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How can I support my partner - recently diagnosed

Community Member


I have been with my boyfriend for almost 3 years now, & the whole time I've known him he has had very low moods & major self-esteem issues.

He finally decided after a low where he had dark thoughts that he should seek professional help (after 2 years of me suggesting it), & after a month he was diagnosed with dysmythia/persistent depressive disorder, which is suspected to have started around early high school (he's now late 20's). Since his diagnosis, he's been more low than usual, & keeps referring to himself as broken.

I've done a little bit of research on it (not heaps, as he was only diagnosed recently) but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to support him? He's really good at letting me know when he's feeling down, & I just feel kind of useless because I don't know what I can do to help. Any attempts at asking if there's something I can do always gets the "I don't know" answer.

It's also so hard to hear him talk about how much of a failure he thinks he is, how he's a bad friend/son/partner, how much he hates the way he looks (he's not overweight in the slightest but considers himself disgusting). He asks how I could love him when he's "such a failure of a person" or tells me he understands if I don't want to be with him, & it breaks my heart. We haven't been intimate in about 6 months because of his body issues, which I have found rather difficult. He tells me he straight up doesn't believe me when I compliment him, he won't talk to his friends about anything (though sometimes he'll mention he's having a bad day). He sees a psychologist every 1-2 weeks, & is always very down after every appointment. (Not sure if it's just hitting some uncomfortable truths maybe?)

It makes him hard to be around sometimes when he's in a bad/low mood (even the dogs avoid him), & it's a relief sometimes when he wants to be left alone on his computer, though that makes me feel guilty & like a bad girlfriend for feeling like that.

I'm just not sure what I should be doing (or IF there's something) to help? He knows I'm here to talk or even just listen, but he won't tell me anything other than "I'm having a low day". I want to talk to his friends about it because they're fantastic and supportive (they know he's been struggling) but I'm worried that he'll see it as a breach of privacy and trust.

Trying to stay positive for the both of us is exhausting some days (especially in lockdown), & I'm just not sure what or where to go from here?

1 Reply 1

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Twiggs,

I know as a S/O you just want them to feel better and to make it all go away. Truth is, you can't.

Depression is a chronic illness. Think of it similar to how diabetes is a chronic illness. There is no "cure" but it can be managed. There is hope.

Just simply being there for him is enough, depression often clouds one's vision and sufferers do genuinely believe the worst about themselves, the world, and the future. He can't help that. If you can understand, help validate his feelings and tell him how much you love & care for him - that is literally all you can do.

Encourage him to continue therapy - things will slowly improve. Has he been given anti-depressants? Maybe they could help as well.

Stay supportive,