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My boyfriend suffers with depression/alcoholism, we’re here in Oz together from the Uk and have nobody to talk to and desperately seek help&advice
I’ve been with my boyfriend for 3 years. We’re extremely close yet when it comes to his feelings ect he is a closed book, getting anything out of him is like getting blood out of a stone. I’m very open, probably too open so I’ve always noticed this about him but always made sure never to press him about anything.
over a year into the relationship I found tabs open on his laptop where he had been googling ‘how to cope with depression’ ect - i has been thinking for some time that he maybe suffered with depression as he would have bouts of being extremely down, very obvious low self esteem, heavy drinking ect. So now we’ve been together 3 years and NEVER openly spoken about his depression and alcoholism. His alcoholism is really bad. He’s openly spoken once about the fact he acknowledges he has problems with alcohol and he revealed his mum made him go to therapy as a teenager - but this was revealed when both of us were drunk and never mentioned again. I was shocked by the therapy comment because we’ve been together so long and he’d never told me - but again he doesn’t like to talk about ‘things’.
Anyway he has been ok for a while now whilst we are in oz for a year but the past month it is clear with the heavy drinking and mood he is depressed again and he left tabs open again about dealing with alcoholism and depression but had also been googling ‘childhood trauma and how it causes alcoholism’ and lot seem more childhood trauma and how it causes links to problems in adulthood. Now I don’t know what to think or what to do?! Has he suffered a horrible trauma and not told me after all this time? I want to talk to him but I don’t know how... it’s easier said than done
sorry for the essay but I’m alone in Australia and don’t have anyone to talk to
Hello and welcome to the forum and Australia. I hope your stay here will be enjoyable despite the complications in your life. Many people keep their depression a secret for all sorts of reasons. Do you know which website he has been googling? No need to list them here, I wonder if he has got on the beyondblue website to get information. You may find it helpful to browse the BB information collection and down load what you want. Perhaps give this information to your BF and start talking about it. Any booklets you want you must send for but there is no charge. It may be he wants you to find what he is looking for on the computer. Can you find a time to talk?
Childhood trauma can have a massive effect on the rest of someone's life. My ex was dreadfully abused by his mom and has never had any help. Consequently he keeps his hurt locked up, acts as though he does not care about anyone but can be very hurtful. He insists most vehemently he is OK and does not need help. He has never told me much, in fact he has spoken about one incident only. I found out more talking with his sister who also experienced the abuse.
Do not be hurt because he has not told you anything. These things are buried very deeply for some people and it can be dreadfully painful to bring them up. It may well be the reason he is drinking, a common response. I'm not certain if you can get a Medicare card for the time you are in Oz. If you can please talk to a GP about yourself and BF. If he will also see the GP that would be great. If you have travel insurance can you claim the doctor's fees on that?
I feel it would be helpful if you asked him about what's happening for him. Try without the aid of alcohol as this skews your perspective. Are you on a working holiday? I would love to suggest he sees a psychologist or psychiatrist but again there is the cost even if he will agree to go. I believe there is a greater reluctance to see either of these specialists in the UK than for Aussies. Having been brought up in the UK before emigrating to Oz I can relate to much of your feelings. Getting him to a GP I imagine will be the greatest struggle.
Starting to talk is hard but comes better the more you try. Show him the information you have found on BB and ask for his comments. See where the conversation leads you.
Come back talk to us, we are always here.
Thankyou so much for your response Mary.
Back home I couldn’t even get him to go to the doctors for physical health problems so there’s no way he’d go to a doctor here. And we’ve been here 7months now without a Medicard or health insurance(stupid I know) and due to go home at the end of the year, currently running on very little money as we’re sorta backpacking.
I know that I definitely need to initiate a conversation and tell him I’ve seen what he’s been looking at and get him talking and break the ice but I’m scared to be honest. I’m usually really good at this sort of thing but I’m at a loss for how to approach it and what to say..
Thanks again for your advice
I had a feeling you would not be able access medical treatment here and I am sad you are both in this position. Do you know how your BF's mom got him to go for treatment? When you return to the UK perhaps you could have a talk with his mom.
Beyondblue has information about starting a conversation. On the home page, under the picture you will see various topics. One of them is the Check-in app. Have a look at it .You can download it for free if you wish. Your BF can also download it. I presume you both have mobile phones.
If you look at the drop down list under The Facts you will see Have the Conversation. Take a look at the suggestions there. You may find some tips there that will help you. Perhaps you could start by reminding him of the time he did start to talk (without reference to the alcohol) and go on from there.
You need to be in a distraction-free place so down at the local pub is probably not the best option. Try not to offer solutions as it hard enough to talk. I know I have been offering suggestions to you but the difference is you are asking. Even so I am trying to suggest alternatives and not 'tell' you what to do. Keep questions to a minimum or perhaps none at all. Being depressed and anxious is not a good place to be. I know this because I have depression and have battled it for years. I am happy to report I am considerably better than at the start.
I was in a bad way and seriously suicidal. No reason to think your BF is at this stage but he could still do with a friend. The best gift you can offer him is listening. Listen, listen, listen. It can be hard for someone not depressed to relate to depression. Not belittling your intelligence or compassion, depression unfortunately is hard to describe. See what your search on bb turns up. It may help. Remember when someone is depressed they are viewing the world from a skewed perspective. What may seem obvious to you can be like climbing Everest to him.
Is it cold where you are? I am in Brisbane and I think this is one of the coldest mornings. Just waiting for the house to warm up.
Thankyou I will definitely read up on all that information today.
You are right, I have no idea what being depressed feels like although I do suffer from anxiety/panick attacks . I have many friends who are extremely open about their depression and we’ve had long talks about it so I’m not totally clueless, I just hope I can get to that stage with my partner and hopefully then things might feel easier for him if he knows he can talk to me.
I’ve practically stopped drinking all together since arriving in Australia, which has been a nice feeling(and because it’s so expensive over here) so he just drinks on his own and in my company. I don’t nag him about it or get negative because I don’t want to make him feel worse but he must know he has a problem as he often lies about drinking or pretends he’s drinking a mug of tea when in reality it is filled with wine. But he does really need to stop..
How funny, we are in Brisbane too! I’m a Northener so I’m used to the cold and still think it’s lovely and warm over here but I am noticing the cold in the mornings and night now! I love this city! I’m glad to read you are in a better and healthier place now! It is a scary illness and unfortunately society does not take mental illness as seriously as physical illness but I think we are finally getting there. A friend of my partners revealed to me last year(again both under the influence prior to a gig) that my partner had revealed to them that he thought about committing suicide before he met me. I was completely shocked and have not stopped thinking of this since.
It's been so long since I lived in the UK that I have become accustomed to Qld weather. I imagine I would shiver to death if transported back there, especially in the winter. And to think we made snowmen and had snowball fights in winter, Doesn't bear thinking about.
Sorry if I appeared to say you had no idea about depression. It was most certainly not my intention. Panic attacks can be horrendous I know. It's good you have friends that are open about their depression. Society is still a little scared of us but yes, attitudes are beginning to change.
I come from the Midlands where it is not as cold as further north but still too cold for me these days. Glad your drinking has decreased. I had not realised alcohol was expensive here compared to the UK. Still, a good reason to give it up except occasionally. Unfortunately people do self medicate with alcohol.
The knowledge that your BF has considered suicide can be scary. BB have another app called Beyond Now which is free to download. You can list your triggers, record the various ways to get help which can include talking to friends and family or others. If the BF does appear to become suicidal, or better still before he gets there, get him to complete his own plan to stay safe. I have this plan on my phone and refer to it now and again.