Every May since 1949, the United States observes Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme is Life with a Mental Illness. 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by a mental health condition in their lifetime, and every American is affected or impacted through their friends and family and can do something to help others.
People in long-distance relationships often feel lonely and depressed when they are away from their significant other. In fact, research shows that when we are separated from someone we love, anger, guilt, depression and anxiety are normal emotions. People in long-distance relationships report more symptoms of mild depression, such as feeling blue, difficulty sleeping, feeling uninterested in things, and difficulty concentrating.
People in long-distance relationships are bound to be missing their partners every single day. Wait, no, every hour and every second of the day. If you haven’t been in a long-distance relationship, I'll walk you through it.
Do you have a pet? If yes, have you gone to a trip or a vacation outside of the country? You have to leave your pet with someone who you know will take care of it. Don't worry. They're taking good care of it. But the presence of your dog is missing. You walk the dog three times a day. You spend most of your days with your dog. But now you're all alone in your hotel, cuddling the pillow, probably watching some videos or browsing photos of you and your dog. You're missing your best buddy! That is what it’s like to be in a long-distance relationship — kind of.
But really, is it really that bad if you're in a long-distance relationship? Honestly, for me, it's a 50-50 chance that it could be that way. Why? Seeing the face of your partner after a long and tiring work day is really — and will always be — the cherry on top of any dessert. You will still miss them even if you just ended a five-hour video call. That's the truth. You'll always miss your partner. You'll miss their face, their smile, the way how your bodies wrap around each other …
We all experience downtime or often just being sad. It’s OK to tear up a little bit. There is no shame in crying over a guy who makes you happy and who loves you despite the distance. And this feeling isn’t really just for couples who are in long-distance relationships — but we sure experience it a lot. Even close-distance relationship couples experience sadness.
The best way to overcome these minor depression feelings is to communicate. Always communicate with your partner. There is no harm telling them you missed them a lot and that you’re lonely. Tell them what you really feel.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are some other ways I know that might help you and your partner to cope with sadness.
Video calls are always the best way to avoid missing your partner. They ease some of the I-miss-you days of your relationship. Set up a date where both of you can digitally get together and talk about everything. It will always be the best thing! The best way for people to get close is for them to share with each other. Try working your way through 1000 Questions for Couples, written by best-selling author and relationship expert Michael Webb.
Being surrounded with friends will help you forget — or more like lessen — the sadness you are feeling. Believe me. Go out with friends, watch a movie together or go shopping!
Whether you enjoy Adele or Chris Brown, music soothes the soul. It helps you clear your mind and change your mood. You can go from crying over Adele's “Someone Like You” to dancing to LMFAO's “Sexy and I Know It.” Music really helps our mind and heart to be calm.
Or read old messages. I used to read Chicken Soup for the Soul when I needed some encouragement. It'll be always an inspirational book for me. For other people, reading their partner's messages could help. Reading "I'm thinking of you today" or "You just make me happy" will always feel good.
Care packages are always the good solution for people who are in long-distance relationships. Send your partner some packages of things they absolutely love! If your budget is a little tight, there are cheaper alternatives. Surprise your partner by making him a sweet montage video or photo slideshow or write him an online letter.
If you run a blog like me, drafting future blog posts can also help loosen up the tight emotional state you’re currently feeling. Besides, writing blog posts, especially if you are an LDR blogger, helps you in a lot of ways. You think of your partner and the things you do — which I know will make you smile.
These are just a few ways I know to cope with missing your partner. What are some ways you know what to do when you miss your long-distance SO?
Major depression describes a situation when someone is significantly depressed to the point that they have difficulting doing activities of daily living and may have thoughts of hurting themselves. If you're worried about yourself or a loved one, call the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).
Kristine is a photography and blogging enthusiast from New Jersey. She writes about her long-distance relationship experience, poetry and life on her website, theblankpolaroids.co.