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Depression and long distance relationship
Hi everyone, I'm new to the forum. Currently feeling quite depressed and I'm afraid of the impact it may have on my relationship.
My boyfriend and I have been together for 18 months. We meet when he was traveling and have lived apart ever since - on separate continents, in separate timezones. We have met up several times for a few weeks at a time and we are both great with communication so there has been plenty of messages, skype, etc. We have an end date planned for six months from now but we're not sure how it will really turn out. It depends on both of our work.
Anyway, I've just come back from seeing him and I'm feeling very low. It seems like it gets worse every time and the separation is more difficult to handle. I've suffered from depression on and off pretty much my whole life. I've been medicated a few times but I'm not sure how much it really did for me because I was always sort of numb anyway.
For the last few years I've been reengaging with my emotions, probably for the first time since childhood. I have suffered huge anxiety, self-loathing, rage, depression etc but I kept working through it. Then I met my boyfriend and the relationship made me feel so much relief. I finally felt like I had someone I could love and who loved me. The feeling was like nothing else in the world and I guess I got a bit dependent on it.
Now there is so much sorrow mixed in as well, due to the constant re-separating that we do and also because as our relationship has progressed we've had arguments. Sometimes quite bad ones. I find arguments very hard to get over even though for him it seems ok to just put things in the past. I get preoccupied by hurt and a fear of everything changing.
The sense of safety I had for the first year or so of our relationship was so intense and now I feel like we're as vulnerable as any other couple. Of course we are. I know nothing and nobody is perfect. Intellectually I get that. But emotionally I seem to be feeling like an abandoned child. I want to cry all the time, struggle to get out of bed, find no motivation in work and limited pleasure in things I normally love. All the classics.
I seem to be holding things against him a lot and crying and being needy which I hate. He gets upset because he doesn't know how to help... I don't want to place stress on him/the relationship but I also don't want to lie about what I'm going through.
Has anyone had experience with dealing with depression and a long distance relationship?
I understand exactly what you have told us and to answer your question, long distance relationships for me, are very difficult to maintain, because when you want to cuddle him but he's on another continent, it's disappointing and frustrating you can't.
The reason you feel low after seeing him is that it means you have to separate, he isn't going to be there if you want to kiss or cuddle him, he can be with you, but only via skype or mobile phone.
I've stayed a couple of hours away from my wife for work just after we had our first baby, and that was very difficult, I wanted to be with her and our first son and couldn't wait until I could go home.
You both love each other, but a long way away, so can a compromise come between the two of you so that you are with each other all the time, but can I suggest that you visit your GP for a referral to see a psychologist since your depression has been with you much of your life.
Hope to hear back from you.
My Best Wishes.
Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here.
Short answer: yes. It's hard. I get it.
Long answer; relationships can be difficult. Long-distance relationships can be difficult. Depression in relationships can be difficult. You've got all three (yay!).
You talked in your post about reengaging with your emotions for the first time since your childhood. Can you talk more about it? In a sense I think it's good to try and separate everything so that it doesn't feel so intertwined; so there's you, your depression and your relationship. In a way it's about trying to balance all of that to make it all work. When you said you felt like an abandoned child it made me wonder if maybe you had a harder childhood? Like there's some trauma in there? I could be off base but it just makes me think that perhaps this relationship has triggered something in you that you haven't dealt with yet.
It would be great to hear back from you and see if maybe this has resonated with you. If not that's cool too - perhaps it might be worth thinking about what is it that you need? Is it that sense of stability (knowing he's there when you are depressed), trust, understanding? Once you can clue into that you can work together with him - being able to communicate your needs and have him be on the same path.
Hope this helps,
Thank you for your replies. I am actually currently seeing a psychologist which definitely helps, however I haven't been able to see her as much lately. Sometimes I feel embarrassed talking about these relationship issues because they seem so trivial. I hate coming off as whiny.
I think not being able to be physically affectionate is a big thing. He does the best he can with Skype and messages. We both do. But I struggle without hugs. It makes me feel like I'm so much weaker than him, because my depression/anxiety makes me seem to need him so much more than he needs me and so much more than I did in the past.
romantic_thi3f, you are right. It may help to try to look at the two things separately - my emotional issues and my relationship with him. Because I feel like I am letting my baggage affect something that's very important to me in a negative way. I think I have to look at how I share my feelings and past with him without dumping it on him via insecurities and tears. Easier said than done, probably.
I haven't had the easiest childhood. Not the worst either. But problematic relationships with family and the death of my father when I was quite young. I know I still have so much to work through but this latest wave of depression/anxiety has shocked me. I though I was in a better place now. It scares me how quickly I can be right back where I was (of course, I'm not right back where I was, but it feels like I am).
I've told him about my anxiety and he seems to understand. But I still feel guilty for telling him the truth when he asks how I am. I'd love to be able to say I'm okay, but lately it seems like I never am.
I think what I'm most looking for is understanding, but it's very difficult to get that unless you're prepared to talk about a lot of complicated painful things. And the problem with long distance is that it just doesn't feel right talking about these things over the phone or even on skype. It's hard to have painful conversations without being able to hug and with the knowledge that at some point you're going to have to hang up and go to bed alone.
I think maybe I should try to make sure we carve out time to talk next time we are together, as much as I just want to have fun and be happy.
Thanks for your help.
Thank you for your post and it's great to hear back from you!
It sounds like you are dealing with a lot of guilt and shame around having to carry all the weight of these feelings and the worry that it's impacting on you both. I do understand that completely but I want you to know that you don't need to carry these things. They are heavy!
Dealing with depression and anxiety doesn't make you weaker than him and it doesn't make you weak as a person. I think if anything, you've shown more resilience - having to deal with a problematic childhood and bounce back from that and invest in a new relationship. That's not an easy thing to do. In hindsight it's probably a lot easier to crawl into a corner so as your feelings don't get hurt or triggered but instead you're facing this head on - that to me shows a lot of strength and courage.
I do agree that it would be best to talk in person; I think that it's important that he knows how you are feeling and what's going on that's making you feel this way - even though it is super hard to open up. Yes there are days where you might feel only okay, or even really sad; but that's not permanent. He will probably have those days too. Right now, you're in this together, and it's totally okay to feel what you feel. There's no shame in that.
I hope this helps,