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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Help! Feeling guilt over partner's depression.

Topic: Help! Feeling guilt over partner's depression.

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. MeerKatMum
    MeerKatMum avatar
    2 posts
    28 May 2019

    Hi all! I need some advice. My partner (38 m) moved in with myself and my kids 8 months ago and over the past couple of months it has been apparent he is depressed. He has never lived with kids before and struggled to adjust to family life but has tried really hard. As I am a uni student he is the sole income earner and he is often frustrated with the lack of money, time, and space for peace. We have discussed it often and he has told me he chooses to be here and make those sacrifices because he loves me. In other conversations he has told me how much he is disheartened and depressed about having little money, little free time to study, and very little quiet time. I feel guilty because if he didn't come to live with us he wouldn't be having these problems and wouldn't be depressed (he has explicitly said that they are the source of his depression).

    Two weeks ago he told me that he was feeling suicidal, that he couldn't see any other way to make his situation better. I have encouraged him to seek help, which he is doing this week, and have been checking in with him every day to see if he is suicidal. he has told me that since he realised the depression was making him see death as the only way out he has been able to combat those thoughts. I feel that he is so unhappy about these circumstances that are essentially because of me and I don't know what to do or how to deal with the guilt. Please help!

  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    28 May 2019 in reply to MeerKatMum

    Dear MeerKatMum

    Welcome to the forum. I see you have another post in the Welcome section. If that is just to say hello it's OK but trying to manage two threads can be confusing to you and to those who reply to you. Information from one thread may not get to the other and affect how people reply.

    I am not sure other people make someone depressed. Your new partner may well be depressed and the change to living with a family may have highlighted his depression to him. It is important he recognises the depression comes from him not you or the children. I know people say things like that because it means they do not need to work on getting well. It's all circumstance fault.

    Blaming you and your family is unfair. I agree he may well find this new situation hard to manage and it's good you want to help him settle in. I see you are checking in with him daily. Does this mean he no longer lives with you? I'm a bit confused. I'm glad he can see he needs to find an alternative to suicide and many congratulations to him.

    Please do not feel guilty for inviting him into your home. If he is so unhappy living with you he can work on why this is happening. Blaming you is unfair and untrue. I think in the future you will always be at fault in his eyes which can result in a stressful relationship. In the end it's his decision to stay or go based on his feelings for you. Putting a guilt trip on you will not help him heal from whatever situation has caused the depression.

    I see in your other post you have already lived with depression. Can you see whoever helped you and get a bit of perspective about guilt? Deal with the guilt by refusing to accept it. It's not your guilt. So many people, usually men though this is not a sexist remark, want to leave the family home because of their depression and blame the family or say they cannot heal unless they are on their own. Does that mean they will return when they get better? Not usually.

    Be assured you are not the cause of his unwellness. Support as much as you can be do not accept you are at fault. Expect him to face his life and be a part of the family as much as possible. The longer he stands outside the family circle the more difficult it will be for him to join in family life.

    Well I think I have said heaps, probably too much. Please think about what I have said. I wish you both well.


  3. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2173 posts
    28 May 2019 in reply to MeerKatMum

    Hi MeerKatMum

    As usual, Mary has offered great supportive sage advice.

    For sure there are going to be triggers which highlight certain thoughts and feelings within depression but ultimately the depression's there to start with. So, it becomes a matter of pinpointing specific triggers and managing them the best way possible. Money, time and space for peace are manageable. Depending how big the home is and how old the kids are will be things that need to be factored into the management plan. Some possible ideas:

    • Money: You could draw up a budget so as to see exactly where the money's going. I found that managing the income not only gave me a chance to work out how things would be looking over a 6 month to 1 year period but this also gave me a sense of control. The definition of control is 'effective management'
    • Time and attention: I was once told there are 4 tiers to a family. At the base, there is the entire family. 2nd tier involves the kids. 3rd tier involves the parents or couple. The final tier is self. All tiers should be taken care of in their own unique ways. All aspects must receive individual time and attention in order to thrive. Too much time for the kids means the couple suffers. Too much time for self means the family may suffer and so on. Does your partner get much time to himself? Do just the 2 of you spend time together? Are there opportunities for him to integrate into the family dynamic, so that he's able for form a positive sense of identity (beyond that of financial provider)?
    • Space: Personally, I'd go crazy if I didn't get my space occasionally. As a wife and mum to 2 beautiful teenagers, having a time out and some space means I occasionally get to be myself, without expectations. Again, depending on how old your kids are, is there a possibility that just you and the kids can have time together, whilst your partner sits in the bedroom finding some peace. Whether it involves movie night in the lounge room or (seriously outside the square) you teach the kids meditation which is highly productive quite time, this sort of angle could be a win for everyone. When my kids were little I acquired a library of children's guided meditation CDs. They loved them as much as I did. Your partner may even end up joining in the meditation and it becomes a family ritual

    Managing life is definitely skillful and there is always room for skill development as you all (you, him and the kids) navigate some challenges.

    Take care of yourself MeerKatMum!

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