Help - How To Cope With A Depressed Partner Without Going Mad Myself?

Question

Asked by no_longer_sunny

Help - How To Cope With A Depressed Partner Without Going Mad Myself?

hi there,

i am at my wit's end and found this forum, wondering if anyone can offer some advice?

i have been with my partner for more than 1 year now and wish that we would last. but i am finding it tougher each day and find myself sucked into depression and feeling totally drained as days go by.

while we have had many happy moments, we have on average, had one major fight every month, mainly as a result of his depression. something very minor could trigger a major outburst by him...my partner has depression but refuses to seek treatment. he's seen therapists previously but claimed that they did not help him much. so now, when he is on a downturn, when i suggest that he seeks professional help, he gets very upset screaming that he is not crazy and does not need to see a shrink. but he is trying to calm himself down, doing meditation and yoga. but unfortunately, i don't see it helping and in fact, i feel that things are getting worse.

his mood swings can be so extreme that while we can be happily chatting away one moment, the very next moment, he would blow up and i don't even know why? or he would suddenly become very depressed and moved into his shell, ignoring me and making me feel so belittled because he makes it seem like i was the cause of his unhappiness. in the last year we were together, i thought we managed to talk things out and he has started to open up to me. but in the recent months, or even weeks, his mood swings have become so quick it would be simply a matter of minutes for his mood to go from being on "top of the world" to total bleakness or outburst! and he would say so hurtful things to me when he gets upset. but once his mood improves, he would apologise and say he did not mean it. how sorry he was and how i meant the world to him.

i know deep down that he does not mean to be hurtful but it is so very draining for me. he said i need to be understanding towards him and not flare back at him when he screams at me. I really tried but it is so very very hard for me not to feel any hurt or anger. i have never felt so sad and hurt in my life before until i met him - and this is because i love him so much that it hurts very bad everytime he does all this to me. it was so bad that my friends said i am being verbally abused.

but he is quite a different person with others. he doesn't blow his top at his friends, colleagues or relatives. in fact, he has so much nice things to chat with them about. he never blew up at them - even those he really dislike - like he would to me. and what hurts me even more is that he always proclaims that he loves both me and his dog dearly and equally. but while he would show unconditional love to his dog and even during his times of depression/bad mood, he would shower great love onto his dog, he would either scream at me or shut me out. i love his dog too for she is such a dear, but i just don't know how to handle the fact that at the very same moment, he could be showering his dog with kisses and screaming at me/shutting me out. and i feel even more perplexed as to how he could put the blame on me for things that were not my doing i.e. he kept saying he could never get a good night sleep because the dog has been jumping up and down the bed (the dog sleeps with us). but instead of suggesting how we can try to calm the dog down, he said that it was no fault of the dog but he blamed me?!

and despite all our fights in the past, he would still express his love for me and would care for me. but recently, he gets upset and depressed almost on a daily basis and stopped showing any concern or love for me. instead, he seems to be finding reasons to tell me how inadequate i am or how i do not understand him or what he is going through. and many a time now, he simply refused to talk to me and shut me out when he is in one of his bad mood. he would even phyiscally turn away from me when i try to talk to him. it hurts so badly because while i am myself already feeling so down whenever he goes into this downward spiral, i have to lift myself up to be understanding and to show i care and that i want to be there for him, to pretend that i am not hurting and not angry and all i want is to be there for him. thus, when he shuts me out now, it simply becomes unbearable for me...

for more than a year we have been together, i feel i am getting drained each day. i know he is not really himself when his depression gets the better of him and he is in fact a very good, loving and kind person. i tell myself this all that time and remind myself how much i love him. but i really don't know how to cope anymore. i am getting dragged down and starting to feel depressed as days go by. I have thought of leaving him so many times but my love for him stopped me from leaving. i wish there is a way i can help him and make us work. can anyone tell me how? we are living together in a third country because of work and thus i have no friends here nor any support network, neither has he. i feel like i am going mad by the day. i get anxious not knowing when he might suddenly blow up. i get upset and down when he suddenly blow up or shut me out. i don't know how to behave when the next morning he would act like nothing had happened and go about his merry ways. or just like this evening - we were having such a wonderful night out until for reasons unknown to me, he just flared at me suddenly - i really mean his mood changed within the very same minute! then when we reached home, he spent alot of time talking and playing with his dog, totally ignoring me. afterwards, all of a sudden, he came up behind me with a smile and started kissing and hugging me. i really don't know how to react or cope with all these sudden changes anymore.

i love him dearly but i just don't know how to keep going in this relationship without going mad...please help!!!!

Answer

Hi, there. I am sorry that you've been going through this. Being depressed is not a good excuse for being abusive because that's what he is - psychologically abusive. If nothing else, he should see a doctor for an evaluation to see if medication might help him.

I'm giving you this link to a sharepost by Merely Me about this very issue you're experiencing right now. Take care of yourself, you do NOT have to put up with this. As much as you love him, you can't continue to allow this to go on. Can you see a therapist for yourself? I don't know what your resources are there, but this doesn't sound like a safe situation you're in. He probably lets loose on you because he feels comfortable with you - that's what abusers do. My father was like that, as well. Sweet as pie to everyone outside our family, but violently angry if you looked at him the wrong way. This is very damaging, please don't subject yourself to any more of it.

If there is any way we can help, please let us know. You are worth more than the way you are being treated right now. Love should not hurt.