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    • curlywurlygurly
    • By curlywurlygurly 15th Apr 18, 4:19 PM
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    curlywurlygurly
    How can I help my depressed partner?
    • #1
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:19 PM
    How can I help my depressed partner? 15th Apr 18 at 4:19 PM
    Hello everyone,

    My partner has been struggling with depression and anxiety for the last two years. He takes ADs but refuses any other kind of professional support. He now does approx. 10 hours a week freelance work from home, generally completed in the early hours of the morning through his own choice. As a result, he almost always comes to bed between 5.30 and 6.30am and sleeps until around 4-5pm.

    I'm at the point where I'm seriously questioning the future of our relationship, because we never actually DO anything together. I take care of the house and do the cooking, see my friends on weekend mornings/afternoons, or just stay in and potter around on my own. We eat together most evenings and then we watch TV or he plays a game and I work or read alongside him.

    It feels like he's avoiding life, and me, by sleeping and being anti-social. He knows that I wish we could do more together and that I'd like him to come to bed at a reasonable time, but it never happens.

    What else can I do to help?
Page 1
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 15th Apr 18, 4:36 PM
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    NeilCr
    • #2
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:36 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:36 PM
    Oh gosh. I so feel for you.

    I lived for a considerable time with someone with the same issues. I know all about the sleeping.

    First thing is that you have to look after yourself. Go out with your friends, do things you enjoy doing. It's good for you and it makes you a better "carer". In fact, if anything, do more by yourself without impacting on him.

    Secondly. Don't take it personally. It took me a while to get that but once I realised it was the illness and not me it made living with it easier.

    Is there anything other than games that he is interested in?. My ex loved cats (still does) so we went to cat shows - got cats etc etc etc. Also, the main turning point for her was starting a psychology course. She was interested in the subject and it gave her an insight into herself and her condition. She told me that a lot of people on the course were there for that reason

    That developed into her getting a PhD and getting healthier. Now she doesn't take meds and lives by herself without any real psychological problems. It was understanding the anxiety and depression and how it impacted on her that moved her forwards

    I wish you very well. It's hard
    Last edited by NeilCr; 15-04-2018 at 4:39 PM.
    • PeacefulWaters
    • By PeacefulWaters 15th Apr 18, 4:51 PM
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    PeacefulWaters
    • #3
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:51 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:51 PM
    Exercise got me out of depression.

    Walk with him for half an our a day. Make that walk your only demand on him.
    • pmlindyloo
    • By pmlindyloo 15th Apr 18, 4:55 PM
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    pmlindyloo
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:55 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Apr 18, 4:55 PM
    This is so sad.

    Although I think Neil has written a brilliant post I can't help but think that this is easier said than done. I should imagine that you feel that you don't have a proper relationship with your partner and imagine this never get better.

    I don't know how old you are but my feeling is that you might be fairly young. Us oldies seem to do the 'for better or worse' much better than younger people who often cannot envisage living the rest of their lives like this. (Forgive me if I'm totally wrong)

    if your partner is sleeping during the day then he is likely to be more 'active' during the night time, hence his working then. It must be difficult to break this cycle.

    There is still an unwillingness to recognise mental health problems as being no different to physical problems for which you would seek help so I am guessing that your partner won't visit his doctor for more help.

    Are you able to speak to his doctor? They wouldn't be able to discuss any details with you but they may be able to offer some suggestions.

    Does your partner ever go out?
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 15th Apr 18, 5:06 PM
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    NeilCr
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 18, 5:06 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Apr 18, 5:06 PM
    This is so sad.

    Although I think Neil has written a brilliant post I can't help but think that this is easier said than done. I should imagine that you feel that you don't have a proper relationship with your partner and imagine this never get better.

    ?
    Originally posted by pmlindyloo
    Thank you. I think your post is great too.

    I, fully, agree, that it is easier said than done. It took me a long while to understand what was going on and how to deal with it. We married young (ish). I was 21 going on 16 and, suddenly, I had something to live with that I couldn't comprehend or have any idea how to help. I didn't have any professional help or support and I can only hope that my post will give the OP some comfort and suggestions of the way forward.

    Only too often I see clients with mental health problems in my volunteering role. As you so rightly say there is still a huge gap in how mental and physical health problems are perceived. Saying that, I had a lot of trouble getting my ex to the doctors
    • Zeni
    • By Zeni 15th Apr 18, 8:23 PM
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    Zeni
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 18, 8:23 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Apr 18, 8:23 PM
    Oh OP I feel for you, that is a tough situation. My OH has had depression and I know how hard it can be for him but also supporting someone through it. I think you sound like you are being incredibly understanding but It would be hard to continue relationships when it doesn't seem like your actually having any relations except eating tea and watching TV. A big part of life is shared experiences and it seems like your craving the need to share more with him. It also not nice sleeping alone...My Oh had a night job/early hours of morning job for a couple months and I hated our different schedules and not getting to go to bed together/wake up etc..its all those little things.

    As lindyloo asked, does he go out? If he has anxiety about leaving the house I can see how it may be challenging to go out but then at the same time then you would think he may change his own schedule slightly so he can spend more time with you. Have you talked to him about how you feel?
    Swagbuckling since Aug 2016 - Earnings so far.. 55.
    • Primrose
    • By Primrose 15th Apr 18, 8:45 PM
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    Primrose
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 18, 8:45 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Apr 18, 8:45 PM
    Your partner probably doesn,t feel very energetic either but now the lighter evenings are coming, can i seriously suggest you try and Get outdoors, even if it,s only for half an hour, to enjoy a short walk and some daylight. Psychologically this may help. If the weather is bad, put on and do one of the Lesley Sansome You Tube 15 minute walk at home videos. Some brief Movement sessions will hopefully improve his moods and energy levels and everybody should be able to manage just 15 minutes.

    Dealing with a depressed person is hard work. What made him tick before he became ill? Can you jointly rediscover some shared interests and every week give yourselves a shared target. Does he like gardens and the outdoors? The National Gardens scheme has started up again this season. Could you research and find a new garden to go and visit or a National Trust venue for a day out at the weekend? Or a local concert or Amateur dramatic company?

    Dont neglect your own emotional needs. If necessary go out with friends. If he suddenly realises yiu are making a life for yourself it might trigger a lightbulb in his brain that yiu might one day be able to live a life without him. Also occasionally be firm and don,t take No for an answer for an outing, however brief, even if it,s to a local garden centre or somewhere for for a cup of coffee. Sometime small steps can trigger a gradual reversal of a depressive process which helps a person to regain the confidence that they can start doing normal things again. Confidence gets lost along the way. Once doesn,t wake up from this state one morning with a lightbulb moment. It,s small confidence building actions that are more likely to ease him back into a more normal routine. Good luck and look after your owm mental health !
    Last edited by Primrose; 15-04-2018 at 8:48 PM.
    • Detroit
    • By Detroit 15th Apr 18, 9:08 PM
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    Detroit
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 18, 9:08 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Apr 18, 9:08 PM
    This may be a controversial thing to say, but forgive me, ill say it anyway...

    Depression can make people very selfish.

    Yes, your partner is ill, but that doesn't mean he should be excused from showing you any consideration or from making any effort to meet your needs.

    Perhaps it's time to be a little more assertive in telling him what you would like from him. Pick one small thing to start with, such as the walk suggested by Peaceful Waters.

    Tell him it is important to you that he tries. Acknowledge he probably doesn't feel like it, but if he could just bare it, it would mean a lot to you.

    You might also try again to get him to seek help, again, tells him it's for you.

    You may feel a little uncomfortable about it, but from your post, it sounds as though you're (understandably) close to the end of your ability to tolerate the situation.

    If a little bit of tougher love now saves you needing to leave the relationship, it may be worth a try.

    You might also want to consider contacting one of the mental health charities. Many offer support to family and friends and could give you pointers that may help you both.


    Put your hands up.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 15th Apr 18, 10:12 PM
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    NeilCr
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 10:12 PM
    • #9
    • 15th Apr 18, 10:12 PM
    This may be a controversial thing to say, but forgive me, ill say it anyway...

    Depression can make people very selfish.

    Yes, your partner is ill, but that doesn't mean he should be excused from showing you any consideration or from making any effort to meet your needs.

    .
    Originally posted by Detroit
    I don't think it is a controversial thing to say. I've heard it a number of times and I completely understand the point of view.

    From my own experience I'd have said self centered rather than selfish. But that may be a bit nickpicking. More to the point I would say that the person appears to be selfish rather than is selfish. And, I think that's an important distinction.

    Having lived with a clinically depressed person for over 25 years and talked to them in depth about how they felt it became clear that all her strength and resources were spent on trying to deal with the depression. She would have liked to be thinking about others when she was really bad but there was absolutely nothing left in the tank. Fundamentally she was and still is a very kind person.

    The other distinction to be made is between couldn't and wouldn't. That was the one that got me. I'd spend an awful lot of time trying to persuade her to do something. In the early days it was going to work. I was looking at it from the "she should be able to go" when in fact it was that she could not go.
    Last edited by NeilCr; 15-04-2018 at 10:22 PM.
    • Detroit
    • By Detroit 16th Apr 18, 7:19 PM
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    Detroit
    I don't think it is a controversial thing to say. I've heard it a number of times and I completely understand the point of view.

    From my own experience I'd have said self centered rather than selfish. But that may be a bit nickpicking. More to the point I would say that the person appears to be selfish rather than is selfish. And, I think that's an important distinction.

    Having lived with a clinically depressed person for over 25 years and talked to them in depth about how they felt it became clear that all her strength and resources were spent on trying to deal with the depression. She would have liked to be thinking about others when she was really bad but there was absolutely nothing left in the tank. Fundamentally she was and still is a very kind person.

    The other distinction to be made is between couldn't and wouldn't. That was the one that got me. I'd spend an awful lot of time trying to persuade her to do something. In the early days it was going to work. I was looking at it from the "she should be able to go" when in fact it was that she could not go.
    Originally posted by NeilCr
    Thank you Neil. The distinctions you make are very valid.


    Put your hands up.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 17th Apr 18, 8:43 PM
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    Fireflyaway
    Does your partner know what caused the depression to start? If there is an identifiable cause see if he can work on that. Sometimes there isn't an explanation though.
    I'd write a letter. Tell him how it upsets you to see him sad and not enjoying life. Tell him you will support him but he needs to make changes to see results. He can get better. Encourage him to start with a small change. The walking is a great idea. Lack of vitamins can have a massive impact so try some b complex and vitamin d as well. You could take it too. Don't have to make a big deal about it just have it with dinner!
    Hope is a big thing. Having something to look forward to. Can you plan something you would both enjoy? be a bit more generous with compliments. Depressed people often lack self esteem .
    Look after yourself too. living with a depressed person is draining and frustrating. Try not to take it personally. Take time to relax etc.
    • determined new ms
    • By determined new ms 17th Apr 18, 10:05 PM
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    determined new ms
    I suffered with depression for many years on and off. My partner did an intervention (just him!) and very kindly told me I had to try to find some joy and happiness. That I couldn't just think of all the negatives going on in our life - my daughter has a mental health problem and things were very difficult for many years, combined with that my son started getting into trouble and I hated my work. He expressed the impact it was having on him, I was so distant to him.

    He did this so well, so kindly and with so much love, that it really helped me to start to try to get better. I didn't feel bad or defensive because it was done so well. He had been researching depression and simple things you can do to try to look at things more positively and change.
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    • curlywurlygurly
    • By curlywurlygurly 18th Apr 18, 10:11 PM
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    curlywurlygurly
    Thank you for the responses, everyone.

    We started taking vitamins when he went back on the ADs and he walks for 20 minutes every day (to the local shop!), but usually before I get home from work. He doesn't really go anywhere apart from that.

    Every time I plan something, he agrees, then bails the day before/ on the day. This can be something simple like going to the cinema, or bigger, like a weekend away at the seaside. I either end up going with a friend/alone, or cancelling and usually not getting a refund due to short notice. I've tried 'not taking no for an answer' but he just digs in harder and gets angry. I've tried reasoning, pleading, involving him in the choices of dates/ locations, springing it as a surprise so he can't get overly worried.... but none of it works.

    pmlindylou, I'm in my mid-30s, he's late 40s, and we've been together over a decade. I love him and want him to be happy and healthy, I just feel so lost and helpless when nothing I have done seems to make a difference and anything I want gets blocked by the barriers caused by the depression. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose three years isn't a huge length of time, but three years of no affection, no interest in anything I'm doing, all plans cancelled, and shouldering total responsibility for managing the household and covering the mortgage and bills, it feels more like I'm his mother and landlord.

    Neil, thank you for sharing your background and for your reasoned advice. I'm so pleased things seem to be getting back on track for you and your partner.
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 19th Apr 18, 6:38 AM
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    NeilCr
    Thank you for the responses, everyone.

    We started taking vitamins when he went back on the ADs and he walks for 20 minutes every day (to the local shop!), but usually before I get home from work. He doesn't really go anywhere apart from that.

    Every time I plan something, he agrees, then bails the day before/ on the day. This can be something simple like going to the cinema, or bigger, like a weekend away at the seaside. I either end up going with a friend/alone, or cancelling and usually not getting a refund due to short notice. I've tried 'not taking no for an answer' but he just digs in harder and gets angry. I've tried reasoning, pleading, involving him in the choices of dates/ locations, springing it as a surprise so he can't get overly worried.... but none of it works.

    pmlindylou, I'm in my mid-30s, he's late 40s, and we've been together over a decade. I love him and want him to be happy and healthy, I just feel so lost and helpless when nothing I have done seems to make a difference and anything I want gets blocked by the barriers caused by the depression. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose three years isn't a huge length of time, but three years of no affection, no interest in anything I'm doing, all plans cancelled, and shouldering total responsibility for managing the household and covering the mortgage and bills, it feels more like I'm his mother and landlord.

    Neil, thank you for sharing your background and for your reasoned advice. I'm so pleased things seem to be getting back on track for you and your partner.
    Originally posted by curlywurlygurly
    I had the bailing too. I think it might have been part of the can't/won't issue. She'd agree to do something, possibly to support me, but when it came to it she just couldn't do it. It's hugely frustrating I know. Whatever you try you can't get them to go

    It sounds like he's got a routine that he can cope with and makes him feel secure. The 20 minute walk to the shops and then staying in, playing games etc. Although my ex is better routine and having her "comfort" things around her are still a huge part of her life.

    In my experience that's really hard to get around. As I said before my ex begun to get better when she got to understand her condition. She realised that she had cycles - so when she was going "down" she knew that she would come out of it, eventually, and that made it a bit easier.

    Your situation feels quite similar to mine. You do feel alone in the relationship and that all responsibility falls on you - I can only reiterate that you have to take care of yourself.

    No problem and I hope nothing I've written in any way upsets you. Me and my ex are fine now. We separated years ago which was the best thing for both of us - it was after she got better and the reasons were nothing to do with the depression. We are on very good terms and we speak weekly - as I know her so well she still turns to me for advice. She trusts me and that's rather nice, still.

    I hope this turns out well for you both.
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