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Depressed partner

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This topic contains 32 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by bittergaymark Bittergaymark 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #681523 Reply
    Stonegypsy
    Stonegypsy
    Participant

    I don’t know if I need advice or if I just need to vent. I do welcome any thoughts or perspective that people have on this situation.

    My partner J and I have had our problems in the past. In 2015 we broke up for a month, and though there were some fights when we got back together, as we were working out our problems, things have been really good for the last year. Our communication is better, the way we handle other partners is better, we are better at handling conflict. We have not gotten in what I would call a fight for over a year now. For the most part, I really like where we are at.
    But in the time I have known him (a little over three years), he has gotten increasingly depressed. To the point where now he always down. Sometimes it’s about something, most of the time it’s just general malaise.
    I have been encouraging him to seek treatment for this for two years now, and he resisted for a long time, but went to see a doctor in January finally. Rather than directly trying to treat his depression, they started with getting him diagnosed with sleep apnea, and now he just needs to pull the trigger on treatment for that, to see if it helps with his other problems. He’s waffling, but that’s sort of besides the point. He’s at least heading in the right direction.
    The problem is, I’m exhausted. I feel like we spend most of our time together with me comforting him, listening to him talk about his problems, and supporting him. I try to avoid talking about being excited about other partners because I worry he’ll spiral and I’ll spend the next 7 hours hugging him while he cries because I’m excited about someone else. It’s wearing on me, and at this point part of me dreads spending time with him because there’s a 70% chance that we will spend the entire time in silence, with him curled up in a ball not wanting to do anything (and then later complaining that we never do anything together).
    I feel like a terrible person. I have struggled with depression my entire life, I still have bad days even when I’m on my medication, and I stay on my medication because things get really bad if I don’t. I can’t hold this against him, and I don’t. But I have no idea how to deal with my own feelings surrounding it. I can feel myself pulling away, but he needs my love and support more than ever.
    I don’t have a question, but I do need advice. I’m sure other people in this community have dealt with something similar. How do I maintain my own mental health while supporting my partner?

    #681526 Reply

    I was with a partner who was depressed. I had to leave. I tried for years to help him. He would not see a therapist or any doctor. He did nothing much to help himself. The small attempts of things he would do, didn’t really have a positive effect. At some point, I just had to leave and focus on myself. I was making myself incredibly unhappy trying to make him happy.
    I’m not saying you need to leave, but you at least need to take some distance and time to feel better and focus on your own self care. He needs to fight his battles on his own or at least, with less support from you right now. You need to put on your air mask first, in case of emergency, you know?

    #681527 Reply
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    Kate
    Keymaster

    I guess I don’t see how this

    “For the most part, I really like where we are at.”

    is in line with this: “at this point part of me dreads spending time with him because there’s a 70% chance we will spend the entire time in silence with him curled up in a ball…”

    It sounds like it’s all about his needs. Where are your needs being met? When is he supporting you? When are you having fun?

    I’ve struggled with depression / malaise my whole life and decided not to go on meds to treat it. Most of the time I can be a good partner. I am there to support my spouse, talk through stuff with him, go out and have fun with him. Sorry, but I think id be asking too much of him to stick around and deal with me if I were a vegetable 70% of the time, or had to be comforted through 7-hour crying jags on the regular *and I wasn’t seeking treatment.*

    This isn’t good for you, and you’re not a bad person for wanting out.

    #681528 Reply
    avatar
    Kate
    Keymaster

    Plus, it sounds like he’s really NOT in any shape to handle this poly relationship. He’s down all the time. He’s crying for hours because he can’t deal with you and other partners. That doesn’t sound like it’s working.

    #681532 Reply
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    Lesie

    Sorry to hear about your problem. I was also with a partner who would get depressed heavily and often and having experienced depression on my own I know it is hard. But I have done so much hard work self improving my thinking and reactions to the point I am absolutely fine for years now! The guy I was seeing however has done nothing else but complaining. I had to leave. It was the hardest and best decision I could have made.

    Seek free counselling if money is problem, there are options out there. Good luck!

    #681535 Reply
    Stonegypsy
    Stonegypsy
    Participant

    I like where we are at in that our communication has gotten a lot better, and honestly when he’s not down we *do* have fun together. And when I have bad days, he is capable of pulling his shit together and being there for me. I was feeling down last week, so he picked up a frozen pizza and some flowers and a beer I like because he knew it would cheer me up. He’s really sweet, and when things are good they are really good. And his spiraling is sort of unpredictable – sometimes I can talk about other people I’m seeing and he’s totally fine and supportive, and other times he has a really strong negative reaction to it. It’s difficult to tell what it’s going to be at any given time.
    And part of me does dread it, and another part of me misses him and does want to see him. And yes, those are conflicting feelings, but they live side by side.
    70% catatonic was probably also an exaggeration. I’ve been dealing with this for awhile, and it’s gotten bigger in my head than it probably actually is. It’s… still a lot, maybe 40% actually curled up in a ball and another 30% just down and quiet but we can still leave the house, and then 30% of the time he’s fine, and playful, and happy.
    He listens to me, and tries to meet my needs, and tries to give me space when I ask for it, but then when we come back together he always seems to have gotten worse.
    But the other part is exhausting beyond belief. I don’t want out, I just want him to feel better and be happy again. I want to find the balance between supporting him and not draining myself completely.

    #681536 Reply
    Stonegypsy
    Stonegypsy
    Participant

    He knows that it’s a problem, and he tries to take responsibility for his own feelings. But I don’t think he knows that it’s taking a toll on me also, and I don’t know how to communicate that to him without sounding like I don’t care what he’s going through.

    #681537 Reply
    avatar
    Vathena

    “I don’t want out, I just want him to feel better and be happy again.”

    Well, what if he doesn’t? What if he continues to drag his feet about getting treatment for the apnea and/or depression, and things stay just like this, or get even worse? Maybe it’s not time to leave yet, but if things aren’t better in 6 months or a year… I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

    #681538 Reply
    avatar
    Kate
    Keymaster

    He’s not going to feel better and be happy again though. For one thing, maybe this relationship isn’t actually that good for him. It’s something to consider, if he’s gotten worse over the past 2-3 years. Maybe he’s in a kind of dependent cycle with you, but it’s not actually the relationship he needs.

    For another, he’s not getting treated for depression. He’s not going to get better with you being supportive and holding him while he cries and wearing yourself out. It doesn’t work that way. You can’t fix him.

    #681542 Reply
    avatar
    Kate
    Keymaster

    I think you owe it to him to be honest about how you’re feeling, and let him know that you need to know he is taking steps to help *himself.* A diagnosis of sleep apnea is far from treatment of depression, counseling, meds if necessary. Like someone above said, have a timeframe in your head, but he needs to know what he’s doing to you. If you’re his constant safety blanket, I don’t see how he gets better.

    #681550 Reply
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    freckles

    But I don’t think he knows that it’s taking a toll on me also, and I don’t know how to communicate that to him without sounding like I don’t care what he’s going through.

    I am so sorry you are going through this, that sounds really tough. But you do need to talk to him about this. It is 100% OK to tell him that you’re concerned about him, and you’re also concerned about your relationship, and the longer he goes without seeking treatment, the more stress it’s putting on you and your relationship. And you’re happy to support him while he gets help, but you can’t sit by and continue to comfort him if he does not, because you can’t continue to be his sole support, it isn’t fair to you. And you’re not trained on how to handle his depression by yourself.

    This is coming from someone who had bad, bad anxiety several years ago, who put off seeing someone, and while I had a very supportive partner, he finally told me I needed to go see someone for the exact reasons I list above (couldn’t be my sole support, and he wasn’t equipped to handle my issues on his own).

    Good luck! Just remember, it’s totally OK to talk to him about your feelings and your needs. You’re in this relationship too! That does not make you selfish, or uncaring, or a bad person.

    #681556 Reply
    Stonegypsy
    Stonegypsy
    Participant

    @kate I know that you’re right. I’m definitely not ready to leave, but I know this isn’t sustainable, and that I need to both have a conversation and set a timeline.

    @freckles Thank you for that perspective. I think that’s exactly what is so exhausting right now – I am the sole support, and I just can’t be.

    We are supposed to move in together at the end of August, and part of me is really excited to be moving forward with our relationship, and the other part of me knows that we need to put it off unless he’s making progress before then.
    So… yeah. I need to have a conversation tonight, but it’s going to make for a rough night for both of us.

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