My partner with depression has started drinking
Hi everyone. I am struggling atm with my partner who a week ago told me his depression is troubling him. We've been together two years and live together, he is ex defence, and this is his first flare up since We've been together. He used to go to counciling and was on medication for a time but hasn't felt the need for these.
The same day he admitted his depression is affecting him he also confided in a close friend of his. They advised him to grab a bottle and gin and they two could have a drinking session playing computer games. I have no idea how to approach the topic this friend gave him horribly irresponsible advice as they are very close and I don't know how to sound like I'm not attacking her for her poor support of him.
He finds is hard to talk about his depression which he's admitted to me but won't really say more than that. I ask him how he's feeling and he says fine and that's it. I can tell he isn't fine though.
Since his first drinking session he usually has at least one drink a night, (he never previously drank) has been dishonest to me about drinking, and got more excited when I suggested we have a few drinks together tonight than at anything we've said or done all week. I'm worried the long weekend is now just an excuse to drink.
I don't know how to get him to realize his drinking, while not excessive, seems to be a self medication for his depression. I can hardly sleep at night and it's starting to affect my own mental health too. If anyone has any advice I'd appreciate it
Hello Lioness Nebula, people can have a tendency to ignore counselling and/or stop taking their medication and replace it with self medicating using alcohol, this can lead onto many other self diagnoses which could worsen his condition and increase his frequency of drinking.
You can't be sure how much he does drink as he could be drinking when you can't see him and become a cupboard drinker, like I was, hiding the grog in places where you wouldn't look, but appearing to only have one or two drinks while you're with him.
As he is ex-defence the current problems around the world could be affecting him, as it is for most of us, but does not want to discuss his feelings with anybody and instead self medicate.
To treat his own depression using alcohol to try and numb his feelings may temporarily work for him, but long term, it's not a solution, as I found out myself, but trying to convince him isn't going to be easy.
A person can only stop when they decide they want to, however you may want to address this is by contacting your doctor and having a chat with them because you have to look after yourself.
Please ask any question you like.
Do you know what's causing the depression? Out of work? Loss of identity? Financial worries?
I come from a family of ex-defence force members and all at one time or another have used alcohol as a coping mechanism for their emotional problems (me included and I wasn't even in the military). It's a learn habit. But it doesn't work. It just makes you more depressed, which you probably already know.
Guys are hard to get to talk about what's on their mind. That's why there's so many mens' sheds around. They tend to need a common topic (the footy, music, cars, and then now and then once they've earned your trust will open up).
If he doesn't belive that alcohol is a dead-end, then maybe you could suggest going to AA and take a look around and see what it does to people. That's what I did. That's when I realised I was systematically destroying what little support system I had left (my relationships with family). Mates won't tell him what he needs to know. They'll only tell him what he wants to hear.
I don't have the solution, just trying to let you know that there is help out there. Open Arms is a counselling service for veterans too. https://www.openarms.gov.au/
hello and welcome.
just to add a little to the other excellent replies here ...
It seems you care very much about your partner and luck to have you. I would also suggest that when you chat with your partner you might use "I" communication as well and let them know of the effect this is having on you.
this is a something I was taught (?) from my psychologist in talking to my wife about things that were going on with me - slightly different to you, but it is one way of not putting the other person on the defensive when using "you".