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Help. He has depression and is pushing me away.

justaburden
Community Member
WE are both in our late 50s. WE live in separate cities so communicate mainly by messenger. His choice, although he has called at special times. We each have had some terrible past relationship issues. I suffer mainly anxiety, and have terrible trust issues due to past cheating spouses. He has been cheated emotionally and financially. WE have each had a heart attack in the past. His being a quadruple bypass. This triggered depression for each of us. WE connected via FB last year after being boyfriend/girlfriend over 35 years ago. We get along very well, and he told me about his depression early on. He lives alone and has only just started working again after having a "gap year". He definitely has issues with trust and has lost faith in people. Although he seems to trust me and has divulged some quite personal stuff to me, so he must feel comfortable and able to trust me. Not long ago, he make the decision to rent his home, and move to my town. He comes from a large family. All his siblings and old friends are in the city I live in. But then he chickened out. His insecurity and doubt and fear kicked in. He messaged me a few weeks ago saying he is not much good to anyone anymore. And said he knows he is better off on his own and that I should try to find someone nice. He not only has depression, but has had prostate problems, so he has trouble with sex. He does heart medication, and a benzodiazepine medication but no anti=depressants as he says they dont agree with him. I have assured him that his is a good man and that i am more interested in him as a good companion and that the lack of sex is not a deal breaker for me, even though I understand it is an issue for any man. I wrote to him and explained my understanding of why he is pushing me away and tried to reassure him that it is most probably just the depression making him think and feel that way and that I hope he wont push me away as I there for him, no matter what. Am I doing the right thing? Any thoughts and ideas very welcome as he is very dear to me. I really think we could be good company for each other. And those I have spoken to agree that it would do him good to be around others instead of sitting in an empty house alone with his dark thoughts.
6 Replies 6

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Justaburden~

I'm afraid I could not find your other posts so will have to go with this one as your first. I'd have to say I think you are doing everything right (except your choice in name, you don't sound a burden at all:)

When my first partner passed away I realized how short life is, and because I'm far happier with another sought a second soulmate, which I found. You have had talked together for a year and renewed your original attraction. Maybe I'm assuming too much but I'd suspect the reason your friend wanted to move was in some way connected with you.

I'd imagine that having announced the move and not been able to face it you friend may very well feel a failure, and that together with prostate problems and depression has reduced his self-worth to near zero. If those are the circumstances then gentle insistence for contact from you may be what is needed.

Both of you benefit from the friendship, something he should realize or at least have pointed out to him. The fact he makes someone else happy is something he can treasure if persuaded it is true.

Talking of persuading, maybe in time you can get him to seek medical help again. There are a great many medications from completely different classes of drug nowadays, perhaps one might suit him. It took me enough trials to find the right one.

Please let us know how you get on

Croix

Doolhof
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Justaburden,

Welome to the community. I see that Croix has already had a chat with you and offered you some kind suggestions.

I'd like to ask if it is possible for you to invite this guy to come and have a holiday in your area. Maybe he could stay with one of his siblings and you could go out together and do things. He may find it a little awkward to actually stay with you, or he may like to stay totally independently.

I have friends who are in relationships, they have their own homes and it seems to work very well for them. They spend time together.

Hopefully your friend might like to come for a week or two and you can see if your friendship flourishes or not.

Keep in touch with him like Croix mentioned, just don't be too pushy and scare him away! I know it can be hard to find the right balance!

Cheers from Dools

Hi Croix

You are spot on. He is showing a lot of signs of being inadequate and insecure. I have visited him a couple of times, and we got along really well. Although the second visit he was a lot more "down" and asking what my kids (who are adults) would think of him. And saying "this is as good as it gets".....which means he sits around the house all the time on facebook. He said his dad had given up on life, and he believes he is like his father. He is in a lot of debt due to his generosity in previous relationships, and this causes him a lot of pressure and shame. I do not judge him for any of his "issues" and simply value his friendship and company. I recently wrote his a hand written letter which he should have by now, expressing what I like about him and that what he perseves as problems are not things that bother me. I was considering asking him to visit me so he can have a change of scenery and catch up with his many brothers and sisters. he is the youngest of 9!

thats the tricky part isnt it......trying not to be too pushy. I agree with the idea of not living together. I think as we get older, it is good to have our own space and just spend time together. he had asked me several times to move to his city, but there is honestly nothing to do there, and I have a good job now which I am reluctant to leave, at least at this stage. My gut feeling is that not only would he have no problem getting a job where I am, he would be closer to his brothers and sisters, there are morethings to do, it would definitely be a change of scenery for him. But I also understand how it is a daunting prospect when the smallest things seem so overwhelming. It is so difficult to see any positives when someone is so deep in the depths of depression. He was such a vibrant, active man, and to see him as such a recluse now is heartbreaking especially when he doesnt deserve to be in such a state.

Im just not sure how to handle this effectively.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Justaburden~

As good as it gets is most often wrong. Only a small change in mindset can lead to better things. I think Mrs Dools has offered a very good suggestion - for him to visit. That change of scenery may awaken a change of thinking too. At the moment everything is far away and unfamiliar, plus having so much family is probably pretty daunting to face.

If he only came for a quick trip (on that occasion) it might seem doable, and if there were any family members he did not want to meet he could plead no time.

It is hard to know what is helpful and what is pressing too much, I guess emphasizing the positive effect he is having on you might be one thing plus reminding of any times you had together that was happy. I'd suspect that logical and reasoned arguments as to why he should do something will be counter-productive. Emotion might be more effective

Is there anyone in his family that might make an ally - someone he has special affection for?

Croix

Hi Justaburden,

On the beyond blue site there is information, there is a lot of information you can source. There are sections on depression and also a section on how to help and support people with depression. Some of that information may be beneficial to you.

Do you know if your friend sees a counsellor at all to chat with?

Encouragement always goes a long way, so hopefully your kind words will have an effect on him.In all of this, you also need to be looking after yourself and your own well-being. It can be difficult caring for someone with depression and anxiety, even from a distance.

I like Croix's suggestion of seeing if he has family members who may be able to help you with getting this guy in your neighbourhood, even for an independent stay somewhere.

Cheers to you from Dools