When should I worry?(38 Posts)
Hi, I have NC for this.
My boyfriend and I are in our early twenties and are both at universities in nearby cities. We’ve only been together since the summer but it’s been going well and we have quite a few things planned for the future.
However, I’ve gone home for Easter break to complete a placement and I haven’t heard from him since the weekend. We usually talk every day and would see each other 2/3 times through the week and also at weekends during term time. I really don’t think he is ghosting me.
He had been struggling recently, not going to lectures, not completing work etc and has gone through periods of not replying but never for this long (usually a day or so max). In the past he’s said he did so because he was ashamed of not going to uni etc.
I honestly think he’s depressed and I’m worried about him. I’ve messaged and called a few times and left messages asking him just to let me know that he’s okay, that I’m not annoyed or angry, I just care about him. I’ve only sent a couple of messages and have been careful not to bug him.
What should I do next? I don’t know his parents and we aren’t friends on social media, would it be too far to message them? (He doesn’t live with them). Am I naive and I’ve really been ghosted? Or am I being stupid and he’s probably just busy and I should give him some time. I wouldn’t be so worried if it wasn’t so out of character for him/he wasn’t struggling. He’d usually message morning and a few times at night at bare minimum and has only ever ignored me when feeling low, never to manipulate or hurt me.
Am I being ridiculous?
So sorry you’ve had such a difficult time . I think telling him about your past was done in a supportive way and you definately aren’t the cause of any of this . It sounds like you have been a great support to him. You do have to look after yourself tho and not put your own health at risk bearing the responsibility.
I’m glad you have able to discuss suicidal thoughts with him . It’s better when these things are out in the open.
Do continue to encourage him to seek help.
His parents sound caring if they contact him every day. Maybe they don’t understand depression. It can be easy to put it all down to laziness when someone is so lacking in motivation. It’s a vicious circle when he can’t manage uni and then doesn’t go - then probably beats himself up about it all . Your involvement clearly helps him at the time but isn’t breaking the cycle . He needs to talk to a Gp, someone from the uni or his parents. It can be very hard to take this step tho - keep pushing him .
And as I said before - if you are really worried then you may have to break his trust and make the decision to speak to someone else yourself about it. You would be doing that to help him, even if he didn’t see it that way at the beginning.
Have you got anyone you can discuss it with irl .Please take care of yourself too
I’m coping quite well but should be consolidating some of my university work when I’m actually trying to figure out if he’s okay! So it’s distracting me but not affecting me too much mentally other than the worry, obviously.
I haven’t heard from him again today when he promised he’d contact someone about this. So I don’t know if he has or if he’s in bed again.
I study a full time degree (think medicine) and his often isn’t so full on (but is still a science degree so difficult) so he likes to spend time with me and I feel guilty when I genuinely don’t have the time to see him 4 times in a week!
I shared the information with him more to say “I’ve been there and I’m now okay” not that I was struggling too. I can still be anxious at times but have come on leaps and bounds and don’t need any help with it. I recognise when things are getting too much, give myself some time (e.g. an evening off revision) and then go back to it with a clear head and a plan how to tackle things.
I love him but he just needs to make this step to get help because he can’t help himself and I can help him but I can’t fix him.
I appreciate he has really down days but what do you get from this relationship apart from worrying??
Honestly, during term time I get a lot from it.
He’s caring and gets me better than other people do, is amazing at handling my revision/exam stress and helped me so much for my last set of exams. I like to ‘be tested’ with flash cards etc and he spent hours going over content I needed to know which was useful academically but it was also so lovely just to have him there supporting me. He helped me find confidence in myself and my abilities.
We get on amazingly well, I’m always laughing when I’m with him and each day just feels better. I keep a mood journal and log how each day went, it’s part of my mindfulness and since we got together most of my days are ‘amazing’ or ‘good’, I rarely have a bad day.
Most importantly, I feel safe.
He respects me and my body which is very important to me after my past and he has never even come close to crossing any boundaries I have when it comes to intimacy. He’s always reading my face and can just tell how I am.
However, the same happened during the Christmas holidays, he really struggled and hardly talked to me and I worried a lot. This happens when we’re apart, not when we’re together. It also wasn’t to this extent last time. I may not have painted him in the best light for the first part of the thread but he is honestly brilliant when I can see him face to face. I just need him to take that step to help himself and I’m happy to support him as long as he keeps me in the loop.
The only negative during term time is that he wants to spend a lot of time with me and I want the same but I physically can’t do it. I can commit to weekends and a few evenings a week (to watch Netflix and sleep really, not until after 9pm Ish) but only if I do extra work other nights but that’s a downside to the degree, I guess.
Have you heard from him since? Is it seasonal depression aswell? He sounds like he's a good guy but you can't keep feeling responsible for his welfare at times like these. It sounds a bit mean though especially since he knows you have anxiety etc
Feeling numb is a very normal symptom of depression.
It sounds from your most recent posts like he is dependent on your being there to stop him feeling the worst of his depression/anxiety/whatever it is.
Which isn't healthy.
I'm not entirely sure what advice is given under that circumstance but, I would still contact uni for the welfare check and explain how he is when you're not there, and the concerns about how he is coping whether you're together or apart.
Because there is all sorts available at student welfare. I accessed it a lot a few years ago when I studied at uni. I had talking therapies and support with dealing with things both uni related and outside uni.
I’ve had a message to say that he’s okay and that he tried to get help by booking an appointment today but was dismissed and told he needed to join the waiting list to see student services. He’s filled the form in so that’s something. But I think he’s feeling disheartened as it was a big step for him.
I’d say my anxiety is controlled now, I don’t think I suffer more than the average person. All my friends on the same course get about as stressed, if not more stressed around exams which is my main cause of stress.
Thank you for everyone’s suggestions, I’m not planning to leave him as I know he’s not doing it on purpose although sometimes it hurts when he doesn’t even want to talk to me. I know we’re not married or anything, and haven’t been together for a long time yet, but I’m going to stick by him and try and help him for as long as he’s also trying to make progress. I would say he can be dependent on me at times but when he’s feeling okay he plays sports 3 times a week and attends other hobbies too. He just seems to have no inbetween, he’s doing everything or nothing at all (not suggesting BPD or anything though).
Sometimes I feel like giving him a shake as he’s so capable of everything he wishes to achieve but I know that wouldn’t help and a massive hug would be the better way to go. I’d give him one if he wasn’t so far away!
No shaking please, OP! It will only make him feel more disconnected. Depression is a serious illness; not something you "snap out of". Having suffered with depression from childhood through to my 30s, with several attempts at suicide, I know what it feels like. It's the absolute worst. It's hell. Your bf needs professional help asap. Until he gets it, be as supportive as you can without condemnation or irritation. You're in a difficult position, with your own life to get on with. I would definitely get in touch with his parents.
Try and get him to go to his GP and discuss medication, while he's waiting on the waiting list.
Like I said, I wouldn’t shake him really and I know he can’t help it. It’s just he’s so capable and can do it yet he can’t!. I probably could’ve done with a good shake to snap out of my low moods but sometimes I need everything set out straight and bluntly to me, he’s different.
I know he’s not doing it on purpose as no one would miss deadlines intentionally but still want to do well at their degree. I’ll encourage him to speak to his GP but there’s only so much I can do from so far away.
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