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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / How to support my partner while protecting my mental health, and help him become more emotionally resilient & get him out of negative thought patterns

Topic: How to support my partner while protecting my mental health, and help him become more emotionally resilient & get him out of negative thought patterns

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. YexM
    YexM avatar
    5 posts
    19 August 2020

    Hi all. My partner and I have been together 6 months and he has been very upfront about suffering from depression and anxiety for most of his life.

    What I need help with is protecting my own mental health while supporting his. Throughout the relationship there has been a lot of push/pull from him. He will say something often not very nice or cruel, which pushes me away. I've been close to ending the relationship over the things he has said because I don't deserve it. Then he says all the right things to draw me back in, it's good for a while and then the cycle repeats. I feel like it's coming from a place of fear, but then another part of me wonders if he's just unsure about the relationship but he tells me this isn't the case.

    The other thing is he is stuck in constant negative thought patterns, and is holding on to past hurts. I've been supportive in listening and offering suggestions but he can't seem to move forward, and sometimes I feel more like his therapist than his partner, and it feels like we are going over the same things constantly with no improvement. I feel like I'm very understanding and supportive of his difficulties, but if anyone has suggestions I'm all for it.

    Everything of course has a flow on effect, thoughts in his head at night equals restless sleep equals flat and tired which effects his work-he has a lot of mental health days, which effects his concerns about losing his job because he isn't being effective which leads to worries about financial concerns and on and on. I've no doubt living in his head would be exhausting, and covid and lockdown has made everything worse.

    I've never been in a relationship like this before and I'm lost as to where I draw the line, because it is effecting my own mental health, happiness and self worth.

    The upside is he is great at communicating most of the time, he is willing to admit when he has made a mistake and I can see he is trying. I think this is a relationship worth fighting for, and I hope that if we can resolve some of the current problems in his life that will relieve some of the pressure.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. white knight
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    white knight avatar
    9216 posts
    19 August 2020 in reply to YexM

    Hi Yex M, welcome

    Well it’s pleasing to read of someone that is seeking such help. Yes, he is worth fighting for as often these negative cyclical issues are often complimented with other good qualities like honesty and passion.

    I do know from my wife’s experiences with my moods that good sleep is crucial. The less sleep The snappier I be- fact.

    Ive selected a number of relevant threads that WILL help you. All you need to do is place each one in the search bar at the top and read the first post.

    anxiety, how I eliminated it

    who cries over spilt milk?

    30 minutes can change your life

    relationship strife?- the peace pipe

    talking to men- some tips

    being positive, what’s the secret?

    There are thousands more.

    Reply anytime. I’m here most evenings

    TonyWK

    2 people found this helpful
  3. YexM
    YexM avatar
    5 posts
    19 August 2020 in reply to white knight
    White knight, Thank you so much for your reply! I will have a look at those threads you have suggested. I should also add this is a long distance relationship of 2.5 hour drive.
  4. botmij
    botmij avatar
    10 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to YexM

    Hey Yex,

    You sound like you are doing your very best to help him, nothing really prepares you for these kinds of situations. It is certainly no simple feat to help someone who battles these depressive thoughts. If I could offer some suggestions (which you may have already tried), you could let him know how you are feeling and that you feel as though you are really trying to help him and that you believe he is worth fighting for. If you discuss with him some options to help his mental wellbeing, such as seeing a psychologist, what might his reaction be? Since you said he has good communication and self-reflection, even suggesting the idea can help him realise that there are options out there, and telehealth is becoming increasingly more available and better quality because of COVID.

    From my own experience, I can imagine how hard this would be for you in a long-distance relationship, especially when you want to be there to support him in person. I think because of that it is even more important that he tries to seek professional help for when you cannot be there and to reduce the burden on you.

    Wishing you the best of luck, I hope that the forums can be a safe space for you to feel less alone :)

    1 person found this helpful
  5. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
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    • 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
    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to YexM

    Dear YexM

    Welcome to the forum. Glad you have joined us and hope we can help and support you.

    I would like to draw your attention to fact sheets supplied by beyondblue. You can find them under The Facts at the top of the page and also under Get Help. These sheets can be downloaded as you wish. There are also some booklets including one for family and friends about how to help and support someone with depression. Please send for these, no charge.

    I have suggested these resources as being properly informed about mental illness is crucial. Community attitudes, though changing, are not always helpful. Those managing a mental illness are often seen s as victims or lazy and many other terms that are not true and do not help the person concerned.

    Someone who has struggled with these conditions for many years really needs professional help. I suggest he sees his GP and gets a referral to a mental health professional. As your partner has had such a long term struggle I suspect he may need long term help. He can see a psychologist but this can get expensive as Medicare only gives rebates for ten sessions a year. If your partner goes to a psychiatrist all fees will have a Medicare rebate no matter how many times he goes. A psychiatrist can also prescribe medication if it is required.

    Ask your partner to book a long consultation with the GP. It would be useful if he completes the K10 checklist and prints it to take to the GP. It's not a diagnostic tool, just an indicator. He may be more comfortable if you also attend the consultation but that is a decision for him. I also suggest he make a list of all his difficulties beforehand. I know I often go to my doctor and forget some of the things I want to talk about. Making a list has been good for me.

    Lots of practical things for you to do to be more informed about depression. Always a good place to start I feel.

    Do you have any support for your mental health issues? It may be useful if you saw your GP and enlisted her/his help. You may not need a mental health professional but it is always good to have a support person in the background. I think I would be lost without my GP at times.

    I have used most of my post on information. I hope it helps. Love to hear from you again to continue to chat.

    Mary

    2 people found this helpful
  6. YexM
    YexM avatar
    5 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to botmij

    Hi botmij, thanks for your response. He already sees a pyschologyst on a regular basis.

    YexM

  7. YexM
    YexM avatar
    5 posts
    20 August 2020 in reply to White Rose

    Hi white Rose, thanks for your reply I will check out those resources. He already sees a pyschologyst, I spoke to one a couple of weeks ago who I found judgemental and actually laughed and said red flags, run. That wasn't helpful and I felt quite unprofessional.

    YexM

  8. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • 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
    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    21 August 2020 in reply to YexM

    Hello YexM

    Good to hear from you. You said you spoke to a psychologist a few weeks ago. Was that for yourself? It's not quite clear. I definitely agree that a psych being judgmental is not professional. Despite that poor experience are you considering going to another psychologist? It may help you manage at this time.

    It's good to know your relationship is worth fighting for and that your partner is trying hard to get well. The difficulty is it will take time to get there and sometimes it feels like two steps forward and one step back. It's still progress but can be frustrating.

    You may like to visit this website www.carersaustralia.com.au I understand you are not a carer but there is often an element of care in relationships and you may find the information useful.

    Mary


    1 person found this helpful
  9. YexM
    YexM avatar
    5 posts
    22 August 2020 in reply to White Rose

    Hi white rose, yes, I saw a pyschologyst for myself. I used to have a regular one but during the pandemic she retired, and living in regional Victoria I have found it difficult to find another one as they all have very long waiting lists. My partner sees a pyschologyst quite regularly and has been for a long time.

    Thank you for the carers link, I will definitely check that out.

    Yvonne

  10. White Rose
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • 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
    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    23 August 2020 in reply to YexM

    Hello Yvonne

    Thanks for sorting out the psychologist bit. Living in regional anywhere in Australia is difficult to find mental health professionals. I know of people who can only access this via Skype or Zoom or similar. It's certainly better than nothing but not the same as being in the same room as the other person. And of course COVID has added another layer of difficulty. How are you going finding a psychologist no matter how you interact?

    It's good to know your partner sees a psychologist regularly. Does he think it helps? May I ask if you and partner talk about any strategies the psych suggests? I ask because it may help both of you if you can encourage him about specific areas he is addressing and possibly remind him at times. Having an outside view can be helpful.

    I have to see a specialist regularly and my daughter comes with me at those times. It's good she can remind me what the doctor said. I find I lose information if there is too much at the consultation. I usually take a list of questions to remind me what I want to talk about. It also means my daughter keeps the rest of the family informed saving me the job. It is good.

    Keep talking here if it helps.

    Mary

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