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World Trip ended up with partner relapsing in depression. This time I lose hope
We moved overseas together, then back to Australia 3 years ago. And that’s when it all started to happen. His and my work struggles ended in him being depressed and seeking therapy after me talking him into it. He got better. Only now, I realized that I was never included in his healing process. In his head (and in mine) everything circled around him. I didn’t see the implications of his behaviours whenever I tried to talk about his therapy he became uncomfortable and annoyed with me. Whenever I used the word "depression" he tensed up and acted like I would blame him. I was never able or allowed to reflect on the impact of the depression on us. So I stopped talking about it and bottled it up in myself.
Despite all things and unspoken problems, we departed on a year long trip in our car. One year across Central Asia. Just the two of us. 24/7. Of course it didn't help but only amplified everything. He tried to leave it all behind, I tried to work through it. Complete opposite approaches lead inevitably to fights. And we fought a lot. I cried a lot. The more I tried to reach out, the more he withdrew. Later he said that I "pushed him too far". I ruined the trip for him thanks to us fighting. He withdrew from me, saying there was no love or hope for us anymore. However, despite all this he still didn't agree to end it earlier as planned. He settled in a friendzone routine where we did everything together just with no intimacy. I wasn't allowed to talk about us otherwise he shut me down for the rest of the day. I kept on waiting for him to get more clarity of what he wants
Like me, he is lost too but has no ability to look at it through the lens of the bigger picture of life. He kept on apologizing for "everything": the way he is, that he can't do better for us, for me. Again, a blame implemented thought process that does not lead to any good.
He appears at times so carefree like nothing is up that I start doubting myself! It must be a coping mechanism but for how long can you keep that up? I am so at lost..and then not. I wonder if his depression remained after his therapy unrecognized in our relationship or if the trip triggered it again and that he is right. There is no hope, I screwed it up (unintentionally)
Welcome here to the Forum. I think if you look around you will see many people who are struggling wiht a partner who is susceptible to depression, and in many cases they tend to take all the blame on themselves.
Going around a foreign country in a car, the two of you , is a stressful time. If you are worried about the relationship anyway and are upset that is natural, and close proximity may well magnify any effects. Still a partner should need to look after you .
It's true depression does make relationships go though hard patches. In my own case I found I had lost myself and did not know what I liked, disliked, loved or even if I was capable of love. I also felt pressure in my partner's presence at times and wanted to be alone. Not leave home just a quieter room. I did worry about her though.
If you are still together that's pretty good. Depression is not always 'cured' with the first set of treatments and may well require repeat treatments as time goes on.
Do you think you, or someone he listens to, could persuade him to go back to the doctor and seek further help? If he is like I was then his ability to make realistic decisions about being with someone else are impaired. I don't know if just waiting for him to get more clarity will be enough.
I wonder if you are overthinking the therapy side and your role in it. If you think you could have behaved differently then in what way?
I would suggest that you too seek medical advice, you are under a great deal of stress at the moment. Do you have any support? Friends or family that care and will listen and want to help?
Thank you for the answering. It is very helpful to hear an opinion from the "other side" of the coin. I agree, having difficult times on such a trip is not only normal but also natural. I am very much aware of that and also tried to talk to him about it that we are not that special having issues dealing with this. But he didn't want to have it. In his view, our case is much more severe and cannot be seen as a normal difficulty. With all logical reasoning I didnt get through to him.
By the end of the trip, he basically cut communication to friends and family (or didn't reached out as much). They knew that something was up but didn't ask why. I found that very frustrating but seen this notion often in his close surroundings: the it-will-be-fine-lets-not-talk-about-it view. In the end I contacted his sister (who has good insights about mental health struggles) while we were still overseas and he was about to fly back. Her responds was great, me helped me to feel less alone with it. Her husband and soon other family members are aware now and hopefully are able to get through to him.
I don't know if I overthink the situation either!! I strongly believe that sharing and talking about problems is the key out of the dark but maybe I talked too much about it on the trip and didn't give it a chance to actually heal or change. So I keep on asking myself, did those "normal" relationship problems lead to a relapse pf depression or was it just always there?
I am sharing my problems with close friends and family. And yes, I meant to see a counsellor myself when I return. I was meaning to write this in my post too but ran out of space! My friends, my family and even his family keep on suggesting that I need to prioritize my needs and begin to live my own life without him. It looks like that everyone lost their hope in him "waking up" any time soon and that I just can't let it go. I know they are right. How could I disagree with them? But as you just said yourself, maybe it is a good thing that I am still with him (at least officially). As you said "waiting" for the change is always not right but leaving him in a time where I know that he just isn't capable of doing better... what am I supposed to do?
The first time I was certain to stick around. Now, I am in mid thirties and see myself at risk to jeopardize my life's wishes and aspirations for a relationship that might lost its chance to get back on track
Thanks for coming back and explaining more, for one thing it is very good to know that you do have support and are also intending to get counseling on your return.
The first point about depression I'm sure you understand, it can change how a person thinks and acts, and does sometimes make a major difference to relationships. I changed and became very hard to live with. Later on I improved. My wife had a very hard time but was amazing.
So your BF changing his way of looking at things is not unexpected.
But if a person is ill it is vital that they try to get better. What they can actually accomplish at the start may not seem much, but getting proper treatment and cooperating with it is a necessary first step. He has done this before and improved, he may need to do it again. It is down to him.
The other thing is that if there are different ways a couple each handle problems, then they basically have to work out ways that work. On your trip you talked (you think too much) and he less and less. The net effect was to drive you apart.
A learning experience for him as well as you if a relationship is going to survive with 2 happy people in it.
I've no idea on your future course, it is a question of how deep your feelings are and what you want out of life. All I can say is that living with someone who has depression is not an easy task, and depending on its severity is something many people simply are not equal to. My wife survived it and we lived happily for many years.
I'm not sure if you're going to read this but I'm giving it a shot. I am about to lose it and about to give up. Since your last entry, I continued to be there for him and not to "push him too far" but just to be supportive. I am still overseas and he is back in Oz, so communication is limited to time zone differences (which we usually never struggle with given he used to work a lot overseas). Anyway, it is almost obvious that he does not initiate any communication but I do. He has no interest in my life, I know this is the nature of depression. So at one point, in one of our talks where he just talks about the most generic and unimportant things, I stopped him and said that I am thinking about us and that I found some help on this web page. And that I think that he might suffers depression. He completely lost it, got angry with me that I "diagnosed" him and that there is no point in talking further since I made up my mind already. I got desperate and explained that I am only trying to understand the situation and that I hope that I am wrong. But that I need to extend my horizon to move on somehow. He was so offended. And only with lots of patience and smooth talking I managed to have a non-angry ending of this phone call. I asked him to have a look here as well because it could help him. This was 3 days ago and of course he didn't do anything.
I am returning to Oz next week and he did not even ask where I'm going to live. After 6.5 years of relationship, he isn't thinking about it. I know, it's his depression not being able to think further yet at some stage this question would arise, no? I already organized a friend's place to stay and to set up my life from there but he has no clue. He lives with his sister who knows that I am not going to join him. And he must know that too, no? I am tired of bringing up those questions because he can't think about me in the slightest.
How did it go with you? How could your wife help you to get a different point of view of what needs to happen? I really don't want to leave him but what choice is he given me?
Of course I will read whatever you say. I try to get on here every day, sometimes that is not possible so there can be a delay -no reflection on you.
I guess while I ended up better and my relationship improved out of sight that was only partly due to the efforts of my partner. She provided a stable supportive and loving base and we, unlike you, were living together. My retreats were to another room, not another place.
Having said all that it was the medical support that made things get better, without that things just kept getting worse.
There is only so much a person can take when their bf needs treatment but refuses to take any action. All the things you speak of are reasonable, and I'd imagine you are continually being hurt by his indifference. That can't go on for ever.
Maybe living apart may in time have an effect, I don't know. I do know you cannot always be the one to make things work, nobody can, it has to be a partnership.
May I ask what your plans are now?
Thanks for getting back to me! I really appreciate it.
My partner have lived together for 5 years before departing on the road trip where the whole lot our problems amplified (surprise surprise). As you know, I am going to stay with a friend for now because even if I wanted to, I couldn't stay with him. In a way he makes it easy for me to go my own path now. Too easy if you ask me but maybe then I overthink things again...
I am forced to start a new life again without him. He doesn't want a part of it so I will look for work and a shared place to stay on my own. I do need counselling badly but I don't know where to get "good" ones. My last counselor was bad, only thinking about searching for the right one makes me feel drained. I know it's necessary but still... I still talk and seek counsel from a few people including you thankfully.
I just feel like, by giving us time apart nothing will change on his end and I am continuing my "forced" single life. It's pathetic: it feels like I know this truth already deep inside of me but I still want to fight for him if he only tells me that he loves me. The crazier thing is that since his depression I haven't felt unconditionally loved like he did before. And still I want to share my life with him, despite all this. There is something profoundly wrong with me and I can't shake off the feeling of guilt and desperation.
Why on earth should you think there is something wrong with you? You love someone and that does not just turn off like a tap, that's why it is hard to break up. So there are differing emotions competing inside you, that's not pathetic, that is simply the way an aftermath goes.
Of course if he told you he loved you and tried to show care and consideration and interest you would have a different plan, however as he does not I'm not sure how much choice you actually have. Go back and put up wiht everything and gradually come to hate - both him and yourself?
There has to be a limit to giving without receiving in return. From you words I think you have reached it and as a result planning a life without your ex-partner is simply being realistic. It is also courageous.
Trying to find the right councilor is indeed hard and often a lot of luck is involved. Perhaps your GP may have some alternative suggestions?
I need to figure out where I'm going to live long term before I see a GP. I have to start completely from scratch with everything and it scares me a lot. Since the last few days I experience anxiety attacks more and more often. My day of departure back to Melbourne is getting closer and I realize more and more that I am alone with this. That this is actually happening and no one back in Oz really knows because he;s not telling anyone. We share every circle of friends and I am so so anxious about what I'm going to tell them.
I feel like he's leaving it up to me what the "official" statement is to the public, but I don't even know what's going on! I don't want to say we have a break or it's over but I have to say something... he is leaving me alone with this because (of course) he is completely lost himself.
It all drives me insane. I question myself to a degree where answering my doubts becomes impossible. For example, how do I know where the depression ends and relationship problems start? I already brace myself for the eventual outcome, that I am the trigger of his depression. That I contribute to his misery of being so lost. And it kills me. Absolutely breaks me because I do love him so much.
I try to stop myself now to reach out to him. Hoping that this might help him. Thanks for listening to me Croix. I know this is all a repeat on this forum. So many people going through the same or worse situation. I am grateful or your attention. Thank you
Yes it is a daunting situation and I guess the first thing is accommodation. Do you have any thoughts, family, friends, a neighborhood you know?
Even short-term as a base to get things organized will be a start.
While a hassle those are logistics, and you can sort them I'm sure.
The one question you think you have to face is partly where does a relationship falter and where does depression come in and how to tell the difference.
Well if I look at myself while I did not at the time realize the fact my love of my family continued - and still does. I did not stop being concerned for their welfare, in fact that was part of the reason I thought I'd be better leaving them alone - for their sakes. Depression masks, it does not stop.
As for 'triggering' the depression, like anything else you can say the wrong thing at times, but if you love and care, which you do, that overrides temporary problems.
He has to take steps to get well, you and others can only encourage.
If asked by friends what's happening how about 'I don't know' or even 'I don't want to talk about it'.
Can I suggest you simply take thongs one step at a time, get back, get a place to live, a job, see a councilor and ten take stock?
Just because other people have faced the same sort of problems does not make your hurt and worry any the less.