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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / how to help a depressed partner to move forward

Topic: how to help a depressed partner to move forward

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Monet Exchange
    Monet Exchange avatar
    1 posts
    23 July 2020

    I would just like to start of by saying thank you for everyone who is courageous enough to write on here and to everyone who is kind enough to reply. If it wasn't for you all i would not have been able to navigate through my experience.

    My boyfriend and i have been together for 8 months, 3 good ones and 5 depressed ones. He has never been depressed before and i've never dated anyone with depression. He is a cardiologist who lives with his aunty and uncle, as one of them has a heart condition. He quit work this year to go and look after his dad who is dying of cancer in Italy, however due to the Coronavirus he can't leave the country. After 4 months of failed medication he is now on an antidepressant and seeing a psychologist. He is on his 7th week of the antidepressant and it is working (slowly) i can see a positive difference in communication and thought process. His psychologist thinks he is not getting better as quick as he should be because he is not moving forward with his life. The problem is, is that he doesn't see a change, he still has no energy to get up or even talk on the phone, thinks of himself as useless and due to not working he doesn't have a schedule. He is unable to go back to work due to side effects of the medication. He is well taken care of at home, too well, and he has nowhere to be so he sleeps all day. He is an amazing man with big dreams and accepts he has depression, however i feel he is now comfortable within his depression and his dreams have faded. This concerns me.

    I understand that everyone who suffers depression has a difference experience. He responds well to me and i think with a gentle nudge i might be able to start the wheel turning. I would like to know what steps a partner can do to slightly push/assist/encourage their depressed partner to want to move forward (eg: exercise,move out, get in a routine, donate his time...ect )

  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    5750 posts
    23 July 2020 in reply to Monet Exchange

    hi and welcome to beyond blue.

    Your partner is lucky to have to you that you care about them so much. Gentle nudges are OK but if the other person really does not want to, it is a bit hard to force them. There is also a section on the beyond blue web sit for partners supporting someone which you might want to look at.

    what I am about to tell you is part of my story and associated thoughts, what I have been told etc. I hope some of it is useful.

    I started seeing a psychologist a bit over 2 years ago. I have also been seeing a psychiatrist for most of that time as well. I am nearly 50. I believe my issues started in primary / high school days. Since I started seeing the psychiatrist i have changed medication a few times.

    There are many factors that may affect the time it takes to "get better". For example, length of time, medication, whether they do homework from psychologist, does the homework work.

    Last week I felt I was getting better. This week not so.

    Thoughts...

    1. You have to look at how far you have come vs how far away you are from getting better.
    2. Talk therapy when used in conjunction with medication helps
    3. If you are offer a distraction (like going out) then do it even you don't feel like it. (I have bailed on some outings cause I felt low. Talking about that with my psychs it was suggested that not bailing was better as it can act as a distraction.)
    4. Even if I don't feel like walking somewhere, I force myself to do it. After a while I can feel a bit better. I live close to a botanical garden.
    5. Work out what distractions and coping tools work and what do not.
    6. gratitude journals.
    7. read the happiness trap.
    8. find things he likes to do.

    For myself, it takes a number of tools to use at different times, learnt over the space of this 2+ years. A bit like a marathon vs a 100m sprint. I am hopeful your partner will get through this struggle and it may take time. Be kind to yourself and him.

    Tim

  3. Billiek
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Billiek avatar
    5 posts
    24 July 2020

    Hi Monet

    You sound like an amazing and supportive partner and your boyfriend must feel extremely grateful to have you by his side :) I can relate to this situation as my partner also experiences waves of depression and has for a few years now. I hope this makes you and your partner feel less alone!

    Something that I have learnt is that for some, feeling better can take a long time! For my boyfriend, he would have all bad days for months on end! Over time though, with the help of a psychologist, the support of his friends and family and through discovering coping techniques (exercise, breathing exercises, meditation etc), he has less and less bad days! In fact, he has more good days than bad days! He still struggles but thats okay because he feels more like himself again and can still go about normal activities! I'm absolutely certain that this depression will pass over time and his days will get easier and easier, even if takes a little longer than expected.

    I think the best thing you can do is what you are already doing, being a supportive and compassionate force in his life!! Just remember though, it's essential that you look after yourself too! It can be difficult at times to carry the emotions of others, remember that your mental health is important too :)

    All the best,

    Billiek

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