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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / My Girlfriend has depression but I need help!

Topic: My Girlfriend has depression but I need help!

11 posts, 0 answered
    IWOLFI avatar
    4 posts
    2 May 2021

    Hi everyone,

    I’m looking for help, advice or guidance.

    Here’s my story:

    My 31 y.o. partner has depression & anxiety, and has been diagnosed for about 10 years now. We’ve been together for the last 3 years and she’s always had her ups and downs, but in the last 6 months it’s gotten really bad. She’s been on meds which have now been increased and has just started seeing a therapist so hopefully that helps her too.

    My problem it is really impacting our relationship. She is so absent all the time that I feel like I don’t have a partner at all, even though she is functional in the sense that she goes to work and is successful at what she does.

    We don’t talk as she can’t articulate her thoughts or what she’s experiencing, there’s no ability/desire to plan for the future, there no intimacy or affection anymore, she is exhausted whenever she’s not at work so even though we spend time together every night she’s not actually ‘with me’ (if that makes sense).

    I feel like I always have to be this perfect partner with all these expectations placed on me so I don’t make her feel bad or upset her or whatever, but I can’t have any expectations on her at all, she does things to hurt me when I’ve inadvertently done something wrong and sometimes even when I haven’t done anything at all, but is able to hold it together and treat everyone else fine, which hurts me a lot.

    I know that this is all the depression and not her, and that she loves me, but I’m at the point where I am thinking about ending the relationship because I am no longer happy in it.

    I haven’t stopped loving her & I don’t want to lose her but I feel like I already have and I just don’t think I have it in me to stay on this rollercoaster ride or that I have anymore to give. And that makes me feel like a crap person.

    When we first met, she was self harming but she stopped and hasn’t done that for almost 2.5 years. She has also previously had thoughts of suicide but never made an attempt. She told me she was actually preparing to make an attempt the day she met me but meeting me stopped her. I’m not sure if she’s having those thoughts now or not due to the lack of communication, but I’m terrified that if I left she might harm herself.

    I feel like I’m trapped and I’d really like to hear from anyone who has been through it or is still going through something similar. What do I do? Can I turn this around? If I stay am I just signing up for a lifetime of being unfulfilled in my relationship?


  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6625 posts
    2 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI
    Hey WOLF,

    Thank you for posting on Beyond Blue forums, we are so glad you have reached out for support tonight and hope over the next few days that you start to recieve some wisdom and support from other members on the forum. You are definitely not alone in how you are feeling. Loving someone who is struggling with mental health issues can be extremely difficult and painful at times. It sounds like you have been very supportive for a long time and care deeply for your partner. It is important when supporting someone else so closely, that you also take very good care of yourself and check in with yourself regularly by looking inwards. Do you have others in your life that you can express how you feel to and people that are there for you?

    Additionally, perhaps it would be good for you to look at getting some mental health support for yourself too. If you are needing a place to start with all of this, it could be helpful to speak to one of our counsellors at Beyond Blue. Please dont hesitate to call us any time on  1300 22 4636 espeically if you are wanting to talk these things through tonight.

    Warmest Regards,

    1 person found this helpful
  3. 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
    11367 posts
    2 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI

    Hi Wolf

    thankyou for being a part of the Beyond Blue Family and especially posting from your heart. I understand your pain as I have been in the same situation as yourself and yes its difficult

    Having a partner with any level of anxiety/depression is hard as they have a 'tired mind'...That aside....your partner also has a responsibility to her relationship with you too

    Just from my own experience frequent counselling is important where recovery is concerned. Monthly is good...fortnightly is great...and weekly is high impact yet the most effective

    Only if its ok....Can I ask if you have offered to accompany your partner to a counselling appointment? and to be fair to you....Has you partner asked you to accompany her to a counselling appointment?

    The forums are a safe and non judgmental place for you to post Wolf....any questions are always welcome

    my kind thoughts


    2 people found this helpful
    IWOLFI avatar
    4 posts
    4 May 2021 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul.

    Before she had actually had an appointment, she asked me once if I would go with her if she decided to see someone. I said of course I would go with her if she wanted me to. But then she never actually went through with seeing someone.

    About 2 week’s ago we had a ‘real talk’ for the first time in months, because she was really angry with me about something trivial I had done 2 weeks prior, and as she was really laying into me I just broke down and told her for the first time that I was unhappy in our relationship.

    That shocked her out of her rage and then she finally told me her depression had gotten worse in the last few months, but she didn’t know it was having an impact on me (and us), because she thought she was successfully hiding the fact that it had gotten worse. So she decided that night that she would go get a referral from the GP and I said that I would also start seeing someone for support so she wasn’t doing it alone.

    She had one session and the psych suggested she see someone else for some reason, so she’s been referred to another psych who she is yet to get an appointment with.

    I didn’t think I could attend with her this early on so I haven’t offered to go with her yet. Should I? I figured she would have to have some sessions on her own before it was appropriate for me go with her.

    But I am following through on my commitment to get help, by coming here to read about other experiences and talk to people about my own situation, as well as speaking to counselors through my work’s EAP service. I would literally do anything for her & us to be better.

    I’ve noticed that she’s trying to make more of an effort by doing little things here and there, which a couple of weeks ago she wouldn’t have done, like a small chore around the house or having her foot touch mine if we’re laying in bed together.

    I read other people’s stories on here who have been going through this for much longer than I have & respect the hell out of them for sticking by their partner and sacrificing their own happiness. I’m that kind of loyal person, but I know that I don’t want the rest of my life to be like this & feel selfish for even thinking about putting own happiness into the equation by considering leaving.

    I’m so in need of feeling love and connection & intimacy but the thought of that with anyone other than her is heartbreaking, so I’m hanging in there doing everything your supposed to do but it just all feels like I’m delaying the inevitable.

  5. geoff
    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
    geoff avatar
    16230 posts
    4 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI

    Hello IWOLFI, a warm welcome to the forums, and I'm pleased Sophie_M and Paul have replied back to you, this is the first step in getting help from people who have been in the same or similar situations and know how you are feeling.

    It's always a difficult place to be, especially when you love her, but feel as though you're walking on eggshells, not knowing what type of reaction you'll receive can make this tough, not only for you but also your girlfriend who simply doesn't understand why she reacts as she does.

    Everybody who posts on this site has definitely struggled in one way or another, but each case is just as important as the next, just as this comment is.

    It makes this situation to be awkward, because for example, if you cook fried eggs for breakfast but she's annoyed because she wanted boiled eggs instead, then you wonder what can be done to please her, and I've been in the same situation myself.

    Depression in a person does not necessarily happen from a single event, but from a mixture of events and circumstances, and I say this because other factors seem to jump on board along the way, so what you do or have to say maybe a secondary reaction and not the primary reason, so in other words, if you ask someone who is already annoyed if they want a cup of tea, you may not get a pleasant response, so it's not the offering but the mood they are already in, that's the problem.

    We hope that your girlfriend does decide to follow through with getting the help she needs, but you also need to look after yourself, establish a base to build your strength on, that will determine whether or not 'you will be delaying the inevitable,' but if you both love each other, then you can work together to overcome this hurdle.

    Take care.


  6. KG82
    KG82 avatar
    39 posts
    4 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI

    Hi IWOLFI,

    So much of your post resounded with me. My partner left in the midst of mixed/depressive bipolar episode. She can manage to go to work, but anything beyond that is a challenge.

    It sounds like you are doing everything that you can to support her, and it is exhausting and sad. I second what others have said about getting help for yourself. Some liken it to putting on your oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs. It may be that if you both get help that things will get better. One of the things that I have learnt both from my own experience, and from watching my partner struggle is just how distorted thoughts can become and how tunnel vision becomes so apparent. Only once the depression starts to lift do the thoughts become clearer and more rational. I was particularly disappointed that my partner made the decision to leave when depressed.

    I can understand how hard it is to feel like you have to do everything right to avoid making things worse for your partner. It feels like you’re walking on egg shells and over time it builds resentment. I wish I could give you a more uplifting response, but I do commend you for reaching out for support.

    1 person found this helpful
    IWOLFI avatar
    4 posts
    4 May 2021 in reply to geoff

    Thanks Geoff. I’ve read many of your posts on other threads and I always relate to you perspective.

    I am really feeling/seeing the benefits of being able to talk about it here and hear other people perspectives and experiences.

    In addition to her efforts, I’ve approached things differently as a result if things I’ve learned here and its resulted in our communication taking baby steps towards improving. Whilst being baby steps they feel like giant leaps of relief emotionally though.

    1 person found this helpful
  8. geoff
    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
    geoff avatar
    16230 posts
    5 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI

    Hello IWOLFI, thanks for your lovely comment, and please remember these baby steps may give her the chance with your help to open a door wondering what could possibly be behind it, but too frightened to find out by herself, that's why sometimes we need a person to stand behind us and encourage us to find out and if needed, to catch them if it's too overwhelming or give them a smile to get them to make a step up the long stairs in front of them, telling them you're here if they need you, that's the support we all need at various times.

    Take care.


  9. 815
    815 avatar
    211 posts
    6 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI

    Hi IWOLFI,

    I'm glad to hear that things are improving, ever so slightly. I've always believed that, little by little, a little becomes a lot.

    I have read your post and know how it is to feel those feelings. Each situation will be different. But I know how it feels to have a depressed partner who you love, push you away and see everything you try to do to help as something negative, to have expectations put upon you to always do the right thing, to have the right words. And then to see that person continue to work, and continue to be present and deal with other people.

    But I also know how it feels to continue to be there for that person, and to hold onto a hope that some day things can get better.

    My husband was diagnosed with sever depression almost a year ago now. And at the beginning although I begged him to seek help, he refused. We spent many months with him not talking to me at all and ignoring me when I tried. We spent months of him telling me that I didn't care and that I couldn't help him. Eventually he sought help, got a diagnosis and started seeing a psychologist. But even after all of this it still took time for things to slowly get better. And it is still taking time.

    I thought many times to take my children and leave. And he also threatened to do the same...

    I wish through all of what I experienced that I could easily articulate what you should do, or what you can do. I can only tell you what I did. And that was to find support for myself, through my GP, a psychologist, my close family and friends, through my children, through my work. While at home I just carried on. I tried to care for my husband in practical ways by continuing to cook and clean, and just being here (although I was told many times that being here wasn't enough).

    I think it is great that you can acknowledge that it is the depression. But even doing so doesn't make it any easier.

    I am reminded now of one of the first things someone told me when I came on to the forums. Depression is hard, But there is always hope. So I hope you can hold onto that, no matter what you decide to do. There will be better days.

  10. quirkywords
    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.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    quirkywords avatar
    14352 posts
    6 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI


    Thanks for your honest post and your willingness to learn and be flexible.

    You have been given lots of support here and there is much information on other threads.

    I have been on both sides ,the depressed person and the carer.

    I am in pressed at your determination to support and help your partner. Alas my partner had no patience and told me not be lazy.

    Even though she may not seem to notice or appreciate your understanding and support when she can express it she may well do so.

    As you know when you are self loathing you want to push loved ones away as yo may not feel you deserve their love and kindness.

    Look after yourself


  11. Doog
    Doog avatar
    25 posts
    7 May 2021 in reply to IWOLFI

    Hi WOLFI,

    I hope you are well, and whatever happens, you must always look to your own health and emotional wellbeing. Sometimes it is viewed as cruel to leave a relationship that seems to drain all your energy, whether that be a person who has become physically debilitated or psychologically unpredictable.

    Remember you are not abandoning your own child, nor a relative. If someone you love becomes ill, it is very much your decision how to proceed. Being devalued even in the face of mental illness is toxic to your psyche and could cause untold damage to your mental health and how you perceive your self worth.

    Yes partners with mental ill health will withdraw randomly. My son is only just turning 18 and his girlfriend 18 has had many changes over the last 2 years. She would refuse to go out, then she would go out and refuse to invite him to the same parties where she had a great time, despite being depressed a day earlier, then she would say he is not attentive enough because he went out with mates. She has made more than one suicide attempt with hospitalisation and a recent threat of suicide. I know they are only "kids" in comparison, but the situation was no less confusing for my son as it is for you, and no less traumatic for the girlfriend who experienced these fluctuations of emotions. It has also been traumatic for the parents of both.

    We are currently trying to get my son to go back to Headspace for a set of counselling, because she blames him, and when being asked why he won't split from this relationship, his reply is "I don't want her to die".

    So you see, the burden is the same across the board, all age groups. My mission is to convince him he is not responsible for anybody's decision of whether they wish to see another day. My wish for you is to seek someone to talk to professionally, so you can move on with your life with the knowledge and tools you need to make the final decision for you. It is never all about them. There are always two people in a relationship equally deserving of love, respect and recognition. Being ignored and given the cold shoulder treatment is no different to emotional abuse, even if you are supposed to believe there is a medical excuse. Talk to BeyondBlue over and over, I did, it helps. You will not feel so alone. Take care.

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