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Living with a partner suffering from depression and anxiety

(6 Posts)
keepyourdistance Sat 30-May-20 17:39:48

Hi everyone

I know people explaining their own depression and anxiety is often discussed but I'd like some advice on being with a partner that suffers with depression and anxiety.

My partner is a fun, very loving outgoing man that is also very anxious and struggles to cope with knocks to his self esteem.

My problem is that I am starting to find the breakdowns over the same problems (for 10 years) as self pitying and self indulgent which makes me resent him and withdraw when I should be supportive and understanding.

Does this make me a terrible person?

I feel resentful that all of the emotional space in the relationship is taken up by him and that I am not able to break down or fall apart even when I really want to. It's hard being the strong one all the time and I am worried about the resentment I am starting to feel.

I know I have responsibility in this as I have allowed this to be the dynamic and over time this becomes a rut.

My question is how do I address this in a constructive way to get my feelings heard without blaming him for them? I am sure he would want to listen to my side too but I want to handle is sensitively so it does not end up in a point scoring row.

I feel I don't have any emotional support and that makes me sad and in my darker moments it makes me angry and resentful I'm ashamed to say x

OP’s posts: |
UghNotThisAgain36 Sat 30-May-20 17:56:23

I can empathise to some extent with what you are going through. I have only been with my partner for a little under two years and we don't live together, mostly because I feel the same way you do. I know exactly what you mean by viewing him as self indulgent.

I feel sometimes like I am not allowed to have any emotions as it would overshadow his issues, which are always worse (e.g. if I mention a headache, he all of a sudden has a migraine). He does have diagnosed mental health issues that he is medicated for but sometimes I find the constant tears over (what seems to me like) nothing and up and down moods difficult to deal with. I try to be supportive but I do snap sometimes as he acts like he is the only one with problems. Even when everything is going his way, he can still sometimes find a reason to have an episode over it, almost like he is trying to pull the attention back to him.

I don't have the answer to how to address it constructively and I would love to know the answer myself sometimes. I do know that my eye-rolling and snapping doesn't help but sometimes it reaches that point. I do feel bad when I snap.

I just wanted to offer solidarity. Hopefully, someone with better insight will have the answer.

keepyourdistance Sat 30-May-20 18:09:41

Thank you it is nice to hear that I am not alone in my eye rolling and snapping and I agree this doesn't help the situation and I am trying to find new ways of releasing my emotions without these passive aggressive gestures to vent my frustrations.

It's hard when there are so many wonderful things and you do and have spent so much time and energy offering support and love which I am are sure you have to.

It is comforting to hear you share that you also struggle with the same reactions. It seems taboo these days to accuse anyone suffering of mental health problems of being self indulgent or self pitying because MH is serious and does require compassion.

But when does it cross into self indulgence? When you take all the time and blame MH on unreasonable or selfish behaviour should we just pipe down and put up with it?

That doesn't feel right to me but I always feel like the asshole for addressing behaviour that impacts me negatively.

It's tough x

OP’s posts: |
DPotter Sat 30-May-20 18:39:00

It can seem that depression is self indulgent - I know exactly what you mean. It sounds cruel and heartless to say - but I too have felt just that with my DP. I don't know about anxiety - haven't had directly experience myself.

Regarding depression - it's important to remember you are not your DP's therapist. You're his partner and whilst it's only reasonable that he expects support from you - the reverse is also true - he should be supporting you. If that's not happening, well it's not a partnership is it? Poor mental health is not an excuse for unreasonable or selfish behaviour and no you do not have to put up and shut up with it. I did for too long - in large part because things slowly ramp up to a breaking point. I had to tell my DP I couldn't cope with his behaviour any more; I think he had become completely wrapped up in his depression and had learnt to behave in a certain way to cope with it. And that way of behaving continued even though his mood improved. It was basically the 'shape up or ship out' conversation, which did improve the situation.

Basically I'm saying - you do not have to put up with it. And actually I think it's not good for the person with the depression either.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 30-May-20 18:41:45

Is he getting help for his issues?

Figrolls14 Sat 30-May-20 21:55:17

good lord ms distance yes! It is bloody tough. I love my partner. we have been together 20 years. He is an amazing caring person. I am not a total ****. During those 20 yrs he has struggled on and off with depression and anxiety. We have 2x gorgeous and high octane children (1 and 5) to whom he is a deeply loving dad. On one hand I know beyond doubt that my partner is sometimes unwell and suffering through absolutely no fault of his own, on the other, he can drive me up the blinking wall sometimes!!! You are there too! You are only human, nae **** is perfect! your own emotions can feel squashed and devalued. You can feel frustrated and drained. Livng with someone anxious can make you constantly second-guess both them and you. What is acceptable behaviour? If you are that way inclined (I am) you have to watch out not to end up a big joyless boiling passive aggressive martyr! That is no fun for anyone! I am not even going to go into the worrying about the effect on the children. Your mental health (anything you already have knocking around, probably some you werent even aware of, but now coasting nicely to the surface, and on top of that anything resulting from being in this high pressure environment) can really take a kicking. It is hard not to get into a spiral of blame especially when the emphasis has probably been on them for so long that your own life can go fundamentally unexamined, and therefore easy to blame others for things, or blame yourself where blame is not needed /helpful( again, according to personal inclination). Apart from in terms of having been together so long and still feeling love ( albeit under layers of knackered lockdown rage) I do not feel especially well qualified to advise: lockdown is working out pretty hardcore, things are thrown into sharp relief, and I think we are both feeling worried and sad about our relationship at the moment, we are not in a good place. However! I definitely think having an outlet is really important when you are with someone who is suffering in this way. Just being able to talk and vent to someone trustworthy outside the situation, to get some kind of perspective, really helps. If no friends are suitable (and even if they are) a professional. Also, it is hard when you don’t want to upset the other person, but to be as clear as possible about your own needs and expectations with both self and partner probably saves a whole lot of trouble in the long run as resentment and misunderstanding is such a fricking killer. It’s hard though. I’m making flailing motions in the direction of couple counselling at the mo but it would be over Skype at the mo ( not likely to get my partner very engaged).

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