- It's not about you. Possibly, the most important way a person can help their partner work through depression or anxiety is to understand that he/she is neither the cause nor the cure. Partners often take on too much and when the other person is struggling it can be easy to take responsibility for the other person’s feelings. To avoid this, it may be necessary to seek support from friends and family, an outside party like a counselor/therapist, church member or even support groups/organizations like NAMI.
- I can't HELP it!!! My favorite question is, "How can I support you in this?" Often, there is nothing you can do to "help" and the word "help" can make the other person feel weak, needy or deficient. After you ask if there is support that you can offer, allow your partner some space. Remember that you cannot "fix" if for him/her.
- What do you need to know? We would all do well to educate ourselves. Each person is different and his or her diagnosis is unique to the person. However, it is important to know something about your partner's diagnoses. What are the symptoms? What are the triggers? What does your partner need to feel supported? What do you need to feel supported? How may this impact your children?
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. There are lots of tools to improve communication, which is often the key to working through most issues. Too often, people only try and work through issues when the problem is causing stress but it is typically best to work on things when the symptoms are under control.
- Roughly 70% of our communication is non-verbal. Things like tone of voice, eye contact, facial expression can totally change the meaning of a sentence. Think about the last time you were on the phone with someone. You can hear when they are focused on your or distracted, you can hear when they are smiling. All that is stripped away when you text.
- People are often distracted and doing something else while texting, which can lead to misreading, misinterpreting and/or rushed unthoughtful responses. I know that I have been guilty of this at times as well. We all lead busy lives and it is all too easy to give a text minimal attention.
- "Can you hear me now?!" When texting, you are at the mercy of your provider and their network to deliver your messages in order you sent them and in a timely fashion. How many times have you compared what you sent vs. what the other person received?
- Texting is impersonal; there is a limit to the real connection you can have with someone but the frequency that many people use text messaging can cause a false sense of closeness. This is especially true in new or long distance relationships.
To safely use texting, it is be used in conjunction with phone calls (video calls like Skype and FaceTime are even better) and actually give your full attention to the texts you read and send.