When you’re dating a girl with depression, sometimes it’s going to be harder than usual. Dating a girl with depression means taking care of her, and being there through the bad and the good. These girls need a special type of person to make time for them, who want to try and improve their mental health. It’s not an easy road for either party – girls who are depressed tend not to let their partner too close. However, just because something is hard, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. A relationship with this type of girl will be really hard at times, but it will also feel rewarding, just like any other. There are some very specific ways to go about looking after her, and we have a few of the best tips here.

Recognise that you’re dating a girl with depression

The first step is knowing that a girl with depression has different needs to keep her going. She may have periods where she withdraws from you, or tries to keep you out of her life for fear of dragging you down. She might do things you don’t understand the intention behind, like blocking you on Facebook just to make you leave her life. And she might neglect to share important news with you in order to keep her distance. It can feel like she doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore, but the chances are, she’s just finding a way to deal with the fact that she’s depressed.

She will have good days where you think everything will be fine, and then she’ll come crashing down again. Recognise that you’re dating a girl with depression, because if you don’t, knowing how to care for her will be difficult.

Get her the help that she needs

She may reject the idea of therapy or taking antidepressants to help her along, but it’s up to you and her family to try and find a way of getting her on the right path. Mental health is really complex, and it affects each person differently. It’s not something she can handle alone, or without the guide of someone who understands the processes going on in her brain. Guide her through finding a therapist or a drug that works for her, and ensure she knows that relapse is okay, and you’ll be there to support her the whole way. Encourage her to share with you, and remind her that a relationship is a support system which she can utilize when you’re around.

Ask her how she’s feeling

Don’t shy away from feelings. Talk to her about how she’s feeling at any present moment. Talk about how you feel too. Explain to her what you see when you look at her, and all the positive things you feel around her. Talk to her about how it hurts you to see her depressed, so that she knows you care, but don’t apply too much pressure. Though your feelings matter, you might overwhelm her if she thinks you’re unable to handle her state of mind. Share the most important things you feel matter to your relationship, and then find another person to lean on for your other issues. If you want to make things work, this is the best system to keep everybody happy.

Find ways to conquer her demons

Dating a girl with depression is different every time. Everyone has things to overcome, and it’s no exception with a girl with depression. Find out what her fears are, and figure out ways you can tackle them together. Express your own fears, and she’ll know you’re in it together. You can help each other tackle your fears until you overcome them hand in hand.

Know that you can’t just ‘heal’ her

It’s not as simple as taking her to therapy a few times and watching her symptoms disappear. Depression is a haunting illness, and though it may manifest in different ways at different times, it does tend to have a permanent part in people’s lives. It’s unlikely your girlfriend be healed of depression any time soon, and certainly not overnight. Recognise and acknowledge that this is a part of her life, and that if you remain together, it’s something you’ll both have to face. Every relationship has ups and downs, and it just so happens that this is the negative force you have to deal with. What’s important is that you do it together.

Communicate with her parents

When you’re dating a girl with depression, it’s vital that you speak to her parents. The chances are, they’ve been coping with their daughter’s depression all of her life. They’ve seen her decline over the years, and it’s just as hard for them as it is for you to watch her suffer. Let them know you’re there to help, and take advice from them when they offer it. They know their daughter better than anyone, and they can help you to understand her mind and how to cope with the challenges ahead of her. They can also assist with getting her the help she needs, which is a stressful and time consuming job that you shouldn’t feel the need to carry entirely on your shoulders.

Encourage her to quit social media

Sites like Facebook and Twitter seem like good fun when you’re using them, and plenty of people enjoy the benefits of social media, but it’s been found to be bad for your mental health. For a girl with depression, this is the last thing she needs.

Our relationship with the internet can be unhealthy. Every time your news feed refreshes, you’re unleashing more stress on your brain about social interaction, and making it more difficult to cope. By leaving social media sites, your girlfriend will have a few stresses taken off her mind at least for a while.

Tell her you love her

If you’re there for the long run, let her know. She’s probably scared of you abandoning her. Let her know that she’s important to you, and that you’re not about to go anywhere.