My partner has depression, and I have an impossible decision
My second attempt at posting, the first was too long 😞
Sorry if It jumps a bit here and there. Shortened version. If you can stick out the long read, I could really use your help, advice, opinions, experience and thoughts.
Ive been with my partner for 5 years. In the last 6 months he started showing signs on depression. A lot has happened since then.
In the last few days we've had a couple of serious conversations about our relationship, but I feel like we're now going in circles. I tell him what I feel is missing, what I want from the r/s, he says he needs more time, he can't deal with both the depression and the r/s, he can't picture the same future we used to talk about because it's a struggle for him to get out of bed in the morning, to WANT to get out of bed, so if he doesn't even know day to day whether he'll want to wake up, how could he possibly know what he's going to want long term?
At the conclusion of these talks, it gets to a point where I say that it seems like we're calling it quits. He can't do what I need for the r/s to work for me. I go to leave. He stops me. The first time it was "we'll make steps to get us back on track" it was what I wanted to hear. We made a date to talk about it more. On this next date, he can't/won't do what I need for the r/s to work. He gets mad that I want to know how he is trying to deal with the depression. He tells me to leave. I do, but he chases after me, hugs me. We set another date to talk about it...that is where I am at.
I love him. I want to support him. I want him to get better (I know this can't be 'cured' or 'fixed', but managed to a point he's happy again?) But...how can I continue with the relationship not knowing if he'll ever get better? Not knowing if he'll ever get back to a point where he'll be ready for us to get married and start a family like we used to talk about. If he used to feel that way, and used to want those things, is it still possible he can feel that way again and want those things again? And if that is possible, how can I not be afraid that later down the track we're not back in this situation, but in deeper, and have children to worry about. Some big IF's here, but if we do continue this relationship, and if he does get better, how can I overcome that constant worry that I'm sure will always be there, that he might sink back into depression?
But...how can I leave him when he is at his lowest point? Possibly when he needs a me most? When I know he doesn't want me to.
Hi Jamie Jones
I'm pleased you've found your way to Beyond Blue forums. Welcome to a place where you'll find caring, friendly and supportive people willing to share their experiences, knowledge and skills in managing their mental health.
Thank you for sharing your story. I feel for you, it's such a hard place to be in. You'll find as people respond, there are many many out there who live fulfilling lives with mental health issues. You just don't hear about them all the time.
I for one have PTSD, anxiety and depression. So does my husband. We don't both experience the symptoms at the same time, however, his anxiety can frequently set mine off and visa versa. After 30 years or more, we now know the signs and we talk about it before it gets out of hand. It's half the battle, to recognise either one of us are triggered and that we need to recognise it and do something about it.
There are so many tools available through a gp and health professional to support anyone with a mental health disorder. E.g. from medications to living a healthy lifestyle (e.g. regular exercise, good food, mindfulness, meditation, limited (no) alcohol or drugs), to having a good support network (e.g. social, friends, family). It's balancing all these to keep and stay well. There will be down times because of work, home, finance stresses. But acknowledging these, talking together and supporting one and another does help significantly.It is possible to have a life, a very fulfilling one with a partner and children. Just know depression requires ongoing management. If your partner is willing to acknowledge and accept this, then you're on your way to a wonderful life together. If he doesn't then can I suggest you contact - RELATIONSHIPS Australia, phone 1300 364 277.
Do you have someone you can talk to, e.g. family member or a close trusted friend? If not, then think about whether you'd like to talk with the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline 13 11 14. If you prefer to do things on line, both BB and Lifeline have a chat line. Go to their webpages.
Also, we'd like to know how you get on. Please write again.
Hi Jamie. Thankyou so much for sharing your perspective, it is very clear how much you love your partner and want things to work out.
Is he seeing someone professional about his depression or has he confided in other people (family, friends maybe) so they can help share the load? I think that is the first step and make no mistake, it wont be an easy one. We don't want to share our difficulties with the world, I know I don't, but I should take my own advice. As well as a support team for him, you need one too. Find someone safe who you can vent to but isn't going to tell you to leave him after every argument. Someone who will just listen and give you a hug when you need one.
Please keep posting here and we will keep listening.
Dear Jamie Jones~
I'm afraid you are in a horrible worrying position, and if your partners depression has only become noticeable after over 4½ years together then it will really have been most disconcerting. All the things you thought were a given, such as planning marriage and kids, are suddenly up in the air. Probably too if he really loves you.
I guess the first thing to say is that when I've been realy hit by depression I'd not be able to plan, or even say I loved, or be consistent. Exhaustion, hopelessness and feeling lost (and angry) are all there. For most I believe depression can respond well to treatment and a sensible lifestyle. For me the original feelings of affection and love for my partner did return.
May I ask the same as Bec - is your partner under medical support, maybe with meds and therapy? It was the only way for me.
As PamelaR says it is very possible to share a fulfilling life with children, employment and love. I'm an example of someone who has reached a reasonably stable and productive life, including family. That being said there are never guarantees - in any sort of partnership - and it is something that can weight heavily on the mind, for both partners.
I doubt having 'talks' by themselves will resolve much at all and may simply add pressure, frustration and disappointment to the both of you. Encouraging your partner to seek as much help as possible is probably the single most productive thing you can do.
I hope you feel you can come and talk things over as often as you'd like, you will be welcome
Firstly welcome to the forum. This is a caring, supportive and nonjudgmental community.
You have written a well thought out post that was easy to follow and understand.
Depression is so difficult to live with in a loved one and it is incredibly difficult to actually live with.
I am not sure what sort of help your partner is getting. Does he see a doctor or a counsellor or a psychologist.
When one is depressed it is very difficult to make a decision or to motiovate yourself to do anything. So when people want to talk about relationships it can be stressful. Your partner obviously loves you but will have trouble when he is depressed trying to express himself.
I am not sure what you know about depression. There is much information on the website that may interest you. Also there are other threads that cover similar topics to yours. You can browse or do a search through the websites's search engine.
If he is seeing a counsellor maybe you can go along to , so you can find out a bit more.
There are a lot of ifs with depressions but there are lot of ifs with any relationship with no guarantees.
I suppose someone who is very healthy get can sick or have a accident so it is hard for anyone to predict the future.
You are a very caring person to care enough to write this post. I am not sure I have been that helpful.
Keep posting in and have a look at other threads.
Hi Jamie Jones,
You have already received some wonderful responses, all saying much the same things I have been thinking.
Some people find it difficult to talk to their Drs about their mental health. If your partner has not yet been to see a Dr a little encouragement to do so will go a long way to helping him.
When I am suffering terribly from my depression, sometimes the only thing that I think will get me out of bed is a hand grenade! I don't want to be like that, it just happens.
Trying to understand depression is hard for the person who is inflicted by it and also for everyone connected to that person.
Consider the information and suggestions that have been provided here, encourage your partner to seek help and maybe some counselling for yourself as well as already mentioned. I find, the more I read about depression the more I learn about this illness and how I can help myself.
Cheers to you from Dools
Thank you all for your help so far, reading these reply posts has given me a bit of hope.
In response to some of the questions. I know for sure that he has seen a GP once, because the first time I went with him, but unfortunately it went horribly. It occurred out of him not eating or sleeping properly for 5 days. I woke up and he was in a very bad way next to me, and I told him we are going to see a doctor, now. I was actually suprised that initially I got very little resistance. It was like he was in a daze and was resigned to just do anything I told him... Anyway, due to the short notice, and the fact we don't really have a regular/family GP, we went to the local clinic and saw whoever was available. I offered to go in with him, but he wanted to do it himself. He came out in a storm, so angry, he just wanted to leave straight away. We got in the car and I managed to get something out of him about what happened, apparently the GP had basically acted like "what are you doing here, you aren't sick". Yet he still got given a script for anti-depressants, and told to come back again. He got nothing to help him sleep, no mental health plan, nothing but a from what i felt like was a standard throw-away script. I tried saying lets just go straight away to see someone else, but it was no use. We went to the pharmacy to pick up the script, and he got something to help him sleep from the pharmacist, who was more helpful than the Dr who didn't even explain anything about the medication that was perscribed.
Since then, I believe he has used a service through our workplace to talk to a psychologist or councillor, I'm not sure which, but I know that he had his script changed. When I asked if he is seeing someone regulary, he told me no, and that he doesn't think it has helped. I asked what type of person he saw, a councillor or psychologist, he wasnt sure, and to be honest I'm not too sure of the exact difference. I think it is going to be extremely difficult to get him to see a professional again, let alone talk to me about it.
I myself am considering going to see someone, to help me with helping him..maybe ways of how to approach topics with him or something. I have a pretty solid group of friends, work colleagues and family that mostly know what is going on and are supporting me, but I do get a lot of "I would have left him by now", or "You shouldn't have to put up with this..."
Hello Jamie Jones
Thank you for sharing more of your story with us here on Beyond Blue. You're not alone and it's good that you keep reaching out.
It doesn't help does it when friends or family say 'I would have left him by now' or 'You shouldn't have to put up with this...' . I'd like and need someone to listen to me. It's not always essential that they have to provide me with answers, but to help me get out what it is that's causing you anxiety is good for me.
I think your idea about going to your gp for help and to get a referral to a psych is very good and would encourage you to do so. No pressure though, only if you want.
It's unfortunate your partner had such a terrible experience at the doctor's, that really doesn't help him in the long run. Though, he does need to take some action and all you can do is suggest it to him.
Keep reaching out for help for yourself. That is a very good way to go.
Hi Jamie Jones,
It may well be very beneficial for you to talk to someone yourself about what is going on for the both of you.
I have also found reading about depression helps me understand better.
Regarding other people's comments, sometimes we just need to let them slide. People say things without thinking at times.
You can make suggestions for your partner, problem is you can't force him to do what you know will benefit him which is a shame.
To receive a mental health care plan takes time, you need to book a double appointment for that to happen. There is a lot of work required to fill one of those out.
Hope you both find some answers soon!
Cheers from Dools