FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

How to identify what is depression or what is lack of interest

scully78
Community Member
Hello, I recently met a man who I think is really kind and sweet. We have had only one date together and were in daily contact via text message ever since. He told me he suffers depression and ptsd due to recent trauma. We met up about 3 weeks ago and his messaging has decreased, especially in the last week. I messaged him 3 days ago and haven't heard back from him. We are not in a relationship and are still at the friendship stage, but how do I know if him ignoring my message Is a sign of disinterest or his depression? He seemed very interested at first and was planning to do things together in the future, but nothing has eventuated. Now communication is scarce and I don't know what to do. I know he is struggling and probably needs space, so I won't message him back until he responds to my last text, in which I made my interest in him clear. Have I potentially scared him off? How do I know if im being a burden? How do I know he even wants to keep communicating with me. I know he has been online, but isn't reading my last message and this isn't the first time he has done this. Its the second in 3 weeks. Is that a bad sign?
14 Replies 14

SandraC87
Community Member

Hi there Scully78,

Every person is different, and so every depressed person is also different. It's hard for us to tell of course where his head is at, just like it is hard for you to know for sure.

What I CAN tell you is that it's okay to make your own needs known as well. Just like you are trying to respect his specific needs (for space, recovery, solitude) telling him very clearly what your needs are can also help him do the same - you don't have to be "needy" to ask for clarity.

Since it will always be guesswork, I think for you the clearest way to approach this would be to ask him straight up - say you will only express or ask this once, you will not harass him, but you do need clarity; is he needing space for himself, or specifically from you? And if the latter, you want to respect that, but you need to know he is still interested.

Does that help at all?

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Scully, it's lovely to hear from you and for posting your comment.

Depression is so confusing to many of us, because there will be times where we don't know what's happening or a reason why someone doesn't respond back to you.

Men do tend to keep their thoughts hidden if they suffer from any depression rather than asking for help, they don't want to show any weakness, so perhaps this is what maybe happening.

However, it could be 'ghosting', (is when a person you've been seeing no longer replies to you) plus there are times when texts to each other do slow down, that's why it's hard to know what to do.

Being left in the limbo is not good for your own health, but I believe you can't do much more than wait and see if he does contact you, and we can't forget that he says he is suffering from depression.

Best wishes.

Geoff.

Hi Sandra,

Do you think its a good idea to contact him given he is the one who made the decision not to read my messag? It is still unread, which is strange for him as he has read all my other messages. I think its his way of politely letting me know he doesn't want to continue communicating with me, whether it be for space, or because he wasn't getting what he wanted from me. I was certain that his interest level was high in the first week after the date, but it seemed to wain so quickly. Thats what is confusing me and its really stressing me out. Can men change their minds so quickly or is this just his depression/ptsd playing up? I am very tempted to message him what you recommended, but everyone is telling me to wait it out and if he responds, then great. If not, then let him go. But I've known him a while now and ive always thought we would be compatible. Its really disheartening that he has disappeared like this. Guessing is not doing me any good, but I'm concerned that if I message him, then I will make the situation worse.

scully78
Community Member

Hi Geoff,

While he was so open about what he is going through, I also got the impression he is ashamed. But I don't know what to do other than wait. I would love to help him through this, but he is isolating himself from everybody, including his friends. So I can't imagine he would care to further things with me when in this frame of mind. But its hard not to obsess over where I went wrong. Am I the reason he has gone silent or is it his illness? Who knows.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Scully78~

I read your post in:

Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / 6 Things I wish I knew before dating someone with anxiety and PTSD

as well as the above.

There really are two things, your friend needs medical attention if he has PTSD and depression, I certainly did. and while in the worst of it wanted to be alone, my head was so crammed with depressive and hopeless thoughts there was no room to pay attention to others.

I'd no idea if I liked or loved or was indifferent, I was at a distance from myself. Under those conditions a lack of an answer is not surprising.

Geoff has mentioned 'ghosting', which happens, and can use all sorts of excuses, including illness.

I've no idea how you tell the difference, from his freinds ad family maybe? What do you think.

Harking back to my times, I"m not sure setting out your needs will do much good, it might, but in my case I'd have thought myself bad for you and said "go away".

What is true is htat you need to realise you are not at fault, nothing you did brought this on, and that in such an uncertain situation you need support. Is there anyone you can talk with frankly, who will examine each possibility with you and lend perspective, or simply be there?

I would like it if you returned and talked some more

Croix

scully78
Community Member

Hi Croix,

Thank you so much for your response and in particular your insight. Im really trying to understand what his behaviour might suggest. Its hard not to think that I may have done something to cause this distance, but based on what I have read, I shouldn't think this way. We were at the friendship stage with obvious interest from both him and I, but something happened to make him distance himself and he went from wanting to do things with me, to being busy when I suggested we get together, to not reading my messages at all. I have since sent him another message letting him know if he needs help with anything or just someone to talk to, then im happy to help, which he hasn't read.

Given we had really only just started, I hadn't met any of his family. We have a few friends in common, but he is distancing himself from them too, so im not sure I can ask them either. So, I can only assume at this stage that his behaviour is suggestive of lack of interest and he is ghosting me. He is active on social media and has responded to others on his posts, so I can again only assume he is not interested in communicating with me. That I find really confusing as I thought we got along really well and one of our common friends thinks we would be perfect for each other. Its been 3 weeks now since I've heard from him. Without a ptsd diagnosis, I would consider that too long and would easily move on, but with ptsd, its hard to tell.

I do have friends I can talk to, but they all say to run away and forget him. My friends have never shown a great deal of sympathy to those with mental health struggles. So I don't feel I can get the support from them that I need. I don't think running away from mentally unwell people is a good thing to do. In fact our society needs to be more inclusive of them so shunning him doesn't seem to be my first response. It seems very selfish to me to run away. But I do want to understand what he is going through and what that means for me. I am going to leave him be for now as it seems that he doesn't want to hear from me. It feels I may have no choice but to move on as I have tried to make the effort to see him and reestablish contact, but to no avail.

If you have any suggestions Croix, I would gladly hear them?

Scully78

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Scully78~

When I became ill I had been married for many years wiht offspring, and that is an entirely different deal to yours.

There had been time for me to develop a deep and abiding love of my partner and family, and them for me. That meant ever when at my worst I worried I'd do something to hurt her when she tried to distract me, and knew I was hurting her. I even occasionally tried to show I knew was being highly difficult. I'd make her a cuppa. Sounds trivial, it was not for me. Mind you I was still divorced form myself and knew nothing of love at all on the surface.

She to felt at first she had been at fault and her actions had led me to my state -all false, as she found out after talking to my psych. Illness is illness.

No I've no great advice except I think you have done all you can, you have told him you are there for him and that is all you can do. After such a short relationship I doubt deep love would be influencing him as it did me, so trying to get on wiht oyur life is most probably the best thing you can do.

If he later responds then might be a time for a rethink. I don't like the fact he is interacting with others though, not how I would have felt at all. Ghosting is still a possibility

Not much help to you, still you have compassion and do your best, there is no more.

Croix

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Scully, Croix has given you some great advice as well as support.

3 weeks for wanting someone to contact you is a long drawn out time, every time you get a phone call or a text your heart drops, hoping that it's him, but only to be disappointed, while for him it may nothing, however, as he is communicating with others on social media may indicate how he feels.

Take care.

Geoff.

scully78
Community Member

Hi Croix,

Thank you for your advice. Looks like moving on is the only option. Its been hard to tell if his behaviour is illness related or personal. Reading all you have written has been a huge help in me knowing what to expect moving forward. I guess I was more keen than he was. Nevertheless, there's only one thing I can do and that is to forget him.

Thank you for your insight. Its helped out a great deal.

Kindest regards,

Scully78