Loving someone with depression Watch

PoliStudent
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Hi everyone,
In a complicated relationship of sought (explained further in) with someone with rather severe depression. She has struggled with depression before I met her and has been in this episode all summer, and I am trying to figure out the best way to best help her. So far it's been giving her space with the occasional message perhaps once ever 3-4 days saying hope she is doing okay that I am here etc.

While I care for her enormously her mental health has been a serious detriment to my own, reaching levels of my self harming and mental breakdowns. While these are no longer happening and I am in a remarkably strong place right now, I do fear falling back into it.

I want us to work and have undergone extensive research trying myself the best I can in order to deal with her depression. Things are made more complicated by she broke up with because of the impact her depression episodes were having on my mental health.

Although we met up a week later and stated that we would both like to try again when return to University, as long as somethings changed such as I said I would lead more of my own life rather than the help her depression dominating my lifestyle as it was before. That was just under a month ago now and I have been lucky to get a reply or message at least once a week sometimes longer. I want to check that she still feels the same way but she is still in a dark place right now so don't want to be pushing anything as getting her into a better mindset is more important.

Guess what I am asking is am I doing the right thing? I miss her terribly but I have barely seen her for 3 months (she avoids any plans, blocking people out) and barely communicating.
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jsg9
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(Original post by PoliStudent)
Hi everyone,
In a complicated relationship of sought (explained further in) with someone with rather severe depression. She has struggled with depression before I met her and has been in this episode all summer, and I am trying to figure out the best way to best help her. So far it's been giving her space with the occasional message perhaps once ever 3-4 days saying hope she is doing okay that I am here etc.

While I care for her enormously her mental health has been a serious detriment to my own, reaching levels of my self harming and mental breakdowns. While these are no longer happening and I am in a remarkably strong place right now, I do fear falling back into it.

I want us to work and have undergone extensive research trying myself the best I can in order to deal with her depression. Things are made more complicated by she broke up with because of the impact her depression episodes were having on my mental health.

Although we met up a week later and stated that we would both like to try again when return to University, as long as somethings changed such as I said I would lead more of my own life rather than the help her depression dominating my lifestyle as it was before. That was just under a month ago now and I have been lucky to get a reply or message at least once a week sometimes longer. I want to check that she still feels the same way but she is still in a dark place right now so don't want to be pushing anything as getting her into a better mindset is more important.

Guess what I am asking is am I doing the right thing? I miss her terribly but I have barely seen her for 3 months (she avoids any plans, blocking people out) and barely communicating.
Firstly, it's great to hear that as of now you are in a strong place and have regained some control over your own mental health. However, with a history of self harm and breaking down, it may be beneficial to you to talk to a GP or counsellor (perhaps through uni) if you haven't done so before, especially due to being concerned that you could slip back into that place.

It's great that you want to be a supportive partner, but you can't do so without looking after yourself. It sounds like if her depression and the relationship was taking its toll on your own mental health, at this point in time perhaps it's good to have some time out as she works through it herself. To use a cliche, you have to put on your own oxygen mask in a plane before helping someone else put on theirs. Your post is lacking a little context, so forgive me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as though you have been her primary support and this can be draining and a big burden. Obviously she can't help her depression, but if she has not done so already, she should seek help from a GP at the earliest opportunity.

The best way you can help her, is to look after yourself and encourage her to seek professional help. Allow her to talk things through with you, but do not try and be her healthcare provider or counsellor, you're not a professional, and you can't be. It will be of detriment to your own mental health (as it sounds like it has been already), and the best thing you can do to help her is gently encourage her to seek professional help. As much as you may want to take this on yourself and "get her into a better mindset", that's just not how these things work. If she had a broken leg would you try and put the cast on yourself, or would you take her to the hospital?

In terms of reconciling etc., it sounds like it's going to be difficult if you have very little contact. When you go back to University I would focus on yourself, your own health and wellbeing, and your studies and you could continue to check in with her every few days if that's what you feel happy doing. Try and live up to what you've told her you'll be doing i.e. not letting her depression or the relationship dominate your life, and do that for yourself, not just for hope of getting back together. I hope that she can get the right help she needs to start feeling better soon.
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angelike1
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Get her into therapy.
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