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Avatar universal

How to salvage relationship with depression?

I've had depression and anxiety for about 2 years, but over time, they're both steadily getting worse, especially lately, the depression has been a lot to handle, causing frequent anxiety attacks (at least 2 a day). I'm currently taking antidepressants and seeing a therapist. I want to get better, I want to be healthy for him and be the girl he really deserves. But it's hard to think that way.
Anyway, my boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. I'm crazy for him and I trust him so much, I always go to him when I'm having my depressive episodes. Lately, he says he feels like he's been repeating himself, saying the same things when trying to make me feel better. So due to this, he hasn't really been supportive. I feel like he's getting tired of me, which I would understand. He's a completely healthy guy. I treat him terribly sometimes, I can be such a burden. I'm trying my best to stop going to him for support because I think I'm overwhelming him. I just don't know what to do anymore, can I salvage this relationship? How can I make things better? How can I be better for him? I've suggested taking a break or even breaking up so that he could be happy, so he wouldn't have to be with someone as miserable as me, but he says no, he loves and cares too much. I'm so lucky to have him, but I don't deserve him. Please help me, I feel like I'm losing my mind.
11 Responses
1110049 tn?1409405744
Your boyfriend sounds lovely.  He is so supportive, and it is obvious he loves you very much, as you love him.  They do say love conquers all.  You have been honest with him about your depression, and he has accepted that.  Yes you do deserve him, and he would not be with you if he did not think so.

You ask how you can be better for him - well you cannot change who you are.  You cannot help having depression.  If he was tired of you he would not still be with you supporting you.  

You have a really good relationship, and if that lovely boyfriend of yours is still with you through everything, then do not worry.  You cannot help having depression, and he understands that.  Cherish each other, and love will surely see you through this difficult time.  
1551327 tn?1514049467
It is nice that you have that support.  I understand how hard it is to hold a relationship together when you are stuck in depression.  Worrying about losing him is just going to cause the depression to get worse.  Working on depression is just that...work.
Coming out of it is difficult sometimes because a symptom of depression is lower concentration but little things can start the healing process.  Journaling your thoughts helps sometimes.  I have had to work my way out of depression so many times and I promise the sun will shine on those who try.
Avatar universal
He really is lovely, he's always been here for me. I appreciate him so much but I don't think I show that enough. We're even long distance, we met over the internet, but he's visited me twice already, for a total of 2 months. We're perfect in person and I'm rarely able to feel sad around him in person. Since we're in different countries he can't just drop everything and move here. He needs to go to school and what not, all of his family is in the US. I want to show him that I really do appreciate him and everything he's stuck by me in, for I wouldn't have made progress at all without him.
480448 tn?1426952138
Hello and welcome!

It's no doubt very hard to navigate through relationships when one partner has depression, anxiety, etc.  I lost a wonderful BF way back when, my panic disorder just got to be too much for him, and at the time, I wasn't yet doing a whole lot to address it, other than reacting to the symptoms and being very emotionally needy.  He sure tried like heck to support me and be there for me, but I just wasn't trying like I should have...he couldn't help me because I wasn't even trying to help myself.

Being a loved one of someone with a chronic illness like depression and/or an anxiety disorder is very tough.  Your BF sounds like he's being supportive and loves you very much, but it also sounds like it may be a bit frustrating and overwhelming for him at the same time (understandably).  A lot of times, those feelings just stem from fear and frustration of not being able to "fix" the one they love with words.  Make sure that you validate his feelings by acknowledging that it's hard for him, and not by saying things like, "I don't deserve you, I'm a downer, I ruin everything"...those kinds of self defeating statements.  You could acknowledge and validate his feelings by saying something brief and to the point, like, "I know it's very hard for you to have to help me through my depression and anxiety.  I really appreciate your support and your advice. "  No apologies, just acknowledgements.

Also, my advice to you is to continue working on yourself with your therapist, and do whatever you can on your own to work through the problems also.  Are you taking any medication?

Finding more than one support person is a GREAT idea, that way not ONE person has to shoulder all of the support themselves, plus the bigger your "army" is, the easier it is to win the battle.  If you SHOW him with actions that you're working hard to address this, and also that you're HEARING his advice (by doing the things he suggests), I bet he'll feel a lot better also.  If he feels his suggestions are falling on deaf ears, he's absolutely going to get disgusted with the situation.

If he would be open to it, maybe invite him along to a therapy session with you, so that the therapist can help the two of you communicate with each other, and so he/she can give him some pointers on how to deal with having a loved one with depression and anxiety.  Having a therapist work with you BOTH to lay out the issues and formulate a plan moving forward would be very helpful.

While it's very very hard sometimes, it's VITAL that you push yourself as much as possible.  There will be days when you don't feel like doing a thing, but you have to push past that.  Regaining a sense of normalcy will help not only YOU, but him also.  It's hard for a significant other to know when to push and when not to...so communicate with him, and try your best to do what you can.  Make the effort one day to suggest going to a movie, something like that.  On days you simply CANNOT do it, communicate that to him, and then maybe do something nice for him, like get him a gift card to a restaurant where he can go have dinner with a friend in your place.  

I wish you the very best and hope you two can work through this.  It sounds like he's trying very hard to do what he can to help and support you.  So, make sure that (even when it's hard), you're doing YOUR part to make a valiant effort in trying to be functional and enjoy him and the relationship.  

The very worst thing you could do, both for yourself AND your relationship is to give in to those feelings of wanting to isolate and withdraw, which is why I suggested to really push yourself when you can.  When one starts to give into those desires, and starts isolating, the depression and anxiety will only get worse.  I've SO been there, done that, and I CANNOT stress enough that when I busted my rump to REALLY push push push myself when it was the LAST thing I wanted to do, it really made a difference.  I started seeing improvements in my moods, and the pushing myself got easier with repetition.  At first, I was basically "faking it til I was making it"....but that grew into genuine enjoyment of activities and functions.  

Take care, and keep us updated okay?
Avatar universal
Lately, I've been emotionally needy. He's the only one that puts effort into helping me, he's the only one that has been keeping me sane. He does often give me advice, like yes, to take my medication, he reminds me, he's happy I'm seeing a therapist, I think. I'm taking medication for low thyroid, anemia, and depression/anxiety (effexor). I would like to push pass my episodes and go on, but when I'm in that state of mind all I can think about and feel is pain. Since we're a long distance relationship, we simultaneously watch movies together via Netflix & Skype.. It definitely helps to see his face, to talk to him and see him smile. I don't necessarily want to withdraw and isolate myself from him, just to stop pestering when I go to him for support. It's mainly when I don't have a distraction, I tend to think too much, it grows into an episode and then I go to him, this happens at least twice a day. I've tried pushing myself before and saw some improvements, but I guess I fell behind. While looking for an answer before I posted this question I saw a few of your answers on a different question where you had suggested the guy in the relationship - who was dealing with a depressed girlfriend, leave her. I don't think I'd be able to handle losing him, he's all I feel I have, he's what brings me up every day when I'm down and if I didn't have him I'd have lost it a while ago... I know it can be frustrating for the loved one to be in this situation, but isn't it best if when they both love each other, to stay together? To stick by each other through to the end, until the other gets better? Which I'm trying to do..
480448 tn?1426952138
" It's mainly when I don't have a distraction, I tend to think too much, it grows into an episode and then I go to him, this happens at least twice a day. I've tried pushing myself before and saw some improvements, but I guess I fell behind."

Well, you're insightful enough to be able to recognize your patterns.  Change won't happen with an hour in a therapist's office, and/or after taking a pill.  Managing depression/anxiety truly DOES take work, sometimes HARD work for us to be able to stop those patterns that are self destructive.  

You even can recognize that you were doing better when you were pushing yourself.  It's definitely not easy, and it's something you have to stick with to see more long lasting results.  Successfully managing anxiety-ridden thinking involves CHANGING that thinking, which takes time, help and work.  

It sounds to me like you could be overly dependent on your BF....do you have close friends or family that you spend time with?  Do you have any hobbies?  Do you work?  What do you do in your free time?  If your life doesn't involve activities other than the time you spend with your BF (whether online or in person), then you're limiting yourself and you WILL be dependent on him.  You need to have a more well rounded life, if you don't already...again, something to work on.  If he's your "everything", that's not healthy for either of you.




" While looking for an answer before I posted this question I saw a few of your answers on a different question where you had suggested the guy in the relationship - who was dealing with a depressed girlfriend, leave her."

I bet I know EXACTLY what thread you're talking about, but could you post a link?  There comes a time where relationships just aren't healthy for those involved, and that can be due to MANY reasons.  I would never tell someone to leave their partner simply based on them having depression or anxiety....but if their relationship has deteriorated, and their partner isn't trying to help themselves, and in some cases, even uses their illnesses to behave poorly...then the sensible thing to do, after trying to work through it, is to cut your losses and walk away, IMO.  There's GOOD reason why we DATE before choosing a life partner.  Sometimes, for whatever reason, people just don't end up being compatible.  There are people who find themselves in a relationship with someone who ends up with a very serious illness or injury, and they just cannot emotionally handle it.  That's reality, whether it's palatable or not.



" I don't think I'd be able to handle losing him, he's all I feel I have, he's what brings me up every day when I'm down and if I didn't have him I'd have lost it a while ago... I know it can be frustrating for the loved one to be in this situation, but isn't it best if when they both love each other, to stay together? To stick by each other through to the end, until the other gets better? Which I'm trying to do.. "

This above statement tells me a few things.  ONE, that you're definitely overly emotionally dependent on your BF (which can be extremely overwhelming and intimidating for the partner).  It's one thing to acknowledge that losing him would be very painful and hard, it's another to feel like you wouldn't be able to function or be happy without him.  That's not a healthy place to be in a relationship.  You need to find a way to have a life outside of your BF, and find other support people too, not just him.  

As for your last comment, I disagree.  If you were married to this guy, I would tend to agree a bit more, although not completely.  If both people aren't satisfied and content in a relationship, if the balance is off (ie emotional attachment), then there could be trouble, that's understandable.  That's what I was trying to get across in my original reply.  

You posted that you're worried about your relationship due to the issues with your mental illnesses, and I think that it's a valid concern, generally speaking.  From what you've said, it doesn't sound at all like your relationship is in immediate jeopardy, but it could end up there if you don't start looking more carefully at your role, and the things that your BF is communicating to you (don't just hear him, LISTEN to what he's saying).  

You absolutely COULD be doing more to help yourself, and that's probably one of his issues.  Also, VERY few people in this world want to be someone's EVERYTHING, their reason for living.  That's one HECK of a burden to put on someone, and like I said, it can be very intimidating.  If the dynamics are like that (which you kind of admit to), that may be an issue, now or down the line.

I've tried to give you some suggestions in how you can work on your issues, which will in turn make YOU feel better, which will make your relationship better.  You cannot help that you have anxiety and depression...but you CAN help how it's managed, and how you manage your relationships with others WITH the disorders.

I wish you well...let us know how it's going.  Take it one day at a time.  You cannot change everything overnight, but what you CAN do is sit down, and start writing down goals you have for yourself and things you want to change, then start working on them, one at a time if you have to.  It won't always be easy, but it will be worth it.
Avatar universal
No, I'm not completely dependent on him, but of course I am some, as he is to me. We have an understanding.... He's not going to just drop me because I'm dependent on him.. I have social anxiety, there's not really a life I can be living. I see and talk to my family often, he's not the only person I can talk to. I'm not happy in the first place - so losing him will obviously hit me hard. I'd be able to function fine, but it would send me deeper into depression, like it would anyone. We're perfect in person, I'm so happy and there are never problems between us. But that's in person. We care and love each other mutually/equally, dependency hasn't been a problem. He's not my reason for living, and I never said that. He's just a really important part of my life, understandably. We've been through a lot and we're most comfortable with each other than anyone. Anyway I'm already working on it. Hope I see results.
480448 tn?1426952138
Well, I wish you the best of luck.  For some reason, my words are hitting you the wrong way, and you're becoming defensive.  I was just trying to give you an honest take to your valid concerns.

This is what you said in your original post:

"Anyway, my boyfriend and I have been together for a year now. I'm crazy for him and I trust him so much, I always go to him when I'm having my depressive episodes. Lately, he says he feels like he's been repeating himself, saying the same things when trying to make me feel better. So due to this, he hasn't really been supportive. I feel like he's getting tired of me, which I would understand. He's a completely healthy guy. I treat him terribly sometimes, I can be such a burden. I'm trying my best to stop going to him for support because I think I'm overwhelming him. I just don't know what to do anymore, can I salvage this relationship? How can I make things better? How can I be better for him?"

...which is what I tried to address for you.

Your last post you say the following:

" We're perfect in person, I'm so happy and there are never problems between us. But that's in person. We care and love each other mutually/equally, dependency hasn't been a problem. He's not my reason for living, and I never said that. He's just a really important part of my life, understandably. We've been through a lot and we're most comfortable with each other than anyone. Anyway I'm already working on it. Hope I see results."

....which is kind of presenting the whole situation in a much different light.

I'm not at all saying that your relationship will fail, as a matter of fact, I said the opposite...that it didn't seem like it was in jeopardy currently.  Just take it from someone who lost a loved one largely due to my anxiety disorder...it happens.  You cannot pull the wool over your eyes and convince yourself nothing would ever happen because he promised you it wouldn't.

I turned to my then BF every time I had a panic attack, I shared with him all of my intrusive thoughts (some which were pretty disturbing)...and God love him, he stuck in there for a long time, we dated for over 3 years.  He promised me (after a good bit of reassurance seeking from me) that he would never leave me because of my anxiety, he knew I couldn't help it.  Initially, he was the most supportive, I couldn't have ASKED for a better support person, but over time, his support and reassurance waned.  

Eventually his promises to never leave me didn't apply anymore, and him breaking up with me wasn't easy for him, he truly cared about me and felt terribly, but he just couldn't do it anymore.  I wasn't the same person he'd fallen in love with anymore...and I wasn't doing as much as I could have to help myself.  He would tell me every time I called in a panic, "I can tell you the same things over and over, and get you through the moment, but you HAVE to find a way to either lessen the attacks, or learn coping skills for yourself....what if I died tomorrow?"  And you know what?  He was 100% right.

When he ended our relationship, OMG, I didn't think I would survive it.  He was my NUMBER 1 go to person for my panic, and I didn't have that anymore.  I felt SO lost, so sad, so mad, so confused.  You know the ironic part?  I could SO see it happening in real time, but I was so wrapped up in myself that I brushed it under the rug, and when I would SEE that he was unhappy, or pulling away, or would say something to me.....I just basically begged for reassurance that he would never leave me, no matter what.  Then, I would feel better in the moment, I had his promise, and I KNEW he really loved me (because he really did)....I turned a blind eye to what was going on with him, totally.  I had him really backed up against a wall.  He was a great great guy and he really did the best he could...and MAYBE had I listened to him, and not just pretended everything was okay, I would have been able to make the end result different.  The one positive that came out of it was that it forced me to have to fend for myself and start pushing myself to get better.  In the end, life turned out great for both of us...we're both happily married (to other people)...I am FB friends with him, and I am still so very fond of him, and appreciative for him pushing me to better myself.  We've had a couple of chats YEARS later about our relationship, and he was so sweet, saying how GLAD he was that I ended up happy, content and successful...that's all he wanted for me, and he said he had guilt issues for a LONG time.  He was a real stand up guy, and I have no doubt if it wasn't for my anxiety issues, we probably would have stayed together, possibly even made a life together.  I have no regrets now, but I did for a LONG long time.

Now, understand, I'm not comparing my situation with yours, but what I am trying to get across to you is that I think you're wise to be concerned, and you posting this thread today, asking for input, shows me that you're worried enough about your relationship to bring it up.  I really really hope you can TRY to not take anything I've said personally (because it really isn't, quite the opposite, I would hate to see someone else make similar mistakes) and use the information to your benefit.

I hope everything works out for you and your relationship, I truly do.
Avatar universal
Yes I know, I posted this question in a panic. We have a decent relationship besides these problems we get into. Sorry to get defensive, it's just a tough pill to swallow. I don't like to think of myself as dependent but I suppose I really can be. I pretty much feel the same way, I fear losing him a lot. I tell him how much I appreciate him sticking by me.. You've helped me, and so has he, I'm really going to try, I want to get better, I really do, because I'm tearing myself apart. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond back and answer to me.
480448 tn?1426952138
Yes, it IS hard to hear stuff that hits so close to home.  

It sounds like you've got a good plan, just keep working on things, and like I said, maybe try to find some alternative support people for those moments.  

Take care!!
Avatar universal
We just argue like nobody's business when he has to go back home, and it's hard for both of us. And at this time I seek reassurance from him. We do this a lot and it's just a constant thing, I want to get better so this can stop. But again, thank you. I really needed that boost of motivation.
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