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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / My girlfriend's anxiety and depression has been a lot to deal with

Topic: My girlfriend's anxiety and depression has been a lot to deal with

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Anna M.
    Anna M. avatar
    2 posts
    2 May 2017

    I'm 23. Been with my 31yo gf (hereto 'GF') over a year. She has diagnosed anxiety and depression. It's been a lot to deal with. Her last gf - and source of her ptsd-like anxiety - convinced her not to take her meds and GF already has an aversion to doctors.

    But her dissociative episodes are frequent. Her panic attacks aren't hyperventilating. They are headaches, and fainting, limp in my arms, stop breathing, gasp awake, claw at herself, and frequent visits to the bathroom. That was terrifying the first time and has not improved since. I had to google the symptoms just to figure out what was happening and whether I needed to call an ambulence at 2am.

    I finally convinced her to see a GP after a year (for general health as well as mental). She didn't tell the Dr much except that she was previpusly diagnosed and medicated and she didn't like talking about her feelings, at which point the Dr gave her a reading list instead. And that's been it.

    I'm here tonight because I need support.

    It's been one of those night's where I've had to put myself first. Remind myself that I don't have to go out of my way and even do something dentrimental to myself to make her feel better. That I'm not to blame if she choses to break a clean streak and have a smoke, or punch a wall - that I'm not responsible for her actions. That I can remove myself from the conversation when explaining that I don't like how I'm being treated will be met with: 'Thanks a lot for making me feel like a terrible human being! I'm sorry I make you feel so awful! Why do you bother staying around!'

    And its because I love her. Because the happiness seems worth the anguish. Because I've told her I'd never leave. And she said it would kill her if I did. And I don't doubt it. 

    And it all just hurts.

    So please someone help me.

    Just say hi. Say that you're there. Say I've been heard.

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Starwolf
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Starwolf avatar
    2521 posts
    2 May 2017 in reply to Anna M.

    Hi Anna M, welcome on board.

    We're here, listening. You are being heard.

    Caring for someone suffering a mental/emotional condition is no easy task. Your girlfriend is lucky to have you, even though she probably doesn't fully understand to what extent. The troubled mind sees little beyond itself so it is at times a thankless position. And yes, some anxiety symptoms are plain scary. Feelings of helplessness are part of the carer's territory, hard to cope with.

    Well done for acknowledging that you need to make quality time for yourself and that you can never be held responsible for another adult's actions. Sometimes, being there with love is all we can do. You are right, you are not to blame for her compulsions and urges to lash out. Just as she is not to blame herself.

    Kudos to you for convincing her to see a doctor but there is nothing you can do if she finds opening up too daunting. It's the old "you can take a horse to water but you can't force it to drink" situation, isn't it ?

    Years of being sole carer for a disabled daughter has brought home the fact that personal needs cannot be left too long on the back burner without burn out setting in. Looking after oneself is a necessary part of looking after another. Or else.

    If you scroll down to the bottom of this page, you will find relevant info and a section called "Supporting someone" (including "looking after yourself").

    You will also find helpful info if you copy this link into your browser :

    https://www.carersaustralia.com.au/ Their phone number : 1800 242 636

    Meanwhile, please feel free to continue to post, may it be to connect and interact with others in similar situations or to unload some of the overload...which is good therapy in itself.

    Kindest thoughts.

    3 people found this helpful
  3. JMai
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    JMai avatar
    3 posts
    4 August 2017 in reply to Anna M.

    Hi Anna M.

    I know it has been a while since this was posted but this really resonated with me and I wanted to check up on you and find out how things have progressed since. Please know that we are here, you have been heard and your pain and efforts are being acknowledged.

    Your support for your girlfriend is admirable and it is clear to all just how much you love her. I am sorry that it seems she is unable to see it herself at this point in time. As someone who has been on both sides (depressant and carer) I know that deep down she truly appreciates your efforts but depression often makes people introspective and therefore makes it more difficult for them to think about others.

    As a young adult, I suffered from major depression for an extended period of time and I can understand your girlfriend's hesitations in seeking help. I was too ashamed and embarrassed to speak to my friends and family about my condition, instead I relied solely on my long-term boyfriend at the time to relieve my symptoms and support my drastic depressive episodes. While I was definitely grateful for his support at the time, I can recall mainly thinking about how difficult it was for me and not sparing a thought for the immense pressure my boyfriend must have felt as my sole supporter. As much as he tried to convince me to seek professional help and to reach out to my friends and family, it was only once I had decided I needed to help myself that things started to improve.

    I'm so glad that you've acknowledge that you need to take care of yourself and I ask that you continue to remind yourself that you are not responsible for her actions. While you can continue to be there for her and support her, she must also want to improve and seek help herself. I can understand the urge to put your loved ones before yourself but your mental health and well-being is just as important.

    I hope that despite the delay, I was able to help you. Please feel free to keep updating us and reaching out whenever you feel the need.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Anna M.
    Anna M. avatar
    2 posts
    21 December 2017

    Thank you so much JMai amd Starwolf!

    I just wanted to give you that update:

    Things are going well! I've actually moved in with my girlfriend and were doing really well together. We're both excited about the positive results of the marriage equality plebiscite, and look forward to the future that now allows us.

    We still have our struggles.

    Learning to cohabitate and accepting each others' flaws and habits is something new and exciting, and going well.

    Anxiety and depression will always be there. But we both recognise and accept that.

    She still doesn't like to seek help or accept it. But I'm becoming more familiar with the symptoms of a panic attack or deppressive state, and recognising how best to be there for her.

    I'd still like to help her find better coping strategies for her, but these things will come with time and patience.

    While she is responsible for her actions I've learned not to take to heart the things she may say when she's upset. Just hold her. When she feels better we can talk about it, and apologies are made.

    I make sure to spend time with my own friends and family frequently, keep up regular fitness, and personal hobbies. I have a good friend to talk to when I'm feeling stressed or worn down.

    There are going to be times where I want to scream or cry, slam a door, or just leave a situation - physically or emotionally.

    But to me she's worth it.

    And the good times outshine the bad by miles.

  5. Croix
    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.
    Croix avatar
    10561 posts
    21 December 2017 in reply to Anna M.

    Dear Anna M~

    Thank you for bringing everyone up to date, it is a lovely story and I wish you the very best.

    I did notice you were talking about coping strategies for your GF and thought I'd mention a thread I've personally found very helpful. Admittedly it is long, but I found it well worth wading though:

    Forums / Anxiety / SELF HELP TIPS FOR MANAGING ANXIETY

    Learning not to take the wrong things to heart takes patience, experience and wisdom. I think your GF is lucky.

    Croix

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