As a therapist, I often see how Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can impact relationships. My clients, whose partners struggle with SAD, often notice the strain it puts on their relationship. My clients want to support their partners but often overhelp and feel burned out. Learning how to validate a partner with SAD while maintaining your mental health is essential.
Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression mainly occurring during winter. While everyone can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder differently, people often describe their symptoms as low mood, less energy, and changes in appetite and sleep. Symptoms are temporary and usually improve once sunlight increases in duration.
Seeing your partner suffer is painful. Yet, understanding SAD is essential to know that you cannot make your partner feel better.
Below, I introduce steps you can take to support a partner dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder while also taking care of yourself.
Keep engaging in activities that bring you joy
My clients find that they start adjusting their behavior when their partner shows signs of SAD. They stop doing their everyday activities and instead focus all their time and attention on their partner. It's often a result of people-pleasing habits they learn in their childhood. Instead, it's essential to continue in self-care by not stopping your normal activities. Participating in these activities will help you remain understanding of your partner during this critical time.
Understand your limits
Refueling your energy through self-care also helps you remain patient with your partner. But, noticing when a partner's symptoms negatively affect you is essential to your mental health. So many of my clients struggle to understand their limits due to habits they learned growing up that instill in them to ignore their feelings. Instead, paying attention to your experiences as a partner of someone with SAD will help you determine your needs without growing bitter in the process.
Paying attention to your feelings also helps with emotional regulation. Emotion regulation is crucial in remaining supportive of your partner while communicating your limits. A healthy relationship doesn't exist where one partner can put all their needs on hold for a long time. Sharing your feelings and limitations helps build trust in your relationship and keeps resentment away.
Encourage Professional Support
Even though Seasonal Affective Disorder is time-limited, the symptoms are still distressing and often require treatment. The partner with SAD is responsible for working through their symptoms and seeking treatment when necessary. On the other hand, you are supportive by being patient and letting your partner take the lead on their symptoms. Not micromanaging your partner by taking the lead in their treatment is essential.
Begin Working with a Depression Therapist in Ilinois
There is room for everyone's feelings in a healthy relationship. Being in a relationship with a partner dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder is no exception to this. Acting on limits and needs is essential to maintaining your mental health and supporting your partner through difficult times. As a therapist, I would be happy to offer support from my Mahomet, IL-based practice. Start your therapy journey today by following these steps:
- Contact us by calling or texting 217-402-7817
- Schedule your first appointment at my Illinois-based practice to address overworking
- Start overcoming toxic stress!
Other Services Offered With Live Lekko
Depression therapy isn't the only service I offer. I'm happy to offer a variety of services to provide you with mental health support. The mental health services I offer include therapy for people pleasing, counseling for women, and grief and loss counseling. I also offer therapy for childhood emotional neglect and therapy for stress. Whether you are in Peoria, Springfield, Mahomet, or somewhere in between in Illinois I can help with teletherapy. Feel free to visit my blog for more helpful information.