Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Forums / Relationship and family issues / Dealing with Depressed and Apathetic Boyfriend

Topic: Dealing with Depressed and Apathetic Boyfriend

26 posts, 0 answered
  1. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    15 June 2016

    I'm 19 years old and have been with my boyfriend for nearly three years. When I met him at school he was teased about having no feelings as he never really responded to anything, regardless or whether it was happy, sad, angry, etc. Anyways, we became close friends and ended up getting together. A few months after this he revealed that he had been depressed, except instead of feeling characteristic sadness, he simply didn't feel anything. He reassured me that our relationship had fixed it and that "I made him feel happy when he thought he never would be again." Our relationship was pure bliss for about the next year and a half, maybe a bit longer. Following this, I felt something change in him, like something was off although his behaviour didn't seem drastically different. Just little things like not wanting to see me as much. He also dropped out of university which I found odd but not extremely so because he had never been the most enthusiastic student. However, several months later I found out that he'd been lying to me about many things, even things that were insignificant. He also began stealing money from his job and hanging around questionable new people. Upon finding all this out, his family and I were obviously extremely upset but he seemed not to have any empathy whatsoever. I continued to try to make the relationship work but several months later he broke up with me saying that he didn't love me anymore and that he saw no future between us. During the breakup he treated me very poorly, namely by stringing me along. At the same time, he made more strange friends and began to use drugs recreationally. He ended up being thrown out of home and 2 days later turned up on my doorstep begging for forgiveness and help for mental health issues. I took him back, as did his family, but he then refused to get help. We let it go because for the next month and a half he went back to normal, treating everyone with love and respect. However, one night he revealed to me that he had been depressed (no emotions) again for the last year which is when his odd behaviour began. He has since been to a GP/psychologist but tells me that it probably won't help us and that he can't give me his 100% and that I deserve better. I am very confused because I don't know how much of what he is saying/doing is his illness and how much is him. I love him very much and don't want to lose him. I am currently giving him space to think about our relationship. Help?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    15 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hello sydneyharbour17

    Welcome to the forums and thankyou for posting too!

    I am sorry that your boyfriend (and you) is doing it tough as depression is awful illness that effect our moods and behavior greatly.From what I can see your boyfriend doesnt seem really that eager to get regular treatment for his issues. He mentioned that 'a GP/psychologist 'probably wont help'.

    It actually will help him a great deal. I have had depression for years and do understand your situation. Is he ashamed of getting help? Its really no different than a broken limb or a serious infection, we have to get treated.

    I dont wish to be blunt but if you dont see him making a concerted effort with regular counseling, your situation will not really improve. It fine that he communicates sometimes with you but it is crucial for him to start building his foundations where recovery is concerned. The money business, his peer group choices are not caused by depression. The drug use can also enhance his depression as well....

    I do feel the love you have for him which is wonderful , you have also been smart enough to give him space so he can have a good think too. This is only my humble opinion but if he isnt enthusiastic about seeing a doc every 2-4weeks, there wont be a great deal you can do for him. His depression wont heal itself.

    I admire the courage and strength you have for posting on the forums. There are many kind people like you here that are in a similar situation and can be here for you.

    It would be great if you could write back and let us know how you go...you are more than welcome to post back as many times as you wish

    My kind thoughts

    Paul

  3. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    15 June 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Thank you for kind response, Paul. I'm sorry if my original post seemed a bit blunt but I had to stay within the character limit haha.

    I think you misunderstood me in my original post - he is now seeking regular treatment for his depression but feels as though too much has happened in our relationship for it to be fixed, which, to be honest, is something I cannot entirely disagree with. He has hurt me very deeply with his behaviour but I also don't believe that he was in his right mind. The person I knew before this "change" would never have done any of those things which is why they caused me and everyone else in his life so much shock. The first thing anyone always said was "I never would have seen that coming, he's such a nice person."

    He also told me that he was scared to get treatment before because he was actually scared to get better because if he doesn't feel, he doesn't have to deal with any negative emotions. :/

    If we do stay together, I'm also very concerned about his illness continuing to have a negative impact on our relationship even with treatment. I know depression often relapses and can even be lifelong. Sometimes I feel like I wouldn't be able to deal with the rejection and withdrawal that seems to accompany it. I guess what I'm asking is whether or not there are any strategies one can use to minimise the effect that depression has on relationships and what can I do to be supportive? And are there any people here who have a partner with depression who seeks treatment who can tell me what their relationship is like?

    Thank you again.

  4. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    16 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hi SH, sorry about that, I thought your boyfriend went once to a doc...Knowing that he is getting regular help is a mega step forward. I understand where you are coming from now as per coping in a relationship

    I have had depression since 1997 and take meds for it. You mentioned that he hurt you with his behavior and that is understandable that you felt hurt. I have seen this many times since I started posting here in January. Having depression is no excuse for treating another person badly. (unless there is something else that hasnt been diagnosed but as a sufferer it sounds like depression)

    Just something you mentioned that put up a red flag " he was actually scared to get better because if he doesn't feel, he doesn't have to deal with any negative emotions" If I can help with his thinking on that one...especially if he says it again..If he didnt start therapy his condition could involve a lot more than dealing with negative emotions.

    You have done your homework SH and well done. Depression can have relapses and also last for for life even in a much lesser degree. If you scroll down to 'Supporting Someone' there is some great info that relates to what you are going through.

    There are always posts coming in from partners like yourself that have (or are) been treated badly by a partner with depression. If you click on the forums 'Depression' header you will find threads that do relate to your situation. Just scroll down each page...there are several posts new and in the older pages too..

    I am not sure if your boyfriend is taking anti-depressants but depending on the level of his depression the meds do work well. They arent a total fix they will take away the bad lows that he gets which will help him build a platform on which he can use his therapy to heal.

    Thanks for posting back too SH. You are intelligent and articulate yourself very well :-)

    you are not alone here, it would be great if you could keep posting

    My Kind thoughts for you

    Paulx

    1 person found this helpful
  5. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    16 June 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Thank you again for your reply, Paul, it has been very helpful, and I will definitely check out those sections of the forums. :)

    Could you please clarify what you meant with this part: If he didnt start therapy his condition could involve a lot more than dealing with negative emotions.

    As an update, he has visited his psychologist for the first time this morning but was only asked more of the same questions as during his GP consult. He has another appointment next week where the psychologist has said he will try to formulate a plan of action, such as medication or otherwise. I know that it is going to feel like a very long wait for me. :(

    My boyfriend has also been saying that he isn't sure how he feels about me anymore. It seems to me that it would be hard to know how you feel about someone if you barely feel anything at all, and he agreed. However, should you still know if you love someone when you are this depressed? Like can the depression really mask feelings of love? And, if it does, is there anyway to navigate out of it? He is very distressed at the moment because he feels as though he has to figure out how he feels as soon as possible, and honestly it would help me a lot as well.

    Kind thoughts to you as well, Paul xx

  6. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    16 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hey SH

    Now worries...in a thread above you said "he was actually scared to get better because if he doesn't feel, he doesn't have to deal with any negative emotions"

    All I meant was that if he didnt go ahead with seeing a counselor he would have to deal with more problems as depression symptoms can become worse left untreated.

    I dont think that depression can mask feelings of love...It may make a sufferer quiet and sometimes withdrawn but the love is still there. Sometimes having depression is like having a heavy blanket over us and it can be difficult to find our way..

    Yes..the only effective way to navigate out of depression to a clearer mindset is either just therapy or therapy and (depending on the level of depression) medication combined. When I was at your boyfriends stage I had a counselor every 2 weeks for a few months and my crackerjack GP every 3 months for a tune up. (1997)

    Depending on the individual some clear thought or light at the end of the tunnel can happen quicker especially if they wish to get better. I think it took me about 2-3 months to feel a bit better and a lot better after 6 months.

    Just a little point to think about, worrying about the condition itself as in overthinking it can sometimes make the symptoms worse. Scroll down and under 'The Facts' you will see the Anxiety & Depression check list..always handy to see.

    I dont blame him for being distressed at the moment SH, but it will take some time. Another way is finding a GP that has a real interest in depression/anxiety....My GP actually started me on my meds in '97...they gave me my life back...Having a legend of a GP can help with a quicker diagnosis...but even then the condition has to be managed on an ongoing basis so his self confidence is restored and he can function without these dark feelings

    I hope even a little of that was a help SH :-)

    Paulx

  7. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    16 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hey SH17

    I'm not going to beat around the bush. Ultimately you need to do what's best for you. You have many good things on your side. From what I can tell you are kind and caring. You are also young. As you probably know life is incredibly hard and I think enjoying your youth is paramount. I don't think everything he is saying is all depression. If that's what he wants fine. Go and do your thing. You have a wonderful life waiting for you out there, it's probably not with him.

    Put it this way, do you really want to be with someone who steals money from their employer, hangs out with losers, strings you along and makes you feel like rubbish??

    its hard I know, but think long and hard about what you want to put yourself through if you "try and make it work" with someone who takes you for granted and looks after his own selfish needs.....

    short term pain, long term gain. If you do decide to leave him - he will likely try and coerce you to come back. If you make the decision you have to be strong and stick to it. Good luck

  8. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    17 June 2016 in reply to Apollo Black
    Thanks, Paul, your input has, again, been very helpful.

    And thank you, Apollo Black, for your honesty. I am well aware of all the horrible things he has done and how selfish they were. However, him admitting that he has a serious problem and actually seeking help for it is huge for him. In the past he has either vehemently denied his depression or flat out refused to get help for it. He also told me last night that he actually wants to get better now, that he doesn't want to be like this anymore. Again, another huge step forward. We still may not stay together but I think when you truly love someone you want the best for them regardless of whether or not they remain in your life.
  9. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    17 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    No worries at all SH

    I have just read your last post above...very well articulated. You dont seem to have any problems where seeing the big picture is concerned. You are a thoughtful and caring person that hasnt lost touch with her own self worth.

    great post SH. Paulx

  10. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    18 June 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul but unfortunately the relationship ended last night. He felt as though I was the cause of his depression because he didn't feel the way he did when we were broken up and that he needs to be alone and find himself. He didn't tell me whether he would continue treatment.

    I am absolutely devastated right now. I truly loved him and he kept saying that he loves me too but that he needs to put himself first right now, but I'm sure that was just him letting me down easy. I don't know how long it will take for me to feel better.

  11. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    28 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hello SH, I am so sorry that I have lost track of your post. Please forgive me.

    I am sad to read about your partner. I know its days later and I do hope you get this post. No one is ever a cause for another person's illness.

    If you are up to it, please let us know how you are going

    Really sorry SH, Paulx

  12. Mr Cool
    Mr Cool avatar
    12 posts
    28 June 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hi SH,

    I've also just seen your post. Sorry that you are in this situation now.

    Having also been though depression and medication and the battles, it's a difficult journey, however with a lot of time and effort I have been off medication and no depression symptoms, so the black dog can go away, but only time will tell if it's gone for good. So it's unknown how your partner will go.

    There is often a second battle fought by the partner, (you) and it's just as hard.

    As Paul says, read the info on this site, it's very helpful. But there is no quick fix. It's about being supportive but also looking after yourself. As it can be quite draining having someone close with depression.

    Getting professional help is really important, and unfortunately some professionals are not as good as others, so someone needs to check that he has the right person helping him. Bases on your early comments about his initial traits I got the impressions that he may have some issues from his childhood haunting him, so that could be underlying his condition. But that's what a professional should be looking for.

    His recent negative behaviour change, sounded to me like drugs may have been involved, stealing, etc. was the the cause or the outcome is unknown. Him hurting you may also have been a sign that he cared, and thought pushing you away would be best for you. Sometimes the more painful way it's done could be to stop you coming back to him, and therefore protecting you.

    Sounds like there is a lot more to his story than you may be aware of, and he may not be able to share it with you. I would think that he is not out of your life and that he will return again. As others mentioned, it can be quite painful so you need to decide where you want to be. And I would suggest that you take the controlling role, you decide on what terms the relationship continues and what he must do.

    But please do it with love, he probably needs a supportive and firm guide, not a slave driver.

  13. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    30 June 2016 in reply to Mr Cool

    Paul, please don't be sorry, it's absolutely fine. I am doing okay, much better than I thought I would. I don't know exactly how my (ex)-partner is doing as we haven't really spoken but judging by his Facebook profile, he has returned to his "friends", drugs, partying etc. and an educated guess would tell me that he is no longer seeing his psychologist. I wish there was more I could do to help him but I feel like I have already done and suffered enough for him. It's in his hands now - I suppose it always was.

    Coolguy, thank you also for your response. You're right in that he does have a lot of childhood trauma. He always felt that it had not affected him but this is obviously untrue. I'm not sure about your comment that he pushed me away for my own good. Perhaps this is true because he did say, "I think I'm just going to keep hurting you," but I took this as more of an unwillingness to compromise the way one should in a relationship. There probably is a lot more to all this than I am aware of but at this point I have to look after myself and go with the assumption that he will not return so that I am able to move forward with my own life.

  14. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    1 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Thanks SH

    I Love your attitude. Sometimes there is only so much we can do unfortunately. My daughter is 23 and has post natal depression and is gone all emo and dark & weird. I cant help her. She refuses to even listen to me. I have to let her find her own way. I hear you loud and clear.

    Paulx

  15. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    5 July 2016 in reply to blondguy

    I'm very sorry to hear that, Paul. I hope things improve for her and you.

    I reached out to my ex-partner yesterday after I encountered him on drugs again the other night and he told me he isn't seeing his psychologist anymore because he "didn't like it." I tried one last time to tell him that he needs help but he just rolled his eyes and told me that he feels nothing for me and that I need to leave.

    It was very hard to hear those words come out of the mouth of someone I shared my life with for 3 years and I am very scared for where his life is headed. I really hope he wakes up one day.

  16. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    6 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hey SH, thankyou for your thoughts about my daughter, they are much appreciated:-)

    You really are a wonderful person to be trying so hard for your ex. When he said 'I didnt like it' is a classic sign of a person that is out of his comfort zone as you know.The first few visits with a therapist are unpleasant because they are trying to uncover any past issues which I remember made me cry my eyes out. The best decision I have ever made was seeing that doc.

    Your ex just doesnt get it. Sometimes we have to feel worse before we can heal and recover.

    It is very sad that he is taking the easy way out which unfortunately is self destructive and provides only short term 'fixes'. He cant even see a beautiful caring person like yourself trying to help him.

    Kind wishes for you SH

    Paulx

    2 people found this helpful
  17. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    7 July 2016 in reply to blondguy

    You're welcome, Paul :) My thoughts are most sincere. I can't imagine what it would be like to not be able to help your own child. :(

    And yes, what you are saying makes a lot of sense. I have been to a therapist myself a couple of times and it is always very hard to open up but it is always worth it in the end. I am struggling with a little bit of depression myself at the moment because I did sincerely love him and his loss and rejection is weighing very heavily on me to the point where I am just sleeping a lot and very down/irritable when I am awake. I have been trying to keep myself busy by doing things that I enjoy and I am taking a short trip to Melbourne in a week and a half also. I really hope this will help me through. Do you, perhaps, have any other tips for handling these feelings?

  18. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    7 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hi SH

    You have the tip mentioning 'gentle distraction' by finding things you enjoy doing. You would be in a dark place now SH, it can be soul destroying. Having a short trip/break is always a cool idea too.

    If you do find yourself having some feelings of depression, acknoweldge them as only feelings and 'float' with them...or gently accept that these feelings...even dreadful....are harmless and temporary.

    Getting a quality sleep is always a bonus too :-) A great boost for mental health...

    Great to see you posting back SH......are you having any anxiety at all?

    Kind wishes for you

    Paulx

  19. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    7 July 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Hello Paul,

    Thanks for the insight about just 'floating' with the feelings. I think it is easy to get caught up in them to the point where they are all you pay attention to.

    I am sleeping well but far too much - 12 hours a day, sometimes more. :/

    And I think I have a few symptoms of anxiety - racing heart, sick feeling in the stomach, obsessive thinking... not too sure what to do about them though.

    Thank you for your kind replies xx

  20. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    7 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hey SH,

    Ta for the reply, 12 hours a night? Oh I wish. If I may ask you, are you working? A racing heart can be just really basic stress....but can also be the adrenaline pumping too hard. Nausea can be a dreadful feeling. obsessive thinking is also common which I used to do....or as I called it...'overthinking'

    Overthinking is usually a result of a 'tired' mind. When we are mentally fatigued our mind can overthink which can be exhausting.

    I know you are doing it hard right now SH..

    Paulx

  21. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    9 July 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul,

    Oversleeping can be as bad for the body as undersleeping I have read.

    I am a university student and I work part-time as well but neither of those things are giving me much stress at the moment.

    It's all from the break-up pretty much and a few family things.

    I just don't know how to stop worrying about him, especially since I became aware that he is now taking addictive drugs as well.

    I keep telling myself that I am better off but this doesn't seem to help. Are there any techniques I can use to curb this overthinking? It's hard enough dealing with the rejection let alone worrying about someone who clearly doesn't even worry about themself. :/

  22. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    9 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hi SH

    You are spot on about oversleeping...just as bad as undersleeping. It is very hard to stop worrying about someone that you care about so much. Being worried (which is understandable of course) can make us overthink.

    Do you know his parents well enough to have a chat? I hope they know what their son is doing as I would if my daughter chose to take the wrong fork in the road.

    Gentle distraction is still the best way to 'let time pass' right now.

    you are not alone

    Paulx

    1 person found this helpful
  23. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    9 July 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul

    I am quite close with his mum. She is very concerned with his behaviour but feels there is not much she can do as he won't open up to her (he hasn't even explained to her why he broke up with me) let alone listen to her, and the fact that he is an adult means that she has very few rights in terms of him seeking help/treatment etc. I don't think she knows that he is starting to take even heavier drugs than before though so I will inform her next time I see her.

    And yes, I suppose distracting myself really is the only option right now.

    And it is nice to know that I am not alone in all this xx

  24. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    9 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    Hey SH, I know how his mum feels...there is very little she can do because he is an 'adult'. Havent not even explained to his mum on why he broke up with you is just woeful (sorry...not being judgemental SH)

    I really hope you can stick around the BB forums. Thankyou heaps for you help on the other post. You legend:-)

    Paulx

    1 person found this helpful
  25. sydneyharbour17
    sydneyharbour17 avatar
    32 posts
    9 July 2016 in reply to blondguy

    I think it's a bit silly, I feel like parents should have more of a say.

    And don't worry about being judgmental, I think it is very sad as well. But also very in character for him.

    I will definitely be sticking around. :) They have been very helpful to me and I am sure they will continue to be as I navigate through this tough time in my life. I want to help others with that as well :)

  26. blondguy
    Life Member
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    blondguy avatar
    11406 posts
    10 July 2016 in reply to sydneyharbour17

    I joined BB after spending from November to Jan on my own with partial depression in recovery. I was that down I remembered BB and very awkwardly joined up on the 5th Jan this year. I was made redundant on the 15th Jan when I preparing to go back to work after my annual leave.

    I never thought I would still be here now. I have been successful in my corporate life but have really had to do a reality check. I just joined to reach out and talk to other people that felt like I did :-)

    Being on the forums has been more valuable than any psychologist. It has helped me heal by helping others.

    Thanks again for jumping in and helping on that other thread. Nice1 :-)

    Paulx

    1 person found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


Sign me up