May 242012
 

Here’s how to recognize the signs of depression in men, plus tips on how to help a depressed boyfriend. This article is inspired by a reader who wants to help her boyfriend deal with depression.

How to Help a Depressed Boyfriend

How to Help a Depressed Boyfriend

How You Can Survive When They’re Depressed: Living and Coping With Depression Fallout by Anne Sheffield, Mike Wallace, and Donald F. Klein is the book you need if your boyfriend is depressed. Depression is a serious emotional health issue, and it can’t be treated or solved in one blog post! Please go to the experts to get help when your boyfriend is struggling with depression.

How do you relate to a boyfriend who is depressed? How do you act, and what should you say? These tips are for girlfriends who aren’t sure how to handle depression in their relationships.

Here’s what Krystie says: “Dear Laurie, I have every reason to believe my boyfriend suffers from depression – he has all the classic signs. For the first time three weeks ago, he said he thought he was depressed. He is a very supportive, kind and loving boyfriend, but recently that has changed and he can be rather cold and hurtful. I try to understand that this is just the depression talking, because I know the person that he otherwise is. His depression has put a real strain on our relationship and it hurts me. I told him that I felt his depression was the core of our issues and other issues in his life, along with ADD, which his kids also have. I told him depression clouds, confuses and masks emotions, feelings, desires, wants and needs. I don’t know what else I can do. Do you have any thoughts? Whatever you can offer would greatly be appreciated. Most sincerely, Krystie.”


Another book to read if you think (or know) your boyfriend is depressed, read Is He Depressed or What? What to Do When the Man You Love Is Irritable, Moody, and Withdrawn. It’ll help you recognize his symptoms, and help him to get the help he needs to manage his depressed feelings. The book will also show you how to take care of yourself and not get lost in his depression.

Signs of Depression in Men

The tricky part of recognizing male depression is that often doesn’t look like depression at all. Depressed guys often mask their depression with workaholism or substance abuse. Sometimes they withdraw from their girlfriends, wives, and other loved ones – or they lash out in aggressive ways.

If your boyfriend is depressed, he won’t necessarily walk around crying or being glum and sad. Rather, he may show signs of extreme fatigue, listlessness, social isolation, weight gain or loss, changes in sleeping patterns, or feelings of being overwhelmed. He may abuse drugs or alcohol, or take his feelings out on you.

Getting help for depression can be as complicated as seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, or as simple as getting the right information about depression. Sometimes medication helps; other times talk therapy is most effective. It depends on your boyfriend’s depression, personality, lifestyle, and other health issues. Unfortunately, all you can do is learn how to help a depressed boyfriend – you can’t actually make him happy with his life.

Signs of depression in men include

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Unexplained changes in behavior
  • Loss of interest in sex or physical intimacy
  • Withdrawal or detachment, in communication or otherwise
  • Irrational thoughts, phobias, or emotional issues becoming increasingly evident

“These signs of depression differ by personality and by gender,” says depression expert Rich Naran. “The most intimate person – the partner of a depressed person – will perceive the subtle changes before a co-worker or a neighbor does. In fact, partners will see changes that others don’t grasp.”

You may recognize depression in your boyfriend before anyone else does, because you’re closest to him. You may even be in a codependent relationship.

When Your Boyfriend is Depressed

Helping a depressed boyfriend depends on the signs of depression and how your boyfriend is coping with the idea of being depressed. Because of the social stigma of mental illness, denial and retreat are common when it comes to men and depressed feelings. Depression affects all relationships.

Learn all you can about depression. Depression can be the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain or a hormonal imbalance – it’s not necessarily caused by a difficult life or recent tragedy. Depression can be caused by less sunshine or a lack of certain nutrients. To help with your boyfriend’s depression, think about what the possible cause could be. You don’t need to diagnose or treat him — just think about his lifestyle and way of handling life’s problems.

Never treat your depressed boyfriend like a sick child. Let him know that you perceive something is wrong, but don’t demean your boyfriend by “trying to cheer them up.” In fact, never use the words “cheer up” in any fashion. You can’t raise his self-esteem or make him feel better — depression is more serious than simply “snapping out of it.” This is one of the most important tips on how to help a depressed boyfriend.

Be watchful, but respect his space. Your depressed boyfriend has an illness that needs to be treated if it goes on too long. But, he has to be ready to get help before he can be helped. If you think he’s ready to think about accepting and overcoming his depression, read Natural Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It offers a few tips for treating depression that aren’t as scary or threatening as medication or counseling. The treatments will help men overcome the signs of depression.

boyfriend has depression

“How to Help a Depressed Boyfriend” image by tpsdave via Pixabay, CC License

Avoid being a crutch or “enabler.” If your boyfriend is depressed, don’t take over all the responsibilities or create a situation that allows him to stay depressed and not get help. You need to find the balance between giving space, and encouraging your boyfriend to get depression help. Don’t turn into his mommy, caretaker, housekeeper, or personal assistant.

If you’re considering leaving your depressed boyfriend, accept that there is no easy way to separate. Make a clean break, not a slow agonizing weaning off, which only fosters more guilt, emotional pain, and stress. The breakup has to be clean, or it will mess up both your lives even more. Read How to Break Up With Someone Who is Depressed.

If you feel guilty about your boyfriend’s depression, get counseling or a support group. Don’t struggle through this alone – find out if there are any depression support groups in your community. Going online and reading about signs of depression in men is good, but it’s important to get in-person support if you want to learn how to help a depressed boyfriend.

For more help with depression and men, read How to Cope With a Moody Boyfriend.

How do you feel about dealing with a depressed boyfriend? I welcome your thoughts below – but I can’t offer counselling or advice. Please call a depression help line if you’re struggling with your relationship.

  35 Responses to “How to Help a Depressed Boyfriend”

  1. Dear keani,

    It sounds like you care for your boyfriend very much, and you want to help him through his depression. You’re a loving girlfriend who doesn’t want to give up on your relationship, and that’s commendable.

    However, you can’t do anything to make him better. All you can do is give him space to heal. He is dealing with a serious mood disorder – depression is very difficult to live with – and he can’t handle both a relationship with you and his depression.

    It will be painful, but if I were you I’d step back from the relationship. I’d still send him emails or texts every week or so, but I would release him and myself from the relationship.

    That said, however, I don’t know if this is the best way to help a depressed boyfriend. Have you called a depression help line? That is one of the best ways to get help, for both you and him.

    Sincerely,
    Laurie

  2. I am writing because I am going through a real rough patch in my relationship. My boyfriend has been diagnosed with depression, chemical imbalance, and right now he is going through a major slump. For a little while he slowed us down, and backed off for a few days, due to he felt overwhelmed. And it started to show, when he came back, that his meds didn’t seem like they were helping.

    Well last night we had a fun converstation, then with one question he sent himself into a spiral. He accused me of calling him a bad boyfriend, that I don’t treat him right, and all that jazz. I of course reassured him I did not say that, and I am here to support him.

    Then he shut down, when I finally got to talk to him several hours later he said he knew it wasn’t me, but he was having problem controlling himself. He couldn’t handle anything and he wanted to be alone. He’s still with me. And only with me, but,he needs time. His meds are not working, and he feels like nothing is worth it. He feels horrible and terrible…but he cant think of anything else.

    He doesn’t know how he feels about us, cause he cant feel anything. But he wont let me be there for him. I said I’m on the sidelines to help and I’m giving his space….I was supposed to be coming home this weekend and was supposed to see him from vacation. He wants me to still tell him when I depart and land…is all I can do is leave him alone?

    I want to be there for him…badly…but, he wont let me.

  3. If you think these signs of depression in men are evident in your boyfriend, please call a depression help line. I wish I could help you, but I’m not able to offer advice or counselling. Plus, if you talk to someone on the phone, you’ll get help for local resources that will help you deal with a depressed boyfriend.

    But I welcome your stories and thoughts! Sometimes writing is the best way to cope with your feelings.

    xo
    Laurie

  4. I am so sorry I haven’t been able to respond to your comments. I feel terrible about it, but I just can’t keep up! Plus, I’m not in a position to offer advice on such complicated, serious relationship issues.

    Please talk to a counsellor or someone you trust and respect about your boyfriend’s struggles! You need to get in-person support and advice, and talk through your relationship with someone who can offer you the guidance you need.

    I really wish I could be more helpful, and am sorry to let you down. I hope you’re able to encourage and support each other, and forgive me for not being able to give you more.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  5. I am a senior in high school and have been with my boyfriend only for about 5 months now. We had known each other for about 4 years prior to our dating and have always been flirtatiously dancing around the thought of us together. We have just about everything in common, or how he puts it: “the same brain”. We feel such a deep connection it’s honestly hard for me to consider it a “childish relationship” or a typical “high school relationship”.
    A few months ago he confided in me that he has depression. He told me that he is getting professional therapy and taking medication to help him along. I have never dealt with anyone suffering through depression before so this has all be very new to me. 3 weeks ago I received a call from him saying that he had tried to commit suicide the night before and that he was in the hospital psych ward, and would be there for close to a week. I was absolutely terrified at this news and was not at all sure how I was going to deal with it all. I visited him every day in the hospital and he seemed like his normal self–which I found extremely encouraging. Since this time, I have been more able to notice his mood fluctuating from high to low in very short amounts of time. I can recognize that his emotional distance is a symptom of the depression, but it is an emotional roller coaster that I am not used to yet.
    I have tried to get advice from websites, which all say that he does not mean to be distant and that the last thing he needs is my plea for attention. By no means do I want to be needy, but things seem to have changed between us ever since his attempted suicide. He doesn’t seem to have the “newlywed” attitude that I still possess: I have an urge to text him often and he usually does not reply. Not only does this worry me about his emotional state, but it also worries me about our relationship. I never seem to know where we stand, but I am always reluctant to confront him about my thoughts or feelings for fear that I will only be adding to his list of stressors. I am not really sure how to deal with any of this, and it has become extremely overwhelming.
    How do I know whether his emotional distance is a symptom of his depression, or he has lost interest in our relationship? How can I talk to him without the fear of hitting a trigger? Any advice for coping in this situation would be much appreciated. Thank you!

  6. Hello dears,

    I am in love with my boyfriend but i am very tired now very consumed i feel like i can`t deal with his problems anymore, i feel like i am dawning into a depression myself.. we have been together for almost 3 years now, his life was so difficult and affected him badly ( he is most of the time depressed doesn`t have friends AT ALL there are only 3 people in his life that he relies on his dad, mom and me, his hand and shoulder start to move in abnormal way shaky too, he speaks fast and some times very very slow , his memory is very weak, his personality is weak and have no confidence in himself and has the tendency to cry , he feels always rejected but never admitted.. i am really scared i don`t know what to do i feel like i want to walk away and end this relation but thinking about how bad this would affect him , i don`t know what is the right thing to do .. my dad passed away and i need support i need a positive happy person to get me through but unfortunately he can`t.. please advice do i stay miserable with him or leave him and live with guilt??

  7. I’ve been reading the comments that have been posted on this website and it helps so much to know that there are other women going through the same thing I am and have the same exact feelings and I wanted to share what I’m experiencing. I have been with my boyfriend for over 3 years now and we are still a young couple but we were very much in love and have always planned our future together. He was the sweetest guy I have ever met and cared for me so much. In the beginning he was crazy about me and everything was so great. But over the passed 6 months my boyfriend’s mental health has been slowly getting worse with every passing day. A week ago was probably when he and our relationship hit rock bottom. He has been very depressed with suicidal thoughts and is a completely different person. I finally decided to call his mom and let her know how extreme his emotions really are and she called a counselor to get him help. He continues to push me away when I try to help him or talk to him about it. I have asked him about how he feels about us and our relationship and because the depression makes him feel so numb, he can’t feel any love for me. The worst part is that he doesn’t know if he doesn’t feel like he loves me anymore because of the depression, or if that’s just how he really feels. It’s gotten so bad that he told me if I died he feels like he wouldn’t care. I’m pretty much heart broken at this point and don’t know what to do. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Thank you so much for the reply. There is so much I don’t understand about what he is really feeling and I only wish he would help me understand. I am confused on his loss of emotion and attraction for me because he has not started taking any medication and he does not plan on doing so. So I am scared that he simply fell out of love with me. He continues with his daily life, hanging out with friends and going to the gym, and I seem to be the only person he has shut out. So like all the other comments, it makes me feel insecure and needy. I feel like the floor has been pulled out from under me.

  8. I have been reading about all of your difficult situations in your relationships and thought i would share my difficult time as it is completely new to me and affecting me alot. Me and my boyfriend have been together 3 1/2 years and have always been very solid and like soulmates. We got a flat beginning of last year and he set up his own business as an electrician. Towards the end of last year his behaviour became more erratic and he would start coming home very late at night without telling me when earlier he would have phoned me to say he was coming home at such and such a time and then i would be trying to get hold of him and he wouldnt b picking up. He wasn’t handling his paperwork well and so he wouldnt b paid on time. Also 1 guy he worked for fobbed him off so he wasn’t paid. The estate agents wouldn’t renew our tenancy for a 2nd year as even though i am a nurse and i was paying my half of the rent on time he wouldn’t be paying his half on time.He never told me anything was up and he would be telling me everything was fine so i never thought otherwise. So we went to live at his dads for a while during which time me and his dad found out my boyfriend was addicted to cocaine seriously. We were trying to help him but he completely changed and pushed me away to the point where i had to leave as i was losing weight and sleep over it and nothing i would say would get through to him. We were apart for 4 monthes when he contacted me again and he was clean and got his business back on track. I had started seeing someone else as he was ignoring me and i truely thought we were over. However i still loved him so i gave him a second chance and stopped seeing this new guy.Everything was perfect and we were so loved up. Now 3 monthes on he has started behaving bad again. He has fallen out with his dad recently and his dad has kicked him out of his house, and his business is not as good. This past fortnight he has been ignoring my phone calls again. He will say that he will come and see me in the evening and then when he hasn’t turned up and i phone him he won’t pick up and won’t turn up either. He has developed depression now due to being homeless and having virtually no work. He was meant to see me this saturday evening after my work and the same thing happened again. When i contacted him sunday he said he was going away with his friend as his friends mum was helping him sort out somewhere to live. He said he would come back and see me tonight but when we spoke today he said that he wants to sort himself out by himself and that i will get in the way. He said that he loves me but he is not good for a relationship right now. Natuarally i am very upset and confused as before this we were fine. When i said to him that i want to be here to help him as i am his partner and iwant to b there for him he pushes me away and becomes angry with me when i havn’t done anything wrong. I am going to meet him after his doctors appointment tomorrow morning but now i don’t know where i stand and when i say this to him it just makes him angry. He wants to get himself better then he said we can be properly together but i am fed up as he did that when he was on coke. Why should i be pushed to 1 side and wait for him again when we should be sorting this out together. When i got back with him he was only having a second chance. Now i don’t know what to do. All i know is i love him and he loves me and we want our future together. But at the same time this is the second time he is wrecking my life and i don’t know if i can do it anymore. Any suggestions i would be very grateful for xxx

    • Sarah, first things first, chemical/drug addiction is a serious problem that is a classic symptom of depression. It seems like you have been running your life around his. Yes I believe in supporting your partner when they choose to help themselves. It seems like he is going to seek this help as you mentioned but truth, candor and sincerity are three valuable assets that are needed for you to navigate through this. You are a nurse that cares for people. This is probably why you opted to give him another chance. Your empathy is strong. You need to maintain a course here Sarah, and that’s the level of support you want to give. Is it better for you to separate yourself and allow him to get the help he needs then at his request you two can begin a future together? It is important that you remember that there are three people in your relationship, you, him and the addicted depression. Only you can tell yourself how you want to move forward.
      I appreciate my partners alone time because it has allowed me to gain my self esteem back and my strength and security in knowing who I am. I am a better person for granting the alone time. Yes I am sad many times but here this: adversity causes some to break but others to break records. My choice was to break records so basically I did not allow his depression to break me any longer.
      Stand tall and strong because a depressed man is a confused man and will not be able to have the kind if partnership you may be wanting.
      I love Laurie’s comments to me. Live an adventurous life and get to know you again. When he feels he is healed he may want to be a part of it if you are ready for that.
      Sarah, hold your head high because you are not weak. Depression chips away at you until you feel like you are part of it. You have to find your own way through this but remember you reached out to find support for yourself. I am a firm believer that you have the power to heal yourself from the toxic residue of being involved with a depressed soul but most important you do not have the power to heal him. That is up to him and him alone.
      Be confident in your choices and be fearless because you have to define what’s real and what’s an illusion. Mostly you have to define what you want in your own life before you let someone else control yours. Good luck Sarah, walk with confidence its far more attractive on a woman!! Lauren Ashley…

  9. Me and my boyfriend have been together for nearly 2 years and i love him so much. He is a fab boyfriend. He had lately started a new job and we have just move house, first time completely on our own, the new jon is a managers role for a huge company. He had never worked for a huge company before let alone the managers role and he is struggling. He comes home down and just goes to sleep all the time. He doesnt see his friends. He hardly talks. He doesnt want to have sex. When i see him at work he had a constant worried and stressed look. I just dont know how to help! I want him to be that fun, sexual person he was before! He works most days and we really only have one day off together every other weekend! He has got like thos before when we lived in a horrible house and it upset him. I just think he is sensitive! Has anyone got any ideas how i can help him. He used to go to the gy
    All the time and that has stopped, he has lost weight, he doesnt really eat much. So tricky to know what i should do?

    • Samantha, it sounds like he has experienced this before you said when he lived in the other house. Like I tell everyone do not self diagnose. From what I read so far sounds more like he is overwhelmed in his new job and new responsibilities.

      Be patient with him because you live with him and you will see his every behavior. I would start the dialoug with very open ended questions so you can understand exactly what he is feeling. Depressed men may have trouble expressing their emotions especially those with very high ego’s. Position yourself as a partner who will help not judge and this could be a simple fix. If he is not willing to talk then suggest a therapist he can speak to. Don’t try to fix this try to help him to find his own resolution.

      New jobs with more responsibility tests you and tests your strength. Praise him for trying to excel but let him know you are his partner and will love him through this. Good luck Samantha. Be patient and kind while he is discovering himself. Lauren Ashley….

  10. I am going through a simular problem and not really know what to do. I read all the comments and it is so amazing. 25 years ago I met a wonderful man, I left him because I had problems that I didnt want to drag him into. I knew that he loved me very much. I thought about him for 25 years knowing how much I loved him, I called him we got together, and it was great. We have been on and off now for 3 years, we have hit a lot of bumpy roads. I was calling him several times a day, because I loved him so much, and he would not call me back. He had his phone disconnected and he will not give me his cell phone. I live 2 mins away, 2 weeks ago, he told me that he did not want anything to do with me, that broke my heart. Last week I went over there 3 days, we talked and laughed and he didnt kick me out or anything, he just told me that he needed to get away from me, the 3rd day we had sex, I thought everything was ok between us, I didnt see him over the weekend and went to visit him today, his attitude changed and told me to move on with my life without him. I was so hurt by this, I did not understand, he told me that he did not have to give me a reason. He refuses to talk to me about why he broke up with me, everytime I say anything about it he tells me “i dont want to talk about this crap anymore” and will never tell me any reason why this happened. He tells me over and over that he loves me, but not in love with me anymore, and that he still cares for me. I am trying to understand everything, all I ever do is cry. I have left him notes on his door, and he is always saying that they are nasty, and they are not. He is so wishy washy and I dont know how to deal with this. I know that he is having problems with his job that he really doesnt like. I have always been there for him when he needed someone, but he never was there for me. I know that we need to fix things in our relationship, but he tells me just to move on, not right now, maybe I will call you, I have things to work out. I just dont know what to do, I loved him for 25 years and I really want it to work. I tried to convince him, but I feel that I am pushing him away, something I dont want to do. I have been divorced 2 times and so has he, he has so many ups and downs, since I can not contact him by phone, I go over there to visit, and never know what kind of mood he is in, whether or not he will let me in to visit with me, or bite my head off for coming over. I dont want this to end, but not sure what to do. I am so sad all the time, I want to be there for him, I just dont want to give up on us, I feel as if he already has, and I want to get back with him and show him that we can work things out.

    • Angie, your letter stuck out to me for a few reasons. One is that you do love this man. Sometimes love is not big enough to make up for what you are missing. That is a true partnership where the love and care is reciprocal. If you truly love this man you have to let go of the control a little. You are the one piloting this relationship. If you pull back and regain your self confidence then there should be less tension around your visiting. I bet you are a strong courageous bold woman and those are great and admirable qualities to have. If depression is what he truly has then when he is ready to reach to you he will. We, I mean women of the depressed partners, become do critical of ourselves and insecurities build up where we least expect it. I know it is never easy to take a step back to re-evaluate but it is like you are being forced to without your will. We become comfortable very quickly then when the depression sinks in its hard to find your balance. The best and most thoughtful advice I can give is to allow the time process to happen and you get stronger and rebuild. You can love and support in other ways then banging at the front door which I have done and unequivocally regret. Learning lessons are the hardest when it is at the expense of your heart but trust me roads are broken for a bigger purpose. My problem was my friend was weak when we began seeing each other after a three year friendship. I knew he was struggling but I kept believing with the right love and care he would become whole. It doesn’t make him whole all is does is potentially enable him then they use you as a crutch until they know they have to do this on their own. I didn’t realize that until I believe it may be too late. I set him free and in my heart was the right thing to do but it hurts more than any pain you can experience. I know if it is meant to be then it will be but for now it is guided by something a lot bigger than. Trust in yourself and know that you should never have to ask anyone how they feel about you. If it is right then you will know. Going against the grain is where you are feeling these hurts and pains. Stay strong and be a woman that commands respect and love will find you. Pick up some new hobbies and keep your mind healthy. That’s what is more attractive. Lauren Ashley….

    • Hi friends do I have a super cool thing to share. My friend is still in his alone time dimension and I am busy being me. Traveling for business took me to Chicago this week. Ouch it really hurt because he was supposed to take me there last weekend for a getaway to where he felt like a kid again. After he mentioned it to me about taking us never again spoke about it until he apologized last Thursday about not going. Anyway, I decided to skip away from the group of 400 and take a cab ride alone to the Navy Pier where he said he wanted to take me. At first my heart felt like exploding but I was sure to take pictures and post on FaceBook that I was there without him anyway. As I was walking with each step my heart grew heavier. I was so sad trying to understand why this depression separated me from him in such a quick way. I have been over this a trillion times and realized again that letting him go is the best because if he isn’t going to include me then guess what, it isn’t worth my heartbreak. As I am thinking of him and pondering on what it would have felt like to be there with him, I stopped by the waters edge. There were thousands of people there walking to see the upcoming fireworks and I stopped and trying to catch my breath from missing him I looked up and believe me I saw a white feather floating down from the sky. I extended my hand out and this flawless white feather landed in my hand. I caught my breath and couldn’t believe that at that exact moment it drifted right into the palm of my hand. I googled that right away and it actually comforted me at that moment saying it was from guardian angels watching over me telling me to catch my breath and that everything was going to be alright. I knew at that moment that although this deep heartache of pain I sometimes feel myself losing my breath. Since Wed evening I started to breath in deeply and exhale deeply when I feel he is crossing my mind. It helps but it hurts too. I know that im not alone and that maybe through his confusion and sickness his angels are sending me a message of thanks for caring so much or maybe it’s my angels saying woman you did the best you could and it’s time to let him go. I don’t know but I am certainly breathing a lot more than I did before. I did buy him a coffee mug from Chicago and I will put it on his desk at work for no other reason than see I an an independant strong beautiful woman that can be adventurous and live. Lauren Ashley…..

      • Lauren,

        It is so amazing how much we all have in common. As I read this post today I too have felt this way this past week. Weird but we also had a Chicago trip planned earlier this month and of course it didn’t happen for us. Chicago is one of our favorite places to visit. We have so many amazing memories there. Many of them are as simple as a walk down Michigan Avenue or a breathtaking view from our hotel room. I did decide to travel later that planned week to visit my best girlfriend about 3 hours northeast of Chicago. My best girlfriend knew how devasted I was and encouraged me to make this six hour visit so she could cheer me up. I did have a great time with her and in addition was undecided on a dinner invite the next day in Chicago. Made the decision to take the dinner invitation as I started my six hour drive home. Now this dinner invitation was with a male friend who i met about seven months ago and has continually been trying to gain my attention despite me not accepting his advances. (lol he is a retired pro athlete so very persistent and not used to this type of challenge). It was difficult for me to agree to this mentally. I felt as though I was cheating. It was just dinner, nothing was going to happen that i did not allow, and I was tired and a little hung over from my girls night so taking a break was probably a good idea. And, more importantly I was in and fighting for a relationship that really truly doesn’t exist :(. Dinner was nice. It was nice to feel wanted. Now, I don’t mean that to sound needy or as though it is necessary for me to have a man in my life at all times. Most definitely not. I am very independent and it scares most men. But what I do mean is I was so comfortable in my relationship that I really missed the companionship. I was not lost in this relationship. We both had our own lives. It was an excellent balance. But, I missed the both verble and nonverble sense of being made to feel attractive and the fact that someone wanted to spend time with me. i missed the smile on my face when i received a call or text. I had not had a relationship like this in such a long time or maybe even never. I think it was so good because of the “life lessons” that i like to call them had helped me mature and know how to have and/or be in a relationship. I had been feeling so confused about this “breakup” and overwhelmed with the rejection that I lost the sense of someone really wanting to spend time with me. Does that make sense??

        Sooo….point being going over this a trillion times will probably continue but hopefully at some point to a lesser extent because I don’t understand this “thing” completely and not sure I ever will. But, the fact is he won’t let me be a part of this to help me understand. And, I think that’s what hurts me the most. I read that the emotion and clarity is not there for him. But what I don’t get is there has to be some time when there is a moment of clarity and why doesn’t he use that strength to reach out to me and help me understand? How can he accept me being in pain like this? I don’t know. But what I do know and I am trying to accept is this depression is so much bigger than I can imagine. And, I am hurting myself by trying to hold on. I am not a bad person because I have needs and wants. That’s why in one of our last conversation and at that time I didn’t understand but he said he didn’t want to be a burden on me and I was such a good strong woman that it was so hard for him to let me go but there were better men out there for me. At this point he had convinced himself that he was protecting me despite my confusion and stressing to him that he was the one for me :(. So I to have to let go to more of an extent than I am ready for. I will still care and be supportive if he reaches out, but I have to be ok with accepting a simple dinner or movie date. I am not cheating on him :(. I am being healthy and living life. Because “life is too short” and I need to walk with my head held high with confidence….Camille

        • Camille, yes we do live very similar lives and the synergy between the two men that captivated us is eerily similar as well. Odd that we both had Chicago meanings! I have to tell you how my heart just felt so empty when I went to that pier. I couldn’t believe how much I actually dispised that feeling. It was like a slow drawing pang that didn’t let up until I actually flew home to Fort Lauderdale. I am glad that you went to dinner to feel like a woman should. There is nothing selfish you did actually quite the contrary. You are stepping out of the zone and beginning to live. This depression is a slow death because it strangles your very essence as a partner. I have become bitter and resentful that someone so strong could become such a weak passive man. It’s almost like there is a multiple personality happening. Since this alone time happened just over a month ago I have seen him twice in the office. The man at the office is strong and confident then after work out comes this man I have never met before. I was tempted to shake his hand and introduce myself and ask the next time he sees my friend please tell him I miss him and our friendship very much. I am with you on why can’t they find that ounce of clarity and when they do why don’t they reach out to us. This is what I struggle with so much. It’s not you or me Camille it is bigger and no matter how we try if they don’t include us in this process then who are they including and why not us because we were the closest to them physically and emotionally. Let’s face it this thing is a monster and we can’t make it go away they have to. Something crossed my mind thus business trip. It was quite simple, do I really want to be with someone that 1. Is not including me in this problem and 2. Do I really want to be with someone that has to have a medically induced state of mind to bd happy? I haven’t spoken to him since last Thursday and tonight my girls asked if he was feeling better. I told them he was still on medication and that I was hopeful he was. I sent him a quick text telling him the girls were asking about him and I wanted to see how he was doing. Then followed up with a voicemail asking the same. I did that because he was always so into texting rather than talking but this time I wanted to use my voice. No response. Not sure if I ever will but truthfully you can feel it when you know if someone wants you to be around them and I don’t feel that draw anymore. It’s more strange for me that I have to see him occasionally at the office but I am hardly there and when I am it’s a quick jaunt. I wish I didn’t see him anymore so I too could put more closure on this. Letting go is the only alternative so I am not wrapped up into his depression which causes me a great deal if insecurity. I pray every night and inude him in those prayers but my first prayer is to release my pain and to help me understand who I am and what I want from a partner. My family always taught me you don’t leave someone behind that needs you but truth is he left me behind.:( Lauren Ashley…..

          • Lauren,

            It is crazy how similar our situations are. I felt the same way in Chicago because we were recently there for Labor Day weekend and it was so hard for me to even walk down Michigan without reliving those incredible moments. As time goes I know that these type of things will get better (I hope).

            You said a couple things here that are really sticking with me. 1. I know that he is functioning because he has to. I am sure he is strong and confident when he is at work and with other people – so why not give me something, just a little bit? 2. Yes, we were the closet to them emotionally and physically – so how can he not include me in this process? 3. I do feel like after all that special time, that I don’t know and have no clue who this person was or is. That scares me. 4. It is clear that I am wrapped up in this depression and that is why I feel so needy, rejected and insecure. That is not the strong confident woman that I am and I don’t like that. This hurt me so much more than I can imagine and I don’t understand how he can let this confident, strong woman that he loved so much feel so much pain. That makes me angry and I don’t want to be angry. “Life is too short”.

            And, one of the last things that I am repeating to myself several times a day in this healing process is — I to was taught as well that for the people you care about that you always have their back (and they have yours as well). And, especially when that person you care about is in a time of need. This is an attribute that I am proud of and people know that about me if they are in my circle – they can always count on Camille. It’s something that I don’t even think about, it is a natural state for me. But you are sooo right I didn’t leave him behind….he left me behind :(. So being the same, I always showed him and told him I had his back….but the truth is he obviously doesn’t have mine :(….Camille

        • Yes Camille I feel that he has turned his back on me as well. Funny thing is I have learned that the medication spirals you so bad that rational thought to you and I is easy to them it’s complicated and irrational. What you and I feel weighs very little to them. I saw my partner in the office yesterday and felt uneasy. It’s so hard to be in the same room casually talking because I just want to embrace him. I asked about his medication and he said that the fourth one is on is still throwing him into a roller coaster of thoughts. I couldnt take much more of this and yesterday I vented. I texted him that I wanted him to know precisely the hurt and pain his disease is inflicting on me. I told him that no matter the strong exterior in Chicago I cried my eyes out because I was supposed to be there with him. I told him holding nothing back that I didn’t know if my communication was hindering or helping him but it was causing me pain. He responded with wow ouch. WTF! I responded back with no ouch it’s hurtful because I miss him so much. I told him that I wanted to see him so I could communicate with him if it’s only a hug or a short visit I wanted him to work on it. He said Friday would be best. I said I would see him then. Now I could kick myself because after all I researched on this they are unemotional and anything I say about me and what this is doing to me has no bearing on his recovery. It’s not going to snap him out of this all it’s going to potentially do is create confusion. I was tired of stepping around my needs to communicate my pain. I said what I had to say and now I feel vindicated but yet still empty inside because he is not whole enough to fill my need for love and security. The strong man that I fell in love with is either in the deep shadows or never truly was there to begin with. I too remind myself everyday that he blocked me out of this process because he is lost not because of what I may have said or done. I think you and I became to close to the problem that they weren’t ready to face themselves. Not our faults. We both hold and hug and care for those who need us but our bitterness is no one is holding or hugging us through this because those close to us do not understand the disease. It’s a lonely feeling so I went back to the root and vented. Not sure yet if I will see him on Friday, I am not yet stable enough with overcoming the abandonment to face him. Path of least resistance is not the road that either one of us face. But is the reward for crossing this greater or is it an endless valley of depressed climbs. No answer to that one except my thought is we become calloused to the process and we to see abandonment as the best option for our own sanity. Who really knows. Lauren Ashley…

  11. I have been in a state of massive confusion for the last 3 weeks. My bf of 6 fabulous months broke up with me for absolutely no reason. In all of 36 hours we went from celebrating our 6 month anniversary 5 days prior to let’s just be friends, my life has all these life changing decisions coming up (no truth to that), he had to move because of his business to he couldn’t impose on me by asking me to come with him. so with all of these excuses he ended the conversation with he needed a few days to think cause he was so confused. I was just speechless and hurt and confused.

    After 2 days we had a 3 hour conversation were we both reiterated how this relationship has been the best we both have ever had, we were just taking it day by day with a natural progression – no pressure on either of us, he knows how supportive i am, we are an amazing team together, etc. He’s been married once (no kids), another 3 year relationship prior to us, has a great job and starting his own business. I have been married twice, second divorce has taken a year and half (cause ex is trying to take all my money), 1 kid from each marriage, great job. Definitely no complaints on that stuff. He’s been very supportive through this time and it hasn’t been an issue with our relationship. My marriage has been over for 5 years so no life changing decisions upcoming. I thought things we back uphill I could tell over the next few days he was avoiding me. He said he wasn’t. Had another conversation with him mid week and he said he had a bad day at work, felt like he was being pulled in a ton of different directions. Next day i texted during work day, i invited him over for dinner that night and he stood me up. Next morning, Friday all i got was a good morning and nothing else. I was so hurt by midnight i called him – no answer, sent him text that I was going to give him what he wanted and I was going to stop fighting for a relationship that he doesn’t want.

    About five days ago I started to think – in between crying every single day, did I mention we have been together non stop since the day we met and had all of these plans over the next few months. So this has been a huge adjustment for me – I lost my best friend and lover in all of 36 hours and I don’t understand. Something clicked for me. I am a pharm sales rep so at times I think I am a doctor Lol. I started researching and was immediately like wow!!!! this is so him. He’s told me before that when he needs to think he just closes the world off but I didn’t take it as literally shut the person you love out of your life. We don’t live together so sometimes we do go a couple of days with not seeing each other, but always talk.

    I am so hurt. I have sent him a text telling him that I think I figured out what is going on with him, and I understand if he doesn’t want to talk but i am hear for him and want to help. I miss him and I am worried about him. I asked him would he please respond and just tell me he’s ok. Told him this doesn’t scare me and I have a huge part of me that I am holding back because I don’t want people to perceive me as weak and fragile so I understand more than he knows. When he is ready maybe we can share our secrets. (I have MS and only my immediate family knows.) He won’t respond to me, he won’t even acknowledge my texts. I have been trying not to call him but broke down today and just left him a message (cause of course he didn’t answer) that I just wanted to say hi.

    I don’t know how to deal with this. I have been reading everything I can and it seems like I just have to wait it out and see if he will contact me. I don’t even know if this is what he has. He’s never told me but all signs point to this. It’s killing me to not hear anything from him at all. I understand from reading that it all may be to overwhelming for him to deal with but I can’t just stop loving him on a dime like this. I cry everyday. I miss him so much. At this point I don’t know if I will ever hear from him again and if I do when?? and what do I say??

    I am such a mess and now I feel depressed. It’s hard to just walk away. But I feel so alone.

    • Camille,

      First I praise you for reaching out to a support group of some kind or any kind! When you hurt it is real pain you feel and trying to support something you have no knowledge other than assuming what it is hurts even more. Be careful to not diagnose and most of all try not to label the struggle until he is prepared to share it with you. Women will try to move mountains when it comes to helping someone they love when they hurt.

      His silence to you after what sounds like a great foundation tells more to the story. It seems like he is not prepared to open his insecurity. One classic sign of depression to walk away and internalize the grief shutting loved ones out. No matter the love you have, depression is a bigger problem than that. It chips away at their thought process so in some cases they can’t make a cognitive decision, make reason or any sense. It impairs their life. This may not be the problem at all.

      Truthfully, that’s getting way ahead of you right now. To understand this more, may your first step be evaluating whether there has been any other signs prior to the silence? Such as, personality flips, substance abuse of any kind, perhaps even his relationship to his family. There had to be some signs you have seen prior to this that questioned your better intuition. This may help you find those little red flags that were waving that you may have missed while you were so enamored by him.

      There is more to the story here Camille. Love is the foundation to a wonderful reciprocal relationship but there is a reason that he is not prepared to share with you. Be super careful because sometimes when you ask for something and you get it just may not be what is best for you. This so far could be a variety of things.

      I am not a therapist, I am only the result of dating a depressed man. It has not beat me and I have not given up but I have taken a sideline approach. I am valuable and I have merit. I know in my heart that this man cares for me but truthfully I am not going to let the depression win me. This is his fight and all I can do to help is let him find his own strength and courage. He reaches to me about every other day for a quick are you still around for me text or call. Of course I am. The hurt dissipates but it is still there.

      DONT let this consume you. Make yourself healthy as Laurie states- healthy mind and body. When you simply let him know you are there for him from the distance he is requesting it helps to give himself clarity on what he needs and wants in his own life. Remember no matter how you much you feel in your heart he is the one, he too has to feel that for it to work. It is intrinsic in most women to have their hand held after extending to someone for help. Know that YOU CAN NOT FIX THIS! You can only quickly fix yourself from the scars of depression if that is indeed what this is. Remember the saying that – one will only change when it hurts more to stay the same. When he realizes that is when he will reach out to have a valid attempt to help himself.

      Be cognoscente that you do not become part of the problem. Acknowledge the struggle and offer support but try not solve it or fix it. He has to do this on his own and he will appreciate that more than you trying to enable.

      Please let me know how you are doing. Don’t be afraid to comment back on your emotions. I know how difficult it is to be told when the man you love needs alone time. I know it is so hard because you don’t have an answer yet on what this alone time is based on. Just remember to respect yourself and don’t beat yourself up for something you may have no control over. These are his demons not yours. When he is ready to talk he will. Walk with confidence Camille. Lauren Ashley…

      • Lauren,

        Thank you so much for your response. Yes, you are correct I have consumed myself these last few days with the diversion of trying to understand what I think is wrong with him. No, I don’t know for sure and the signs that made me think to even research this seem so classic & relevant to him. Yes, he’s a workalcoholic, closest family is over 6 hours away, he hasn’t been back home to visit in 7 years (he ended up here because of a job), told me in past that he deals with things by shutting world off. I have obviously never meet his family I do know their names. He’s oldest of 7 & they live all over so I have been around when they do chats, but I also know that he shuts them out when he wants.

        I do realize today i am exhausted from trying to understand, which is not good for me. I wanted a more conscise answer Lol! I laugh because that’s exactly what I wanted when I found out I had MS four years ago. Researched, researched, researched….after a year and probably still I have to accept the unknown. That is difficult for a person like me who is always organized, the one who always has a plan or can come up with one. That’s what I do analyze the situation, come up with the different options & ok let’s pick one. This time it is bigger than I am (if it’s what I think). It will take me a minute to digest this. So forgive me.

        I do want to know what should I do now for him & of course focus on a healthy me? Patience seems to be key. Do I not contact him at all anymore? Is it too overwhelming? Or do I at least keep control of our daily good morning and good nite text (not expecting a response) to just let him know I’m here. Will that be too annoying? Reach out too him every couple of weeks? I don’t know??

        He still has a couple of things that belong to me. I asked him to mail them and he hasn’t. Is this his way of holding on? I don’t want to do too much cause if he changes his number or leaves town I will never be able to contact him. Thoughts??

        Thank you so much. I appreciate the Dear Depression letter….it helps to read it each day. ….Camille

        • Hi Camille,

          I understand your exhaustion! First I have to tell you there is so much synergy between us and our partners. I would recommend that you cease on the good morning and goodnights starting now. The reason is because that is for your benefit not his. His silence is making you reactive to any sign of emotion and that is a plea. I did this for a while until I caught a hold of myself and found this to be nothing more than myself hopeful that I would spark an emotional trigger. All it did was leave me empty.

          We both are in sales so I can see why your need for navigation on a direction. We both need to know and plan our next steps as if we are walking through a mall and know in advanced which stores we are going to hit. Life has no handbook that gives us where we need to go rather we plan it out based on our feelings.

          I know you had the wind knocked out of you a few days ago and it’s hard to catch your breath. Finding that inner peace and knowing that this if it is indeed depression then comprehending that it is not you or your fault for the about face. We are so quick to blame something for when our plans go in an alternative direction. I believe that our roads are broken for a better purpose that we can’t yet see.

          It’s like your MS, which I understand is sensitive to you. So sensitive that you did not share it with him. You see you studied this nonstop to learn your options. This is truly no different but this time you must focus on you. The nights will get better and soon the memories fade. They become nothing more than small scars that eventually disappear.

          Look at the history of this man. Divorced then three year relationship. A family you have not met due to his ease of backing away. There isn’t much grounding there for you to walk on. If he truly is depressed then what are his demons? These are unresolved emotions that some can’t resolve on their own. If he walks away then he can’t come to terms with these.

          I am not sure how old your children are but I can only think they are young. Getting your mind healthy is critical for them. They see an independant strong woman as a their role model. Isn’t this what we want for our children. You focus on nourishing their bodies and mind as children. That is your role but you must do the exact same for yourself.

          The Dali Lama and Buddism have a belief that depressed souls are those men with high self egotism. This helps me to understand this even more for myself and put this depression into perspective. We all have powers to heal ourselves given time and the support system and methods we choose. If he chooses silence and sidelining you then dont be self conscious about what you may have said or done to turn him away. He is fighting something that he is not prepared or capable to share. Don’t discourage yourself through this.

          Make time for you to reacquaint yourself with things you forgot about these last 6 months. You would be surprised!!

          Document your emotions and write. This helps your emotional mindset and can help you find a new passion perhaps. Plus it opens your mind more to create clarity. You face your own demons eye to eye and I trust that when you do that you may just perhaps see this whole experience from a new light.

          Unless he provides some small clues to what he may need then you have no choices except moving forward with a learning lesson. Everything we do comes with a lesson. Dig deep Camille, what is yours?

          You sound strong and I bet you have examined this in a million ways. Relax your mind and know that if you need to say something write it in a letter not a text or email. It’s way too simple. Handwrite a letter with every ounce of emotion you have. Hold nothing back to him then sleep on it. You will then throw it away and start a new one until a few days have passed and you have written the right one with some closure. That helped me beyond any other ways to finally find my true feelings.

          If depression is the root cause then this is a daily battle of emotions. Up and down & sideways you will go if you choose that path. Walk in confidence Camille and hold your head up high! Your first step in healing is exactley what you are doing now. Write those emotions.

          I am there for you in the distance. Keep the faith and let me know how you are! Steps are easier when you have someone to walk with. :) Lauren Ashley….

          • Wow….I can’t express how much this has helped me. Quick and realistic responses have helped me understand that “this” is truly beyond me. There are so many points that I will reflect on in this transition and growth period that I am amazed and so hopeful that my heart and mind will heal. I will always carry a piece of my prince in my heart because we had an amazing time together. But as I move forward this to is a life lesson along with the many others i have and will continue to encounter. I will learn from this and grow and continue to be the strong woman that I am proud to be. (btw my beautiful children are a boy who is 12 and a girl who is 7. They are both caring, smart, athletic and are a reflection of me and I am proud!)

            It’s such a reflection period because one thing I say since I was diagnosed with MS four years ago (and yes I am doing well, despite some fatigue and daily injections, i look as though nothing is wrong with me that’s why I am able to hide it from everyone) is “Life is Too Short”. My immediate family knows that I when I say that to people they really don’t get what I am saying. Even though I say is so passionately with conviction. I live with a chronic disease and trust me it is hard for me to say that out loud but in this life lesson I have found out that there are people with far greater life moments then mine. I am grateful for what I have and what I have had and what will come to me….because life is too short and for right now I am going to make everyday matter and hold my head high with confidence because that’s what i do ;)….Camille

  12. Well friends, the call came in that I was expecting. “I’m not up for the movies tonight. My mom is coming in town. She is worried.”. Wasn’t surprised just again felt pushed to the side. My response was no problem I am sure I can fill the ticket to which I did and bought another one for my friend & her daughter. He said he knows he needs to try to push himself so he invited my daughters and I to lunch tomorrow. Told him that I felt like I am being shut out of his healing where he was quick to respond no I wasn’t. That’s when I said that I understood and couldn’t fix or help him. I was completly helpless with the exception that I began to journal my emotions for other people who struggle with this as partners, family and friends. It was then that I told him to peel back a few layers and tell me if he wants me to continue to care for him. I don’t want to care for someone that can care back but in this case I know the level of reciprocal care is skewed. I am not confident that I will have lunch with him tomorrow not because of him but because of me. I refuse to let this beat me so tonight I had a blast at the movies and at a late dinner and made sure to post these pictures on Face Book for him to see & within 20 minutes he liked the pictures I posted. I am doing this for me to show that I am an independant woman , strong and courageous and I do not him to complete my life. Again, it is night time and I am processing the day. Here’s what I have to say to this depression:

    Dear depression,
    I am an educated and smart woman that has been effected by your damage to someone I choose to care for. I am telling you that get ready for a fight because you will not win and you will not beat me. You have consumed my loved one but you will not have a chance to hurt me. I have the strength to confront you and the devil at the same time. Although you think my man is weak he will stand up to the adversity and face these demons. He is stronger than you give him credit for. I know this because my love isn’t given to just anyone. It is given to this man who will find the power to take his life back. Lauren Ashley….

    • Wow have I had my own rollercoaster ride with my partners depression. I was almost hesitant to say partner and toyed with calling him a friend. How odd that you get so wrapped up in the effects if depression to you as a “normal” person!

      I decided I would rather spend my Sunday with my girls instead of subjecting them to a lunch date with him seeing since he cancelled the movies on Saturday. Depressed men do not like to be told no especially when the mountain they have to move to invite you to do something is big. Well I texted hey have to skip today. Have fun with your mom. Then came the U OK? I said no worries I’m fine just the girls wanted to hangout with their friends at the beach. All was good. Then came the texting on Monday about how he needed to attend a company baseball game alone and it would be best if he did this alone. All great and good! We work for the same company so having another region know about us would be hard for him to process. Whatever. Then the cryptic messages came in after I told him I would support him from home anyway as I have sidelined. The cryptic message was simple I do need you to support me. When I asked how it was can’t answer that, you know deep inside somehow you do. Well truth is I don’t. Then it was continue to fight. Ok then. I told him I was coming to see him tonight and no is not an option. Well it was not till this weekend and he was starting his new pill.

      As I try to internally digest all this cryptic information is finally hit me that I no longer hurt the way I would have a few weeks ago when first he said he needed his alone time. I am far more educated on the volatility of a depressed/bipolar partner. I have taken a deep dive on whether this is right for me and my girls. If he can stabilize himself then possibly I could continue to fight but as it looks I am just so glad I had this opportunity to learn from this man. I know now that I love unconditionally but there are some very important values that I can’t turn my cheek to. I know there is an amazing unexplained connection with this man but for now it’s better to put a degree of closure on this. Wish granted partner your alone time is now yours. If I am not included in your healing and I can only can settle for a drug induced happiness then I’ll skip on that. In my world it’s good and bad. I know he will pull out if this when he is ready. May he find the happiness he so wants.

      I may feel different this weekend if I get the I want to see you but for now it’s a I will skip today. ;) Lauren Ashley..,,.

      • Friends, I finally communicated my most heartfelt need and that simply to know if cared and if he felt that were still seeing each other. The depression during his alone time has been critically harsh on him. He finally let me in to see him and my expectations of what I saw was way off!! This alone time, regardless of what your friends and family say to with no merit or thought to their problem, is a most scary thing. He was sweating bullets, violent shocks to his body and every symptom for detoxing off the inhibitors this man had. The meds were too strong for him so all week he was sick and having serious effects. The doctor took him off yet another pull just to try another one next week. This man was an emotional and physical train wreck. No wonder the alone time for him is what he demanded. I was so scared for what I saw and he must of sensed it but I forged forward to tell him that I still support him. Tonight I was afraid because he didn’t answer my texts of concern. Drove by his house but no answer and all was locked up. His far was there so I grew increasingly worried. Texted and called but no answer or response to my inquiry that I was worried and that I will help if he needed me. You do indeed feel helpless!!!! Friends and family do not understand this and they all have their crazy opinions, such as, he is crazy or what if he is with another woman etc. no none understands this disease as I was even told I didn’t either. Truthfully unless you are the one with it then we really don’t know what it how they feel. I invested so much time in creating thus safe place but yet it is so big and so medically concerning. At this point I can only pray that he is safe and again reach out with no defensive messages just supportive and loving words of hope. My witness of this disease really made me frightened as that was the first he allowed me in. He was confused and lethargic but again I held tight with my emotions even though they were crippling. I can only hope that this will pass soon and he is back on the road to recovery. I thought love healed everything, perhaps the dreamer in me but again love comes in so many ways. I wish I didn’t have to support from the distance but maybe that is where I need to be at the moment. Lauren Ashley….

        • Lauren,

          Thank you so much for sharing. Helpless seemed to be such a tangible, sensible way to describe this emotion that I feel. But as this week went on my emotions included helpless, hopeless, hurt, even more confused and at times even angry. I did get two texts this past week so at least I know my pleas for just some response to know that he’s ok finally got through. One was a simple thank you and the other a few days later was thank you beautiful. Until I just read your post I was starting to give up. You are so correct, I thought I had a grasp of this “thing” but I really don’t think I do. It’s so hard for me to explain to my family and friends what happened to this amazing guy they have seen me with for the last six months or why am I not talking about him or I should say “us” like I have for the last six months. When I told my best girlfriend about the initial thank you text she immediately responded with he better be telling you he’s sorry. I didn’t want to tell her again how this “thing” is what is not allowing him to communicate and his cognitive, rational behavior is not functioning right now. It just kinda pisses me off because I think she thinks I’m making excuses for him.

          I too (maybe a tiny bit) was beginning to wonder how he could let anything tear “us” apart. Again not understanding how he can’t find enough energy to call me or see me. The angry part of me wrote (and yes I started a journal as suggested. Writing does help to expel these emotions that no one else seems to understand) that he had until tues (cause mon is our 7 month anniversary) to give me some sign that he to is wanting this relationship. I bitterly wrote to convince myself that I am the fool for not moving on. I wrote the only way I was going to stop hurting was to let go because he would never want me to hurt in any manner so why is he allowing me to feel so much pain?! He’s not fighting for this relationship so why should I.

          This information made me think twice. I believe my boyfriend is dealing with the same situation. Because there is no other reason why he doesn’t want to see me. This “thing” is far worse than I can imagine. You gave me a vivid visual. And i appreciate that. My bf always wants to be my superman. Fly in and clean up all the messes. He always said you have been so disappointed by men n your life that I want to show you what you deserve – a good man. This is why it’s so hard to walk away. I too fight back the urges to communicate for fear of the disappointment with not getting a response and then I worry or the fear of getting a negative response asking me to never contact him again.

          I will continue to support him from afar for now. My heart tells me it’s the right thing to do. I do know my emotions too will roller coaster but for now i cannot leave a man down especially not the man i love….that’s just the kind of person I am. ….Camille

          • Camille,
            We have so much in common. I too get the thank you, you look beautiful texts that give me some form of affirmation but I too went off the deep end last week and bluntly told him that I shouldn’t ever have to ask how someone feels about me. I did this because he sidelined me from the process so I didn’t fully comprhend how bad his body and emotional state was. Then I got the I am sorry I am not whole yet to give you what you need now. It followed with another text on how I didn’t understand and I said I did. His demeanor was changing with each text showing that I was hitting some trigger switches. He finally said he cared and that he believes we are still seeing each other. Camille it was then that I realized just how malfunctioned his thought process was. It’s simple for you and I both to communicate our feelings to both of these men and they both saw where we needed them to be superman. It’s like they ate in coma’s and no matter the words we choose that we think is right they are not coming out of it. It seems like it one day then the next they slip back into Hell. Yes my best friend, ex, my parents all believe I am crazy but they do not see from our eyes or our hearts. I have 2 daughters 10 & 12 who I had to tell them that he is sick. He is trying to feel better. I try to each day think of those magic words that would help him out of this “coma” but truth is all I can muster is I embrace him just the way he is and I know with time he will heal. I accept this alone time and silenced my voice because when I layed next to him on Thursday trying to hold him I saw this man in a ball hurt and shaking. My friends and family can fill my ear with all sorts of reasoning from he is crazy to another woman but none of them held him tightly to make him feel safe. His family lives 5 hours away and he try’s his best stay distant. His mom knows but I haven’t like you met her so I can’t even call her to talk about her son. I always thought love healed everything but Camille this thing is much much much bigger than the power of love. It takes all your energy to have compassion and more energy to understand, truly understand what they feel. We are not meant to fix them only to reach to them when they can’t reach to us. This thing silenced their voices and their emotions. I do not believe for one second that you and I don’t have the power to help this. it’s trial and error with hopes that we have more successes than errors. The errors are where they get upset and frustrated that they can’t solve this for themselves. Positive reinforcement will give them a basic understanding that we are here for them just not in the way we want them or are used to having them. The alone time is needed this I know from what I saw. I can tell you that I almost wished I didn’t see him. He opened up and said that he received a text from his ex that she wanted him to fly her down to see if there was anything left between them. Holding back my own feelings I could only say what was your response. He said he told her no way. I then responded with, perhaps you should give more thought to some of the demons that have put you on th couch right now detoxing off the inhibitors. That’s all I could say about that. What I really want to say has been tabled for now. Camille, I have always believed in finding the one that sends shock waves through you and I believe this is the one I want to help love and build a future with. Not the one that has taken him over. I know in my heart my man is in there. It’s granting the time that will help and granting the need for the space is critical. My struggle is like a scientist trying to find the cure, what words will snap him out of this? It’s a mission. ;) Lauren Ashley….

  13. Laurie, I profoundly thank you for your response. I have read your post many times over the day to reinforce your message. You speak the truth and it truly is about empowering yourself to be of healthy mind, body & spirit. I have continued to send links to my boyfriend on various short videos for encouragement. These have helped me to keep my distance from him but yet still with hope touch him by showing my intent to continue to help where I can. They have also helped me with gaining motivation and personal insight. One thing this disease does so perfectly to a partner is create insecurities in the strongest of minds. That is why I say it is nondiscrimating. With the lack of verbal affirmations it plays a heavy game with you trying to balance yourself. This new time for me, since he requested “alone” time has been full of enjoyment for me, however, when the sun sets and it’s the end of the day my mind wonders to him. As you most eloquently said- I could still be there but not in a romantic relationship and also that there is little you can do to help but to stay healthy. You are so right and I thank you for that confirmation. I can only pray for him that he finds his strength to overcome this. I do love him so much and the best gift I could give him is his freedom. I appreciate your site as it was a true help for me to reach out with my emotions. Writing your emotions does help and I encourage anyone struggling and battling the confusion of being a partner of this disease to do. It’s a great self discovery tool to have during these complex times. Thank you Laurie!

  14. Dear Lauren,

    It’s so frustrating and sad when an illness like depression has such a negative, strong effect on a relationship! I’m sorry to hear about your boyfriend’s depression – and thank you for sharing about it here. Your experience will help others, and show they they’re not alone.

    I think one of the best ways to cope with your boyfriend’s depression is to take care of yourself. Like you said, you can’t fix his depression – no matter how much you love him or how emotionally connected you feel to him.

    The only thing you can do is become as emotionally and physically health and strong as you can. I think the reason you haven’t found the proper solution to helping a partner with depression is because there is so little you can do…the best way to help him is to be as healthy as possible yourself.

    I encourage you to create a life that is interesting, fulfilling, fun, creative, and adventurous. You need to figure out what kind of woman you want to be, what kind of relationship you want to be in, and where you want your life to go. If your boyfriend can be involved, then that’s great!

    But you need to be realistic — I think you need to decide if you can live with him exactly the way he is right now, depression and all. If it’s too much for you, maybe you need to start thinking about your future.

    It’s such a tough position to be in…you don’t want to abandon someone you love because he’s depressed. On the other hand, you need to be in a healthy, happy, growing relationship!

    I wish you all the best as you find the balance between supporting your boyfriend and staying true to yourself. It sounds like you are a strong, smart woman who knows when something is beyond her control…and who knows how to take care of herself.

    Let me know how things are going…and remember that you can support your boyfriend even if you’re not in a romantic relationship with him. Maybe he just needs time and space to settle his emotional and mental health, and then he’ll be ready to be a healthy partner.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  15. I am just like everyone else struggling to find answers on this depression and how to “fix” it. I have finally realized that I can not! It actually feels good acknowedging that I finally cant do something I want and pray so hard to do. First, my boyfriend and I have been friends for 3 years before we started to date and get emotionally close about 8 months ago. Let me begin by first saying that my boyfriend is a professional 47 year old male that caught my heart when we first met. I cant explain the connection but it was solid and strong. I was married and he was involved with what would begin this depressed state. She cheated on him numerous times, had a VD, no career or stability, and the final straw was she aborted what he believed was his child. We began talking and eventually started to date. I have two children and going through a divorce which had nothing to do with him. I noticed many off’s and some very high peaks and very low valleys. After 4 months of wondering why the odd behaviour patterns he finally confessed his depression to me. I decided to embrace it and continue to see him, although it became evident that he would tell me lies about going out of town when he would be locked up in his house. There was NO sex ever but an occasional passionate kiss that he would give me in a spontaneous and strange way. We would lay naked next to each other and we would hold each other but never any sex which became a big topic of discussion and discovery for me. I found some Cialis pills in his overnight bag so I kept hope that these pills were his attempt to begin a passionate intimacy as well.We spendt weekends away together and nothing but a its not yet right tone. Well I couldnt be more wrong. When I approached the subject he became tense and almost very ego controlled. He said that if I hold this over his head he would back away. I told him I heard the warning and that I was perfectly good with letting that part of our relationship mature natrually. Honestly I am a sexual woman and I am also an understanding partner as well but the depression has now interferred in my life causing me to become highly hyper sensitive to him almost putting my universal beliefs on hold to continue to see him. I became an enabler by cooking for him and cleaning and laying next to him to hold him. The hardest day was watching him drink on the weekends. He would drink massive amounts and become a fast talker and say things that I wished he would say sober, such as, I can be a great dad figure to the girls, I am thinking about finding a bigger place so we can live together to trips he convinced me he was taking me to. Each time I felt like I was not getting the verbal words I needed to continue to see him and told him I needed these affirmations. I was watching him lethargic to staring at the TV to being a hyper drunk. His peaks and valleys became as high as heaven and a low as Hell. Last week he told me another lie that he was going out of town butwhen I noticed his distance I called and asked him what he was feeling. He said he finally decided to take the medicines to regulate the Seratonin and that he needed to pull back from everyone and allow himnself the alone time to heal right. I was SO hurt that he did not include me in this and I have been crying for the whole week. He texted me to say that he wanted to say hello but I ignored it. Then I finally responsed to a Face Book comment he made about some pictures I posted and we chatted briefly until I finally texted him to call me. He said he had demons still and cant talk. I told him I would love him through this but it is way bigger than me! I dropped off a care package to his door for him during this alone time and he texted me that he appreciated the package and also to thank me for understanding that he needs this alone time. I told him I would grant him this time and that I would provide encouragement for him during this dark period. I have found that seeing someone with this depression/bipolar disease is one way to truly test my own strength. I do not want to walk away or perhaps his request for alone time for the medicine to work perhaps is the end but I wish on every angel and every star in the sky that he can find his way. I feel helpless and care so deeply about him even without having the physical sex it was the emotional intimacy that I held in such high regard. I have read so many books and studied on how to help with this disease from a partner perpective but have yet found the proper solution to help other than granting the alone time. I have texted positive words and vocalized how much I believe in him. I am afraid this depression is winning the battle. Do you have suggestions from the “otherside” of a depressed partner? I would SO value any feedback. I read all the posts and this disease is clearly nondiscrimating for any age. I really do love him and believe in my heart that love heals but this one all it does is pulls him further away. Thank you!!

    • Be patient with him with lots of love

      • Thank you so very much for your comment. Ironic that “patience” is the one word that my boyfriend would use when I communicated that I needed verbal affirmation of his feelings for me.

        It was unequivocally the most hardest word to hear when I was trying to navigate my own emotions through the depression. Truth be told that now I have come to terms with the power of that word and what strength you as a partner in depression can get from it.

        I must say that by providing the space and distance has indeed made me feel more empowered as a partner. I have been loving this man from a distance and will provide inspirational messages and videos sporadically. Today I dropped of a quote in his box at work that quoted Aristotle. It is my way of healing and my way to support, show care and love.

        Today I mustered the courage to stop in his office and sit down. I began to ask how he has been and as a partner in depression you become self conscious to the expectations of how they may potentially react. I was greeted with a beautiful smile and a response that he was taking the last pill that had marked two weeks whereas his levels have begun to stabilize. He was quite communicative on how he was feeling. I simply was quiet but yet did respond that although I would never fully understand what his depression felt like I was through this alone time myself seeking a form of support to better comprehend how I could still provide care. I told him that I joined this online group where I could communicate my emotions from the other side of a depressed partner and where I could gain insight. He said how he appreciated the alone time and the support method I chose.

        Then he walked me out to my car where we spoke a little more and then hugged me goodbye. This was one of my most favorite moments with him because he gave direct eye contact and spoke with candor and honesty.

        Later that evening a text came through asking what I was doing this weekend and my response was simple yet almost mechanical. It was what did you have in mind. He then said that was not what he asked and it clicked as Laurie stated below- build your life with fun & adventure and he may want to be a part of it when he may be healthy to do so. I said that my girls want to go see the new movie Brave. It was ironic because he asked what it was about and my simple response was about a girl overcoming demons. How odd! He then asked if I would like to see it at the theater by his home. I responded that the girls would like to see it at a new theater with blankets and a recliner chair. I asked him to join us. It is then when I realized that he is now attempting at incorporating himself into my life and not me trying to fit into his. Then the most amazing thing happened he sent a text that stopped my heart. It was “you looked beautiful today”. I told him thank you and my heart was smiling. Told him that he remind me of something. That was he reminded me of a strong, beautiful courageous man that caught my attention three years ago and that man was him today.

        Honestly from all the knowledge that I have gathered about supporting a loved one through this I am fully armed with the highs and lows of how you can feel. I am not blind to the insecurity you feel when they slip into the darkness. I know that I will continue to have patience and love for him but what I truly learned and continue to do is have respect for this process. A depressed person will struggle their whole life with this imbalance and it truly is up to you on how strong you can equip yourself with the right frame of mind. It will test the devil and makes you almost feel insignificant if you let it. Trust your love and trust yourself but as I hate to admit it patience is the cardinal rule. I will respect that word forever and will continue to have faith, love and hope but always will remember that love is the strongest of the three.

        • It’s just so amazing how this disease brings out emotions you as a partner you have never really exercised. This is why the confusion, the misunderstood intentions and in some cases the self pity you can have trying to defeat this depression. When you love someone with all your pure heart it is painful to witness that you are indeed powerless to provide help.

          My boyfriend is rollercoastering as we speak. The medication has been changed and he is what they say “coming off” of it. It appears that with the medication that is supposed to help is actually a shot in the dark to get the right levels that will “even” himself out. The effect this is on me is simple, I am like a school girl when he has the good moments but I hurt so deeply when he turns into the quiet beast and hides into his cave.

          I did communicate by text last night, which is a horrible way to send messages of encouragement! There is no emotion with typed words like there is in face to face or by voice. The texting I believe truly crutches the depressed person because they can remain distant with no accountability.

          My text read that through the alone time he has needed I have empowered myself to learn more about how I can show him care and respect from the distance. He stated that he didn’t know how to respond to that and to avoid any misunderstandings I told him it wasn’t meant for a response. That helped remove pressure from having to answer. Then he thanked me for hearing him. It didn’t stop me from
          sending him a plea that said I wish that he would include me in the healing. In my world love is a package, good with bad, happy and sad. In a depressed mind its not that way. His world is I can’t process my thoughts to derive to an emotion or feeling. It’s either they are hyper happy or lethargically low. When they are in the middle a few times they can spew out some emotion just in time to keep you feeling that they want you and need you.

          My focus is continuing to journal this process for me as there are life lessons I am learning everywhere through this. Compassion and empathy are most wonderful attributes but it is the spark of the flame that burns the fire way out of your control. It at this point when you know you are a wildfire of emotions and have to learn a new attribute if you don’t already posses it. That is knowing when it is ok to letting go. If letting go will help contain the spread of fire then perhaps this is another life lesson.

          I believe in my heart that we learn from one another and when you have comprehended the lesson it is time to open yourself to another opportunity. My boyfriend under this tough extremity is brittle and soft. My caring and love penetrated that shell for a short time but it cracked my very own shell. My intentions were to love the package not even fully knowing what was inside as my parents taught me to love unconditionally. Maybe in this case this package was not meant for me to open.

          I welcome him to join my girls and I to the movies this evening. I bought him a ticket because he said he wanted to go. That of course was during the medication. I’m not fighting with Science anymore. I’m not contesting the will of someone else. I haven’t forfeited the game in just going to bench myself for a while and watch the match. I have pulled away from being a cheerleader to just being a fan in the stands.

          It is time for me to focus my attention on what Laurie said- focus on getting your mind healthy. That I will continue to do.

          I encourage every partner to allow the process to work and don’t give up until you know you have educated yourself on true trials and tribulations of this disease. You can’t fail if you give up but if you choose to give up then you failed yourself in learning what you were supposed to gain from the ride. Thank you for reading my journey. It is not over yet this I am most certain. I have not given up I am simply catching my breath.

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