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Emotional Shut-down is this normal?
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Emotional Shut-down is this normal?

I am going through a rough patch and have been for quite sometime. I live with my boyfriend who has depression (extreme at times; no he is not medicated or diagnosed). Anyway I am sole supporter financially for over a year now; he hasn't worked in a bit and finding employment hasn't been easy either anyway we are about to loose our home and have to move in with family and we are not happy about this not that this is bad just inconvient. Anyway I have found myself going into shut down mode. I guess this is the way I have been handling my stress level which is at it's max right now but I feel guilty because I know this doesn't help my partner and puts him in a more depressive state. I feel like I enable him by doing everything and not pushing him to do things for himself. I have taken prescribed medication (prozac and zanax) because of a condition I have; I take the zanax as needed and have not taken the prozac in a very long time.. Anyway it's the disconnected feeling I am having problems with - some days (more than I'd like to say) I know I am here but feel miles away. I sometimes feel like I am looking out the window of my own body; I know I should feel something but for the sake of not having an argument, or feeling guilty I shut it down and now I have no idea of how to feel anymore physically or mentally. Any suggestions?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there,

I think your shutting down is your body saying I can't take all this stress anymore. It's a numb feeling right?  I get that when I so overwelhmed I just can't deal with things anymore. It's your body  protecting itself. Do you understand?  You are dealing with alot and you can only take so much!. What's up with your b/f? Your not married right: Maybe you need to take care of yourself before you can even begin to take care of him. People take care of eachother and this sounds very one sided.  I hope Im not sounding heartless but you need to worry about you. 2 depressed people feeding off each other is not a good place for either of you to be in.  STOP with the guilt OK?! Take care of YOU. He needs to rise to the occation and pull himself together.  You can't really help someone else until your whole (or on yiur way to getting better) again.

Good luck and I hpe I ddin't come on to strong.

Dana
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Avatar_n_tn
I agree with you totally.  

Presently, I am in a relationship in which when my mate doesn't like something I say or do he shuts down completely.  This just happened last week and over Valentine's.  I don't want to presume that everyone should respond as I do.  I try to give him space to handle situations as he does.  My challenge is that I feel like that I can't truly be me because when the parts of me that he doesn't like surfaces, he emotionally withdraws.  When he finally re-enters the relationship it is as if nothing happened.  When he shuts down, he doesn't answer my calls or emails.  I am finding this relationship/friendship very difficult because I know deep down that he will never see the inner me because he may just shut down for good.  This last go-round I realized that's it is unfair and disrespectul to me and our relationship.  Yes, his shutdowns have silenced me to some degree and I am annoyed with myself.  I see little by little withdrawing the real, intimate m because such emotional rejection is unbearable.  He has gone 5 weeks one time.  I am slowly retreating because I cannot be trully represented in this relationship.  I think he has depression because he goes into this funk...  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Lars,

I'm shut down too.  My boyfriend and I have been going through a rough patch for a while too.  For the past 2 months I've since sunk deep down into a big depression hole, and I can't get out.  And this weekend was a big argument and now I'm shut down.  I can't even cry.  I don't know what to do, how to pull myself out, if it's ever going to end?

Fiona
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Avatar_m_tn
At times, I feel that Shut down ... is dangerous ...  Your emotions are there to guide you and keep you on the right track.  I am sometimes scared I will do something irresponsible / unsocial-like during a shut-down.  But I guess, that might be one of the reasons why Bipolar's has a tendency to get impulsive?  Hmmm...interesting question that...
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Avatar_m_tn
I do the same thing, have since I was a child. It started after years of abuse, its like your not even in your own body. I am now 34 and still do it all the time, i am not being abused but find when things get overwhelming I shut down. I would be interested in hearing from anyone on how to correct this, it does cause a lot of issues with my husband as he dorsnt understand and always thinks i am angry with him about something, i do explain how i feel and its no him its me..
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all for sharing, I can relate to many of you, especially those who shut down in intimate relationships, but also to those who are at the receiving end of it.

As somebody who has done extensive personal work after years of emotional/verbal abuse during childhood, and as somebody who has avoided intimate relationships for most of her life as a consequence, I can honestly say that you (who you are at the receiving end of this behavior) may want to 1.) try and resist the temptation to believe that your partner's behavior has anything to do with what you say or do or don't say or don't do and 2.) take this as an important learning lesson for yourself to dig deeper when you suffer from feelings of rejection and inadequacy.

This is not an easy task, of course, but truth is (I know this to be true for myself and through others whose behavior I have watched over the years) you could be in your partner's face about it or not, he or she would sooner or later have a similar reaction with anybody (the deeper and closer you go in the relationship) which is why most of us pick partners who are unable to 'go deep' anyway.

When I find myself shutting down I try to communicate this as honestly as possible with my partner, I try to reassure my partner that it has nothing to do with them, and I try to do whatever I need to feel good in my own skin again (for me personally this means nurturing ALL relationships including those with family and friends, taking time out for myself, focusing on other areas where I feel more confident).

Personally, it does help me to have a 'strong' partner who can hold their own and understands that this is needed for me to keep my balance. Hopefully, my partner can not make this about him and also focus on what he needs to do to take care of himself in such situations. This will relax the atmosphere tremendously, keep us from over-focusing on such 'rough spots' and we will very naturally and beautifully start to dance towards each other again at some point.

Please note: it has nothing to do with wanting to be with anybody else and/or with wanting my partner to be different. I have watched this pattern in myself for too many years to blame it on anything else but my own relationship anxiety.

So, try to let go a little, not beat yourself up for it, and lovingly communicate with your partner in the process. Also, possibly consider couple therapy or individual therapy to deal with feelings that arise on both sides as a consequence.
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Avatar_f_tn
Well, I no longer have a partner of any kind. Separated for two years now -- divorce is eminent (as soon as I have the money for it). Separated is the good news as I like to tell people. The bad news is the left-overs from the near 20 yr. marriage, one where I was plagued with getting a real life education in real time of what it means to be married to a narcissist/prescription med addict/jobless/adult male who reverted back to an embryonic state (last place he felt completely safe, I'm sure)...all of which I had no previous experience to call upon as reference and, yes, there were children, three great kids.

We lost our house, the kids and I moved to my parents, uprooting them from their friends and their school. Unfortunately, where we live now is in the country. The unfortunate part is the isolation from any noise other than the animals and the extreme slowness of the internet signal, the thing that was my connection with the world out there that I knew existed but was beginning to doubt because as I discovered the hard way, no one missed me or my quick wit. No one called or emailed or texted or communicated via smoke signal that my departure was important enough to warrant even the remotest passing thought and it was very hard for me to get past. This loneliness, this ever-present state in which I found myself unable to cheer myself up, the always glass half full kind of gal I had always been was gone. Even now as I write this I feel guilty that I am not "happier" than I am. I am safe; my children are safe, my parents have been great and are giving me the opportunity to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life, and yet I can't think of one thing that would make me happy. Maybe an old friend getting in touch with me without me having to initiate the conversation would make me smile. I don't know. Don't want to go the depression meds route, but I can't figure out how to shake this blah feeling.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi there.

I met this wonderful girl less than a year ago and just only two absolutely wonderful months after the signs of depression started to come up. She slowly started to shut down emotionally and consequently we've gone to a complete lack of intimacy and affection. Currently she has a bit on her plate... she is not happy living with her father, she has not enough money to have her own place, she is not happy with her job, etc. There is also a family member how suffers hevily from depression and she can't cope with anything. she also has almost zero social life and not many friends! i know that for someone who doesn't suffer from depression, these issues can be annoying but they just get on with it. in her case, these issues only make her condition worse and then at the end of the day, i am the one who takes the toll. I feel relegated to second plan... not important at all to her and no matter what I do, it doesn't make her happy. she is nice to everyone else, but she not not nice to me anymore, she picks on everything i do... and even the smallest thing i do wrong is subject to a critical comment, like for example, if i forget to turn the indicator on or if i'm in the wrong lane while driving.
I support her, I am nice to her, do everything I can and help her out with many things... but that doesn't seem enough or even to help her at all. she occasionally says that she'll understand if i decide to separate from her because she admits she is horrid to me. she says it's her, not me and says sorry for shutting down.
she is on medication for the last 3 years and she seems to be reluctant to get counselling or any other form of therapy... i don't know ehat to do.
You say in your post that the people in the receiving end to take car of themselves... i do that as I go to the gym, have my social life and my hobbies, but that doesn't make me any happier if my girlfriend is in this state... I am am man that needs love affection to be fullfilled in life and this is letting me down a lot. I love her and I never loved anyone else as much as I love her. I don't want to leave her too as I feel that she could be down even more. she doesn't like her self (hates everything about her even phisically) although she is beautiful and attractive and that people don't like her... ans says thats why she has no friends.
when she is not in this state, which is rare, she is a wonderful person... everything i wished for in a girl. loving, caring and allways keen to help.
I understand that this is not her, it's the depression taking over her mind... and that she is suffering too. but it is very hard for me as well and if she is unwell, then i become unwell too... i don't know what to do!
i don't know what to do...
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Avatar_m_tn
May I suggest a book that was a very big help to me,its called"depression fallout",by Anne Shellfield  I hope I spelled that name correctly.Very good book on understanding depression on both sides of the coin.I wish I read it earlier.
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1110049_tn?1409405744
This question was posted in 2007 and I don't think the answers are so relevan to lars19 now.  Strange how old posts come to the top again.

Does lars still want advice?  She joined in 2007 posted this question, and has never been on the forum since.  I suspect she does not belong to the depression site anymore, as 5 years since posting.
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Avatar_f_tn
It sounds to me as if you're still in mourning for your lost relationship, all the other losses you mention - even loss of self, the Self you once were in the situation you were in. You've suffered huge losses and its normal for you to feel grief. Even the end of bad relationships causes grief for we've lost what we once had and our hopes and dreams for the future too. Your friends are just getting on with their lives, they have no idea how lonely you are feeling. When people are in our vicinity its easier to think of them, drop by, call them up, they're just part of our social fabric. You've stepped out of place and lost them all at once, whereas they have lost only one friend; albeit a good, witty, loving one. Easier for them to carry as usual? You won't always feel like this. You might try ways of moving to a slightly livelier place, get some work maybe or even advertize locally for others who need company to get together once a week. Are there any groups nearby, singing, reading etc.,? Have faith. You did the right thing and you are a survivor. Things will get better.
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Avatar_f_tn
I know that this is an old post and I hope that you've already gotten the help that you need before this kills you.  

You are in a co-dependent relationship and need to find a way to end it.  You have made your partner's problem your problem but amplified it by 3.  The reason I am saying this is because you have assumed full responsibility for the bills while he stays in his sickness.  Yes, you are enabling him and you know what, he will never get the help that he needs to get better if you continue.  He is not your husband!!!  And you do not owe him the, "for sickness and in health" part of the contract that married couples make.  If you do not get out of this co-dependent relationship, you will end up not just emotionally sick and unstable, but physically ill as well.  This kind of stress can cause hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and ultimately untimely death.  

Take it from me: I was in a 15 year relationship with a mentally ill man who never sought help for his problem.  He is still sick today but I am out of the relationship and seeking the help that I need to establish emotional stability.  I was borderline diabetic, hypertensive, and had poor health.  I recently lost 100 lbs and now I'm healthy.  I live a guilt-free life and you can too. Because at the end of the day, the only one you can count on is you.  

I wish you well, my friend!  
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Avatar_f_tn
What terrific advice! I am in the same boat. Totally shut down from the world around me. Self preservation I guess.
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