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My girlfriend has depression - any advice? watch

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    Hi guys.

    Me and by girlfriend have been together a little over a year now. When I think about the two of us, I feel as though I've found my perfect partner. Same hobbies, sense of humor, similar music tastes, huge attraction etc. But there's one huge factor which gets in the way - her depression.

    She had told me when we first started dating that she suffered from depression, but I think with the whole "honeymoon" period, it didn't seem to be there for a month or two. But then it started creeping back in. It seemed most nights I'd be holding her as she cried herself to sleep. Everything was negative. Lying in bed all day.

    Eventually I began to understand how to deal with her when she was having a bad day. And things started to get better...for a few days. There are good days and bad days. Unfortunately, the bad days seem to outweigh the good.

    I really do care deeply for her and I'm fairly sure shes does for me. But I just wonder if her mental state will ever get better.

    Ever since I've left school, I've always worked, gone to college, university and I'm now doing a PGCE. I want to make a good future for myself, and the person I end up with/my future family. And I would like the person I'm with to have the same mindset. But I worry that this may not happen, despite the talk from her that she too, wants the same things.

    Since losing her job, there seems to be no motivation in finding a job or thinking about further education. And it's hard because every time you bring up anything in conversation about her future, the reaction is never good. You can never, EVER say anything slightly critical, because it seems as though your not allowed to be with someone who suffers from depression.

    Like I say, I've kinda got used to going through 5 or 6 different emotions on a daily basis, but the reason I'm writing this is because of my parents. Now, I have the best parents I could ever possibly wish for. And they only want the best for me. So when they see my other half just lying around all day, never making the effort to talk or even to go downstairs to get a drink, they worry. When they hear sobbing in the middle of night, they really worry. Despite the fact that they do really like my other half, her depression and lack of motivation really worries and annoys them. They worry that if I want to have a future with her, I will act like her carer rather than having an equal partner to build a good future with. And to some extent, I agree with them.

    But I always hope that one day, things will get better. Because I do care deeply about her. And I wonder if anyone on here has been through similar situations and can relate. Thanks (sorry for it being a long post!)
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    I am not in a partnership where the partner has depression, but I myself have depression.

    Is she in therapy or taking medication? If she is neither doing therapy nor is taking medication (and medication isn't always useful) it is unlikely to ever get better. She needs help. It's too much for you to handle on your own. Get her to see a GP.

    If she refuses treatment, it is a tricky situation. I am not sure what I would do, but I would understand that if I weren't doing anything to help myself get better, that my partner would leave me.

    It must be hard to not be able to say certain things without upsetting her. It's tricky.
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    Her depression is something only she can resolve, but you can help her by giving her an environment in which she is able to talk without feeling judged.
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    She's been on medication for about a year now. She says it help's her, but she really doesn't like being on the meds.

    She's recently started counselling (one session so far). I really hope it helps her!
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    She should go back to the doctor and ask for something a little stronger if it's not helping that much, or if she wants to come off it and just hope the counselling works, ask for him/her to begin weening her off of the pills.

    Although I never took medication for depression, I took antidepressants to help me manage pain from one of my medical conditions and so I know how horrible they are but you can't just stop taking them .
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    I'm really torn on this because I see where you're coming from, and undoubtably it is very difficult to be with someone who is mentally ill. But having suffered depression myself, despite you saying your parents are understanding or whatever they are branding someone with depression as 'lazy' and 'unmotivated' which is not fair at all. The use of those words makes me think they do not understand depression or don't believe in it.

    She needs to go back to her GP and try to sort it out. You need to work out if you value your relationship long term. There is no shame in ending a relationship because you can't cope with someone's mental illness.
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    Omg you seem like such a good boyfriend! And such a good person too! If only every couple genuinely cared and supported their partners like how you do. The way you wrote that post shows you care about her so much. She's very lucky to have you.

    I'm sorry but I have no advice for your situation.
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    (Original post by teenageriot89)
    She's been on medication for about a year now. She says it help's her, but she really doesn't like being on the meds.

    She's recently started counselling (one session so far). I really hope it helps her!
    The only way she'll beat it (or it really helps) is that meds/therapy combination. I speak for myself when I say it's effective; having said that I still have a long way to go-good luck to you & her.
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    Tbh for me, the best thing a potential partner can do is be patient. I'm not ever trying to be difficult. She's only had a diagnosis a year? She'll learn to manage it a little easier. at first I was largely the same, but CBT actually helped me quite a lot. She's probably not on the most optimal meds as well. I started off on paroxetine. I didn't find it to be very helpful and I moved onto mirtazapine (for about two years now) and they've been much better.

    I'd recommend she goes to her GP and gets a review done.
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    (Original post by Danny the Geezer)
    The only way she'll beat it (or it really helps) is that meds/therapy combination. I speak for myself when I say it's effective; having said that I still have a long way to go-good luck to you & her.
    100000000% agree.
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    Yeah as Goaded said-trying different med combos is a way of finding out what suits her
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    (Original post by infairverona)
    I'm really torn on this because I see where you're coming from, and undoubtably it is very difficult to be with someone who is mentally ill. But having suffered depression myself, despite you saying your parents are understanding or whatever they are branding someone with depression as 'lazy' and 'unmotivated' which is not fair at all. The use of those words makes me think they do not understand depression or don't believe in it.

    She needs to go back to her GP and try to sort it out. You need to work out if you value your relationship long term. There is no shame in ending a relationship because you can't cope with someone's mental illness.
    Hey, I understand what you're saying. It's not that they don't understand or don't believe in depression. It's more - we've always made an effort in our house, to get out of bed at a reasonable time, go out and do things. They just feel that it is their house and if they want to do some housework, hoover or whatever, then it shouldn't be to when it suits her because she can't get out of bed. And that see how much I do for her (getting her drinks or food) and they would just like to see her do the same for me as well, I guess.

    I don't think that's a bad attitude at all.
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    You have to talk to her, seriously. Don't avoid talking about the future of your relationship because of her mental illness. Make sure you are on the same page, that she is doing any effort she can to fight depression and that she feels like you're helping her.

    Talk about how a relationship is bothways and that it hurts you to see her in that state. Give her any bit of motivation to start looking for a job, to do hobbies and to go outside (PS: Dont tell her to look for a job or even to do a hobbie, be subtle). Make a little surprise everyday and tell her that she's beautiful everyday. Both of you, go for a walk everyday, go to the mall, to the park, idk. What a person with depression doesn't need is to stay at home everyday because it just makes everything worse.

    Depression is very hard to fight, a person with depression needs something to hold on to so that they can get up and walk on their own feet again.

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    (Original post by teenageriot89)
    Hi guys.

    Me and by girlfriend have been together a little over a year now. When I think about the two of us, I feel as though I've found my perfect partner. Same hobbies, sense of humor, similar music tastes, huge attraction etc. But there's one huge factor which gets in the way - her depression.

    She had told me when we first started dating that she suffered from depression, but I think with the whole "honeymoon" period, it didn't seem to be there for a month or two. But then it started creeping back in. It seemed most nights I'd be holding her as she cried herself to sleep. Everything was negative. Lying in bed all day.

    Eventually I began to understand how to deal with her when she was having a bad day. And things started to get better...for a few days. There are good days and bad days. Unfortunately, the bad days seem to outweigh the good.

    I really do care deeply for her and I'm fairly sure shes does for me. But I just wonder if her mental state will ever get better.

    Ever since I've left school, I've always worked, gone to college, university and I'm now doing a PGCE. I want to make a good future for myself, and the person I end up with/my future family. And I would like the person I'm with to have the same mindset. But I worry that this may not happen, despite the talk from her that she too, wants the same things.

    Since losing her job, there seems to be no motivation in finding a job or thinking about further education. And it's hard because every time you bring up anything in conversation about her future, the reaction is never good. You can never, EVER say anything slightly critical, because it seems as though your not allowed to be with someone who suffers from depression.

    Like I say, I've kinda got used to going through 5 or 6 different emotions on a daily basis, but the reason I'm writing this is because of my parents. Now, I have the best parents I could ever possibly wish for. And they only want the best for me. So when they see my other half just lying around all day, never making the effort to talk or even to go downstairs to get a drink, they worry. When they hear sobbing in the middle of night, they really worry. Despite the fact that they do really like my other half, her depression and lack of motivation really worries and annoys them. They worry that if I want to have a future with her, I will act like her carer rather than having an equal partner to build a good future with. And to some extent, I agree with them.

    But I always hope that one day, things will get better. Because I do care deeply about her. And I wonder if anyone on here has been through similar situations and can relate. Thanks (sorry for it being a long post!)
    Read up on depression -'d be there for her whilst being supportive.

    Depression kicks you in the balls, but having somebody there to support you is a god send.
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    (Original post by teenageriot89)
    Hi guys.

    Me and by girlfriend have been together a little over a year now. When I think about the two of us, I feel as though I've found my perfect partner. Same hobbies, sense of humor, similar music tastes, huge attraction etc. But there's one huge factor which gets in the way - her depression.

    She had told me when we first started dating that she suffered from depression, but I think with the whole "honeymoon" period, it didn't seem to be there for a month or two. But then it started creeping back in. It seemed most nights I'd be holding her as she cried herself to sleep. Everything was negative. Lying in bed all day.

    Eventually I began to understand how to deal with her when she was having a bad day. And things started to get better...for a few days. There are good days and bad days. Unfortunately, the bad days seem to outweigh the good.

    I really do care deeply for her and I'm fairly sure shes does for me. But I just wonder if her mental state will ever get better.

    Ever since I've left school, I've always worked, gone to college, university and I'm now doing a PGCE. I want to make a good future for myself, and the person I end up with/my future family. And I would like the person I'm with to have the same mindset. But I worry that this may not happen, despite the talk from her that she too, wants the same things.

    Since losing her job, there seems to be no motivation in finding a job or thinking about further education. And it's hard because every time you bring up anything in conversation about her future, the reaction is never good. You can never, EVER say anything slightly critical, because it seems as though your not allowed to be with someone who suffers from depression.

    Like I say, I've kinda got used to going through 5 or 6 different emotions on a daily basis, but the reason I'm writing this is because of my parents. Now, I have the best parents I could ever possibly wish for. And they only want the best for me. So when they see my other half just lying around all day, never making the effort to talk or even to go downstairs to get a drink, they worry. When they hear sobbing in the middle of night, they really worry. Despite the fact that they do really like my other half, her depression and lack of motivation really worries and annoys them. They worry that if I want to have a future with her, I will act like her carer rather than having an equal partner to build a good future with. And to some extent, I agree with them.

    But I always hope that one day, things will get better. Because I do care deeply about her. And I wonder if anyone on here has been through similar situations and can relate. Thanks (sorry for it being a long post!)
    I suffered from this and I didn't go to anyone for help and I battled through it and I have OCD as well that makes it worse. For me, I just needed someone to help me through each day, saying positive little things, and just bringing me up when I felt down even if it was just a cuddle. I only really have OCD now and at times it's really bad and other times is unnoticeable. My partner leaves me cute little messages around the place when its bad which honestly brings me up, he makes me smile by simply telling me how much I mean to him and gives me cuddles when I need them. I have a teddy bear which I cuddle all the time and it really helps me to cheer up! Why don't you buy her a cute teddy? And do some cute things for her? It honestly is the little things that help
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    Stephen Fry uses the metaphor of bad whether to describe depression. (How British).

    He says that, despite what people who have never experienced depression might think, you can't just muster all your strength and make depression go away. It's the weather. You can't think hard enough that it stops raining, regardless of how much you want it to.

    Equally, when it's grey and foggy and rainy, it becomes very difficult to 'look forward', if you will. It is almost impossible, in the clutches of a deep depression, to imagine yourself ever being 'normal' again.

    This might be why your other half is struggling to see a future for herself. It is a symptom of her illness -- you have to remember that. She hasn't given up on her future yet, and you shouldn't either. She really does want all of those things that she tells you she wants, but at the moment they all seem so out of reach to her. Depression is telling her she can't have these things, so you should remind her that she can.

    In regards to her future, you need to prioritise and look at what is really important. Yes, a job is important. Yes, if you want a family then that is important too. But you need the foundations to be set before you can start building the house. Until she is well, and better able to cope with her condition when it arises, everything else should be put on the back-burner. Is she getting professional help currently? If not, then she should be. Because regardless of how much you love her and want her to be well, unless you know the ins-and-outs of depression then realistically, you are not going to be able to 'heal' her. I know that this is probably not welcome news, but it is the truth. So, if she isn't seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist, then the best thing that you can do for her right now is to encourage her to start doing so.

    Most importantly, I think, is that you are open with each other about what's going on. Ask her about her mood regularly, take an active interest in what's going on inside her mind. Depression is a terrible and painful affliction, but it's actually really fascinating as well. Ask her to try to explain it to you, and then just listen. You are listening to the words of a human being who perceives the world in an entirely different way to yourself. And it's painful for her, but it is also kind of amazing. Talk about it. Make her know that you want to understand, and that she doesn't have to keep these things from you.

    If she is comfortable around your parents, you guys should all sit down and talk about it too. (Although, it's probably best to wait for a 'good day' to do this). If you keep depression locked away, and it only exists as sobs coming through the walls, then it becomes a pretty scary thing for people to observe. If you open up that door and expose depression for what it really is, a physical illness like any other, then it stops being the Great Unknown. It stops being the demon that is taking over your loved one, and it starts being a serotonin deficiency and just another little piece that makes up that person. Again, just talk about it.

    At the start of your post, you said that: "I feel as though I've found my perfect partner..."
    I thought that that was a kind of beautiful statement considering the hardships that you have both had to go through. Try to remember that depression, however ugly and horrible it may be, is a part of who your partner is. Without her depression, she wouldn't be the person she is. One day, she may be free of it. But until that day comes, try to remember that she is still the person you love.

    Relish the good days and help her through the bad ones. Good luck, man. Wishing you both all the best for your very bright future together.

    Write a long post, get a long answer.
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    (Original post by Repsol)
    Stephen Fry uses the metaphor of bad whether to describe depression. (How British).

    He says that, despite what people who have never experienced depression might think, you can't just muster all your strength and make depression go away. It's the weather. You can't think hard enough that it stops raining, regardless of how much you want it to.

    Equally, when it's grey and foggy and rainy, it becomes very difficult to 'look forward', if you will. It is almost impossible, in the clutches of a deep depression, to imagine yourself ever being 'normal' again.

    This might be why your other half is struggling to see a future for herself. It is a symptom of her illness -- you have to remember that. She hasn't given up on her future yet, and you shouldn't either. She really does want all of those things that she tells you she wants, but at the moment they all seem so out of reach to her. Depression is telling her she can't have these things, so you should remind her that she can.

    In regards to her future, you need to prioritise and look at what is really important. Yes, a job is important. Yes, if you want a family then that is important too. But you need the foundations to be set before you can start building the house. Until she is well, and better able to cope with her condition when it arises, everything else should be put on the back-burner. Is she getting professional help currently? If not, then she should be. Because regardless of how much you love her and want her to be well, unless you know the ins-and-outs of depression then realistically, you are not going to be able to 'heal' her. I know that this is probably not welcome news, but it is the truth. So, if she isn't seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist, then the best thing that you can do for her right now is to encourage her to start doing so.

    Most importantly, I think, is that you are open with each other about what's going on. Ask her about her mood regularly, take an active interest in what's going on inside her mind. Depression is a terrible and painful affliction, but it's actually really fascinating as well. Ask her to try to explain it to you, and then just listen. You are listening to the words of a human being who perceives the world in an entirely different way to yourself. And it's painful for her, but it is also kind of amazing. Talk about it. Make her know that you want to understand, and that she doesn't have to keep these things from you.

    If she is comfortable around your parents, you guys should all sit down and talk about it too. (Although, it's probably best to wait for a 'good day' to do this). If you keep depression locked away, and it only exists as sobs coming through the walls, then it becomes a pretty scary thing for people to observe. If you open up that door and expose depression for what it really is, a physical illness like any other, then it stops being the Great Unknown. It stops being the demon that is taking over your loved one, and it starts being a serotonin deficiency and just another little piece that makes up that person. Again, just talk about it.

    At the start of your post, you said that: "I feel as though I've found my perfect partner..."
    I thought that that was a kind of beautiful statement considering the hardships that you have both had to go through. Try to remember that depression, however ugly and horrible it may be, is a part of who your partner is. Without her depression, she wouldn't be the person she is. One day, she may be free of it. But until that day comes, try to remember that she is still the person you love.

    Relish the good days and help her through the bad ones. Good luck, man. Wishing you both all the best for your very bright future together.

    Write a long post, get a long answer.
    Haha fair play! But I couldn't really have wished for a better answer. I know how hard it is for her. But it's also hard for the people around her.

    Thank you, that was really helpful and comforting to read.
 
 
 
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