Nurturing Healthy Relationships When Living with Depression

June 3, 2024 Dawn Gressard

While thinking about what to write about this week, I received a text from someone I had not spoken to for a long time, and it inspired me to write about nurturing healthy relationships when you have depression. The relatively quick conversation left me thinking about how the person and I had drifted apart. Yet, in all honesty, I wasn't sad about the drifting apart. What I once thought was a healthy relationship was not. It was very one-sided and unhealthy for me, living with depression. Thus, nurturing healthy relationships becomes not just beneficial but essential when you are coping with depression.

Whether it be family, friendships, or romantic relationships, having depression can reverberate through many levels and many relationships if they are with people who don't understand mental health or are unhealthy. Nurturing healthy relationships with depression can be a lot of work for both people. Here are a few tips that may help nurture healthy relationships. 

3 Ways to Nurture Healthy Relationships with Depression

1. Open Communication is Key

Honest communication forms the foundation of any relationship, but it is essential in a relationship where mental health is a factor. Encourage and practice dialog where you and others feel heard and validated without judgment. Practice this when you're not in a crisis, and make it part of your daily conversation so it doesn't feel awkward when in crisis. It is important to validate how each other feels, even if one person doesn't agree with how the other is feeling. How you feel is normal for you, plain and simple. 

2. Education is a Critical Element

Educating yourself and others about depression is important. If you haven't already, look into the science and biology of depression and how the brain of someone living with depression works. Understanding the biology, symptoms, triggers, and available help can foster empathy and correct misconceptions. 

3. Celebrating Progress, Not Perfection

Relationships are never perfect or easy, and setbacks are expected on occasion. The same is true for living with depression. When you combine the two, it can become complicated. Yet, setbacks are a natural part of the process. However, these are also some of the most challenging times to get through, and it is here that we need to be reminded of the first two tips: communication and education. Once these two elements are in place, dealing with minor setbacks can be easier and less damaging. In other words, life happens, and it is certainly not perfect, so celebrate the progress by nurturing the healthy relationships you have despite depression and setting loose the detrimental ones. 

Nurturing Healthy Relationships with Depression Is Worth It

Depression can test the resilience of even the most robust relationships, but it can also be an opportunity for growth, empathy, and deeper connection. By fostering open communication, education, and a commitment to mutual support, individuals can navigate depression together, emerging more connected on the other side. Remember, it's not about fixing each other but about standing together through the highs and lows, nurturing a relationship that provides comfort, understanding, and healing. 

Every relationship is different, and no one solution will fix every relationship. However, it is vital in any relationship to be true to yourself and not let others make you feel unworthy.

I would love to hear how you nurture healthy relationships with depression. 

APA Reference
Gressard, D. (2024, June 3). Nurturing Healthy Relationships When Living with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Dawn Gressard

Dawn Gressard is a freelance Veterans Affairs benefits, mental health wellness, and suicide prevention writer and a trainer of a peer-supported suicide prevention and crisis intervention program. Find Dawn on X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and her personal blog.

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