourself.

Firstly, keep in mind that communication is very difficult for the majority of those struggling with depression. Many of the symptoms of depression impair a person’s ability to speak to others and maintain their relationships.

Try not to take it personally if your loved one has suddenly distanced themselves from you due to their depression. Some common cognitive symptoms of depression include:

  • Negative or distorted thinking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Distractibility
  • Forgetfulness
  • Reduced reaction time
  • Memory loss
  • Indecisiveness

Keep these symptoms in mind when you are trying to communicate with a loved one suffering under the weight of depression. Do everything you can to stay informed about how depression affects someone’s ability to carry out the functions of daily life.

How Do You Communicate With a Loved One Who Is Battling Depression?

If you are in a relationship with someone who has depression, it is important that you also make an effort, rather than leaving it up to the person who is struggling to continually communicate with you.

As discussed, there are many symptoms working against you when struggling with depression, making it incredibly difficult to live your daily life. Whatever you do to help get them through it will be greatly appreciated.

Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one how you can best support them. They might want you to listen to their struggles, or perhaps just need a comforting hug to get through the next twenty-four hours.
Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one how you can best support them. They might want you to listen to their struggles, or perhaps just need a comforting hug to get through the next twenty-four hours.

How to Offer Your Support to a Loved One Dealing Depression

If you have no first-hand experience with depression, it is difficult to determine what you can do to help. Remember that sometimes it is the simple actions that go a long way.

Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one how you can best support them. They might want you to listen to their struggles, or perhaps just need a comforting hug to get through the next twenty-four hours.

Include your loved one in your activities, despite the depression that may be taking a toll on their relationships.

If you are heading out to the store to buy some groceries, invite them along. It might not seem like much to you, but a simple trip to run errands can get a depression warrior out of the house and exercising.

Is going to the store too overwhelming? Try taking a short walk around the neighborhood instead. A change of scenery and some fresh air could be exactly what your loved one needs to feel a bit more connected to the rest of the world.

You might have the best intentions, but do not push someone with depression to do something they are not comfortable with or ready for. It is okay if today is not the day that they feel stable enough to leave the house.

Rather than pushing them to get up and exercise, perhaps all they need from you in that moment is for you to climb into bed with them. Hold your loved one close and assure them that you will always be there.

No matter what, keep reminding yourself that depression recovery takes time. Maintaining communication in your relationships is not about forcing treatment options on those you love.

Sometimes it is enough to know that people who love and support you surround you.

You don’t have to go through this alone. If you are struggling, your loved ones want to know.

Written by Brittany Da Silva.

© 2018 NewLifeOutlook

Comments

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    • NewLifeOutlook profile imageAUTHOR

      NewLifeOutlook 

      4 months ago

      Dianna, you're absolutely right. Just your presence can help a loved one who is battling depression.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 months ago

      Depression is difficult to understand, especially when it is a loved one. I find that just being there for them and telling them you love them is the best thing most of the time.

    • NewLifeOutlook profile imageAUTHOR

      NewLifeOutlook 

      5 months ago

      Denise, that's wonderful that you two are able to discuss your feelings and help each other when you're at your lowest. Many people with depression find it difficult to find the support they need and keep their feelings bottled up.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      5 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      My husband and I both have issues with depression. One of the things that has helped is to start talking about it. We used to be afraid of letting each other know how we feel. Now, we help each other get through the tough times. It has made us and our marriage stronger.

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