Post # 1
Hi bees, I have known my SO for many years and always knew that he suffered from what I would call depression (never diagnosed). I have always felt very ill equipped to help him deal with it. The recent death of Robin Williams really hit hard for him and he seems to be struggling with work, study, and life in general at the moment but I do not know how to help! He has never sought professional help through his doctor or a psychologist. This is something that I feel could be very beneficial but he hates the idea. I am becoming a little frustrated that he disregards seeking any sort of help other than me and he gets frustrated that I am not as helpful as I perhaps should be.
I would love to hear some suggestions as to how I can help him cope/what sorts of things I should be saying? or if/how any bees have helped their SO through their down times.
Post # 2
My SO has undisgnoised depression. He has had it since I have known him and for 9 years I have been trying to get him to go to therapy but he is so stubborn. He is very negative towards everything, never sees the good in life. He is hardly ever happy. Its actually getting to that point where I am going to get his family involved to try and help him. I know a lot of it stems from his childhood. I would say if nothing is working try an intervention. Thats what I am going to do. Other than that I dont really know since I am struggling with it myself. Why is he so upset about Robin Williams? Did he know him persoanlly?
Post # 3
Depression has always played a large role in my life in other ways. My advice to you would be not to show your frustration.. If he is depressed- he is already frustrated. You can literally go from feeling okay, to miserable and not understanding why. I would say try your best to create distractions.. Talk about positive things. Maybe try doing things that he loves to do.. Always keep in mind that he is depressed and try to change the way you speak about things (if you tend to be somewhat rude etc) assuming he might be emotional and could take things the wrong way. You just have to remember that you can’t really help.. You can’t make him happy. He has to be happy and get over it all on his own. Just be sure to let him know that you are there and will do whatever he wants. If he wants to stay home and hide, you will with him.. If he wants to go out.. You’ll be there by his side. If he doesn’t want to talk to you but wants to feel your presence, you’ll lay beside him or even sit far away in the room. The most important thing is to make him feel loved, important, and supported. I have dealt with several depressed family members, friends, I have also gone through it myself (still going through it actually). I have also lost a friend to depression.. Someone I never would have expected to do it.. Showed no signs, was extremely happy, no one knew he was depressed.. It was a major shock.
Good luck and try to stay positive even though it is hard.. I think that it is very nice that you are reaching out to find ways to help him.
Post # 4
My fiance and I both suffer from depression. A year after we started dating we were assaulted while walking home, he was lucky to come out of it alive and was bitten on the face and needed plastic surgery but luckily my injuries were superficial. We both were disagnosed with PTSD, and after two years of therapy we were transferred and diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It’s now another year on and we’re both finished therapy and coping just fine.
I can’t emphasise how much talking it through with a therapist helped the two of us. Is there a specific reason your husband is so against the idea? I know that I was when I was first told I needed to go, I thought that it would made me ‘weak’ and I was ashamed of needing help. It has to be his decision to go, but maybe if you could help share other peoples stories with him it would help him see he’s not alone, and getting help really is the first step.
Other than that, there’s other things my fiancee and I do for each other when we know we’re having a bad day. Put a lot of time into ‘self care’ for your partner, which basically just means anything he enjoys doing that helps him reax or feel better. My partner likes to play games so if he’s having a bad day I’ll give him space to play online with some friends, but I also need to know when he’s hiding from his problems by living on his PC so I’ll step in and suggest we do something else for a while. I like to have some space when I’m feeling down so I’ll take a nice bath and pamper myself and read my favourite books. It sounds like a little thing but taking time for myself really relaxes me and helps me cope.
In terms of what you say, don’t hide away from the fact that his condition affects you but make sure not to sound like you’re blaming him. There’s a difference between ‘I hate seeing you like this/I wish I could help’ and ‘It’s too hard watching you do this to yourself/You don’t understand how I feel’. Just keep asking him what you can do for him, and hopefully he’ll be honest about what he needs to cope.
At the end of the day, a lot of people with depression never truly recover. Once you accept that it’s something you can live with and learn how to cope effectively, you can go back to living life the way you used to. I’m really sorry to hear how you’re struggling, I know there’s not a lot of support out there for family/partners/friends of people suffering. I found a book on dealing with PTSD that had a section dedicated to family members or friends and gave that to my mother when I was diagnosed, I’m sure there’ll be versions out there for dealing with depression that could be worth reading. I hope things improve for your soon.
Post # 5
AquamarineQueen: I hope that goes well for you and your SO. It’s nice to hear that I’m not the only one struggling. I thino he is very hurt by a lot of the talk surrounding Robin Williams’ death, he mentioned that so many people still don’t seem to understand how someone like that could be so sad.
.elle: thank you. Those are some great ideas, just being there for him. I do try and steer conversations and moods into happier directions and distract him but sometimes I worry that changing the subject makes him feel like I’m ignoring how he is feeling.
CarlyPalmer: thank you so much for sharing. I’m so glad to hear that you are both coping well now. Its nice to hear that therapy helped both of you. He has said he is against going because he doesn’t like opening up to people he knows/trusts so how could he open up to a stranger. I think talking to someone that you don’t see every day is kind of the point lol.
you have offered so many great suggestions, and I think coming to terms with the fact that he may not recover is something I really need to work on. Thank you.
Post # 6
Dogsbody92: I don’t really have advice because I’m going through the same thing you are. My husband is diagnose with PTSD and TBI due to being in the military. Although he does seek treatment it’s to the minimal. I always find organizations that can help us but he never goes forward with it. I understand your frustrations because like you he depends on me to help him and make him feel better and gets upset when I don’t know what to do or how to help him. He says I don’t emotionally support him. But there’s only so much you can do for him. Is like someone constantly complaining about a tooth ache but won’t go to the dentist. Just stay strong and positive. Try to listen as much as you can and seek help. It’s hard on you too, even though he’s the one with the depression. You both will need counseling, aside from him needing help of his own.
Post # 7
He and I both suffer from different kinds of depression and anxiety. He has severe depression that comes and lasts, and I have something more like manic depression (some days I’m pretty good, some days I’m really bad, and some days are in between). His anxiety is social, mine is situational (as in, anxiety over where I’m going to live, how the bills will get paid, can I get a good job, etc).
It’s difficult on the best of days. All you can really do is listen and do your best to help the other person when they tell you what it is they need from you. It may be space, it may be a listening ear, it may be just to know you’re on their side. Every depression situation is different, he’ll tell you best what he needs.
Post # 8
My husband has severe depression. When we first met, it was kind of plateauing after being really bad and has gotten better since but there are always waves. During the first few months of dating, there was a lot of back and forth hesitation from both of us and with his depression, it made the relationship harder but walking away easier for him. I didn’t understand. I thought it was about me, that he didn’t like me… that I did something wrong, but clinical depression is 100% about the person who is depressed. He found it hard to care and when he did feel, it was painful. He felt he deserved nothing and didn’t have the energy at the time to fight for it. (Now, I’m pretty sure he’d fight. lol)
Try to lighten the mood, joke and plan fun activities. Keeping his mind active will do wonders but also keep in mind to tread lightly, sometimes people just want a listening ear and need a little alone time to brood. It’s always good to try to get him to talk and maybe gently suggest professional help, but professional help only works if he’s ready or willing to make an effort. Just remember that it isn’t about you. However, you still have to make sure you’re being treated fairly and you’re completely allowed to stick up for yourself and do what’s best for your happiness. I always have to remember this and my husband does understand when I tell him he’s being unfair. I may say I know it’s because he’s depressed right now and I understand but it doesn’t excuse the behavior. It takes a lot to help balance and live with someone who has major depression and there are definitely times where I’ve questioned whether or not my short bouts of feeling slightly mistreated, shut out or helpless are worth it. For me, they definitely are. I love my husband, he’s respectful, funny and we get along. Also, being someone who is diagnosed with social and general anxiety, I can understand feeling ill-fit to handle life sometimes and that’s when I lean on him for support and probably make his life a little harder.
Post # 9
- Wedding: August 2013 - backyard in the woods
My DH suffers from severe depression. The best advice I can give is this : Do not put your feelings on him. It hurts to see someone you love suffer. It’s frustrating. It makes you sad. You want to help make him happy, but you cannot and you feel inadequte. These feelings are your responsibility, not his. Do not put them on him, he has enough on his plate. That being said, everyone with depression deals with it in different ways.
My DH likes to be pretty much left alone when he’s down. I do this, but I make sure to let him know he’s loved. When I sense he’s having a really bad day I ask him, ‘Are you feeling down today?’ He’ll respond, ‘Yes’. I then say ‘Okay’, give him a huge hug, tell him I love him and if he needs anything to let me know, and I let him be. I hang out in the same room with him and I treat him like normal except that I don’t try to engage him. This works for us. Ask your SO what he needs on bad days and do that.
Do not try to discuss changing things on bad days. He will not have the energy to even consider it. On good days you can discuss seeing a therapist or doctor, which I do recommend. I am lucky in the sense that my DH had taken iniative with this before we met. That being said, we have had to make some med changes due to things like sex drive etc. at times in out relationship (coming up on 7 years). Sometimes it takes awhile to get the right medicine or medicines and doses. These times are hard and will be frustrating and stressful for both of you. Stick with it, it’s worth it in the end. Remember that depresssion is a chemical imbalance of the brain. It’s a disease. If you get upset, remember it’s the disease, not the person. Treat it like a physical illness in your mind, because it is one.
Loving somone with depression is in no way easy, but it’s worth it with the right person. DH and I also had problems early on, similar to what oscillatewildly: described. There were times at the beginning when I seriously contemplated whether it was worth it. I didn’t understand it when he didn’t want to come out with me, to spend time with my friends or family etc. I finally realized that he just couldn’t when he was down, not that he didn’t want to, and that yes, this was something that I could deal with, it was not a dealbreaker to me. Best decision of my life. Once I understood and accepted him for who he was things smoothed out and we’ve been happy since. Yes I sometimes still need to make excuses to family and friends about why he’s not always there, but I don’t mind. He joins when he can. What we have works for us and no one else’s opinons on that matter to me.
Post # 10
I would continue to encourage him to seek professional help. You aren’t equipped to deal with this and that’s ok, you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that. In my experience with an ex who suffered from depression, I started to feel badly about myself because I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.
As a PP mentioned, this is all about him and you can’t fix the problem. It might be a good idea for you to talk with a professional yourself to find out how you can cope with this and be supportive while maintaining your own mental health.
Post # 11
Dogsbody92: Be very leary of marrying someone with any mental illness that will not seek help. Depression is a progressive disease. And as life gets more complicated with children, lack of sleep, parent’s illness/death, mortgage, etc AND having an untreated mental illness…yeah, it’s going to be an unnecessary long, painful ride,
I speak as someone who had a bout of severe depression that left me unable to work. He has to get help. How would you handle it if he had diabetes but refused to take insulin, eat well or see a doctor?
Post # 12
Dogsbody92: I felt stupid for being so affected by Robin’s passing too. I have depression, and I haven’t been that good about taking my meds, and it just scared me… I never want to get to Robin’s place in life. So I kind of had a meltdown last night. It’s the stress of wedding planning, other peoples weddings, and work. And my fiancé is deployed on top of it all.
There’s no right thing to say. Listen to him. Tell him if he’s not willing to do therapy, to talk to you about anything with no judgement. It does not make him broken to see a therapist. Express your concern and ask him to try it out at least once. But more than anything listen. Let him know you’re there for him. No matter what.