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I am being unsympathetic about DP's depression

(53 Posts)
TheUnsympathetic Wed 17-Jul-13 19:01:38

DP and I have been together for 2 years, no kids, live apart (me with sister, he with friends). He's caring, loving, handsome, fun and generally lovely, but he goes through bouts of what he calls depression that he won't see a doctor about it. These involve him staying in bed for a few days, seeming down for a bit and not going to work. TBH, I think he's putting it on really. He's never depressed on a weekend, unless he's not planning to go out. He doesn't like his job, but doesn't apply for a new one.

Am I a heartless cow not to pander to his bouts? I encourage him to apply for other jobs, to see a doctor, get exercise, eat more oily fish, take vitamins, etc etc etc....

TheUnsympathetic Thu 15-Aug-13 17:21:10

When we first met we were students and the hard partying lifestyle was one that all our friends had and it was fun and didn't really impact our responsibilities (just spent days in the library before deadlines). Then we graduated and got jobs and stopped and grew up so I guess I expected him to stop too. The people I know who still party hard can do so and still get up for work on a Monday.

BunBaker mostly uppers so it's natural he'd feel down a few days afterwards

Bunbaker Thu 15-Aug-13 17:14:51

"all his 'episodes' directly follow a big drink/drugs binge"

That would be a red flag for me. What drugs does he take?

So he's doing the binges once a month and has presumably done this ever since you have been together. Changing one of your own behaviours is hard enough, asking someone else to change theirs because you see it as irresponsible is taking on the impossible. Why do you feel the need to do this?.

Such men do not change, besides which he does not want your help or support. You are too close to the situation to be of any real help.

I think you need to take a long and hard look at this because I for one think you are selling yourself short.

OrmirianResurgam Thu 15-Aug-13 17:02:49

"But I can't really say 'stop being depressed or I'll break up with you,' can I?"

No, you can't. But you could say "Look, I love you and I want to be with you, but you need help, and not the kind that comes in a bottle or a burger carton. I refuse to spend any more time with a man who shows so little respect for himself and for me. Please see your doctor and get help. Depression is an illness and it improves with treatment the same as any other illness"

TheUnsympathetic Thu 15-Aug-13 17:02:22

The binging isn't every weekend, it's maybe one in four at the moment though he's gone through bad phases before where it's more common. When he's not on one or recovering he's fab - really lovely, we have a lot in common, he makes me laugh, he's kind. I don't want to rescue him, I just want him to acknowledge that sort of behaviour is detrimental and to stop... I worry it's really irresponsible and I wouldn't want to live with or have children with someone so unreliable. He's amazing 75% of the time and dreadful the other 25% and I am finding myself wanting to be with someone who's just pretty great 100% of the time.

He may well be self medicating his ongoing depression with drink and drugs.

I would ask why you are together at all to be honest.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 15-Aug-13 16:56:00

oh and i too have only just seen your last post - why are you with him? fuck that, move on

What do you get out of this relationship now?.

Do you feel that you want to rescue and or save this person from his own self?.

LEMisdisappointed Thu 15-Aug-13 16:54:59

Well, you dont sound like you like him very much so its a bit of a no brainer isn't it.

Mouseyinmyhousey Thu 15-Aug-13 16:51:13

You can say you don't want to be with someone who spends weekend getting pissed and doing drugs though.

Mouseyinmyhousey Thu 15-Aug-13 16:49:30

Ah just seen your last post.

If he's doing drugs and binging on booze then if course that is going to cause a big comedown.

You might be best off out of it?

Mouseyinmyhousey Thu 15-Aug-13 16:47:05

Depression isn't as simple as a kick up the bum, eat better and exercise. And just because he may be ok at times when to you it seems that they are to suit. I can also understand why he isn't rushing to the doctors. Asking for help with mental health isn't the same as going to the GP with a broken leg. There can be implications, people fear that they're just going to be given drugs, or maybe they don't want to speak about the root cause. People also often think they'll feel better soon, and before they know it's been going on for years.

On the other side of the coin you're not responsible for him, and if this is making you unhappy you can end it.

I lived with my dad's depression for years and its tough, and from what I can see it's in the hands of the person who's sick to get help.

TheUnsympathetic Thu 15-Aug-13 14:51:39

Sorry, I've been away for so long. I did read all of your comments. Situation is still the same...

I don't think he's pretending to be depressed, I do think he is depressed but he needs to get medical help and stop doing the things that make him depressed (a job he hates, binges, poor eating, etc etc). He just doesn't help himself - all his 'episodes' directly follow a big drink/drugs binge which would make anyone feel low due to hangover/comedown. Then he stays in bed for a few days because he feels so depressed he can't face work.

I'm never present at these binges because frankly they bore me, which means I don't see him for weekends when we could be doing something fun. I then have to deal with a DP who doesn't want to do anything but feel sorry for himself all week, and is really low and it's draining. I think he's close to getting sacked now for low attendance.

I find it increasingly hard to feel sorry for him when he won't help himself. We are definitely growing apart and I feel guilty for not wanting to see him. But I can't really say 'stop being depressed or I'll break up with you,' can I?

WafflyVersatile Thu 18-Jul-13 23:21:41

In what way do you have to indulge his low days?

crazyhead Thu 18-Jul-13 21:52:53

sorry - realised I was a bit incoherent - I meant missing work when he didn't have the excuse of being physically sick, basically

crazyhead Thu 18-Jul-13 21:51:57

How often are these episodes? Do they affect you practically or do they just worry you about the future? And what's he like in between episodes? Any trace of this sort of behaviour?

Given the timing of this (two years in, don't live together yet), I wonder whether you are just at the stage where you are sussing out whether this is a relationship that can go to the next stage or not, and maybe things like him missing work when he hasn't got a cold or whatever, or not looking for another job are uncomfortable for you when you think about the future?

Basically, no-one here can say if the guy is depressed or not, I don't think the unsympathetic/blame thing is relevant. But all I'd say is that not living together, pre-kids is a good stage to be selfish about what you actually want - whether or not it is clinical depression you will obviously need to 'deal' with it as your relationship goes forward.

Hope I haven't got this mega wrong btw

JaceyBee Thu 18-Jul-13 19:29:47

Of course he could be genuinely depressed, I guess that there's only so long someone can go on being sympathetic to someone who makes no effort at all to help themselves, despite encouraging them to do so.

MadBusLady Thu 18-Jul-13 19:06:47

"Feeling down for a bit" is just the OP's interpretation, in fact it's the one bit of her statement about him that is pure interpretation - sandwiched by the facts that he stays in bed and doesn't go to work, i.e. does not function.

It's certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

JaceyBee Thu 18-Jul-13 18:56:02

And I don't think severe depression is anything like 'feeling down for a bit'

As I said, that sounds more like low mood and general apathy. Again, just my opinion.

JaceyBee Thu 18-Jul-13 18:54:22

I take your point madbuslady and I'm not trying to cause offence to anyone that suffers with depression, and of course it takes a lot for people to seek help but the OP knows him better than our vague idea of the situation and she seems to think he's putting it on. She could be wrong of course, but I'm just saying that it's not beyond the realms of possibility that this is the case.

StillSeekingSpike Thu 18-Jul-13 18:25:11

It might sound like stating the bleedin obvious- but when you have depression, it doersn't FEEL like depression- no matter how many people tell you you are depressed, have the symptoms etc

I didn't go to a doctor's for years- because I thought this was just the way I was, I was wasting the doctor's time, I'd know if it was a mental illness, I wasn't that bad really, In fact, it wasn't until the ADs kicked in that I realised that not everyone went through life hating themself, scared of the world and sometimes felt so exhausted by it all thery had to hide away. And all the time I was holding down stressful jobs, going out, having relationships- while a very secret part thought about ways to kill myself or hoped I'd be diagnosed with a terminal illness.

MadBusLady Thu 18-Jul-13 18:20:23

I've taken longer than that to seek help, so no, I wouldn't judge anyone who finds taking that step difficult.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 18:15:06

She did take the guy seriously, surely? The OP has suggested various serious and sensible things to help his depression... doctors included. If this has been going on for two years and no change, isn't it time he took it equally seriously?

MadBusLady Thu 18-Jul-13 17:58:16

What an astonishing statement Jaceybee.

As far as I can see, this represents the sum total of what we know about this man's state of being:

These involve him staying in bed for a few days, seeming down for a bit and not going to work.

What pattern of behaviour would count as severe in your book, exactly?

I'm puzzled to find myself arguing so strenuously here, to be honest. I didn't think it would be controversial to simply suggest that the OP takes the guy at face value and goes from there (or leaves, as she sees fit). I'm perfectly well aware that we can't diagnose people over the internet, but the repeated efforts here to undiagnose are just as short-sighted - and potentially a lot more harmful. I am surprised to find so many people are not willing to start from the position of taking the guy seriously.

JaceyBee Thu 18-Jul-13 17:33:30

I agree that he probably has 'low mood'. But depression is a psychiatric term and cannot really be self diagnosed. A lot of people say they're 'depressed' when really they mean, low, fed up etc. (not implying that's the case for anyone on here)

And also, some people use 'depression' as an excuse to get out of doing things they don't want to do, like go to work or help around the house/with the kids etc.

I am completely empathic and have a v good understanding of depression as I'm a therapist and work with depressed people all the time. OPs DP doesn't seem to be anything like as severe as that. Obviously I can't know that for sure, but it's just my humble opinion.

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