I’ve been in a long distance relationship for around a year. As you’d predict, we do a lot of video-chatting and virtual hangouts. One major challenge of not just long distance relationships but any relationship, friend, romantic partner, or family, is that engaging with someone can often trigger depression. It could be a tiny thing they did, said, or something you heard or saw, or even thought that day.

In my case, I have such a hard time (currently!) accepting kindness and generosity from others. In particular, I frequently respond with guilt when I see my partner trying her best to help me stop being depressed. I often worry that my depression is going to result in our inevitable break-up. That being in a relationship with me is too taxing for anyone, and I’m destined to be lonely forever. These are all Automatic Negative Thoughts, and they become a spiraling positive feedback loop when my partner does the thing partners so often do: try to help!

If you, too, struggle to accept gifts, kind words, compliments, or assistance from anyone, if you also feel like your mood is a burden to those closest to you, remember the facts: there are a few, good people in your life who WANT to help you, just like you’d drop everything to help them in a second flat. So let them help! Remember that those spiraling thoughts feel like facts, they feel inevitable, but they’re really just our brains working with ideas that are familiar and so overused that they become the default. But they’re not the default. We can change the negative patterns of our thinking into positive ones.