(Closed) spinoff – dealing with depression as an outsider

posted 4 years ago in Emotional
Post # 4
Member
2381 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Talk to him.  My fiance had major depression problems in his youth, it’s under control now without meds but he still needs reminders every once in a while.  Everyone’s different, he actually prefers it if I just tell him “hey, put on your big boy pants and get your shit together”.  He’s a direct sort of guy 🙂 

Tell him what you’re observing, and always start with “I” and a feeling.  So…”I’m worried that you’ve been under a lot of stress lately.  How have you been feeling?”  It’s hard for them to tell sometimes that things are starting to slip.  Mine’s better about it, but he’s had a LONG time to deal with it, and I still have to nudge him every once in a while.

Post # 5
Member
82 posts
Worker bee

@anonbee3333:  I was in a relationship with someone who has major depression. We suspect that he has had it since at least his teens, but it wasn’t until I met him (in his 30s) that he was actually diagnosed and got some help. For the last year or so of our relationship, we were long distance (not just cross-country, but North America – Asia), and he was really in the depths of depression.

It is very stressful to see someone you love suffer, and even though you know that they aren’t trying to hurt you, sometimes you just can’t help feeling hurt….not by them, but by their depression. I dealt with it by talking to friends about the experience, but I felt badly about the same people hearing me talk about my problems every time, so I’d rotate my “venting friends” (whether via email, chat, phone, in person). I found that whenever I felt really stuck about a situation and felt like I was trapped with no options, talking through it or writing to a friend about it helped me to really think through things and to parse out the details of the situation from my emotions, and to help me to come up with a plan of action/coping.

I also went to talk therapy (a psychologist) for a few months when I was overwhelmed dealing with the relationship, a grad school thesis, a job search, and an out-of-state move all occurring simultaneously. I went every 2 weeks for about 2 or 3 months, and it was helpful for me to just talk about everything to someone whose job it was to listen to people complain and vent. 🙂 

The most important thing for YOU is to acknowledge your feelings and not to beat yourself up about having them. It’s normal to feel hurt, angry, sad, because helping someone deal with depression takes a lot of compassion and patience. The patience has to be directed towards your loved one as well as yourself. 

Is your fiance still taking his meds and doing the behavioral therapy? I think it’s important to continue those, because it may take a long time to find the best combination of drugs, etc, and a combination of medication plus therapy seems to be more effective than medication alone. Also, depression has a cyclical tendency so you may notice the ups and downs occurring periodically.

 

 

 

Post # 6
Member
512 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

same situation with my FI. fortunately, as long as he takes his meds diligently we’re ok.

it’s hard to believe but YOU CAN’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. i read up on it a lot and that helped. talking WHEN THEY’RE “GOOD” can also help you. if you bring up that you’re hurt when they’re down, that’s just asking for disaster.

usually when i feel helpless and see him “slipping” i just tell him that i will give him his space, but know that i am ALWAYS there for him, and when he needs me, i’ll be there in a second.

 

hope things work out! <3

 

Post # 7
Member
9147 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

Is he still taking his meds as prescribed and going to therapy regularly?  If no, then he is likely slipping back into his “standard mode” which is depression.  Give him a day or two to wallow and then ask him about his meds and therapy; he may not even realize his is slipping back down yet.

If he is still taking his meds and going to therapy then recommend that he discuss his feelings at the next therapy session and determine whether he needs a change in his meds.

As for you, definitely don’t blame yourself.  Other than continuing to be there for him and encouraging him to get help, there really isn’t anything else you can do.  He has to want to control his symptoms for himself first and you second.  Keep in mind that depression is his normal mode.  He has to be properly medicated and going to therapy to be considered what everyone else perceives as “normal.”

Also, it’s a good idea for you to have an outside support group to talk to.  Family and friends can be okay but some things you won’t feel comfortable with them knowing because you don’t want them to stigmatize your FI.  http://www.familyaware.org/support/support-groups.html

Other goods tips for dealing with a depressed person:

DO SAY

  • 1. You’re not alone in this.
  • 2. You are important to me.
  • 3. Do you want a hug?
  • 4. You are not going mad.
  • 5. We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.
  • 6. When all this is over, I’ll still be here, and so will you.
  • 7. I can’t really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.
  • 8. I’m not going to leave you or abandon you.
  • 9. I love you (if you mean it).
  • 10. I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself, so you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.

DON’T SAY

  • 1. There’s always someone worse off than you are.
  • 2. No one ever said that life was fair.
  • 3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • 4. So, you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?
  • 5. Try not to be so depressed.
  • 6. It’s your own fault.
  • 7. I think your depression is a way of punishing us.
  • 8. Haven’t you grown tired of all this me, me, me stuff yet?
  • 9. Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.
  • 10. Have you tried chamomile tea?

Post # 9
Member
1274 posts
Bumble bee

I am in the same boat with my fiance. It’s SUPER hard at times. My advice and what works for me personally might not be the same for others. But these are a few things, in no particular order that work for me/us:

1. Take time for myself, be it going for a walk, spending time with friends, curling up with a good book, whatever. You have to be healthy – mentally to help him stay healthy.

2. Find support for yourself, be it a counselling session, a therapist, or a support group for spouses/family. Read up and continue educating yourself on depression and different coping mechanisms, medications, treatments, therapies, etc. Being educated helps you from feeling like a failure to your loved one. You can’t FIX it, but you can help him through it, even in little ways.

3. Talk with him during the “good” times about an action plan for the steps you both will take if he starts falling into a depressed state. But don’t forget to to let him know you are there for him during the “bad” too.

4. Doing something nice for him, a small gesture sometimes will put a smile on his face. A sweet poem, a picture, bringing him home a cupcake, you know, whatever that just shows you love him. Sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. 

5. It’s not your fault. Don’t take it personally. Hard to do, I know! If he is willing, ask if you can accompany him along to a therapy session, meet his doctor, see if there are things the doctor can tell you about how to be supportive to your fiance, that your fiance can’t tell you. It might give you some insight into things he hasn’t even spoken about, sometimes spouses will try to protect their loved ones by not sharing details.

You’re not alone OP, a lot of people have loved ones, or suffer from depression and mood disorders themselves and it’s really great to reach out to people who can understand what you are going through. Feel free to PM me anytime. Smile

Post # 11
Member
82 posts
Worker bee

@anonbee3333:  

@jlc3:  spot on with your advice, jlc3! Becoming educated about depression was one of the most helpful things for me. I’ll never be able to understand depression the way someone who has depression understands it, but it was so helpful to learn about what’s understood (from clinical and therapy standpoints) about depression, and also to read about depression. Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon gets mixed reviews, but I found parts of it enlightening. It’s not a very uplifting book though, because the way Solomon talks about his depression is pretty grim at times, so brace yourself. There were many moments when I’d be reading something and start crying because I’d be like, “wow…..is this what he goes through?”

Also, here’s an illustrated account of one person’s experience with depression: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

Echoing jlc3, you’re not alone! <3

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