How to support a depressed partner

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
Post # 4
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

For me FI has had 2 periods of his life so far where he has broken down and been depressed. Once was in high school when he was in 5th year and was going to fail yet again and another was when he got fired and couldn’t find work. Both times he was freaking out that I’d leave him

For school (this also works for college) I actually made him make an appointment to talk with a teacher (I went too) so we could review his marks and identify exactly what he can do to bring it up to a pass. The situation wasn’t as grim as he thought and it was possible to pull this off but he still seemed overwhelmed with it and wanted to give up. I took that information and put it into a structured plan so that we could work together to get through it. Needless to say he graduated with me that year. He may just need a little push to get help – there are options out there. Even if he does fail the teacher can show him his options. He could study hard and challenge his credit by doing an exam that determines his new mark, he could take online classes during the summer to get his credits for the ones he failed, there are even some condensed classes for those retaking it to improve their marks and it is all done in a month or two. 

If he is scared you are going to leave him you can’t just tell him you are not and expect him to beleive it right now. In his head he has failed you, he isn’t good enough for you and sees no reason why you should stay with him. With mine I wrote out the history of our relationship – the good times and the bad times, I went over it with him and reminded him that I loved him and that if I was still here after going through all of this with him I wasn’t leaving because he wasn’t passing or lost his job. I even joked (I’m an accounting student) that he is like an investment – you can’t just back out of an investment because it took a turn for the worse, that if I held out I knew I’d stike gold with him.

I knew he felt like he was all alone in these things so I always told him “We will get through this” so he knew that we were a team and I wasn’t going to leave him on his own to try and fix it all. 

You do have a great idea setting out a plan for him. Mine never was able to see the future, to see him own potential. So I picked a number of different paths he could take and wrote out a step by step plan for him. For example: If he wanted to go to college I had the steps of researching courses, audit a class, take upgrading… and gave him timetables to see how long each would take. I even had one if he wanted to start a business! I had to do some research so that each step was simple and realistic – I had to shut him up and allow me to explain how easy it would be to acheive each step as he went along.

It isn’t easy for either of you and I wish you the best of luck.

Post # 5
13 posts
  • Wedding: November 2012

You might encourage him to look at any counselling offers made by the school. My husband went through a severe depression during school and found individual (both talk and medication prescribing) and group sessions. He has been doing much better recently and still sticks with the group sessions as it is a place to realize that a lot of people are also struggling and he is not alone.

He said that he appreciated my support – being there, listening, just sitting with him on the couch during some low points – but also that I tried to keep things normal and not treat him too differently (although I don’t know if that is true for everyone!).

Also, I would really recommend you find someone to talk with, whether a therapist or good friend/family member. His depression was also hard on me and it took longer to realize that than healthy.

I think @JessicaJuniper’s solution is great – find concrete solutions to problems by talking directly with teachers. Otherwise, the unknown and blame can take over.

I wish you both peace during this difficult period.

Post # 7
809 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2017

i am personally on the other end of the situation, beeing periodically depressed and periodically hyper. Hearing that my FI considers us a team, and not just two people who happen to sit in the same sofa really helps me feel supported. It implyes he expects me to support he too, which makes me feel less like a parasite…

Also joking about my temper and moodswings when I’m level really helps to distance myself from my moodiness. I am more than just my feelings. Other distractions are great too.

Now for the thing actually causing the problem I would suggest take a break from school, work for a year then start where he left off. I didn’t and it cost me bad! I am now on my way back from beeng completle burned out, but am still on medication (“sertralin” btw, works wonders!!! NO side effects). Although my condition is not only a result from high expectation from both myself and my parents since before I was i preschool, but also a result of serotonin deficiency somehow resulting from when my mother was carrying me and was very stressed… This was a huge surprise to me … didn’t know it could happen…

Oops. Sorry I’m blabbering, hope I helped. I know we have different issues (as always no two people are alike) but feel free to ask anything!

Post # 8
1190 posts
Bumble bee

@juliana192:  I have been in a similar experience. I did very poorly in school at a certain period of my life, and I did not have anyone to support me. I was upset about not graduating on time, not having my life together. Because of this, I bombed all of my classes, dropped out of school, moved across the country, and traveled the country doing odd jobs for a year before I got my act together. I saw a psychiatrist, got the appropriate medications, developed a study plan, then finished my degree- just this year. 

What I needed:

I needed someone to check on me.

To tell me it’s going to be ok.

To remind me- have you studied? Do you want me to help quiz you?

I needed medicated.

I needed counseling. A regular person to talk to wouldn’t have been enough in my case.

To exercise regularly.

To have vacations to look forward to after each success or end of semester, so I knew- I need to study hard and pass so I can have this vacation.

I needed someone to bring me study food.

A quiet place to study with no interruptions.

I had to take the battery out of my cell phone and put it in a very far away place from wher I was studying, so I wouldn’t play around on my phone.

A study schedule so I wouldn’t get behind.

A teacher at school that I scheduled appointments with, and I had to have questions prepared. Hence, I needed to study to have questions to ask.

A person that if I wanted to do something else other than study- to remind me- :ok, but you need to study this week. This test is imperitive. What can I do to help you?”

I taped a piece of paper on the wall, and wrote down the date I studied, and how many hours I actually studied. That way I couldn’t lie to myself of how much I’ve actually studied for the test. It helped get my butt in gear. It was in my kitchen in a very visible place. I was motivated to add more time onto that piece of paper.


I hope this helps!


Post # 9
906 posts
Busy bee

I remember back in high school I was failing math and my math teacher said if I go to tutoring four days a week and did decent on the quizzes/tests that I’ll be able to pass and I ended up passing with a D. But with your fi I think he should go to tutoring four to five days a week and if he can do that then I believe he will pass. well good luck and I hope for the best. 

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