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6660969 tn?1384144976

Fiancee is suffering major depression

Hi everyone,
I am new to this and I believe I really need help. To summarize what my situation is, well:
I recently returned from Europe (Spain) have been there for the last 6 years. I had to leave my girlfriend of almost 8 years there.We just got engaged on my 29th birthday, which was this past August. I had to move back to the USA in October of this year because of the terrible economic situation in there, and because I couldn't support my fiancee and all of our bills (it was the hardest thing I ever had to do). I will start to work as of this coming Tuesday (I am very happy and so is she), and I am handling the distance relatively well, but She is in a terrible depression. She was diagnosed and she fought and won depression a few times in the past and I have been there in person to support her all the way and she beat it all the times before. She is currently suffering a major depression and her family is trying to help her get on her feet but they have just had a streak of bad luck medically speaking as well *her father suffered a heart attack, has un-diagnosed depression (stubborn as a mule, doesn't want to seek help), her mother has diagnosed depression, and her sister too(I helped the whole family and made them do new things and took them out as much as possible they are like my birthed family and they all love me like a son). She has some really bad days and some not so bad and some days that I work as hard as I can in  trying to soothe her pain away, but to no avail.
She blames my family for not supporting me when I needed the financial help to get back on my feet in Europe (which is true they didn't help, but because they physically couldn't for reasons I believe are selfish, but it's not my money so I shan't get into that this thread), I managed to have her see that we will make it out of the financial problem thankfully because I found work here and in the 3 weeks that I've been here. I don't know what to say to help her get on her feet. She is currently living in our apartment which we are paying mortgage payments for (she is unemployed and has been looking for work for over 1 1/2 years but with no luck, another reason why I had to come back (I never said this nor hinted at this either, because its not her fault she cant find work), until the end of this month,then she will hopefully move into her parents home because she lives alone with our dog (which I believe feeds her depression even more). We have never been apart for the last 6 years and have been through a lot of terrible and wonderful times together. At this moment she is on a constant defensive and I know from previous times, her illness causes her to close herself off from the world until she can't anymore and then she will start to get better. My concern is that I have never seen her go as low as she is going and its a downward spiral. In the 3 weeks I have been gone her psychological and physical deterioration are almost to the point of threatening. Between myself and her family we convinced her to see a doctor and she is going to start a healthy eating routine (thankfully, because the doctor said she could pass away within the next 5 years if she kept going in the direction she was going in (heart failure was the biggest risk)) I don't know what I can do from so many miles away, I talk to her as much as possible everyday, through messaging applications and via skype in the evenings. She has to prepare our wedding without me there and I tried to do as much as I could with her before I left (we organized our ceremony, the banquet hall, dj/music) and she tells me that our wedding is meaningless and all of the negativity coming from her depression is starting to take its toll on me. I have difficulty sleeping and concentrating because I only think about her well being and look up information on how to help her from here. I would greatly appreciate if anyone could give me any advice on how to handle this. I thank you all ahead of time for everything you may help me with.
9 Responses
6456395 tn?1381456596
Coming from someone who suffers from major depression, all I would tell you to do is have her back. Be passive and understand from her point of view. I understand that could be hard to do, but you can. You have done all you can and you doing well at it. My advice would be to help her make her appointments and see what meds she can take. Meds are a big deal in healing. She can do it. I believe in both of you. Please don't give up. Stand your ground and have her back. Love her no matter what.
480448 tn?1426952138
Hello and welcome.  I'm sorry you and your fiancee are going through so much.  First, let me commend you for being so supportive, not only to HER, but also to her whole family.  A lot of behavior and reactions are learned, and from what you've said, it doesn't seem like anyone in her family is the type to pull themselves up by the bootstraps to help themselves.  She probably sees that as normal.

Understand that depression is a chronic illness that never really is "cured", but it can be managed well with a comprehensive treatment plan that may include medications, therapy, lifestyle changes, etc.  Understand that YOU cannot make her better.  You can NOT.  You're putting so much pressure on yourself that you're now becoming stressed yourself, which is not healthy.

As HARD as it is, your fiancee needs to start learning how to help herself.  It sounds very much like she's quite dependent on others, which doesn't help matters any, and it sounds like while you're trying to support her, you don't necessarily push her to do things that will get her feeling better.  You're kind of BOTH stuck in a rut.

For example, the job thing.  I'm not saying that it's necessarily easy for her to find a job she is qualified for, or wants, but certainly she could do SOMETHING, even if just PT.  For one, having some extra money coming in would make HER feel less like a burden and more like she is a contributing important member of the household, and two, it will take some of the pressure off of YOU to be making everything happen financially.  You're moving forward to a marriage, and that is a partnership.  There is no reason why she cannot do something to help improve your financial situation, that lies on both of you.  

You should be more upset that SHE hasn't made some kind of effort to do something than you should be about your family not helping.  It's way more her responsibility than it is theirs.  The MOST beneficial part of her getting a job is for her mental status.  Her not working and sitting home by herself all day every day allows her to easily continue isolating herself and withdrawing, which will only add to her depression.  Getting a job will give her a sense of purpose, she'll meet new people, have to follow a routine, etc...all things that will improve her state of mind.  That should be priority one.

Same with things like hobbies.  It sounds like you've been the one to push and encourage those kinds of things.  SHE has to make the effort for herself.  What if you were (God forbid) gone tomorrow?  IMO, you're both very much intertwined in a codependent relationship.  She's dependent on you for every day basic needs and survival, and you've grown used to your "job" being to sustain her.  That's not a healthy set up.

Of course, working on improving these things takes time and isn't easy for someone with depression, but she'll never make lasting progress if SHE doesn't take control of helping herself.  I know the distance is tough, is there any way she can come to the states to be with you?  She could then look for a job and get into some intensive therapy.

How you help her is to encourage HER to start helping herself, while explaining that you love and support her unconditionally.  You need to explain to her though that you've allowed her to become too dependent on you, which is likely adding to her depression.  It's not your job to fix people.  Supporting and doing all of the work are two totally different things.

Very best to you, I'm sure it's a terribly hard situation, and your love and devotion to her is crystal clear in your posts.  In the end though, if she's going to get a TRUE handle on the depression, things have to change on both of your ends.

Please let us know how things are going.  We're here for you.
Avatar universal
I can well understand both of you having problems getting work in Spain which has I believe has one of the highest unemployment levels in the world.  I may have missed it, but I didn't see anything about your fiancée taking any anti-depressant for her obvious depression.  That she needs to see a doctor and get treatment ASAP.  You cannot fix her, especially from so far away.  I suppose it is out of the question for her to come to live with you in the U.S., but that would probably be best for her.  You didn't describe exactly how her family could have helped you get on your feet.  Were they supposed to find you a job?  I would stop blaming them for your difficulties.  It's not healthy for your relationship with them.  And it is your responsibility to get on your feet which you have done a marvelous job of doing.  I know things are very difficult for you having to watch your fiancée from so far away getting so bad off.  You take care.
6660969 tn?1384144976
Thank you all for the posts. Blue_Mango 76, after much talking with her, she saw the need to see someone and went to a psychologist and scheduled another visit...i am very happy that she took that step. I will support her and help everwhich way possible, thank you.
Nursegirl6572,  thank you for all thay you have said. I did just what you recommended, told her that ive allowed her to be too dependant of me and with careful wordibg and explaining she decided to see a psychologist to assist with this and hopefully she will start feeling slightly better over the weeks to come. I have been the financial backbone in our relationship since the get go. She has been lookibg for wirk..ft and pt...and ive asked for favoyrs and nothing. She is either "overqualufied"
6660969 tn?1384144976
Sorry, posted accidentally....to continue my thought,  i hate the expression overqualified or she hasnt enough exp to get the job.... Spain is over 25 per cent unemoyment atm... she will be moving to the states but after our wedding... we don't want problems with the USA government and immigration policies are strict..she would only be able to be with me for 3 months and then shecwould havevto return for a month and so on...and thats too much money. She currently found an internship and a massive change occurred...which is why i believe she agreed to see a psychologist...ooo i almost forgot she also started a diet and is eating healthy and she started doing exercise.... I know she is trying her best and I am trying to get out of that rut and I beluevevthesecare the correct steps in doing it.Thank you sincerely.
Sara12345, thank you and i believe i may have made a mistake while explaining myself, i live her parenrs to death... they literally fed me for 4 months... i wasnt making enough to pay everything and they sent us groceries every week for 4 months until i made money and came to the USA. My family is the one I asked help from and didnt recieve it. My parents are financially well off... with a couple of properties around the west coast of the USA 2 cars and a new harley,  i asked them for help and tgey told me, to summarize, we cant becausecwe havent the money. My fiancee and I accepted it, until I found out they couldnt give me 300$ a month, but they could pay my sisters car, her 2nd masters and gave my sisters fiancee living at their house at their expensive. You can understand that it was quite a devastating bliw to my fiancee and myself. I got "over" it and my fiancee recently kinda has too.
I thank all of you for everything you have said and will post within the next few days, her appt is in the next few days and I will keep u all upsated. On a side note I am working and have been since tuesday..i am doing everything i can to keep my chin up regardless of what life throws at me..and i must have read your posts 20x and honestly you all gave me a boost of energy and opened my eyes, which I really needed.
Avatar universal
It sounds like your fiancée is making some great progress. How wonderful.  If her depression continues, I hope that you would encourage her to see a doctor about taking medications for it. Depression runs in her family which further indicates that your wife's depression could be biological.
And I truly do understand your disappointment with your own parents. Did you ever make the comparisons in their treatment of others with your lack of any financial support? Shame on them.  But in the end you have to accept it or disown them, which I wouldn't do. So sorry.  You will do very well in life.  
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