Mental Awareness Month has been observed in the United States since May of 1949. Approximately 20% of the American adult population suffers from a Mental health condition in their lifetime. Every citizen is impacted by this and we each can do something to help those who are directly affected.
It is easy for someone in a long-distance relationship to get lonely and depressed when they have to spend significant time apart from their partner. If you or your partner are in this situation you may want to know how to deal with long-distance relationship depression. It is common for people in long-distance relationships to report symptoms of mild depression such as difficulty concentrating, general disinterest in things, difficulty sleeping, and feeling blue.
If you are in a long-distance relationship, you will without a doubt miss your partner every day. If you’ve never been in a long-distance relationship but have a pet, think about going on a trip outside the country and having to leave your pet. Yes, you will leave them in the care of someone you trust but you will miss their presence. When you are alone in bed cuddling a pillow instead of your puppy, how do you feel? You miss your pet and probably spend the majority of your time scrolling through their pictures. Being in a long-distance relationship is similar to that, except these are the feelings each partner encounters every day.
Not all people will react to a long-distance relationship in this way. Some people need the separation and the miles and note that it makes their time together all the better. Some will miss their partners but still manage to stay above depression while others will just not be able to do so.
There is of course a difference between missing your partner and feeling a little sad about it and depression. You can even cry about it and still not be depressed. It is true that even close distance couples get sad when they have to be apart from their partner.
The real glue that holds it all together is communication. Communication is key in every relationship whether long distance, close distance, romantic relationship, or platonic relationship they all work better when people communicate.
Here are a couple of ways that can help you and your partner get through depression brought on by the distance between you both.
1. HAVE A VIRTUAL DATE
Video calls are a great way to feel better about your partner being so far away. You can set up a dinner date with your partner over a video call. There are a number of platforms available nowadays that can be used for video calls. Take the time to eat and talk about your day, even though you are not physically together you can plan the date so it is as close as possible to the real thing. Both of you can prepare the same meal or purchase the same bottle of wine so the date can feel closer to a real date than a virtual date.
2. KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE
When you have a support group of close friends and family members around you it will be easier to forget the sadness that being so far from your partner brings. Go out with your friends, spend time with them at their house and invite them over to yours. Engage in social activities that keep both of you positive, active, and happy.
3. PLAY SOME MUSIC
Music can help to soothe the soul, as they say, it can be medicine. Music is known to help people clear their minds and to refocus their thoughts and energies. Choose upbeat songs that will cheer you up, no sad love songs as these will only increase your feelings of sadness.
4. READ A BOOK
Choose a book that is inspiring or will otherwise bring you positive feelings. Some people may benefit from reading messages from their partners.
5. SEND A CARE PACKAGE
Do something nice for your partner by sending them a care package. Send them something they will really enjoy. It doesn’t have to be something you buy, it can be something you make. You can even simply write them a love letter and send it in an email.
6. TALK ABOUT IT
Let it all out, say how you feel even if there is no one to listen. While it can be really hard to talk about depression, it helps. If you feel like you don’t have anybody to talk to, you can always talk to a professional here at ESTADT Psychological Services. For some, talking to a neutral non-judgemental party is the best option if you are worried about how the people around you will react.
7. CREATE A ROUTINE
Your days may feel like they are melting into each other when you are missing your partner and are feeling depressed. Especially if all you can think about is them. Creating a routine can help to remove the fixation you have on missing your partner. You don’t want to get stuck in a rut as this can eat away at your entire life structure and cause the depression to deepen to the point where you cannot function.
When you create a structure and stick to it, your focus will be on the task at hand. This keeps your mind occupied so that negative thoughts can be kept at bay.
8. STAY SOCIALLY INVOLVED
When one is suffering from any type of depression staying socially active is very important. Instead of becoming withdrawn from those directly around you, even though you are tempted to recluse, try to keep up with at least one social activity per week. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or anything that will cost a lot of money. You just have to engage with somebody else in person outside of regular work or school routines.
The potential issues faced by those in long term relationships should not be taken lightly. Face-to-face interactions are important and since you can’t have these with your partner you will need to have them with someone else.
Physical activity has proven to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. When you exercise your body releases endorphins which work as painkillers and mood boosters. As such, adding exercise to a depressed person’s lifestyle is a very common treatment tactic that is used by mental health practitioners and doctors across the globe.
These are 9 tips on how to deal with long-distance relationship depression. And of course, if these are not providing you or your partner with the necessary help, you should reach out for professional help from a therapist. Sometimes with just a few therapy sessions, the symptoms of depression can dissipate and you can learn how to cope and how to prevent the depressive episode from recurring.