I will have to act as a therapist to my depressed fiance...help with strategies, tips, advice?
I am engaged to a depressed man for two years now. I am in my 30s and I have dated in the past and I can say with 100% certainty that my fiance is "the one" and I have vowed to myself, and to him, that I will NEVER leave his side. I am not with him because I don't have any other options or self-confidence to move on...I remain with him because I want to...because, yes this is cliche, he completes me and I won't find another heart out there that makes mine pump the way that he does (I speak from experience). So, I just wanted to start off with that disclaimer to all those who are going to say, "don't marry him, get away while you can"...that is not an option for me, and I hope that my choice can be respected.
As I mentioned in my subject, I will have to act as a therapist of sorts for my fiance...the reason being, we live in a part of the world where there are no therapists and seeing a psychologist (even if there was one, which there isn't) is seen as some kind of sign of weakness or "western" invention. My fiance feels the closest to me. He shares things with me that he doesn't with others. It took him a long time to finally let his guard down around me and open up, but he finally has for the past year. In his better moods, we discuss his depression openly, and he understands that he needs "help." We have talked about going out and doing sports, which will probably result in me physically pulling him to do it (even though he really wants to, he is tired a lot and loses motivation). Since he needs help, I am the only one he trusts and the only one in the position to do so, so I must help him...
Can anyone please help me help him? I can't afford to buy books or sign up online and pay $ to talk to someone, I just need advice from people who have experience with this...
1) How do I escape getting sucked into his irrationality when he is depressed? It usually starts off with him being irritated, not by me, but by other situations that spark him off (usually his family)...then, he lashes out at me, very calmly, always under the guise "I just want to talk to you and have a conversation with you, if I can't talk to you who can I talk to?" And, I ALWAYS take the bait!! You think I'd have learned by now, be he says things that seem "rational" and then, out of nowhere, he will be all cuddled in the fetal position and saying things to me like "I don't see a future for us, I just want to escape from all of you." Stupidly, and I should know better by now, I cry and get drawn in and also say dramatic and irrational things like, "I just want to make you happy, if you ever prefer to be alone then if that makes you happy, I will let you be." I realized after saying that how ridiculous that is!! I know he doesn't want to be alone, he has told me repeatedly amounts of times while he is not depressed "please never leave me" and I should have just said, sorry, you are stuck with me, deal with it, and just tried to avoid speaking to him. I also don't know if it's best for him to be alone in these situations (he has his own apartment) or if I should let him sleep at my place during those episodes? If he is alone, he tends to mope and get sucked deeper and deeper into his own negativity unless someone intervenes.
2) His depression stems from his guilt. He is unhappy with his life and feels helpless to do anything about it. He would rather be elsewhere but has this martyr personality that he feels he must stay close to his family (it wasn't always like this, he left them when he was younger and was alone for a large part of his life) to take care of them, when none of them could care less about helping him in return...there is an overwhelming selfishness, like everyone in his family has their own family, kids, houses, and they depend on him because he is single (and, I guess they think, has nothing better to do with his time) to take care of everything. He works 7 days a week, 10 hours a day! And he has all the possibility in the world, with an advanced graduate degree, to leave this situation and go somewhere and have a professional job and happier life. When he thinks about escaping from this, he feels guilty...and gets depressed. When he thinks about staying, he feels depressed and helpless. When he thinks about all the times he has "made me sad" with his depression, he feels guilty and gets depressed. And I am afraid that him telling me "it's not going to work with us in the future, this is an unhealthy relationship" is stemming from his guilt and he, like most people, is not respecting that I CHOOSE to be with him! I could, at any minute, walk away...but I choose not to. How do I help him? I feel like at times kidnapping him away from here? :) I don't think he'd mind!! I just feel like he is incapable of taking the first step to get away from here, and requires me to get a job somewhere else and set up a life there for him to follow.
Any tips, advice, site recommendations, so that I could get techniques for dealing with this type of relationship because when he gets into his moods, I get nervous, I don't know how to act, what to say, I'm walking on eggshells...and he notices, it irritates him more, he says I should just act like myself or else it's unnatural but how can I act like myself when anything I say, he will jump on?
It sounds to me that your boyfriend has a chronic depression.
The better way to help him is to take him to a psychiatrist for anti-depressants drugs. Combined with the drug therapy cognitive psychotherapy dose wonders . You can google on the net to finde some basic guide lines of this psychotherapy. Also you can try rational emotive behavioral psychotherapu, also known as REBT.
I hope that what I told you to be of some help.
Best whishes and good luck
The way you can help him is by helping YOU first and foremost.
You aren't his therapist, you're his fiance. If you take responsibility for curing him, you'll be taking responsibility for fixing him, and he'll start to depend on you in an unhealthy manner.
Chronic depression requires medication. Otherwise both you and he will be stuck in cyclical hell. Can you get medical treatment via the organization you work with?
Regarding the guilt: remind him that he can't help anyone if he isn't taking care of himself. Suggest moving to a place where he can make money and send it home. 6,000 a year goes a long way in many countries.
Encourage him to seek help, take medicine, and follow through with his passions -- not martyred commitments. Then take your own advice and live happy and guilt free.
We ,depressed people, aren't powerless in our condition.
Suggest lots of exercise and health food. You do the same.
This is a hard life. I lived this life for 14 years. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster and began the repeating of not being able to hold a job because of stress this relationship caused. As I said, you have a challenge and when you live with a person who suffers from it you too will suffer, but it may take many years to feel it. I began to start drinking to help me sleep and/or take naproxin to knock me out. I couldn't laugh or smile around him. I love people and love to smile now. He cheated on me by going to meet a women in Edmonton and this was the end. I have been on my own for a few months and feel that I do suffer from the emotions still and if you do not want this. GET OUT NOW!!!! I hope I have been of some help. Good luck and may GOD be with you.
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