Post # 1
Hey bees, sorry this might be a little long, but I just don’t know what to do..
My fiance has struggled with depression off and on for a lot of his life, but recently it’s gotten pretty bad. Twice in the past 3 months he’s gone through a period of serious lows, where he’s even said he doesn’t think things “will work out for him in life”. He’ll be really bad for several days- really depressed, doesn’t want to do anything or talk to anyone, and not himself at all. It’s like living with a completely different person. Then literally overnight, he does a 180 and is back to being normal, cracking jokes, and wanting to do things.
I know the root of the depression comes from the way his parents treated him growing up, and they’ve really impacted his life negatively and always made him feel like a failure. I’ve tried to talk to him about it and encourage him to get counseling, but he doesn’t seem to think that anyone can help him and that things are just hopeless… which I know is a symptom of depression. I think I could get him to go if I tried, but it won’t be an easy task, especially if they want him to take medication, which I honestly think he needs to balance himself out right now.
I’ve let him know I’m always here for him to talk, or to do something with, go somewhere with, anything he needs, I’m here. I let a couple of people close to him know what’s going on so that they might reach out to him more so he feels loved and cared for as much as possible. We’ve been together for 8 years and our relationship is doing really well-hence the engagement; but this is a real issue and I don’t think we should get married until his depression is under control. I feel like we’re so close, but so far. I know we’ll have a great life together, but this is causing it to be just out of reach, if you know what I mean.
This is incredibly stressful for me. I actually miss him when he’s depressed because as I said, it’s like he’s not really here. I jate seeing him like this, too. I get so angry when I think about they way his parents treated him and the pain they’ve caused him. I’m scared that he’ll do something rash when he’s in one of his low moods, and then all I can think about is what it would be like with him not here, and it just kills me. I never know when his moods will change and it’s taking a toll on me. I don’t know the best way to handle it. I want my fiance back, and I’m terrified that he’s slipping away. Anyone have experience with something like this? Any ideas on how I should help him and how I can keep myself okay through all of this? Thanks everyone.
Post # 3
My Fiance has depression too – I posted about it recently and had some realy supportive comments from other Bees. And I have had some really similar experiences.
He used to hit a low twice a year and would pretty much disappear (even after we started to live together). He wouldn’t respond to me, often ignoring me completely or giving one word answers. Over time, we have learnt to communicate a bit better during these periods. Until this year, he wouldn’t acknowledge that I loved (or even liked) him, which made trying to help him pretty difficult.
Most of the time, we have a great relationship and I can’t imagine life without him. Like you, I sometimes worry about what could happen…
Our situation has changed but hasn’t been sorted out yet, so I don’t know how much help and advice I can give you 🙂 But I would encourage you to get him to see a professional if he will. And continue to love him as long as he will let you – this is the theory I am currently working on.
Lots of love
Post # 4
If you can find a therapist that you are comfortable with, you might start out with him/her, then start couples sessions, and branch out into sessions just for your Fi. It can be expensive, so make sure you use insurance if you can.
I’m sorry you’re going through this. (((hug)))
Post # 5
Oh, and on how to look after yourself – I have one friend at work who knows enough about the situation to lend a listening ear and a supportive hand when needed. I also have a friend who’s known me a very long time and knows my Fiance well too. In the early days, I occassionally appeared on their doorstep in floods of tears so they know the situation too. I wish I could explain it properly to other people but it’s not their business and would probably sound like I was making excuses for FI’s behaviour. I hope you have one understanding and trustworthy person who can support you and not judge – it’s what keeps me sane! But it is inevitable that I feel down, stressed and worried when he is depressed and I’m sure you find the same.
Post # 6
@shyviolette: He really, really needs to go to counseling and possibly take medication. This isn’t fair on you or him. Good for you for recognizing this problem and taking steps to help it. I don’t normally recommend ultimatums, but in this case, I would recommend saying to him, “It really hurts me to see you this way, and it’s not fair on either of us. In order for our relationship to work, I need you to go to counseling regularly because this can, and will get better but it won’t get better if you don’t get help.”
I’d recommend doing research into a therapist nearby who you can afford (or who’s covered by your insurance, whatever), giving him the name and phone number of the person, sitting with him until he calls them to make an appointment. A lot of the time, people who are depressed feel hopeless and apathetic and can’t bring themselves to seek out help. You can provide the push he needs to see a therapist, which hopefully will help address the root problem.
Post # 7
Depression is a serious illness and should be treated as such. Get him to a doctor and have him diagnosed. Medication will make a world of difference and he should be on it before he starts any kind of counselling. A very dear friend of mine struggled for years with depression and anxiety, and I was often very worried abaout suicide or the like. She saw a medical doctor for what she thought was just heartburn, and turned out to be acid reflux due to stress, and he assessed her and immediately put her on a very low dose of antidepressants (want to say zoloft?) and she saw immediate results. Her seratonin levels were so low the doc said she would never recover on her own. SInce then she has had to adjust her dosages up for a time, and has slowly been reducing over the last few months. I cannot tell you how wonderful the change in her is. She is HAPPY, positive, loving her life.
Do your Fiance a favour and help him get professional help. All the counselling in the world may not fix what’s broken right now because it’s likely not just mental, it’s chemical. There is no shame in seeking help, and depression is not something a person can just “fix” on their own.
Post # 8
@Shyviollete- TaketheReins is 100% right- depression is an illness- an illness outside of his or your control, and he NEEDS to see a medical professional to get help. The question is, how do you make him get help? In my experience, you need to be direct.
My Fiance has struggled with depression his entire life, too. He’s in the military, so at first he refused to get help, as getting help, to him, was “a sign of weakness.” For some reason, his suffering was not enough to get him to talk to his doctor. I was patient, and kind, and caring- but that only seemed to enable his thoughts that he didn’t need to get help. And also, if you’re depressed, it’s hard to imagine that someone COULD help you.
I finally sat him down and essentially said, “I love you more than anything on this planet, but if we’re going to make this work, you have to take care of YOU. I refuse to sit here and watch you suffer when you’re choosing not to do anything about it. This is taking a big toll on me, and I need you to make an appointment with your doctor and talk to him about it.”
He was kind of stunned, but what could he say? End of conversation.
He’s been on medication for the past 2 years, and he has his life back. Don’t forget that he CAN be helped and things CAN get better!! Good luck to you and your FI!!