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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....

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Jul-13 19:11:32

You are not a heartless cow. If he's genuinely suffering from depression, he needs to get a proper diagnosis, treatment, counselling or whatever else is recommended. If you're fed up with it, whether he's genuinely depressed or not, you don't have to put up with it.

TheWysticManker Wed 17-Jul-13 19:23:05

No hes an entitled hypochondrical lazy shite

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Wed 17-Jul-13 19:28:09

You're not a heartless cow by any means. DH has depression, diagnosed and he takes courses of counselling and reads extensively. It's hard on both of us but he takes responsibility for managing it - your DP should be the same.

JaceyBee Wed 17-Jul-13 22:39:53

He may be feeling low, fed up and sorry for himself but depressed? No. I don't think i'd indulge this behaviour either.

ThePinkOcelot Wed 17-Jul-13 22:49:25

Personally, I don;t think you are being a heartless cow, especially as his "depression" is self diagnosed. My DH suffers with depression as the result of a serious road accident 17 years ago and his subsequent injuries. We had been together years when the accident happened, but even so, living with it has been difficult for both of us. It is certainly no picnic living with a depressed spouse.
Personally, if I were you, no real ties to him apart from your 2 years, I would be telling him you will be calling time on this relationship unless he goes and gets himself some real help.

strawberryeyes Thu 18-Jul-13 11:04:02

I suffer from bouts of clinical depression, which has resulted in lack of motivation and sometimes means that I can't manage to get out of bed or into work (I have been off work for months now). It is a difficult illness to deal with and simply telling me to get exercise and eat differently is certainly not going to cure it! Of course there is a responsibility for each person to manage their own health, but depression by its nature means that it's harder to make decisions and you feel a sense of hopelessness about the world, so it often seems impossible to find your own way out. There are a list of symptoms here which shows how hard it is to just make the small adjustments you suggest. Lack of energy and motivation means that just making an appointment for the GP is extremely hard. It took me six months to get around to seeing mine! And your DP may be worried about it appearing on his medical records if he is planning to change jobs.

I've had an ex who was unsympathetic and claimed I was putting it on. Tbh the best thing he ever did was end the relationship, as being criticised in that way offered no help to me at all! It's hard being in a relationship with a person who is mentally ill, and I'm lucky to have found my current DP, who is brilliantly understanding and patient with me, whilst showing respect that I'm still a functioning human being even when I'm struggling with every day life. It doesn't sound like you're able to show that kind of patience to this man, and you don't sound very committed to this relationship, so I am not sure what either of you are getting out of the relationship either.

roz1982 Thu 18-Jul-13 11:17:27

I don't think anyone (inc. you) can possibly comment on whether your DP is actually depressed or not. I agree that he needs to go and talk to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis but I think you should be careful about your feelings that he is 'putting it on'.

Depression affects people in different ways and your post is just your perception of what is going on and how he behaves, not the actual truth of the matter.

Imnotscareditsonlytheinternet Thu 18-Jul-13 11:29:18

Exactly what Strawberry said.

I suffer from depression.

I can also understand why the OPs DP has not been to the doctors.

Aside from complications which may arise from visiting the doctors with depression and anxiety (I was refused life insurance once, plus it can effect certain jobs) as Strawberry said, getting the motivation to do something like that is very difficult, plus you keep telling yourself that this is 'the last time' you will feel like this and you will sort yourself out.

Certain medications dont agree with everybody, I hate taking anything, the side effects can often be worse than putting up with the depression.

Feeling better on weekend is also perfectly normal. I find that if my mind is busy with things that I enjoy then I can brighten up A LOT. Only to go right back down again Monday monring (and I like my job!) Alcohol can change things either way too.

I think you need to end the relationship OP, for both of your sakes.

If he's that ill that he has to take time off work for it he should see his GP. I can understand why he may have reservations but it's impacting his career by the sounds of it.

I've had experience of severe depression & whilst I can't comment on whether or not he is depressed or just low I would say that you're not being unreasonable if he's not willing to at least see the GP and then consider his options. Is he 'normal' at the weekends or still 'low' but functioning?

OrmirianResurgam Thu 18-Jul-13 11:59:17

What strawberry said.

When I was at my lowest I needed H's support like never before. I didn't get it - he just got irritable with me and told me to 'go to the GP'. I ended up suicidal at one point. What I needed was him to talk to me, hold me, tell me he was on my side, and gentle encourage me to go to the GP and get some help. It might have helped if he had offered to come with me. He did none of those things. He was in fact an utter bastard (turned out he was starting an affair so while I was staring down at the M5 from a bridge trying to convince myself to jump, he was texting his new lady. Twat!) angry

But for your DP, regardless of how bad he feels, he needs to get help. I do wonder if giving him a firm ultimatum re your relationship would be the helping hand he needs. But please don't imagine he is pretending, or that it isn't a real illness. Try to be supportive.

^ I would be inclined not to say you don't believe him until proven otherwise for that reason.

And to be honest, it is difficult being with someone who's depressed (or so I've been told, once I've come out of an episode, by various people). I can sympathize with those trying to deal with partners affected by it as well as the partners themselves.

Leithlurker Thu 18-Jul-13 12:07:58

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Imnotscareditsonlytheinternet Thu 18-Jul-13 12:18:53

The Orchard, telling someone with depression that you dont believe them until they get proof is one sure way of making them feel even worse.

OP, whilst I understand that depression is a difficult illness to empathise with unless you have been through it yourself, you really are not going to help him by being so unsympathetic. If you care about him you will stand by him and help him through this, if you dont feel that bond, then move on now.

cestlavielife Thu 18-Jul-13 12:24:55

as said; he needs to get a proper diagnosis, treatment, counselling or whatever else is recommended.

give him ultimatum - you will stay by him and support if he agrees to go to gp about it, and offer to go with him.

it isnt fair on you or him for him to self diagnose and also not do anything about it.

bu if that is how he chooses to deal with his mental health it is his choice. your choice to stay or go

MadBusLady Thu 18-Jul-13 12:34:10

You don't believe him. That's quite shit actually - how would you like it? Do you know anybody else who voluntarily takes to their bed for days at a time? Yeah, we can kid around about laziness and getting cups of tea brought up etc but the truth is it isn't any fun to spend a few days in bed for normal people. Generally people only do it cos they're ill in some sense. I think we need a lot more evidence that he's putting it on than you've given here.

If you want to help, believe him, stop imagining that it's easy for him to "solve" this problem with vitamins etc and keep up with gentle encouragement. Lots of people are reluctant to seek help, especially men. Have a look at the Mind website, there is s page of info there for people living with depressed partners.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 12:41:01

This can only be a matter of 'belief' because is undiagnosed at the moment. He believes he has depression & the OP doesn't. Only a doctor can establish who is correct and I don't the OP deserves vitriol for simply not going along with his self-diagnosis..


I meant don't tell him you disbelieve him until he's at least seen the GP hmm

Imnotscareditsonlytheinternet Thu 18-Jul-13 13:37:57

Oops sorry misread you!!

ouryve Thu 18-Jul-13 13:39:53

You're not being heartless. You wouldn't help him at al by enabling this behaviour. He needs to seek professional help - either for depression or whatever's at the root of what he's doing.

Imnotscareditsonlytheinternet Thu 18-Jul-13 13:40:55

Can I stress that there are a number of very valid reasons NOT to visit the GP though and its not always 'the answer' especially if the OPs DP doesnt want to.

As I said, I was turned down life insurance years ago. I am not on medication now and when I got quite bad again last year I couldnt go to the docs as I was in the process of applying for a job which I needed a medical for.

I am not saying that getting meds doesnt help some people, but its not always the answer. Understanding from friends and family can be a godsend.

no problem smile I can see why OP might be wound up if she feels it's made up but having been there myself and had people do the same (and in some cases not believe me til I was in hospital...mostly because I could function ok despite being very very low due to also being very anxious) I would strongly advise against being too quick to dismiss it.

On the other hand if he won't even try to get himself checked out or take responsibility for it then I'd consider leaving. If it was affecting my work/quality of life again I'd be straight down the GPs trying to nip it in the bud. He may need some extra support to do that or he may not want any help and continue like this for the foreseeable future.

(he doesn't have to accept the 'help' if he feels he can cope without it but he does need to try and work out if it is depression he's dealing with and how best to address that in other ways if so, as it's affecting his work by the sounds of it).

ouryve Thu 18-Jul-13 13:44:54

Understanding from friends and family can only go so far if someone ends up losing their job through repeated absence, though, Imnot. The chances are, he'll end up hauled in front of occupational health, in which case, life Insurance won't be the thing that's most important.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 13:46:24

"especially if the OPs DP doesnt want to."

But there's the dilemma. The DP doesn't want to be diagnosed or treated. The OP doesn't feel able to support him if he's not prepared to help himself. People can be 'understanding' until they're blue in the face but, if nothing changes, patience wears out and they shouldn't be made to feel guilty for that.

MadBusLady Thu 18-Jul-13 13:55:22

I don't think anyone is saying there's a problem woth the OP ending the relationship if she wants to. It's bloody hard work living with a depressed person. I do however think it's profoundly unhelpful to begin from a position of "I think he's making it up". Why be with someone you have so little respect for? And if he isn't making it up there's no quicker or more surefire way to make a depressed person feel like shit.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 14:02:45

Maybe he is making it up? When I lived with a hypochondriac flat-mate she was extremely inventive about the many illnesses she supposedly suffered from. She was a bit miserable-looking but otherwise seemed in reasonable nick. Never went to a doctor to get any of these ailments confirmed or treated so any compassion I originally felt wore out after a while. Wasn't a matter of 'respect'

MadBusLady Thu 18-Jul-13 14:11:29

We have no idea from this - but my default assumption, absent other data, if someone I loved stayed in bed for three days, would be that something was wrong, and that is the basis on which I would proceed, to whatever tolerance level I had. This is partly becaise I'd be mindful that the consequences would be awful if I intimated they were making it up and they weren't, but also becaise I generally have enough respect for people I love to take their feelings seriously. There doesn't seem to be much point in the relationship otherwise.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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?

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.

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 16:51:13

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

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.

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 16:56:00

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

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.

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.

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"

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.

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?

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

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