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Advice please - partner with anxiety

(17 Posts)
Hazymagpie Sun 12-Jul-15 11:01:20

Hi.
My partner of 18 months has depression and anxiety. Is taking medication and has had counselling but didn't complete the sessions, so currently on a waiting list.

Life is up and down, the highs are great and the lows are stressful for us both.

Currently on a low, and I don't know how to help. He has withdrawn all affection and constantly tells me I deserve better. He wants to be alone all the time and pushes me away.

I'm worried that if I leave him alone our relationship will just fade away.

I don't want to walk away because I love him.

I don't want to push him into seeing me because that might tip him over the edge.

I'm not trying to fix him, I just want to help him because he is a wonderful man and father and I hate seeing him so low.

Thanks for reading, your advice would be really appreciated.

NotAJammyDodger Tue 14-Jul-15 11:51:15

A lot of what your describing is his depression talking - the wanting to be alone, withdrawal of affection, telling you that you deserve better. He might benefit from having his meds reviewed by his GP as it sounds like he is still quite depressed.

It's great that he is back on the waiting list for more counseling. Perhaps your local branch of Mind may run some anxiety and depression groups. Or if the waiting list is long, are you able to consider private therapy? Being really supportive (which is tough) will help him.

He may be too depressed to get any benefit from (or be motivated to) reading self help books at the moment, but perhaps you could read some - it might help you - as understanding and living with depressives is very tough, as well providing some suggestions / options to explore to help with his recovery.

Hazymagpie Tue 14-Jul-15 19:03:05

Thank you so much for your reply. You clearly have experience in this, he visited his GP today and she advised him to come off his existing medication and prescribed something else for his anxiety

I realise this isn't a miracle cure and it won't be a straightforward swap but at least it feels like someone is taking notice.

We're on a private waiting list, I will also check out Mind, thank you.
His doctor also suggested some reading material, which I will read if he isn't up to it.

I am really trying to be supportive, I know it's small steps.

Do you mind me asking if you think I am doing the right thing by taking things at his pace? I'm not putting pressure on him to go out if he doesn't want to, we're just walking together and talking generally when he feels like it. And although it's not easy I'm not stressing out about the lack of affection.

I really appreciate you comments
Thank you.

NotAJammyDodger Wed 15-Jul-15 10:06:24

Hi Hazey. Yes, totally you are doing the right thing taking things at his pace. When you are depressed everything can feel totally overwhelming so it great that you are so supportive at letting him determine the pace.

Excellent news that he seen his GP again. Just doing that is actually quite challenging, and perhaps even more so for a man. Getting out and walking is also a really good thing to do, and it's great that he is up for doing this with you, and also willing to talk about things. Even simple things like going out (and also seeing the doctor) can feel impossible when your are depressed, so you should take heart that there are encouraging signs here.

My experience was that I need the meds to work to lift me a little. Once they started to work I was more up for trying self-help and doing therapy.

My DH found depression very frightening, not least because he didn't recognize who I was anymore, had no idea what was going on, or what would happen in the short or longer term. It may be helpful for you to read a few self help books? It will help you understand his condition, but just as importantly, it will help you recognize when his illness, rather than him, is talking to you, as it is tough being the receiving end of a depressive, especially when they are pushing you away.

A good starting read is Depression For Dummies -
www.amazon.co.uk/Overcoming-Depression-Dummies-Elaine-Foreman-ebook/dp/B004L62KCA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436948278&sr=1-1&keywords=depression+for+dummies
I'm sure other posters on here can recommend some excellent reads.

At my request, my DH also saw a private therapist for about 8 sessions (she was recommended by my own T and used an eclectic approach). I felt he needed more support / an outlet which I couldn't give him because I was depressed (and it wasn't something he felt could talk to his mates about). It also made me feel less guilty / less stressed, and stop beating myself up over the impact my depression was having on him.

Things will get better flowers, but don't forget about you and be attentive to your needs. Take time out to do things you enjoy to get a break, and reach out to any RL friends. It's an illness that effects you both.

ladylinda52 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:55:58

Hi Hazey. Agree with everything that Jammydodger says. I spent years coping with a depressed partner and it is the loneliest place to be. It is an illness like no other, as the person can't see things from any point of view but their own. It is a slow process, but will get better. None of it is your fault, and you need to take care of yourself as it will take its toll on you too. Everyone tells you to take one day at a time, but really it is all you can do, as there is really no obvious time scale for recovery. For the record,we did come through it, and are closer than ever as a result. [Flowers]

ladylinda52 Wed 15-Jul-15 15:57:04

Not sure what happened to the flowers!

Hazymagpie Wed 15-Jul-15 20:45:37

Thank you both so much, you don't know what a weight you have lifted from me.

jammy I know what you mean when you said your DH didn't recognize you, sometimes I can't believe the things he says to me; I keep on reminding myself it's not him talking.

I looked at the MIND website today when I should have been working and there was a cycle diagram on there which showed low mood and feeling not good enough led to pushing people away and wanting to be alone, which led to feelings of depression, which led back to the low mood and so on. It was a really simple diagram but effective and, when he is feeling better, I think I will show it to him.

And Depression for Dummies sounds like a good read!

lady you are right, it is a lonely place to be. RL friends obviously don't really understand and tell me I deserve better and should leave, but I know it's not him because when he's not in this sad place he is absolutely lovely, I think the world of him and he is so supportive and caring.

If we were to break up because we fell out of love, or something went wrong then I would deal with it, but I don't want to break up because of this, it seems to me the relationship has a lot further to go.

Honestly, you have both helped me no end, knowing I'm not alone and that I'm doing the right thing is a great feeling, I feel like I can breathe normally again, if that makes sense smile

NotAJammyDodger Thu 16-Jul-15 07:58:35

Glad you are feeling a bit brighter smile. There are lots of good posters on here on here with lots of experiences. So, anytime you need some to offload, just let us know wink.

ladylinda52 Fri 17-Jul-15 16:58:29

Ooohhh flowers this time!

ladylinda52 Fri 17-Jul-15 16:59:45

Rubbish! First post didn't send. Will repost later,

ladylinda52 Fri 17-Jul-15 22:23:39

Right, let's try again! Glad that you are feeling a bit better. It helps if you can accept that none of this is your fault. He quite probably feels that you are better off without him because he does still care for you and doesn't want to hurt you. All you can do is be there for him if he wants to talk and keep telling him how much you care. Be kind to yourself, because it will take its toll on you too. Hang on in there. There will be good times, there will be bad, but gradually the good times overtake the bad, and one day you will realise that life is getting back to normal. Keep posting on here because there is always someone here who has been through what you. Are going through now and that helps so much. PM me any time you want. flowers

ladylinda52 Fri 17-Jul-15 22:24:25

Flowers at last!

Hazymagpie Sat 18-Jul-15 17:59:05

He told me this morning that he doesn't want to be in a relationship any more

Completely devastated. I tried to persuade him that I was dealing with things and could cope, I know I didn't give him any pressure but I guess that wasn't enough.

He actually became quite cruel in the things he said, when I finally said I accepted it he said it felt as if a great weight had been lifted from him, which made me feel terrible, as though I'd caused him to feel worse.

I'm so sad and so frustrated. It really hurts. It feels like such a waste

Thank you so much, both of you. I only wish I was posting here with a different update.

NotAJammyDodger Sat 18-Jul-15 22:57:47

Hi hazy So really sorry to hear this sad. It isn't you, it isn't anything you've done, it isn't anything you can do.

It sounds like he is running away from you, pushing you out because he can't cope at the moment. I am guessing that he said those cruel things to 'convince you' that he wants out of the relationship, and to make you angry with / hate him (perversely maybe to 'validate' his own low perception of himself - I sometimes so this with my DH).

He says he feels that a great weight has been lifted from him. An interesting choice of phrase - if he didn't care why would there be any weight in his shoulders?

Depressives are our own worst enemy - so often we push away the people we care about. Sometimes we just need some space. Sometimes things just don't work out, despite everyone's best intentions.

Either way you need to look after you. You've been a star trying to understand and support him, and now you are hurt and confused. Pay attention to you and allow yourself to grieve. You will recover.

Best wishes flowers

Hazymagpie Sun 19-Jul-15 22:13:23

Just an update jammy - we've spoken today and decided to have a break for the next six weeks or so, rather than breaking up completely.

I've just been promoted so feeling some pressure there and youngest DD off to Uni so feeling sad about that too. He has counselling appointments in about a month - which I am going to as well - and the change in his medication, so we both decided this was a better option for both of us.

Hopefully we'll both be in a better place when the dust has settled, we're going to carry on walking and chatting, but not as much - just enough to keep in touch but not so much that we slip back in to old ways.

If we do get back together properly that will be great, and I must admit is what I'm hoping for, but if we don't then at least I will have had a few weeks to come to terms with not seeing him as much and looking after myself - I joined the gym today to help take my mind off things and now can't raise my arms above chest height.

Once again, thank you. You have no idea how much you are helping me.

NotAJammyDodger Mon 20-Jul-15 19:41:28

You're welcome, take it slow flowers

ladylinda52 Tue 21-Jul-15 17:26:21

Good to hear of all the positives, Jammy. Take each day at a time, be kind to yourself.Been through the 'empty nest' thing. That's hard too! Keep in touch here, it helps to talk it through. Stay positive flowers

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