Advice on supporting my anxious and depressed boyfriend
Welcome and thank you for joining us and being here. I'm sorry to hear how much of a tough time you are having and glad you decided to join the forums.
I can definitely relate to how you are feeling in having a partner with anxiety and depression, although I too have my fair share of mental illnesses even though we are both so different in how we cope. I absolutely believe in a life with happiness, love and joy. I believe in recovery too, whether your partner is 22 or 102. I'm not sure that I would be here (and a champ) if I didn't.
There is no doubt I can exceed the word limit talking about what it's like being a partner, but I wanted to jump in with something first. It is not okay for your partner to behave in this way with you- there is a difference between supporting someone with anxiety and depression, and doing so at a cost where you are being hurt - and being possessive is a type of abuse too.
I will fully support you in being with your partner and getting through, but I'm calling out behaviour when I see it, because it is okay to feel anxious and depressed, but it's not okay to behave that way.
Can I ask how it's landing with you as I share that?
I hope that you are taking really good care of yourself too. I think self-care is the most important thing when getting through, and if you browse the other threads here you can see how others cope too.
thanks for your response rt,
what you wrote lands pretty close to home, a lot of the time It can feel extremely draining and almost suffocating when things are bad. I’m worried to say or do things out of fear, which I know isn’t healthy. I want to set boundaries and expectations with what is and isn’t ok but it’s become hard as I didn’t know what was going on from the start, so now that we are deeper into the relationship it feels a lot more difficult. Not impossible and probably very necessary though. I was considering seeing a therapist for myself and to help manage the stress better, but I’ll definitely have a look at the other forums for more self-care advice. I know deep down that if something doesn’t give that this relationship won’t be sustainable. I fear that I’ve made his life ‘comfortable’ in the way where I cut him a lot of slack and let certain actions or comments slide that I normally wouldn’t let others do. And because of this he won’t push himself to get better? By saying that it makes him sound like he doesn’t want to but I know that he does want to change, it just gets too overwhelming and he falls back into old patterns. I don’t want it to come to us separating but I’m slowly seeing how destructive and toxic the relationship is becoming. I partially feel like it’s my own fault for not being strong enough to stand up to him and stick to my word or that I could be doing more to support him and I myself need to be better at coping. It’s hard to paint a picture in this short space of what the relationship is like without coming across like he is a bad person because he isn’t, he is sick and I just want him to get back to himself and do what I can to help that 🙂
romantic_thi3f has some really good pointers.
I can see how much difficulties you must be experiencing in regards to your partners behaviour. I'd like to share some helpful insight. There is a dynamic in your relationship which involves the both of you. It takes two to tango. Rather than looking at a mental health issue, think about what you both are doing and what you can do to make change. I have been in this situation many times, but sometimes, we need to realise that we cannot change our partner, we can only leant to adapt and grow. Development is highly important, bonding, building a close connection, laughing and simply being happy. it's our responsibility to change ourselves if need be and learn to accept our partners flaws because we are not meant to be perfect. Age has nothing to do with your dynamic. Try doing a bonding activity where you can open him up and see him happy. Are there any hobbies he enjoys or needs to connect with to feel calm and complacent. In healthy relationships, we need to inspire our partner to be the happiest that they can and learnt o diminish the negativity that we hold.
It's really good to hear back from you and thank you for sharing this; I was wondering how you were going and if my post seemed out of line. You are right in that it's so hard to get a good glimpse of a relationship but I do believe that you both do have a strong connection and good intentions.
I also think that it's a major credit to you in being here and he is very lucky to have you. As someone with anxiety and depression and who has a partner with depression I can see that it's hard from every angle. It also sounds like you have incredible insight into your own relationship and the dynamic of comfortable vs change.
It's never too late to set a boundary, no matter how long it's been or how much/how little you know. In very serious and harmful relationships with DV, there's always a complex background and it can seem so 'easy' to have the good overtake the bad, or to have someone who may be abusive but is also incredibly loving and caring. While I understand your relationship is not like this, I wanted to share it with you because even the most loving relationships can be harmful too and regardless of your boyfriends personal history, you always deserve respect.
I think it's a really good idea to see a therapist. I see one too and I think it's so helpful, even just having someone to talk to and the space to say what's on your mind. I also believe it's so important to know that none of this is your fault. It's honestly so complicated and there's no guidebook on how to handle this.
I hope that you know I fully support you with what I'm sharing. I'm sure I sound like a negative nancy with this, but I really want to empower you so that you can make the right decisions for you. It really is the cliche of not being able to pour from an empty cup.
Your own well-being is the most important. You need to really look after yourself.
I'm the one with depression and anxiety in my relationship. I used to yell and complain over the silliest things on my bad days. Nowadays I've become more internalised and I wouldn't talk much when I'm down.
I feel guilty that I'm not the same person that I used to be. I wish I could go back to my old-self .... the person that my husband met at the beginning and got to know. It's not about "wanting" to get better, it's more like I "cannot" get better. All I can do is manage my condition which is ongoing and exhausting.
My husband copes with all this by having hobbies of his own. He enjoys the outdoors whilst I'm a homebody. It gives him a chance to get away from the depressed me. Also he's able to recharge himself both physically & emotionally to better support me during my fragile moments. Maybe in a similar way, you could try taking up an interest of your own? Supporting someone you love doesn't mean you need to devote all of yourself 24/7.
Hope this can help you.