If you are in a relationship with a person who is experiencing major depression, there are five things you can do to keep your spirits up and continue to be supportive to your partner.

1. Don't make it about you.

When dealing with a partner or spouse's mood disorder,  you may think if you take the blame for it, it follows that you can fix your mistakes and solve the problem. This will give you an unrealistic and ultimately unsatisfying feeling of control over the situation.

2. Recognize a mood disorder for what it is.

A mood disorder is a health condition resulting from a brain chemical imbalance and it can be caused by predisposing genetic traits. It may be exacerbated by a hard childhood or current stresses, and this is also true of many other health conditions. Negative thought patterns and beliefs will increase depressive feelings, and these should be counteracted with cognitive-behavioral or other helpful psychotherapies.

Depression is considered a serious condition which it can result in self harm or death by suicide. It is not something to be ashamed of or something that needs to be hidden—it is not a character fault.

3. Seek support from family and friends.

Since depression is a serious health condition, you shouldn't go it alone anymore than you would if your loved one had cancer or multiple sclerosis. Your mate's family and friends plus people in your own social circle probably know there is a problem and want to help. Let them. If you do everything solo, you risk becoming ill yourself and you won't be very supportive to your mate in that situation.

4. Take time out for your needs.

If you become too immersed in your mate's illness, you risk burnout and compassion fatigue. Make time for your own interests, and also take some time out for periods of solitude to regroup. Don't totally give up on a social life even if your mate is currently wanting to live like a hermit.

5. If your mate refuses treatment, don't give up.

Your mate may avoid professional treatment for various reasons. Maybe he or she has been on a medication in the past that produced adverse reactions or very unpleasant side effects. They could be afraid the doctor will recommend ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) or some other treatment that seems scary to them. They may fear being committed to a psychiatric facility for a period of time. Gently probe and find out what their fears are. Remind them that depression treatment has come a long way since One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and it is continually advancing.

On the other hand, a partner could feel his or her problem is a moral weakness that can be overcome with more dedication to religious/spiritual matters, or they could want to cure their illness with more natural methods like meditation, yoga, or acupuncture. In this case, you can encourage them to do these things and seek medical/psychological treatment. This way their recovery would be more rapid and therapeutic. Speak with a representative from an establishment like Park Center Inc to learn more about treatment and counseling options.