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    Hi All,

    My boyfriend and I have been going out for 8 months. We're both 18 and have a very strong relationship- we're very open with each other and he's being amazing at the moment supporting me through my A levels.

    We were friends for a year before we started going out so I know him well, and over the past 6 months or so I've noticed some changes. He's naturally very outgoing, lots of friends, lots of interests, can be wildly enthusiastic about pretty much anything. However recently he's become more and more withdrawn- needing contact with me (we'll often eat holding hands under the table), crying on my shoulder a couple of times, seeming to have absolutely no motivation to go out with friends or to do things he used to love.

    We talked about this properly last night after touching on it several times recently, and he admitted to feeling like he doesn't care about anything. He says that little things make him superficially happy, but the last time he felt genuinely happy was last summer (before we were going out). He has done no work at all this year, meaning that he's likely to fail his A levels (he was actually supposed to have an exam today but just didn't have the motivation to turn up. So he didn't sit it).

    By this point alarm bells were ringing and I encouraged him to a) talk to his mum- she's a nurse and she herself (as well as his older brother) have previously suffered from depression- and b) go to the doctor and ask to talk to someone. He talked to his mum today so she's aware of what is going on now which is a massive relief.

    I'm very aware that this might not be depression, but having suffered from it myself I didn't want to take the risk- and clearly there is something wrong. My own battle with depression (and the resulting eating disorder/self harm) was long, occasionally still rears its ugly head, and was accomplished almost entirely on my own (I eventually went to see a counsellor nearly 4 years after first being diagnosed).

    So: background over, some questions:
    How best can I support my boyfriend through whatever he is currently going through?
    Is there anything I can do for myself to try to deal with this? I'm currently in the middle of exams and am terrified of my own depression being triggered again. I can't talk to my boyfriend about it as I usually would, it wouldn't be fair on him.
    Can anyone give me an idea of the sort of thing I can expect from him in the next few weeks/months? Anything to watch out for?

    Feeling very shaky and unsure at the moment so any support would be appreciated!
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    For me, the best way to support him would be to show him that you're there for him, that's all.

    I would also talk to your boyfriend about your depression - he may feel that he can relate to you more that way, and be more comfortable knowing that he isn't alone.

    I have no clue about what you should expect from him, though. All I know is that I'm depressed, and if I had a boyfriend who cared about me, then I'd be comfortable in the knowledge that he's there for me.
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    (Original post by Treeroy)
    For me, the best way to support him would be to show him that you're there for him, that's all.

    I would also talk to your boyfriend about your depression - he may feel that he can relate to you more that way, and be more comfortable knowing that he isn't alone.

    I have no clue about what you should expect from him, though. All I know is that I'm depressed, and if I had a boyfriend who cared about me, then I'd be comfortable in the knowledge that he's there for me.
    Thanks for your reply.

    It's not really something I can talk to him about- it's only in the past year or so that it's settled and I'm wary of bringing it all back up to the surface. Also, at this point I have no idea whether he actually is or is not depressed. I'm relying entirely on a gut feeling which in last few months has been saying 'something's wrong' and now is telling me that it's depression (or something very like it). But I'm not a medical practitioner so I have no real knowledge.

    How do I show him that I'm there for him without him feeling like it's sympathy, rather than genuine? I also don't want to develop a relationship where he becomes reliant on me for his sense of identity and self-worth, because that's not healthy for either of us.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks for your reply.

    It's not really something I can talk to him about- it's only in the past year or so that it's settled and I'm wary of bringing it all back up to the surface. Also, at this point I have no idea whether he actually is or is not depressed. I'm relying entirely on a gut feeling which in last few months has been saying 'something's wrong' and now is telling me that it's depression (or something very like it). But I'm not a medical practitioner so I have no real knowledge.

    How do I show him that I'm there for him without him feeling like it's sympathy, rather than genuine? I also don't want to develop a relationship where he becomes reliant on me for his sense of identity and self-worth, because that's not healthy for either of us.
    If you don't feel ready talking about your personal experiences of depression then just have a chat with his parents and let them know you're worried that the signs are there. They will know him best and how to deal with it sensitively enough-this doesn't mean that you're not there for him, but you're also reminding him that he has people around who care.
 
 
 
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