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Avatar universal

EXTREMELY worried for my resident partner

A little it about us, Tom (name changed)  and i have been together since his first year of medical school. 4 Years later, he is now in the second half of his intern year of emergency medicine. In the recent months he’s been getting increasingly depressed. I’ve tried to offer him support, or just give him space. Now he’s at the point where he says he wants to leave me because he wants to live in isolation and he doesn’t want to make my life worse by being around. He says he can’t enjoy anything anymore, and he feels empty inside.

He has agreed to one couples therapy session and my therapist is aware of his mental state. Other than that he refuses to get help or try medication. I am afraid 45 minutes will not be enough to save us.  I am terrified of the thought of him being alone, as I am very aware of the resident suicide epidemic.

He still openly says he loves me and i don’t doubt that. If I thought space would be best for him, i would let him go, but i truly believe depression is a beast and living alone would be feeding it.

What can i do to help him?

Am i wrong trying to make him stay? Will be get better faster on his own?

At what point do i contact his family and tell them whats going on?

Is there anyway our relationship can withstand this?  When do i begin the healing process for myself.  Needless to say this is taking a huge toll on me as well.  I am happy to be the strong one for us, but i cant tell if this is what he really wants or if its the depression talking.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Well, either this is an excuse and he's not depressed but just wants to end the relationship and is too cowardly to just tell you that, or his depression is getting pretty bad and you're right, couples therapy won't help in that case, as it's not a couples issue but his alone.  He needs individual therapy and, if it's bad enough, medication as well.  I don't know of any internship epidemic, we throw the term epidemic around a lot in the US, but anyone can get depressed and he's at the age when mental illness breaks out.  Whether your relationship can withstand this depends on the two of you -- if you're willing to stay with him and he's willing to stay with you the relationship will last.  If not on either end, it won't.  But if he's as depressed as you say, the more important thing right now is getting him help one way or the other, as isolation will destroy him if that's where he's really headed.  It's a sinkhole.  
973741 tn?1342342773
I'm really sorry to hear this.  So difficult.  Let me just say that you can not save someone who doesn't want to save themselves.  This can not be and should not be your responsibility in life unless it is your child.  :>)  In a loving, adult relationship, both people have to take care of themselves and be invested in a better life together. If he is not, you can't do it for him.

He sounds like he has a lot of sorting out to do.  And I can hear the deep fear you have of letting this go.  But this is not a happy place to be in.  With a partner that is so troubled.  You do not want a life that is filled with this!!  He either gets help or you are better off in a relationship with someone that has peace, is emotionally healthy, etc.  No one is perfect and everyone has their problems. But at some point, the problems can be too big to want to tie yourself to for the rest of your life.  Imagine having kids living in a home with him?  That would be an emotionally unhealthy home.  

I'd let him go and get help.  And if he does and wants to rekindle and you are open to it, then do so. But until then, he's not relationship material.  

I know that is hard and easier for me to say as an outsider.  hugs
8 Comments
Boy, Mom, you're hard!  I'm glad my wife doesn't think like that!
I'm not trying to hurt anyone.  I'm sorry Paxiled.  I do, however, feel like we have to set ourselves up for a good life and be practical about it.  I don't know what the situation was when you met your wife.  And I don't want those suffering mental health issues to be alone. But the person writing here is young and starting her life and I would hate for her to be tied to a future that will be so difficult. She's not married yet.  She CAN have a life that is more functional than what is going on with the man she is with now.  I walked away from someone that I deeply loved because the writing was on the wall that he would always have issues.  I wanted a future family, wanted a peaceful life myself.  I had to do it in order to 'save myself'. from that heartache.  I didn't want to risk my own future based on the volatility of someone else's mental state.  I was in my 20's at the time.  I was deeply in love but chose to leave that relationship in order to find someone who appeared more healthy.  Problems come up in marriage, for sure.  And then you have taken a vow to work together on them.  But if it is before that point and you have a choice, I believe people should set themselves up for success rather than walk directly into the path of potential destruction based on the mental state of someone else.  
I was actually joking, Mom.  But on a serious note, I've had an anxiety disorder for a very long time, but I was still me, it was only after the paxil ruined my life -- or I should say the psychiatrist I had then who ruined my life -- that I lost me.  I've actually been telling my wife for many years now that she needs to cut me loose for all the reasons you state, but so far she hasn't done so.  But I have an incurable disorder caused by medication, whereas what I had before and what the poster's partner has can be fixed.  People are different -- some are enriched by being of help to others and some are not.  We've all been hearing of Stephen Hawking's death, and I guess the right thing for you would have been to leave him.  Life with him was difficult, and of course fame ended up with him cheating on his wife and that caused their divorce, but she found it very fulfilling until then to be of help and in love.  I have been broken up several times by women who wanted it easier.  But it's possible the poster doesn't need easy.  I will agree that when a problem can't be fixed or the person doesn't try to fix it, then a decision has to be made.  But again, I was really just making a small joke.
I don't know your wife but on some level, feel like I know you. You are compassionate, smart and funny.  Of course, a disorder or illness is not the whole story to a person.  Relationships are hard to maintain under the best of circumstances though and when you enter it with questions like the OP has, that's going to be a rough life, there is no doubt about it.   I hope her boyfriend gets help.  I hope she finds a way to not take responsibility for that if he does or doesn't.   Not everyone needs to make it easy on themselves but if you don't want to do that, are you a gluten for punishment?  To me, dating (before marriage) is MEANT to make these tough decisions so that we have the best chance of our own future happiness.
I agree, I hope the person knows not to take the responsibility on.  My wife and I were older when we met, which makes it a much different kind of relationship than younger people enter into.  She's also a military brat and a veteran, so she's always been used to being very independent and doesn't really need anyone else, whereas I grew up with very close friends having lived until my twenties in one place.  But love is love -- I would bet more people who are not yet married are more in love with one another than many married people.  The key is how much you love the other person as to how hard this is, not whether you're married or not unless you have religious or cultural strictures you're laboring under.  It also depends on whether you're the one being left or the one leaving -- it's much easier for the one leaving.  All serious relationships will be hard to handle at some point in life.  My Dad very much wanted to leave my Mom after a few years of her being paralyzed with cancer -- he waned to get on with his life and she wasn't ever going to recover.  Fortunately for him, she died, and he was able to move on, but it's just an example that it's not just mental illness that can be a problem.  Most people are very self-centered and have little appetite for being a care-giver all of a sudden.  It's a very hard way to live, life is short, and at some point the healthy person has to decide just what stuff they're made of and hope that when they get ill, which we all do, they don't end up on the receiving end of someone who can't take that weight on.  I watched my Dad just wear out, start drinking, get bitter, because it just went on and on.  He was a good kind person when it started and a selfish bitter angry man afterwards.  Life is just hard, and it ends up being, should two suffer when only one has to.  I guess that's why we invented all these religions and philosophies  to try to set rules to make these decisions for us, but you're right, these rules only apply after marriage and marriage is no longer something people do as soon in life as they used to.  No answers here, just questions.  Peace, Mom.    
I also don't think this matters to you and I, but I think this is a same sex relationship.  I don't know that for sure, but the profile of the poster says he is male, and this might be making this more difficult to get the family involved.
its not. im a female hes a male.  he left to go live in an empty apartment alone- i did contact his family and they are worried but it is in their hands from here.

I would have stuck with him and got through this if he let me.  But again both partners need to want to make it work
Just a sad tale.  I hope he gets it together, and I'm glad you're moving on to a better place.  Life is just hard sometimes.  Peace.
20822514 tn?1523730348
Hi there!  Let me start by saying that I am very sorry for what you "both" are going through.  While this is very hard for you, I can tell that you do realize that your partner is not having a party in his head!  I admire your unselfishness and willingness to do whatever it takes to help him.  
I have been in the same position you are in right now.  From that experience, I can say without hesitation that leaving him "alone", and I am talking about literally "alone", is the worst thing you could do right now.  Depressed people typically tend to withdraw from people, interests, hobbies etc...and they sleep a lot.  Leaving him alone inside his own head can't turn out good!  He does have to want some help in order for any help to work.  I am not sure how this can be accomplished.   Showing him that he is loved and cared for will help whether you know it or not.  Don't be critical or judgemental.  Most of all, if he is not willing to do some work in order to get better, then you should take steps to take care of yourself.  Don't let this drag you down into the mire with your partner.  
Avatar universal
You should be concerned if he is truthfully wanting to move out and isolate himself as not to further be a “burden.” Speaking from personal experience, especially since you are in a relationship, this should be a big warning sign. People suffering from depression will often completely cut off ties with those close to them and try to isolate themselves if they are seriously considering suicide. I know it is a very scary situation to be in and nobody wants to lose their significant other when they are ill, but more importantly, seek proper professional outside help for him immediately. He may need desperate and fast intervention, and in your position, you should not be hesitant to do anything you can to alert the proper authorities or psychiatric propeffionals of his condition and sudden decision to move out and live in isolation. Even if you might think he would be angry or upset with you for doing so, you CANNOT handle this extremely delicate situation on your own and it is ALWAYS the right move to play everything on the safe side. Suicidal individuals may not want any type of help or intervention because of the very same condition causing it, but you cannot risk staying silent or being afraid to take immediate action and getting the proper help for him. Losing your relationship will be much easier than losing his life altogether.
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