11 Relationship Traps of Depression

Relationship trap

Depression sets relationship traps for both partners. Everything can change quickly between two people, and it’s crucial to be able to spot these changes as soon as possible.

Here are 11 signs of the illness that seem perfectly designed to undo the bonds of closeness.

Humor, talking and doing things together, sharing special moments – they’re all gone.

In their place are avoidance, anger, blame and isolation.

Two Sides of Depression

Usually, we think of the passive side of the illness with its loss of vitality and despair, but there’s also an aggressive side.

It flares out when depressed partners blame others for what they’re feeling. The person they’re closest to takes the brunt of their anger. The first several symptoms in this list describe these behaviors.

On the passive side, the abuse is turned inward. It’s the depressed partner who’s the center of every problem. They’re self-absorbed to the point of losing the ability to relate to others in a realistic way.

Instead of denial and blaming everyone else for their pain, they focus on their own worthlessness, even to the point of thinking constantly of suicide as the only way out.

Many of these relationship traps converge and become all the more damaging through their combined impact. The specific behaviors can emerge in dozens of different ways, and here I’ve drawn partly on what I did when depressed. The experience could feel very different in your relationship.

The Relationship Traps

  1. Irritability.

    Flashes of anger come frequently. Irritability is a constant attitude, leading to criticism and annoyance at trivial things. Money’s being wasted, bills aren’t paid on time, the house is a mess – and it’s your fault. For days at a time, depression can provoke this constant barrage of criticism. Any attempt to probe what’s going on only provokes angry denial.

  2. Control.

    When inner feelings are most confusing, depressed partners try to control home and family as closely as possible. They want everything to be predictable. Even the flow of spontaneous feeling in the family can be threatening. They can get furious at minor upsets that violate the sense of order they’re desperate to preserve. That order, however, is completely arbitrary and can vary from moment to moment, depending on their own feelings. The depressed partners are full of tension, and their behavior is torture for the rest of the family.

  3. Blame.

    The closer to inner collapse depressed partners feel, the more they blame others for creating their problems. They accuse their partners of ruining their lives and ignoring their needs. They keep lists of their grievances and obsess about the way they’re frustrated at every turn. Their partner is selfish and never tries to help. At work, they’re driving them crazy. Someone else is always at fault. At its worst, this need to blame can turn paranoid.

  4. Abuse.

    Contempt and rejection become common. There is rebuke in every glance. Dismissive remarks about their partner’s appearance and attempts at conversation become the norm. With verbal attacks, they try to manipulate partners into believing they’re the ones in need of help and cause them to question their own judgment. At social gatherings, the depressed partners can make cutting remarks and ignore their partners while engaging happily with everyone else. At the worst, verbal abuse can even escalate to physical attacks.

  5. Addiction/Escape.

    Trying to escape the pain of depression can lead to addictive behavior. Alcohol can dull all feeling. Drugs, pornography, affairs or fantasies of escaping to a new life can all provide temporary emotional highs and arousal to replace the despair or lack of deep feeling depression can cause. Real intimacy and relationship seem remote and disappear in the need to get away from the reality of the illness. The well partners can’t get through to them and can face angry denial that there’s anything wrong with them.

  6. Emotional Withdrawal.

    Suddenly a depressed partner can feel like they’re not there. Physically, they can be present, but emotionally there are no reactions, very little response of any kind. In their own minds, they’re becoming observers rather than participants in daily life. Nothing seems to get through to them. It’s as if they’ve disappeared. A relationship becomes impossible when it’s all one way.

  7. Obsessive Thinking.

    It’s often called ruminating, but I prefer to call it obsessive thinking. That gets at the intense anguish that’s part of a compulsive focus on every mistake they’ve ever made. In depression, they can’t stop thinking about what they did wrong today. Or if today was all right, they could summon up that embarrassing or stupid thing they did twenty years ago. Time doesn’t make any difference. The memories of failure, real or imagined, are the most highly charged for a depressed person. They’re always close to the surface and provide reminders every day of how inadequate they are. These thoughts are a constant distraction from any effort to connect with a partner. They’re lost in these memories of everything they’ve ever done wrong and can never set right.

  8. Isolation.

    Overwhelmed, unable to face anyone, depressed partners spend a lot of time alone. They may feel a desperate need to get away from everyone. They need space and solitude to hold onto the little energy and spark they have left. Even when not so desperate, they may want to do things alone that they used to do with their partners. They may work all the time and avoid the pressure of being with people. The well partner is deserted. There’s literally no one there to try to relate to.

  9. Indifference.

    Sometimes the sense of being overwhelmed or too despairing to face anyone is replaced by the inability to feel much of anything. The partner might say everything is fine, but there is no sense of real connection. Nothing stirs excitement. There’s no interest in sex. They may say they feel fine but have no interest in doing anything. They can be apparently quite sociable and at ease but can’t share anything deep or really make contact. Something is missing inside.

  10. Inability to Talk.

    Depression can be so deep that the desire to talk and communicate disappears. The partner might be content to sit and stare for hours. If asked what’s wrong or if they want anything, there’s little response. Or if they’re still active, they may just find it impossible to talk about the depression they’re experiencing. They may say they’re trying to spare their partners the turmoil they’re going through. Or they can feel there is something so monstrous in them that they dare not expose it to anyone close. Nothing inside can be exposed through words.

  11. Shame and Worthlessness.

    One of the hallmarks of depression is the overpowering sense of worthlessness. Self-esteem is replaced with self-contempt. An inner voice persuades the partner to think this way: I can’t do anything right, and I’ve never been able to. I’m just too stupid. Everyone else may think I’m fine but they just don’t know what really goes on inside me. My partner couldn’t possibly love an idiot like me. Someone else will come along, someone better, more capable, stronger than I am. It’s only a matter of time before my partner gives up on me and finds real fulfillment with someone else. Nothing will ever work out for me.

It’s hard to imagine a more complete inventory of weapons for destroying relationships. Even one or two would be like poison, but depression often brings them all together. They may not all occur within a single episode, but any of them can arrive without notice.

In future posts in this series, I’ll discuss how both partners can deal with these destructive changes and try to survive depression together.

How has depression affected your relationships? Have you watched a partner disappear in this illness, or have you been the depressed one imposing pain on your partner?

Image by pumpkinmook at Flickr

75 Responses to “11 Relationship Traps of Depression”

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  1. Julia says:

    So many of these points ring true. I’m beyond tired of being blamed, of being accused of not being supportive, of not being able to enjoy anything outside of home with my husband. Waking each morning not knowing how he will be feeling. I feel so alone not having a partner to experience the outside world with. Bursts of anger, throwing & breaking things….reading others comments is very helpful. Sadly there is a child involved but I need out before I loose it.

  2. andrew says:

    hello i was with my girlfriend for 3 and a half years
    who i had the pleasure of calling the mother of our beautiful little baby girl
    but 1 month after are daughter arrived things went wrong she was shouting at me for no reason
    breaking up and then getting back toghever. and then all of a sudden during this rock stage in our relationship she dissapered and i was left gobsmaked and heartbroken i was worried about her and our daughter. i had no idea where she was and how they both were doing
    and as a dad i really missed my daughter. then she reappered after two years of hearing nothing
    and she said she has a new life a new bf
    but she would like me to see our daughter
    then only a week ago she changed her mind and let me down
    then she txts me saying. quote why should i let you see your daughter when you havent made an effert
    since she was a month old. which is sort of mindboggling to me because if i new where she was i would of been more involved with our daughters upbringing. can anyone help or explain for the reason behind the act?

  3. lee says:

    i want to kick him out but what if he get angry and something happens or what if he try’s to take my child. he always say’s if i leave him i must know that he is taking his child with him. i am so afraid i don’t know what to do. i am afraid he hurts me or my child. with everything happening i don’t know if i still feel something for him and if i am just to afraid that his gone hurt me or my child if i tel him i want out and he must go i really don’t know. i am thinking of my child and her safety but still don’ t know what to do or maybe i do know but are afraid of whats going happen if i do it . he can be very nasty and that worries me. i feel so stupid, alone and afraid i want to run but it feels like their is no where to run to.

  4. Rilke says:

    I read and re-read this and don’t even know what to think anymore.

    My husband is depressed, from what I know has been for the length of our whole relationship. The depression wasn’t prominent when we first met but quite soon it bloomed (again, as I later learned) — thanks to immigration, unemployment and getting married all within a short time. Anyone would’ve gone bonkers over that combination. However, years later my husband never recovered.

    What I find hardest is the blame. “I feel like I want to kill myself and you’re not helping. You’re making it worse.” What do you say to that? My husband is unarguably working on his situation, the unemployment and the loneliness, but he has no interest in looking deeper into the reasons of his depression. The worse he feels, the more he finds wrong in what I am doing, how I am speaking, what I need or want.

    I have spent 1,5 years in therapy learning how to speak my mind, how to hold on to my truth, how to be compassionate and accepting towards myself and how to reconnect with myself again. When I started to apply those lessons my husband only grew more upset. I put myself ahead of him too much, he says. Damn right I do, because always putting him and his depression first made me a shadow of a person. Perhaps I don’t know where the correct ration between giving and healthy selfishness lies, perhaps I have gone overboard to the other direction.

    But I am just too confused to know whether I want this anymore. Today my husband compared himself to a dog, he really feels like he is my poorly treated dog, forgotten at home while its master goes out and enjoys life. I can understand why he in the current situation feels that way. But I didn’t ask for a dog I asked for a partner! He feels so powerless when facing his problems, he feels without options. I can understand that but don’t know how much more I can give from myself to compensate for that feeling of unsafety in him. His moods riding like a rollercoaster already make this relationship unsafe for me. The only way I can deal with it is to reconnect with the well of deep compassion and strength I have within myself for myself.

    But if he keeps asking for more room inside my garden it is eventually going to wither down the well there too. And I am not willing to go there again. I don’t know what to do.

  5. Matt says:

    My girlfriend and I have bee. Together a year and a half… Last August she ended it for no apparent reason just stating it had nothing to do with me but she was stressed out (single mother of a wonderful 2 year old boy). I wanted her back but after a month of trying I pushed her away… Then after another month apart of not even making contact with her, she told me she missed me and we got back together! Everything was great as it was the first time we were together (which the break up from nowhere). Two weeks ago she texted me that she was sad… I asked what was wrong and she said she doesn’t know just that she was sad… A week later we went on vacation together with the baby… She sees distant a d showed all the signs listed on this blog… When we returned from vacation Friday I took her home and kissed her goodnight and we said I love you! Yaws really didnt talk Saturday or Sunday until she texted me Sunday saying she’s sad and moody and it has nothing to do with me… She says she has no reason to feel like this and she is clueless… I asked if she wanted to leave me and she said she doesn’t know what to do bc she is not happy… She is happy with us but not happy in general and she doesn’t know why…. When we broke up the first time she showed all these signs as well… She said maybe she is depressed or maybe it’s the medicine she is on (she has to take a prescription daily for chronic headaches) but she doesn’t know why she feels this way… I said I am here for her in every way possible but will give her space…. I love her to death and wanted to propose later in the year…. 3 weeks ago she was saying how if we have a girl one day she wants the name to be Olivia… 3 weeks ago she was calling me the love of her life and now this, and we haven’t fought… Is this depression or is she just not into me?

  6. Need Advice says:

    John,

    This is such a helpful blog. I just recently became aware that my girlfriends depression is the cause of so many of our relationship problems. We’ve been dating for 2.5 years and things really started to deteriorate a little over a year ago when her dad was diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. Her mom also suffers from a debilitating disease. Thank god that both of them are stable for now due to effective treatments. Many of the “relationship traps” above have been part of our relationship for a year now and lately things have gotten much worse.

    I’ve endured so much emotional abuse over the last year. I try to discuss problems we’re having such as intimacy and lack of regard for my opinion or feelings, but she turns it back around on me every time and says I’m not being supportive enough or I’m selfish. She evens laughs at me if I get emotional about how bad she has hurt my feelings and tells me she needs a stronger man. I frequently leave these conversations feeling guilty and ashamed for even bringing it up, but I know it’s important for me to express my concerns and feelings.

    Recently she was going to buy a condo and our plan was to live together but she backed out of the contract at the last minute. Her depression has gotten so much worse in just the last few weeks. Now she has decided that she doesn’t have enough support here and wants to move back home (5 hour flight) to be closer to her family. To make things even more complicated we discovered she was pregnant 2 weeks ago. She told me she was moving away 3 days before we found out she was pregnant and she says she is going with or without me…..we can’t even discuss other options or she just yells at me. I was never ask to go with her initially and now she says I’m unsupportive for wanting her to stay here. Her parents are currently doing well and she sees them frequently, they come here or we have taken vacations with them.

    While at the doctors appt. with her, her doctor slipped in front of me and said she has a history of depression…which now explains so many things that we’ve been going through over the last year. I completely understand her wanting to be close to family, but she had told me she needed to live her own life and wanted to stay out west because she liked it here (until recently). My twin brother is here and I have my dream job, among many other friends that I rely on for support, and I’m not sure I can survive this relationship and the effect her depression is having on it if I move with her where I don’t know anyone and don’t like the location. I want to do it for the baby, but I’m so scared of being unhappy and alone because of her illness and wondering if things will ever get better. The emotional abuse is unbearable at times. I will be a part of my child’s regardless of our relationship status, but feel hopeless and trapped that she’s going to move away with the baby.

    We are currently in counseling together, which is the third time I’ve sought for help. I love her so much but feel like I’m at a breaking point. I’ve sacrificed many things over the last year, and making the ultimate sacrifice to give up my life here and move is more than I can handle right now.

    Thank you for any advice.

  7. De says:

    Well, in reading further I find a lot of discussion of just those points that are vexing me, particularly in “is it the partner or the depression.” Sorry, I shouldn’t really have started rambling on w/o reading a bit more of the site. I’m just so relieved (as I said) to find someplace where there are people who understand how crazy-making it is to live with the Jekyll/Hyde thing — so relieved that I’m babbling. Will be dropping by again, I’m sure, as my partner’s moods oscillate and drag me around with them.

    That’s what I’m trying to work on now, is not getting dragged around: but it’s so hard not to be (a) gutted by empathy as you see someone you love so much looking so miserable and talking about wanting to “go to sleep and not have to wake up again”, and (b) angry as you find your life increasingly controlled by his illness. Can’t have people over, he can’t cope right now. Have to go to this social event alone, he can’t cope right now. Can’t discuss the smallest domestic issue without it turning into high-tension irritability, he can’t cope right now. And yet somehow *I* am supposed to cope, and go on coping, being the grownup, pretending to the world that everything is OK.

    So I’m trying to figure out those coping skills, and I’ve stopped pretending to the world that things are OK; I say openly to people that my partner is depressed right now, w/o going into details, and I find that most people understand this and give me that little bit of sympathy that makes all the diff. The big challenge for me is life at home: how can I detach myself from the roller coaster, not get dragged down into the pit with my partner, insulate myself from the hostility and coldness, shrug off the drama, without actually killing my feelings for him? Do I just put my love in the freezer for a couple of weeks and thaw it out again when he’s feeling better? That feels so incredibly controlled to me, like I have to exist or not exist emotionally at his convenience. And yet, what’s the point in trying to get water out of a stone, or emotional interaction out of a catatonic, deeply-depressed person who’s drowning, not waving? I’m trying to learn detached empathy, to regard my partner’s emotional vagaries as being like weather — just work around it — and it’s not easy. My own loneliness and self-pity (as my loving partner repeatedly abandons me and is replaced by this nagging, critical, sullen, resentful stranger) make it hard to maintain my spirits and stability. And I struggle (as you can tell) with these conflicting feelings about responsibility, wanting to hold him accountable for the unfriendly behaviour, hard looks and hard words, prickly irritability and dismissiveness, etc. Gonna read those “tips on taking care of yourself” again, and again, and again. Many thanks to you all, particularly our host.

  8. De says:

    Wow. I’ve been trying to deal for 4 years with a partner who I am now coming to realise has a serious brain chemistry issue of some kind — a lot of the behaviours listed here are painfully familiar, especially sudden cutting off of affect, isolation, w/drawal, passivity, inexplicable irritability, refusal to communicate, rage if questioned or if concern is expressed, resentment (everything is one demand too many), etc.

    What concerns me is this: at what point do we have to name these behaviours emotional abuse? I mean, sudden rages, unfair accusations, cruel/cold behaviour, verbal put-downs and pissiness, it’s all pretty mean stuff. It’s called “being a nasty person.” Is this all stuff that the depressed person is somehow “not responsible for”? I mean, I feel low sometimes, but I don’t take it out on the people around me. Where does personal responsibility kick in? Are all emotional abusers just poor, depressed, ill people who should be excused and condoned?

    So… I’m often torn between sympathy for my partner’s evident misery, and anger and frustration at his self-absorption and abandonment of (what I see as) the responsibilities of a relationship (like maintaining communications and being kind to your SO).

    When I get really depressed (and I’ve had some pretty bad, sepia-toned, loss-of-meaning, why-bother-life-is-shit moments myself) I just go to bed and sleep it off, treat it like a case of the flu, distract myself with books and videos. Cry maybe, get it out of my system. And w/in 1 to 3 days I’m functioning again. I guess that means my depression is less severe than many people’s, and that makes me lucky. But I don’t spend my time acting it out *at* other people — moping around the house, scowling into space, nagging and criticising and controlling, refusing to converse, acting superior and arrogant, treating any contact as an offence (or an interruption).

    I feel sometimes like the Other Woman in our relationship is his depression — like he’s suffering from it, but also somehow in love with it, and that when he’s with the Other Woman he suddenly dislikes, rejects and devalues me. When depressed he acts like he’s in some hugely important conversation with someone else, someone who is far, far more important than I am, and I’m just this irritating interruption, something to brush aside (or get mad at). And though he sometimes says “I should do something about this” (as in get some help, see someone, meditate, CBT, whatever), he then immediately says that it won’t work, that nothing could possibly help — as if his depression is somehow special and more terrible and complicated than anyone else’s, and nothing that has worked for anyone else could possibly work for him… or maybe he really doesn’t want to be parted from it.

    OK, I guess I needed to vent a bit here! one topic that I think could be explored here — maybe I haven’t looked around enough to find it — is the helpless, baffled anger and hurt of the partner of the severely depressed person. I like the guidelines for taking care of yourself, but… what do we do about the *anger* we feel about our partner’s unfair, hurtful, betraying behaviours, about the lurking, unsettling sense that they are playing some kind of bait-n-switch game with us, being all Mr Nice Guy one day and Mr Pissy Sulkypants the next? It makes me feel not only hurt, but like a fool, manipulated. I know I’m not being charitable here, those feelings I’m voicing may not be analytical or rational or admirable — yeah, I know his brain chemistry is doing some kind of tapdance and I do acknowledge it’s an illness, heck, I *know* he’s not neurotypical — but those feelings of pain and betrayal are real, and I find that I cannot be as close to him as we once were… because, bottom line, I no longer trust him to be a reliable friend, let alone a loving partner. I never know when his mood will swing again, so I have to be always armoured, on guard, waiting for the next episode. I’m not in a relationship with an equal and reliable partner, I’m the bewildered caretaker of a Person With Issues, and when he’s “gone” I’m far more lonely that I ever was when I lived alone.

    Ever get the feeling that you’ve come home to find a hostile stranger in the house instead of your loving partner? And what do you do with the feeling of betrayal, dismay, abandonment that goes with that? Sounds like the partners of depressives are asked to be holy martyrs, to suffer every insult and slight and just keep smiling and being supporting and loving — carrying 75 percent of the relationship, while the depressive person just tunes in and out randomly, feeling oh so sorry for himself, too busy with self-pity and his own grudges, anxieties and obsessive thought patterns to care about the damage being done to anyone else. Is that depression, I wonder again, or emotional abuse? Argh. I’m suffering from very conflicting views of my situation, the old “badness or madness” debate, very close to home. Who’s the real person, Jekyll or Hyde? I’ll keep reading, but my response to several of the stories posted here in the comments is “Just leave, leave now, get out before he gets violent, and get an unlisted phone number.” So I’m wondering if that should be my advice to myself as well. I’m hoping I’ll find material here that suggests coping strategies (other than martyrdom) and possible avenues for healing/mitigation.

    I am so very grateful to have found this forum, btw. It’s just such a relief to see that these behaviours are a *pattern* and that it occurs consistently/predictably, that it’s not something I’m “just imagining” or “overreacting to” etc. Sigh. Neurological disability is so much harder to cope with than purely physical ones that leave the personality intact, or at least consistent. Wild personality swings are really, really hard to cope with. Makes you wonder, who really *is* that person across the dinner table?

    • Steve fruechtl says:

      This person is not depressed. Well in a sinse they’re not. They just don’t like you and don’t know how to say it. Be it you have children together or is just to afraid to tell you they just don’t click with you and or like you at all. Not depression, well in a sinse the person just dosnt know how to tell you they don’t want to be with you.

      • JR says:

        With respect, that’s not necessarily true, @Steve. I’ve suffered from depression, and it really can hit a person to the point that they act in these ways. But the depressed person is not necessarily angry with their significant other or not in love with their SO. The depressed person would act this way with *anyone* with whom they had a close relationship…

        Keep the faith @DE. I’ve been the depressed person. Your SO probably needs your support and likely feels very guilty about what they put you through when they’re down. Your SO also feels very alone, I guarantee it. Your SO also needs to see someone, whether they think it will help or not. You can’t force this on a depressed person, but you can encourage them when they are not down. Try finding a local hotline phone number for mental issues that your SO can call the next time things get bad. These folks are trained to be calm and their encouragement to get help can cut through where your words can’t because you’re too close to the situation. Try to hold your SO’s hand and lay that hand in the hand of folks trained to deal with this. If you can do this, it should give you some relief, and that in turn will relieve your SO as they see they are not burdening you so much and can lean on someone else for part of what they need…

    • KS says:

      De

      You have just said word for word exactly what I am feeling and you have said it so well. I have just initiated no contact with my SO of 2.5 years. I am full of guilt for doing this but felt I had to for my own mental health as I am at breaking point with constant anxiety and panic attacks. I would love my partner to seek treatment. He sometimes admits he is depressed but point blank refuses to get help.

  9. Claire says:

    I find this article quit distressing as it states that a depressed person blames everyone for everything. I’m a depressed person and have been on and of since I was 13 yrs old. I was very munch indenial for yrs until last yea I hit rock bottom. Depression or a depressed person is not mental nor are they. suffering from a disease. We are all very much too quick to judge instead of. Trying to listen I mean take it in. I hit rock. Bottom because of Too many deaths so close together friends and family young and older and being in a very rocky. Relationship with being accused of things. Left right and centre. Betrayal from family and abuse from jealous or nasty people so many factors come into it. So if you don’t want to end up depressed makesure you do things that make you happy and don’t change because some people dont like you I did and who I was is no longer and I’m not me anymore.

    • lee says:

      hey Claire

      I get what you mean but that’s the point the guy I am with have been trough a lot his dad died when he was little and so many things happened after that he left school when he was 14 yrs old because he had to work his mom kicked him out at the ages of 14 because the guy she was seeing did not want her children their and he was the youngest and after years he still feels nobody loves him and care for him so he turns to alcohol even thou he has me and his daughter and in the end he blames me for everything and all I am doing is trying to help he. I take it that anyone can be the person they want to be you just have to try everyone goes trough bad things some just have more to cope with then other but its what you do in life to have a happen ending. I just think that the guy I am with doesn’t want to change it feels like he wants people to feel sorry for him I don’t now whey but what can I do. I just need some advices of what I can do because I do now. every time he drinks it like his head is leaving him and his angry and I don’t now what to do I can talk to him every thing I do is wrong.

      • Lil says:

        Until the alcohol leaves the situation pack up and leave esp if kids about. He needs to get help for his alcoholic behaviour and I grew up in a house with a depressed drunken mother, to this day I wish that an adult had got me out of that situation. It was not for me as a child to be part of and it did not help mum, as seeing is being hurt just made her drink more. She said we should have left until she was sorted as it would have helped her to push forward to sobriety more quickly.Do not underestimate the damage to the children in these situations.

  10. lee says:

    hey guys

    I am in n relationship with a guy but that’s not all we share a child and ever since she was born he began drinking a lot and he’s never home. He’s always out with friends and uncle and me and our child must sit at home. He gets home about 22;00 and sometimes 24;00 then he wants to order me around as if I am his slave when I don’t do what he wants he gets angry and swears at me, wants to hit me but he never does and tells me it’s over because he cant go on like this but he never leaves. He doesn’t help me with our child at all, he doesn’t spend time with her and he always wants to hit her if she does something wrong but she just 2 years old. I don’t now what to do because I do love him but I have to think of my baby and myself. what must I do I really need some advice…

    • VG says:

      Lee,
      This does not sound like a good situation for you or your child. Until your guy starts taking responsibility for himself, through counseling and or medication or both i would seriously consider taking some steps away from this relationship for your childs sake. Do you have a support system? Do you have someone else you can stay with for some time?

      • lee says:

        VG,

        well his living with me at my parents house and they are helping me with my little girl and he’s never home so yes . I just don’t now what his gone do if I tell him to leave because he doesn’t have any wear to go if I tell him to move out I feel so stupid cause I don’t want to live like this but I don’t want to put him out on the street cause I still love him and care about him. I don’t now maybe I must get a little more hard on him and set some rules and tell him if he don’t want to live by them he must leave, then he has a chose whether he wants to stay or leave and I don’t need to kick him out. I really don’t now how to get him to change or to get him to take his things and just leave till he knows what he wants in life.

        • pat ty says:

          Do yourself a favor get rid of him..he doesn’t care about you or the baby when he goes out and had a good time..eventually he will hurt you or the baby

        • Lil says:

          Try being less hard on you and your child and kick him out. Your kid is the important thing now, he must leave especially if he is abusive to you and your child. I do not see why you are putting his needs over your childs. Please protect you and your kid and kick him out.

          • lee says:

            i want to kick him out but what if he get angry and something happens or what if he try’s to take my child. he always say’s if i leave him i must know that he is taking his child with him. i am so afraid i don’t know what to do. i am afraid he hurts me or my child. with everything happening i don’t know if i still feel something for him and if i am just to afraid that his gone hurt me or my child if i tel him i want out and he must go i really don’t know. i am thinking of my child and her safety but still don’ t know what to do or maybe i do know but are afraid of whats going happen if i do it . he can be very nasty and that worries me. i feel so stupid, alone and afraid i want to run but it feels like their is no where to run to.

          • STEPHANIE EGGER says:

            Lee,
            Please get a restraining order and a court order for your child asap! Do you feel you cannot do anything. I’m worried about your safety and your child’s with threats like that. Please contact authorities immediately.

  11. Emma says:

    I read this and cried. One year ago I met the love of my life in school, we started off as friends and when we held each other we fitted together so perfectly. He was sensitive, kind, and caring. I have chronic pain disease brought on by a Physical defect and this had already made me depressed by the time I met him but when he met me he was open that he had depression too and so unknowingly we were helping each other through it and we became happier. He told me that he had never felt better in all his life and I felt superhuman with the love and self esteem I had back. 3 month later I met his family and all went down hill. He was great, but his family were, lets just keep it as ‘bad’ people. I prompted us ending for 2 months because I was frightened at what was said and how things came about. During these months my depression returned with a vengeance. To eat and drink, to live in any way seemed pointless to me because my ‘reason for living’ had gone. I became underweight and really ill. He at this point was going crazy too and he walked up near my house late at night to try be near me even though I live in a bad area. He was giving up on his life too. But finally I got back on Facebook and snuck a message to meet him on my results day at school. We celebrated my grades together but we had little than a drink of pop and a house wall to sit on. We were both desperate to see each other as we always were and so from then on for about a month I would sneak out on sundays (because my parents thought he was bad for me and forbidden me to see him) having any other choice what to do because nothing made sense anymore and we’d meet up in the park and that was my little bit of heaven. BUT my parents found out and all Hell broke loose on his and my side, we finally came to the agreement we’d still see each other once a week though. After a further 2 months off this, he got a new job and he is 23 months to my senior. I became worried he’d fit in with an adult crowd and forget about me because by this time my body was in so much pain I could barely leave the house. As my pain grew I felt more and more inadequate when I was stripped of all the things a teen should be able to do and I required more reasurance off him that we were okay. All the time my depression was worsening because my own life outside him meant I had to give up my college education and my future was compromised. I guess I fed off him now looking back. He had his psychiatry team in hospital that he was referred to and only saw them for the introduction months ago. They haven’t reached him on the waiting list yet either. Last week he came to mine and cried on my knee asking me why they aren’t helping him and this broke my heart but also made me furious because for 4 years I was neglected by health proffesionals too but he mattered more to me and i feared what was to come. He started to say ‘maybe you shouldn’t love me, I’ll only hurt you more’ when I was upset he’d use alcohol as a crutch or take reckless behaviour at nighttime. He’s exhibitted all your 11 stages, as have I, I’m apparently nearing another breakdown but seeing him how I was and the fact he isn’t helping himself now or getting help either is more pain than what I’m feeling. 2 days ago was when he started exhibiting signs of the 9th and 10th which is so much deeper than the others to the point where he responds to daily life robotically. ‘don’t ask me if I wanna come round to yours Emma cos I won’t go then, I’m not that bothered if i do or not’ he responded the same way to when I asked if he wanted to end us. And now he’s open about suicidal thoughts he has had and though his newly robotic nature labeled them recently ‘pointless’ I feel even lower and yet scared for him too! Please can someone help me, I don’t know what to do. It’s breaking my heart and I can’t see him become worse because it already feels there is no way back. I look at his face and see how he used to smile, the way his face would crease up but its now emotionless, how when I’d cry he’d hold me, stroke my hair and tell me, ‘I’ll make it okay, Emmie.’ and now he just watches awkwardly. I’m so scared. Mine I can cope with but I just want my man back :’(

  12. Rachel says:

    This is one of the best, straight to the point-nail on the head articles I’ve ever read about depression. I have been Google educating/studying depression myself for over five years. My conservative estimate on hours read on the subject is 400. I have a family (father and brother) history of depression and was diagnosed with borderline clinical depression myself almost 4 years. Learning how to train my mind through cognitive behavior therapy helped tremendously, but learning to call and deal with the symptoms as they came me to start handling them. This article was like a small perfect guide on the symptoms and behavior. All of the lengthy responses prove that others feel the same way. Thank you for producing such an insightful article.

  13. Larry says:

    Hello,

    I have been dealing with a depressed wife for the last 16 years. Things were better before. Although we had our differences we seemed to love each other. She has always held things against me. The smallest thing that she does not agree with becomes a big deal. It seems that she has to have complete control of eveything. She insults me constantly. When she doesn’t agree, she nags me until I give in to her viewpoint even though I may disagree. She blames me for her depression. I do not claim to be perfect, But I refuse to accept that I have been the the major cause of her depression. I have told her that she needs professional help, and she does not think that she needs to go. She told me that I am the one with the problem. However, I am not the one that stays in the house constantly and does not leave for months at a time. She has told me that she feels stuck in the marriage and she can’t deal with me anymore. She will go of into a screaming fit when I try to confront her with her issues. Should I go get assistance on how to help me deal with her depression? I just don’t want to have a medical record saying that I recieved help from a psycoligist when I am not the one with the issue. However if it could help me deal with her acusations and cruel words that she tells me, I might be able to go. She has thretened me with violence several times when I am trying to calm her down. One time when I was on the phone, she told me that she would get out the knife after me. I do all the shopping, I take the kids to the doctor. Whenever there is something that needs to be done outside of the house, I have to take care of it. I have never cheated, Don’t go to bars, spend all my time with my family. My daughter does not get any mother daughter time out of the house. My daughter has told me how sad she feels when my wife is not around. I am at a loss. I feel that nothing I do will help. No matter how much I do or how carefully I walk on eggs, I feel that something will be taken out of context and be taken as an attack from me. She has told me that she hates me. I feel helpless and useless.

    • Lili says:

      Hi Larry,

      Im really sorry to hear your situation, but as the one also on the receiving end of the things i perfectly understand what all this feels like. Its just amazing you delt with it for 16 years!
      Counseling can help you cope better, hearing what the professionals have to say really takes alot of weight off your chest. But your wife, is the one who really needs help. Have she ever talked to her doctor about her problems? From your description she sound like she’s in deep denial.
      Sadly the depressed partner will blame the closest person to them, just like mine. I was blamed for all sorts of things, really tiny superficial things, like i did not share his interest in music/sports..etc And being close to him gave him so much pressure as he feel incapable of returning love back to me and feel horribly guilty for it. He blame this for adding more to his depression. This was all very shocking to hear, as a man who loved me so much, and i quote “just want to make you happy forever”, changed to this emotionally abusive stranger in the short period of a few weeks. And it is not just towards me, even his own mother/immediate family noticed his lack of communication and the loss in interest on catching up. I have close contact with his immediate family, and the only i can do is watch on helplessly and notify his family what has been going on.
      For us SOs, it just sound completely irrational and hard to believe how things rapidly turned out this way. One day it was the perfect loving relationship, and then the next you don’t even recognize this person. But we can’t understand what this all must feel like for them, for the depressive, i guess everything we do is just wrong, everything in their life is wrong and they are trapped with this eternal wrong-ness. The best we can do is protect ourselves as best as we could, although it’s hard as we are on the frontline and will receive the first line of fire. Please do not take what your wife say personally, her depression is not your fault. The worst you can do for yourself is actually believe in her harsh words and believe you are to blame. I know for a long time i did and it destroyed me. For men especially, seeking emotional help can feel hard, but you must understand, sometimes you can’t do everything alone. Having someone understanding your troubles will do your mental health alot good.

      For me, I’m not living together with my partner, anymore, as i feel that we both need space, that way he can feel less pressure and i can feel less of a blame. He have agreed to look for help from his GP first maybe for medications, also took my suggestions into consideration to get into therapy at the same time. So my heart is abit at ease, for now atleast. So maybe, if you find going to see a therapist is hard, consider giving the relationship abit more space. You and her can both feel less agitated.
      But the rock hard truth is that somehow your wife must realize that she need professional help for herself, untill that happens, Larry you must take care of your own health. Mentally and emotionally.
      Keep us updated and all the best.

  14. jay says:

    I’ve been fighting depression during and after my recent first child was born. I am finding it very hard to relate to my partner and i’m reaching out for advice about having a break from him till i can get myself sorted? He is an amazing guy and he doesn’t deserve what i’m putting him through. I can’t fight depression and still stay with my partner-i’m not strong and i will just end up -acting normal- and that’s not healthy. I need to get myself together for my child, he deserves better and i know i’m a good mum just gotta fight these demons first. Please has anyone got any advice or comments

    • Beretta says:

      Jay, if I were you, I would please find a way to stay with your partner, for many reasons. First, being a single parent is tough, believe me, I am one. It’s good to have someone who can be a caregiver when you don’t have it in you. Secondly, if you let your partner go, he may not come back. He will also feel confused and hurt and could even go into a depression of his own. Try to find a way to get the help you need and deserve while sticking it out with this man. Explain to him what you are feeling. Try to seek counseling together. He does have a choice weather he wants to be with you, and if things become too much, he can leave. It’s not up to you to save him. I’m sure he would rather stick with you through these dark times than be kept in the dark.

      My partner left me because of depression about a month ago and I have been devastated. I want so badly to help him conquer his demons but he won’t let me have that chance. Since he left I have fallen back into a depressive episode myself, and luckily caught it in time to take action immediately. It is still tough, I miss him and love him dearly and want nothing more to be there for him.

      Take care and I hope you find peace, whatever you decide.

      • Marikka says:

        I agree. Stay and open up to him he loves you . I gave my depressed partner space and left him for a few days for the children’s sake and it turned into a few months and him getting up to all sorts of stuff that has now made me depressed and in therapy together to cope with the train wreck. The therapist said to me the other day wouldn’t it be nice if he could turn to you u when he’s depressed rather than push you away and seek other things for happiness that aren’t helpful. Get support together I can’t urge you enough. That’s what partners are for to love and support you through the good and the bad. Best of luck u can bear this and you don’t have to do it alone xxx

    • VG says:

      I have to agree with Beretta, although ever piece of you want to fight these demons alone, from suffers that I have spoken with on another forum all agreed that they were lucky to have partners that helped them through is as it is a terrible experience to go through it alone (as the ones without partners said). Now this doesn’t mean you have to act normalish, but try to have an open communication system with your partner (as best you can). Schedule a therapy appt for just you. Maybe after a few sessions, have your partner come in to keep the communication open, If you need down time or alone time let you partner know and let you partner know how they should proceed during these times (leaving you alone, checking on you every so often). Come up with a plan together. In my opinion it will only have strengthened your relationship in the end. Best of luck. Hope to hear updates from you on this board.

  15. Talia111 says:

    One week since my boyfriend left … I am having really difficult time … started taking pills which I never did … We were together for more then 2 years … had great and very sad moments , separated 2 times during this time and now it is a 3rd one … He did leave 2 times , this time I made him to leave . He is the best person I ever met , I can’t say anything bad about him , nothing bad … he treated my kids – as his own , he was loving and just a great in everything … You would ask me , then why? why you let him go ? He is very weak person because of his mental instability … he is taking medication for anxiety , depression and Attention Defisite disorder… he is not able to make decisions quick enough for me … what desicions? Fix his financial situation which his ex wife , he doesn’t have any money to support himself I am not even saying to support me . I am working and doing ok , but I have 2 kids and any help would be a bless. He lived in my house , and didn’t help me … but it’s ok … He is extremely great Dad , and he wants to see his daughter as much as he can , 4 times s week , on Saturday- he takes her for 11 hours . That’s great ! But I miss him … and I don’t mind to have his daughter over my place , but his wife against to let her to be here … and again for almost 9 months he is not able to make her except the fact that he has a new family and we have to deal with it . He is saying that she also has very weak mental health and if he make her upset she won’t be able to take care of their daughter properly … when baby is sick she calls him and tells that she is not able to watch her , so since he can’t bring baby over here , he had to take her to hotel for night .. I understand … but it affects my life and even I am trying to be patient.. I v befn showing him that I am upset , and I don’t like this .. I want to bills my family with him and I can’t live on her schedule .. .He takes that personally , that I am against his daughter … I am not .. never been … We have amazing sex life with him … but last Sunday I find out that he recently cheated on me … I was in shock . I don’t think that it’s the end of the world .. . but I never expected this from him… everything together was too much and on the top of everything – cheating …. I couldn’t handle this anymore … I made him pack his bags his furniture and he left … he is telling me that it was an escape from the stress, that everyone is constantly disappointed on him. His wife , me , at work … and he could deal with that stress anymore … but what he done to me – he said its terrible and he is really sorry , and he needs to be away from me for s while to fix everything there , to fix himself to be a better men for me … he is in motel right know … depressed, lonely , grieving … I am at home – in the same situation … I don’t know what to do … I don’t see myself without him … but I am really questioning … if he has mentall weakness , depression and etc . if he will be able to do what he commuted to do know – fix it … but on his terms .. he said he needs time he can’t push himself harder because he will collapse again …

    • Talia111 says:

      I was trying so hard to make him come back … he is saying he needs to fix his life … he was in motel for a week , run out if money … last 2 nights he was sleeping in car … and tonight his co- worker offer him a couch at his place . Even his wife offer him to stay there , but he promised me that he never will go back there , and he didn’t take an offer. The same time I am begging him to come back – he saying its too fresh , and soon , and he needs tile to fix his mistakes .. . I miss him so much … I want to help him … but I feel more I am asking him to come back – more it makes him upset … and works against me … Should I stop taking about it , and just let him be … but I am so afraid .. how long we can be apart … its like a death …

  16. Chris says:

    I split up from my partner 2 months ago. We were together 4 months and she was love of my life, and she was diagnosed with severe depression and pushed me away. A mere few weeks before I was the love of her life, telling me so throughout the relationship until she suddenly decided I wasn’t and was no longer in love with me. We haven’t spoken in 6 weeks.

    Reading this, she had at least 5 of these symptoms. Fundamentally she always had the depression, I just didn’t see the warning signs and that’s what hurt. She always put herself down and didn’t believe I should be with her, that I could do so much better, no matter how much I reassured her. She suddenly believed I didn’t care, was diagnosed with depression, told me I was happy and didn’t want her and pushed her away, no matter how I tried I convince her otherwise. Her mum tried to keep us together, saying we needed to talk, but she didn’t want to. She’s just decided she doesn’t love me and wants nothing to do with me. It’s broken my heart.

    I have respected her choice, and left her alone. When she was diagnosed she asked for space and I struggled with that because I panicked and feared losing her. She blamed me for that. She blamed me for alot of stuff that didn’t exist in the relationship, and it ruined it. I feel like I could have handled it better and I wish things were different, but I’m becoming more accepting of what happened. She is ill. She needs counselling. But all she is doing is take her medication and believing everything will be alright.

    I’ve struggled with not talking. I’ve struggled with the idea she loved me so much then didn’t. I’ve struggled that I’ve Lost someone I love so much. But I can’t wait, because it will ruin me. I know her history and she’s had a rough time, and I know it impacts her relationships. She may have moved on, if she has then maybe I was the problem. But it doesn’t make sense.

    I’m now conflicted about moving on as I’ve met a girl I like, but feel like this wasn’t how t was supposed to end and me her are supposed to be together. Blind faith, or the continuation of that belief this was the girl for me, I wait everyday for that text from her to reconcile and it never comes.

    Amazing to think so much of this article relates to her.

  17. Eddie says:

    Jaded by depression

    I’ll start with this caveat. I don’t know if my perspective and perception of this illness will sit well with most. This is meant to be therapeutically cathartic as well as simple straight up venting. I am the non-depressed spouse in this travesty, caught up in its parameters of devastation without knowing if and when it may come to an end.

    The realization of what I had been dealt finally has a name. It is depression. My wife of almost 9 years finally found it within here to tell me what was wrong. For that I laud here. She has been battling this illness for many years and I so naïve and ignorant to this fact remained clueless and at worst non-supportive many a times. I just had no idea and for that I beat myself up. When we first dated and began to get serious she revealed to me dealing with depression as a teen and going into early adulthood. I do recall seeing anti-depressants in her possession very early on but it was waived off as all managed and over. My guess is the start of our relationship may have been enough to give her a fresh start and reassured hope that all would be well. As the honeymoon time period came to a close, slowly it began to surface unbeknownst to me. I of course, like many, wrote it off as part of the trials and challenges of marriage, in other words nothing out of the norm. Of note, this is my second marriage so I had a keen sense of what mistakes not to make this go around. I had found my perfect match in all aspect and attributes. Life could not be more perfect because I had absolutely married up. Now back to my tribulation, this new insight caught me by surprise despite seeing her downward spiral. I quickly set on a mission to find out what this hideous and malignant ailment called depression was all about. I spent a great deal of time researching this illness, it’s symptoms, indications, triggers, therapeutic options and all the do’s and don’t about it. I also desperately sought for advice, but after reading many posts and forums about this I as the non-depressed person in the relationship have concluded this harsh and cold reality, I’m f**ked. Before anyone dare judge me understand this. All of you in my shoes have over and over described a doomed very long and painful journey without a chance of it coming back to what it once was. Based on what those like me have posted, I’ve been riding a roller coaster full of episodic blame, verbal abuse, resentment, disappointment, selfishness, lying, regret, guilt, lack of trust and withdrawal to name a few. Everybody seeking help in dealing with a depressed spouse had most if not all variations, degrees and intensities of these. Not only did it take so much away from them but it drains the rest of the family. All of them without hesitation voiced their undying love, care, emotional support and continuous sacrifices. Yet for those that did reach an end point, a level of control, or 180 degree reversal in the depression it seems the toll taken will forever alter the marriage. It has never and will never be back to the way you wish it could be. It will always and forever be a walking on eggshells relationship because despite your efforts and level of success, remission can be fleeting. Just like a cancer in remission it will always be lurking and haunting you in to wondering if and when it will strike again. Sadly for those that had relapses it tends to be exponential with each exacerbation. As in most cases, my beautiful and once very loving wife has relinquished all if not most of her desire, affection, intimacy, and just plan emotion towards me. She tells me she loves me but can’t show it. She tells me it’s not me but pushes me away. She tells me she can’t stand what it’s doing to us or our kid but doesn’t know how to stop it. By now I think those that have walked in my steps can relate. Like all before me I also made the classical pitfall mistakes of trying to fix what isn’t mine to fix, demanding answers to questions that she obviously has no answers to, forcing intimacy and affection when there was none to be given, and expecting communication when all she wants is to be left alone. Being a proud but mainly stubborn male, I of course refused to give into this reality. Instead I just perceived I could control, change and fix it. At last I have finally succumbed to despair and acceptance that regardless of my feelings, convictions and actions it isn’t for me to assuage. My wife and what ever resources she chooses to solicit bears the sole responsibility on mitigating her illness. On the flip side, its not just her dealing with this alone. Myself and my three boys will be victims to her affliction to include any close friends and family. The compilation of all my data and sources leads me to my perceived infallible conclusion that this illness is absolute selfishness at its core. Many will label me persona non grata, cold, non-caring but what choices do us supporters of the depressed have? What say do we have? We don’t. All we can do is sit idly by as the downward spiral progresses into its various stages regardless of the havoc it propagates. I can’t help but sound self-centered. Am I an ass for thinking selfishly about how it will negatively impact me seeing as it is really just supposed to be her problem to fix? I might write and think differently if I could have read more success stories but it seems to be just a black hole that sucks the life, energy, patience, and love out of the non-ill half. Bottom line is that my heart is crushed; it’s just not fair to me or our kids. They don’t deserve to have to experience what they can not and will not understand at such a young age. I hate to sound so cynical but this angers me and I call BS. Life is too short to live in misery. I know I’m being harsh, but it just angers me so. This is such a selfish illness, one that only the person with it can fix but is able to bring all those around them down with them despite everyone’s love and support. An illness that can be used as a cop out to justify hurtful words and actions regardless of control, while we remain hostage and suck it up. Am I just failing to be understanding? Am I willing to not stand idly by and wonder if she’ll get herself out of this dark place? I just don’t know. Why should our innocent children be subjected to this? They did nothing nor did they ask for it. What is the best course of action for all? Is it better to count our losses, go our separate ways and if reversible come back to see what’s left of the relationship and if still salvageable then lucky for us? I’ve been to Iraq twice and now in Afghanistan. I’ve lived in very austere conditions each time with minimal amenities, relying on only what I had and those around me. When everyday you wake up wondering if it will finally be your last you learn to value the little things in life. No, war has not made me cold, hard, bitter, or apathetic. If anything it has enlightened me to cherish my life, my kids, friends and family and not take them for granted. A warm bed, a hot shower, a health body, playing with my kids and spending time with my family are so much more precious to me than material luxuries or making money. It’s from this perspective and understanding that I gauge and place value on things in my life, therefore I refuse to waste time on the “what ifs” and “hopes” that may or may not be. As I said, life is too short. I love my wife so much and the thought of no longer having her as a part of my life just sickens me. This is why I’m torn because I just don’t know if I can bear to stand by and watch her sink into a dark place and just wonder if she’ll ever come back. I will not enable her. I can’t let her do this to me and I won’t let her do it to our boys. I’d rather be alone and happy than together and miserable. My love for her is deep but simultaneously I feel resentment, anger, abandonment, betrayal, and hate for this thing called depression. I’m at a cross road. I’ll be as supportive as I can and will stay here for as long as I can but a day will come when I’ll be forced to decide which path to choose. Quoting Pink’s song “Just give me a reason. Just a little bits enough. Just a second we’re not broken just bent. And we can learn to love again.” Please come back to me if you ever find your way. I Love you!

    • Dendroalsia says:

      I have depression and have many of the feelings listed here. I do feel selfish at times but rarely can I pull myself out. I wish my significant other made an effort to help me but they just can’t or don’t!? I am constantly searching for answers but I am convinced that the only real solution is inside of me. I feel guilty all the time. I just want you ALL to know that there is always hope! Good luck…light.

    • Marikka says:

      Eddie,
      I empathise with what your saying I think it’s normal to feel all those thoughts. I sure as hell have. I’d like to say with the right medication at the right strength the right therapy and an awareness to your own illness I think you can beat this demon. My partner is still trying to recover and it’s tough it’s really scared our relationship and burnt me terribly. He has a massive road ahead and for as long as he’s committed so am I . He did some crazy stuff totally out of character. There’s a reason for it all they just have to dig deep and deal with stuff even things they aren’t aware of yet. I’m hopeful that I will get a new and improved relationship within time. It definetly won’t be the same it should be better ill just have to wait and see but it’s a disease that needs professional intervention Noway can it be done alone or with the love around them it’s a losing battle that way. I hope your wife is seeking all the professional help she can get. Take care. :)

    • Janet says:

      Eddie,

      I too understand your feelings. Looking back I see that this has been part of my “life journey” for at least the last 3 years. My husband is dealing with a chronic illness which started the depression. Work stresses over the last year have added to it. He is in counseling now (with the second therapist) and seems to be improving ever so slightly. Recovery is a process… not an event!

      However, I do have a suggestion for you. I’ve recently found a support group through our local NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness). I’m currently attending a class called Family to Family. It’s for anyone who has a family member dealing with any form of mental illness. It has been a life saver for ME! I’ve learned so much in the last 6 weeks. I’ve also received the support that we, as family members of ill people, need. Please consider investigating to see if there is a local chapter of this organization in your area. It won’t be a waste of your time.

      Keep the faith!!

      Janet

    • Sarah Lynton says:

      You. Are right to feel the way you do. You sound like how I feel. He tells me he wants weeks of space. Then he will see work it out.I’m blooding. In agony while he drowns his depression. With grog extra….he acts like communication is only needed when needed. He is 13 years older than me a. I have no sex no cuddles worry he may have cheated on he with a cheap internet Asian.he’s nice. But does nothing with me. Why. Am I that ugly? How long do I give him.to come home and talk. I have two kids he sits staring at the beach. He thinks his bloody guitar is human will not look after him if he’s sick. He doesnt even say goodnight via text. I hope he. Wakes up cause we love him dearlý. Sarah Lynton

  18. sality says:

    My depression normally starts with a worry about money – steming back from childhood – and all I want\need is roughly 1wk under a duvet, no conversation, no responsibility, no noise, and read some books, just a stop to the world until my mind catches up and i come out of my room alive and normal again. Its been the only thing that works for me X ; ps my partner finds this really hard to do, but my daughter is cool because I have always told her how I feel and how it(depression) works. Good luck everyone, find yr space to recover each time x

    • Sarah Lynton says:

      That’s what my partner does possibly about money also. I feel cut off from my partner and hate the blanket thing. Why are you afraid of light. Your partner relies on you in different way from your daughter. She isn’t starting to feel sexual and intimacy problems. She has other support systems, who does he have when real life kicks in and his other half is under a blanket. I feel like so angry abandoned and have no strength left. When my blanket dwelling blome wakes up i may be with someone else who can be bothered. ll

  19. Marikka says:

    I’m not sure where to start. I’ve been with my partner for 7 years 2 of those years he’s suffered depression. I feel like I’ve been to hell and back . On 2 occasions I’ve left the house with the kids because he’s been so difficult to live with. In my absence he’s been on dating sites hit pornography taken sexual enhancement tablets. Told many many lies. It’s like a different person has come about .his behaviour has caused me great pain and confusion as he does things that are completely opposite yet telling me he wants to be with me . How does depression cause someone to behave with no care to there spouse. If someone could explain this to me I’d be grateful I’m devastated and can’t make sense of it.

  20. VG says:

    Oh wow, if 1 or 2 is poison, we have no chance:(. Right now the love of my life, which I don’t know if I will ever speak to or see again, has at least 5 of these going on:(( Its been almost a week of no communication and I am devastated. As with many, I just want to help..even if if meant just checking in to give them him a hug and remind him that he is loved no matter what (I know it probably won’t sink in…). I know he wants solitude, but it is emotionally crippling me as well not even know a thing that’s going on:(( I feel rejected, hurt, ashamed, anger, sorrow, anxiety, and basically sick to my stomach..

    • Sarah Lynton says:

      I couldn’t have put it better. It’s been 16days now I don’t sleep eat and he is just one text would help.forgive them for they know not what they do. Punished for a crime I didn’t do. My kids confused. Is it a heartless game. Sarah just dying as dawn comes again.oh prayfor you all.

  21. Melissa says:

    Glad I found this site. Here’s my situation: I’ve been dating a guy that I have known basically my whole life and we are from the same small town/area. Our families have also been friends since our grandparents’ were young. He just turned 43 last week, I will be 38. I have liked him since I was 15 but we never dated back then due to our 5 year age difference and then I moved away, but I always thought about him and wondered what he was doing and wished that we had gotten together. Now I am back living in the area and we reconnected last fall with each other and started dating. Everything was going great until around Christmas when he found out the company he was working for was closing their doors and he was going to lose his job after the new year. In addition to that, he and his family were all really missing his father (who had died a year prior to that). He and his father were best friends. Anyway, my boyfriend started distancing himself from me a little (before he called me 3+ times a day and we saw each other everyday). After all this bad stuff happened, we still talked to each other every day or so (he called me) and we would see each other about once a week (his idea to see each other). One day he would be very sweet like before, then the next he would become very distant, almost like shutting down. He started sleeping a lot and his family and friends were also getting worried about him, but he still talked to them but started avoiding me. His sister-in-law and him never talk about personal issues, but a few weeks ago she was upset with him for not talking to me for a few days (she had been listening to me be sad about it). She actually told him personally that she hopes “he knows that he has someone very special in his life and that he better remember that I am very good for him”. He replied to her something like “I know she is, but doesn’t anyone realize what I’m going through right now in my life?! I don’t have a good job, my house is messed up and I need to fix it, I feel like I can’t give her what she needs, and I want more for her than that”. Anyway, I have talked to him some since that conversation when he told her that. But then 3 weeks ago, he completely stopped calling me. I called him, left him voicemail messages, he hasn’t returned my calls. I then wrote a letter after about a week of him not replying to me that basically said that he is hurting me by not talking to me, that I know he has been going through a lot of bad stuff lately but that I am here for him and want him, not a job or whatever else he may have or don’t have. I told him that I love him but that I need to step back from him and his life and while I can’t promise that I won’t find anyone else in the future, for now I am here for him if he wants to talk or try again. I haven’t heard back from him. I have talked to his family and friends and they say that he won’t talk to them about it at all, and they also swear to me that there is no one else in the picture. His mother told me that he hasn’t really said anything to her about it, except that she does know that people have told him that I am crazy about him and love him, and she suspects that he may have gotten scared and feels like he’s not worthy of me right now and because its an ego/pride thing, he can’t verbalize that to me because that makes him look weaker. Anyway, I am devastated because I truly love him. I feel like he is the love of my life, I have always wanted to be with him and now that we got together, I feel like it has been snatched away. I have decided that since I have said my piece to him, the ball is now in his court and I can’t stop my life for him. However I also feel like someday he may come back to me. I’ve talked to many different people and they say that for men especially, the loss of a job is devastating and on top of the loss of his father, he probably became very depressed. I know about depression (I deal with it myself) but I’ve also heard that depression in men is even harder sometimes to see because they are normally not open with their emotions and completely shut off. Also that they sometimes push away relationship because they can only handle their problems. Am I being stupid for feeling this way (that he may come back to me and that he and I could still have a chance)? Fortunately, he never was or has been abusive to me or blames me for anything…he just is avoiding me. I need advice and encouragement I guess. Is there a chance for he and I still? I hope so…I love him more than I’ve ever loved anyone…

    • nicole says:

      I am in a similar situation like you, except my guy is in the States right now, and hardly communicating with me right now. Don’t give up on him. Be supportive and let him know your not giving up on him. Call, text, it wrote to him. Don’t be judgmental, critical, or questioning. Be patient and loving. He needs to know you’re there for him. But don’t lose the communication with him. Its so hard,I know. But trust in your love and when he comes out of this, he knows you’ll be there. All the best Melissa.

  22. I'd rather stay anonymous says:

    I need some help if anybody here can. I’ve been in a relationship with this girl for over a year. She is an extremely cute and sweet girl. But she is very depressed and shows just about everyone of the signs above. In fact we have kind of been on and off lately due to that and she has resorted to cutting and thoughts of suicide. I hate to say it but long ago I just lost the passion. I like her as a friend but I don’t want to continue dating her. At least not now and admittedly part of that is her constant depression. I’ve been through depression so I know what she is going through, I still am working through some of the final stages but for the most part I’m much happier than I used to be. So, I’ve tried to be understanding and work through it but I just can’t anymore, especially since the love is gone. But if I leave her and she ever hurt or self, or killed herself, I would never be able to live with myself. I can’t bear the thought of hurting her, but at the same time I also need to take care of myself. Please help :(

    • lee says:

      hey I’d rather stay anonymous

      I now how you feel the guy I am with and the father of my child has a problem his not only depressed but he is bapouler and that is hard to deal with he has a 2 personality problem and that means one moment his fine the next he gets angry and then go to depression, but I also trying to get him to go for help but he says he doesn’t have a problem and he go and try’s to drink everything away. I cant live like that but I love him and I don’t now if thinks are gone work out between us I want to leave him but I secret that he with kill himself I need to focus on my child and keep her save but if I leave him and he do something stupid what do I tell my little girl (oh I left your father to protect us and he went and killed himself) you cant tell something like that to your child. I dint now want to do anymore me myself are depressed because of everything that is going on and what’s to come I feel lost like I am in a hole and I cant get out

  23. Tomas says:

    It’s really the best thing I have read on depression so far. It’s kind of my biography. My CV actually. Thank you John for this one.

    • Ian says:

      Ditto. My wife sent me the link. She saved me once and she is doing it again. Now it’s time to save myself. Thank you all for yor stories and comments.

  24. Rebecca says:

    My husbands ability to HATE others is unbelievable. The way he talks about (and to) his mother and father is VILE at best. And his ex-wife? Scathing words of contempt is all that come out of his mouth. If words could kill people they would ALL be DEAD. If i beg him to say something nice to these people or about these people…the look of confusion on his face…the look of contempt directed at me for asking…and his complete INability to conjure up even the smallest good thing about any of these people is OFF THE CHARTS impossible for him. And then,of-course, I get yelled at and ridiculed by him for not going to church with him and being a better Christian (like he is). He’s GOT to know how horrible he is. Someone out there…someone with depression…Please someone help me to understand WHAT THE F&%# IS WRONG WITH HIM? How does depression MAKE someone talk like this? Its like depression robs someone of the “filter” that UNdepressed people have in their brains..the filter that makes someone say to themselves “Gee, i can’t say that to my wife because it would hurt her too badly and I might regret it”. HELP HELP HELP!!!!!! How does one communicate rationally with an irrational mind?

  25. John says:

    My Girlfriend of 2.5 years Has been suffering from Depression for the last 15 Years she left her home country to get married and as a result lost all her support system…she had 2 kids and continued with depression until it eventually eroded her already not so good relationship with a distant spouse. She eventually had an affair with an abusive controlling and manipulative being, which ended her marriage. Then I come into the picture just as she has ended both relationships. I meet this Beautiful woman with two wonderful boys and fall Absolutely in love. We spend every minute we can together and love it Sex practically every day for months. I finally found the Woman for me. The boys and i get along great and i see them as my own. Life was moving the way it should for both of us. Occasionally she would get very down saying homesickness and miss her family. But then everything progressed worse and worse and now our relationship sounds and feels like everything you explained here and how she described her past marriage life except for the distant spouse. I am there for her for everything and do my best to make everything else in her life easy and normal. clean, cook , pick up boys from school hang with them, keep their routine normal,…all the while there is this Evil Storm brewing in the heart and mind of their mother. I love her. I AM her support system, unfortunately everything falls on my shoulders. I am not a Therapist or counselor but i feel i have prob. studied as many books ;) however i am not equipped with the answers she needs. After two years of this and 1 more attempted suicide. She finally started anti depression meds. again and awaits counselling, but after an initial assessment i asked how did it go..”its the same shit”….(she had previously attended sessions in past marriage)…is this true or a defence tactic..Im not sure. I want to help her to become a whole, happy person again. I am fearful that if the process takes 10-15 more years i will have lost the life that i deserve as well as she. I am 38, have never been married i was waiting to find the RIGHT one and all signs pointed to HER. Is there ever an END to Depression? truly? or Do we as the spouses simply wait for something that will never be ? all the while doing our best to keep our happiness alive? Can someone that is so negatively scarred ever heal? If i leave her and she ends her can i live with that? knowing that the only person left in her corner abandoned her when she needed me most? nope cant do that. Please tell me that someone has Gone through to the other side of depression and although it may not be 100% gone at least moving more positively every day…that i can work with and support and be happy. Please tell me I am not wasting my Life on a hopeless battle that never ends. I am generally a very happy person and strive every day to find the good and try to relate it to her and help her in what ever way i can. But everything good in our relationship is progressively getting worse… It went from every minute together to the latest development not even sleeping in same bed last 2 weeks. she gets up in after i fall asleep and goes to other room. What is next? … I really hope the counseling can awaken something new in her. If someone has come through Depression and and shared positive story please send me link , I need to know its possible.

  26. claire says:

    hi im 32 and pregnant with my 4th child i was under depression early 2012 was on fluoxitine was working well but had to stop as i found out i was pregnant.My pregnancy has been bad had a few good times but im mainly bad very moody aggressive towards my partener we call each other names point scoring then im raging i do blame him for alot of stuff but also myself too.some days im thinking to myself what have i done to deserve to be so unhappy when deep down my life is good all i want is to live in happiness with my lil family and enjoy every moment the depression keeps coming back again and again ruining my life draining me ive talked to my midwife and i have someone to come out to see me not sure they can do anything yet till ive had my baby thats just a lil bit of how its getting me i hope every1 who has this can be strong and fight it x

  27. Frankie says:

    I can’t believe I found this page I go through all this stuff on a daily basis some are more intense than others some more controlible than others. It all flows how it wants and the best you can do is try to stear it from a waterfall. its like being in the middle of the ocean during a storm with a row boat. I’ve recognized this for years but never had the means to take care of it. It’s even taken out my job and living space in one extreme episode. I delt with that but now its threatening my first real relationship and I don’t know how to stop it. I’ve even been told to leave at a point and I refused to. I’ve thought back at that almost every day and I know I think its not going to change how I feel if anything sorting and continueing my life with the remnance of my relationship WILL make me worse. so why bother I’m going to be miserable whether I stay in this part of my life or not so I’ll just deal with it.

  28. jo says:

    I wonder what possible advice or hope to me. My husband and I are both depressed. My kids aged 15 and 12 are not his kids. He is angry with needing to support me and them. Life is unbearable, we both do the things in the article.

  29. Jen says:

    I feel that I am doing all these bad things to my husband, but how do i know if I am depressed or if I am just a terrible person with evil heart? Or that he did indeed shout at me unneccessarily and deserves my reaction? What line separates these scenario apart?

  30. Chris says:

    This was a great article that I brought with me into marriage counseling. It describes how I have felt for the last 25 years of my life. By reading this in counseling, I was hoping that my wife of 2 years would better understand some of my behaviours. Unfortunately my wife said that I was just making an excuse and dismissed my depression. Please don’t get me wrong, I have taken responsibility for my actions through individual therapy and medication. This is for all the wives that read this, if your husband is displaying these same aforementioned behaviours, please don’t turn your back him. Make him understand that under no circumstances that you will put with this behavior any longer. Make a stand, ultimatum, that he get help or your leaving. Seperating unwillingly from my wife and stepson was the big awakening for me. I have now been in individual therapy for 3 months and continue to be a work in progress. My marriage however is over, as my wife doesn’t feel that she can wait around for a work in progress. I feel betrayed by her, and don’t quite understand how she can turn her back on me as she works in the mental health field. So please don’t turn your back, but do insist that he get help and once he does please be there to support and encourage him. I was hoping to get these very things from my wife, but it was not meant to be.

    • Lisa says:

      Hi Chris. I just read your post and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions? Thanks, Lisa

    • VG says:

      Chris,
      I feel very sorry for you especially since you have been open with your wife and COMMUNICATING which for a lot of us doesn’t even happen and we are left wondering and with questions and a wound that’s not healing :(

      VG

  31. Depression, and the responses you describe that often occur in relationships with a depressed partner, is linked with a personal history of emotional losses, deprivation and neglect or abuse. These experiences develop negative expectations that are put on to your husband or wife. In addition, when someone is depressed in a relationship there is usually a situation in which his or her emotional needs are not being met. Depressed people often have difficulty asserting themselves effectively. They either hold things in because they fear rejection, or they explode in frustration which drives their partner away. Working on ways to express what you need more effectively often decreases the triggers for depression in the present relationship. When you start to get your needs met more of the time you can find a decrease in the frequency and intensity of depressed moods.

  32. Sarah says:

    I’m so very glad I found this site today. It has helped me understand so many things in my relationship. This article in particular resonates…because I see it all happening in my relationship. So many of these points have become self-feeding spirals for us. I want to try to save my marriage and I see now that breaking out of these traps is necessary for us.

    The article “How to Work Together to Save Your Relationship from Depression” also resonates. I see in it my destructive behavior and how that behavior has hurt my wife and our relationship. I know it needs to stop before it destroys us, although it may be too late.

    I’m going to show my wife these articles. I hope they help us. We’re seeing a couples therapist and I now see that we’ve been chasing the wrong issue in the sessions. We need to chase depression. I know the sessions will be long and emotionally draining, but I don’t want to give up on us just yet. She says she doesn’t want to walk away from 17+ years. I don’t either.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  33. Janet says:

    It’s now December and things haven’t gotten any better. :-( Last month he told me he wanted a divorce. That I’m the reason he doesn’t have any friends, didn’t go in the military or become a police officer, etc. EVERYTHING seems to be my fault. He’s stopped seeing the counselor. The guy wasn’t very good anyway. He’s very resistant to trying to find another one. I don’t think he’d go to couples therapy. We tried that for a little while and he doesn’t want to go back. Maybe I should go by myself? Not sure. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever faced. Thanks for letting me vent. Sometimes I thing that’s the only thing that keeps ME sane. :-)

    • lalala says:

      I too experience the same thing with my separated husband. When he left, he said we would have been fine if he hadn’t become depressed. Then after, he proceeded to blame me for everything that’s gone wrong. I didn’t allow him to have friends, he wasn’t allowed to throw things out, he couldn’t spend money, etc. I do realize and admit to wanting my way with certain things, but he’s focusing on the few things that went wrong in a 15 plus year relationship. He’s currently taking anti-depressants, but frequently tells me that his issues with me have nothing to do with the depression. I kind of believe him, but don’t want to. I certainly would never want the person I love to feel like they have no control. Now he won’t even give me a chance…say’s that I cause him pressure and that he needs to live a simplified life. There are kids involved and I would do anything for him and them. I read constantly, admit my mistakes, and pray like crazy. He’s a wonderful and brilliant man. We all have our hang ups, but I would never have walked away from my marriage based on these. I am so hurt that he was able to walk away, but also realize that he was in a bad place when it happened. I’m just so confused. Am I missing something? Is this still depression? I know no one has answers for me, but it helps to vent and any advice is advice.

  34. janelle says:

    Hello, as I read all the stories I don’t feel so alone in this. My husband is depressed. He finally started counseling last week. He states he found out he’s not happy with himself. He works a lot not happy with job and financial situations. We haven’t slept in the same bed for months. He doesn’t talk to me unless I say something to him…no smiles, no affection. He says its not me. He states he doesn’t know if he’s in love because he can’t do the things I ask for but he does love me to death as he states. I try to treat him normal…still cook and try not to bring up much to make matters worse. I just need to know I’m a wasting my time 10 years with him so far. Please help.

  35. DMP says:

    John:

    Thank you for your website, and for this thread. It has been very helpful in understanding what my (depressed) (former?) partner is going through. The part of this post I found particularly helpful was #4, Abuse.

    Quick background: My girlfriend (?), love of my life, etc. suddenly wanted nothing to do with me. Tuesday we were soul mates. Friday she was off the hook inconsolable. She’s around 50 and going through early menopause, which is assuredly not helping, and already had a history of serious mood swings during PMS for which she is taking a standard SSRI. Anyway, after the break, I finally convinced her to meet with me at a coffee shop. She was cold, but continually focused on the fact that when she broke with me, telling me not to call her and not to contact her, and that I had instead tried to call her and contact her (since the sudden break made no sense to me), that I had big problems I needed to work on. She also said I had problems with “neediness” because, when at an earlier date she had suddenly asserted she couldn’t talk as much with me on the phone each day, I hadn’t immediately understood or embraced that idea. (In retrospect, I understand that that assertion was based on similar issues of depression and attachment issues). I explained that when she started talking to me about “love of my life” and “forever”, and I believed her (and still believe she meant it truthfully) I let my guard down and reciprocated. That makes you vulnerable, and so when, one day, without warning, and for no reason, the person who told you those things on Tuesday tells you they can’t communicate with you anymore on Friday, it creates a crisis.

    Her response: “You have serious issues and you should work through them. ” And, stupidly, probably because I love her so, I let that pass.

    Reading through your site, I better understand that this isn’t unusual. Hurtful and not productive. But not unusual.

    Thank you.

  36. Janet says:

    OMG! It makes total sense to me. My husband and I have been married almost 30 years. He has a chronic pain issue that has led to his depression. Years of seeing doctors haven’t really gotten him much relief.

    Last year our youngest daughter got married and moved out of state. Although I miss her terribly I am excited for her to start her new life. And I was looking forward to that empty nest. Time to focuson “us” again. Well… that has NOT been the case.

    I miss everything about our marriage. We still live in the same house but usually don’t sleep in the same room. We do work different shifts and that certainly doesn’t help matters. I feel so unloved, undesireable and alone. I’ve tried to talk to him and explain the damage that’s being done. He doesn’t really seem to “get” it. Then I feel guilty about adding more stress to him. The good thing is he is going for help. I had to threaten to leave if he didn’t go but it got him there! Meds have been adjusted and he sees a counselor about once a month. So far, nothing much has changed. How long do I wait? Am I and my needs ever going to be considered again? I try so hard to push my feelings aside but I’m not a robot!

    I’m thinking we should probably find a support group to attend. Trying to deal with it alone is pretty difficult.

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Janet -

      My wife did exactly as you did to get me into therapy after a long delay. Sometimes it takes that shove – it’s also powerful evidence of how important the relationship is. You’re in a difficult situation now quite like the one we were in for some years. We found it impossible to wait for depression to lift before getting to work on the relationship. So we did couples therapy, and that turned out to be crucial for us in staying together. If you can find a therapist who really understands how depression affects a relationship, this might be a helpful step for you too.

      John

  37. Ed says:

    Two decades with a very depressed wife and then, escape. The sweetest girl I have ever known fell lovingly into my life……we were ecstatic………Love, Lust and laughter were once again part of everyday life. Being apart for more than a minute was painful, we thrived on each other………and then, the stresses of moving to our dream home, our home, not her’s and not mine but ours created a virtual plethora of events in her life……unbeknownst to me she was not handling this stress well. In August 2011 she lost it and threw verbal assaults at me the likes of which I could not believe came from her mouth. At that point, the sweet loving girl I fell head over heels in love with just disappeared. As luck would have it, her closest friends from childhood confided in me saying, “Oh yes, she’s suffered from depression forever!” Shock and awe, how could this happen again, and I was so sure she was a positive, kind and sharing soul whom balanced life would flourish.

    It’s been 10 months, no sex, no sleeping in the same bed and very little meaningful communication. Laughter…….nope. Lust…..out the window……..Love, well, that’s a tough one……….I am doing my best to stay in love with her but it’s harder each day, especially when her venomous words hit. “I don’t love you anymore and I want you gone…..!!!!!!!!” All spoken or rather thrown at me without warning.

    The word depression scares her and the mere mention of it causes fire to blind her very soul. I have read and read till my eyes hurt, many forums, blogs and complete websites, including anything from major medical professionals.

    My understanding is that I must support her and show love and compassion. I am doing my best here but geez, it is so hard when she looks away with complete indifference and show zero emotion. She shows contempt at the very sight of me, yet, with her friends, well, she is upbeat and friendly and no one sees what I see. I asked her why that is and the answer was, “I am faking it with them.”……… They really do know about her but never let on there is a problem. Everything is wonderful when face to face.

    I am now referred to as her friend when before it was boyfriend. I have always done the cooking and now she pushes it away saying, “I told you, I can’t eat that!” when just last week we had the same meal and she loved it……..

    We now do nothing, we sit, stare at the TV, take the puppy for walks, separately now.

    We have yet to move to our new dream home. Excuse after excuse and now the back yard (one acre) has too many trees around it. “I am a farm girl and like to look out at fields not trees.” We live near a major 4 lane highway which she complained about a lot and the very close by neighbors “See everything I do” seem to be of little concern now.

    Monday brought something new, “You take the new house and I’ll stay here!” How that would happen is not rational, both our names are on the mortgage and her house is up for sale. Besides, I wanted the house to be a home to be shared by us both. If I wanted to be alone I would have been a monk.

    Love is the only thing in life that has ever made sense, without it, there is no balance in life.

    I am lost on what to do. I can’t leave her because as much as she says she wants to be alone, I just know the “Black Dog” will drag her backwards in the abyss and she will not survive in any meaningful manor.

    Life is meant to be lived but it is also meant to be shared with a loving, caring, lusting and laughing partner………. I Love life, I love the whole idea of “Being in Love.” It would have been wondrous if the person I share space with felt the same way still………

    No clue on what to do folks. She won’t even talk about therapy or even seeing someone, not even her GP.

    Maybe I’m the one who should go for help………does that make any sense cuz I’m going crazy just thinking about what has happened in our lives.

    Thanks for reading and hopefully it makes some sort of sense, I’m not sure if it would to me if I were the reader………….?????

    • Laura says:

      I can’t thank you enough for your post. It brought tears to my eyes. I, like all the others here, am dealing with a depressed spouse. It brings some relief to know that I’m not completely alone. It’s so hard. I just want my husband back. I miss him terribly. It’s been helpful to hear from others in similar situations.

      My husband has probably battled with depression all his life. We have two young children. I think the added stress of caring for them brought his depression on stronger than what he’s been able to cope with. He tells me he wants a divorce, stays away for days , and blames me for everything. He’s so angry with me. He doesn’t include me in anything and when I ask to come along, he ignores me completely when with family and friends. I’m told I should move on and find someone better. I’ve resorted to writing a positive sign on my hand with a sharpee everyday. I shoot for five positive comments or thank you’s a day for things he does. I am seeing a counselor and am trying to acknowledge my own feelings. I don’t want resentment to build in me. Even though he may not feel he appreciates me, I hope that he’ll one day come back to me. I had no idea how “for better or worse” the worse could actually be. My parent’s think I’m crazy. That I am subjecting myself to all of this. That I should leave. Perhaps they are right? Somedays I’m not sure.

      I’ve spent countless hours on the internet and purchased and read any book on depression I can get my hands on. While depression has taken a toll on me and my family, the only light I glean currently is my own self awareness. I have learned to better control my own emotions, especially when my husband tries to pick fights. I can’t change him, but I can change me.

  38. sam says:

    hi there,

    my long term partner has had this for years and is on medication same stuff for 8yrs and wont go for more help we have 4 kids and all he does is run away but this time he has went with a younger lass we have no contact to hi where abouts or whats going on and these tips were helpful as he thinks and say somethings u mention i just dont no how to cope or turn this around as he loves me totally 1 minute and the next am hated so badly that we dont see or here from him for weeks on end when he does this has never went with someone before when has felt like this he lost job cant get work so money is tight but he always wonts to spend rather pay bills which has put us in bit of mess and any time you try to discuss with him he runs off i am at the end of my path but love him very much and would like to get him back and help i no he is just with this lass as a rebound of depression but is hurting his 4 kids and other members of family to please advise any help for me

    many thank sam

    enjoyed reading your tips

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, sam -

      I’m sorry you are having to live with this behavior and that your partner won’t go for any further help. I can’t tell, but he seems to be acting in a way that could be more than depression – acting recklessly about money, disappearing, going off with someone, all that sounds a bit manic. If he is bipolar, antidepressants may not be the right medication at all – but it’s up to him and no one else to get help. What he’s doing is hurtful to you and your kids, and many have found that it helps to let a man know that there are limits to what he should be allowed to get away with. Sometimes, that helps get someone into treatment. In any case, I would put you and the kids above all and do what you need to preserve your own health. I hope he’ll settle down soon and get the help he needs.

      John

  39. Jen says:

    Hi, my boyfriend has very bad depression. His entire childhood had severe physical and andemotional abuse with a drug addicted, alcoholic mother, and her mean boyfriends, and they were very poor on welfare. He left home and was homeless at 15 years old, because he couldn’t deal with it anymore. She never looked for him. He talks to her now, but they are not close. She had cleaned herself up, but he was gone then. He grew up with no close friends or relationships with family. We are in our mid-thirties. We have been together for 3and 1/2 years and have known each other for 10 years. I love him with all of my heart. Within the last 8-9 months, I slowly saw him fall into a deep depression. A year ago we moved out of state together, because he wanted to take an optional promotion with his company. I left my family and he left his then 5 year old son that lives with his ex-wife. We bought a house, I got a job, and everything seemed fine. We go back to the state we are from every 2-3 months to visit. I noticed he seemed to get more and more negative about the new position he was so excited about, was having issues with his new boss who says his ego gets in the way and that he has no empathy or sympathy for people in his job. Then he started to lose his personality, say he wasn’t sure about me, and refused therapy. After being very tired of him doubting our relationship(we’ve always been best friends), I was ready to move back to the state we are from. I was packing & he asked me to stay and that he would go to counseling. He has also had suicidal thoughts. He has had 2 counseling sessions so far. He told me while he was in counseling he wants me to move out for a few months because of the anger he has in him from his past. I am staying in an extended stay place and I am so sad. I don’t know how to help him. He is so angry and volital. I am seeing a counselor too, but this is so hard. I miss my best friend and how we use to do everything together and rarely ever fought. I think the pressure of the new job and the out of state move set this on. His boss has noticed his anger and says it is his only emotion. My boyfriend let his boss know he is in counseling. I am the only person he has, and I don’t want to give up on him, but it feels like it is never going to end. I’ve never seen him so angry. He knew it was coming and that when he finally did let it go, I shouldn’t be around, because he said I could just say one little thing and it might set him off even though it has nothing to do with me. I am the only one he has to vent on and it hurts. I miss my best friend and want him back. Many of your 11 items fit. I try to send him texts to let him know I love him and keep it light on the phone, so it isn’t too emotional, but I cry to my mom and my counselor regularly. I don’t want to give up on him like everyone else in his life did. I never know what his emotions will be like. Any other suggestions?

    • John Folk-Williams says:

      Hi, Jen -

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a sad and difficult time. It sounds like you’re doing the right things, especially in getting your own counseling. Reminding your boyfriend of your love and support is also important. (I wrote a few posts earlier this year on communicating with a depressed partner after a separation – they might be useful.) It could well be that the move and stress of the job helped trigger his depression, but he’s probably right that the anger comes mostly from his youth and childhood experience. The encouraging thing is that he has started therapy. It’s really up to him to recognize that he needs help and stay with it for as long as it takes. There is a book that might help you both in understanding his anger – it’s Terrence Real’s I Don’t Want to Talk About It – specifically about male depression. There’s not a lot more that you can do, except to consider your own needs and feelings carefully. You’ll have to decide what’s best for you in the long run. I hope he starts feeling well enough before too long so that the two of you can work on your relationship with the help of a counselor.

      John

  40. Mary Kay says:

    Oh, John. This was so helpful. It’s like you were at my house a year and a half ago when my husband disappeared. Every time I read your descriptions it’s like a weight off me. It wasn’t me, I wasn’t (and still am not) imagining things. Best of all there is a reason for Dave’s behavior, and he did love me, and I think still does. I still don’t know what will become of us, but it makes me feel like less of a pushover if I wait, accept what he can give now, support him as much as possible, and when the time is right and he can hear me, tell him he is always the only man for me.

    My son Morgan and I now talk about the depression like it’s a real entity (which it kind of is, I think). I told Morgan that Dave’s depression is like the character Wormtongue in the Lord of the Rings books and movie. He paralyzed a king by continuously whispering lies and deceit in his ear. Depression does exactly that.

    Keep up the wonderful work. Your writing is a gift.

    Mary Kay

    • Thank you, Mary Kay -

      I’m so glad to hear that you understand you weren’t the problem and you weren’t imagining things. It’s interesting you compare depression to a character like Wormtongue. At the beginning of Peter Kramer’s Against Depression, he describes a session with a woman who has recovered from depression. The amazing thing is that her recovered personality is completely different from her depressed one. She criticizes Kramer for having taken that depressed personality as the real one – playing along with it rather than seeing through it. It’s hard to believe how thoroughly a person can be transformed by the illness.

      John