Partner Recently Became Depressed And Cut Off All Communication With Me... What Is Going On???

Question

Asked by Courtney

Partner Recently Became Depressed And Cut Off All Communication With Me... What Is Going On???

We have been together for two years (our anniversary is actually this Saturday). She had been acting differently for about 5 months and I thought that she was just dealing with transitions in life. I started to feel neglected and found myself internally battling with feeling unloved, but knowing that she did love me. We have never had any major issues- it has been the most enjoyable and "easy" relationship I have even been in. Quite honestly, I had no idea love like this even existed! It is an amazing feeling... until now.

It finally got to a point where I wrote her an e-mail and expressed that I was hurting and that her sadness was bringing me to a bad place. I stressed that although I wanted to help her, no one could help her but herself. I did not say that I was "done"... I used the phrase "stepping back". I did not feel done and therefor, didn't want to say that. However, she felt differently about the e-mail and acted out in a way that hurt me more than anything. When she saw how badly I was hurt, she was more than willing to do anything I wanted, showered me with gifts, always wanted to be around me. When she wasn't focusing on fixing what she had done, she was crying about how badly she had hurt me. At this time, she admitted that she was depressed and expressed that things had bothered her from her childhood. I suggested she see her doctor and make an appointment with a counselor-- both things that she did and to my knowledge, has continued to see the therapist and take her medicine.

Then, suddenly, I woke up one day and she said she couldn't talk to me anymore. After giving her a few days, I asked her to please let me know why she couldn't talk to me. She kept saying she knew it wasn't fair to me and that it wasn't my fault. That she had to get out of her comfort to help herself and that she couldn't keep hurting me while she got things straight. I went into a very deep hurt and sadness.

My days were consumed with checking my phone for texts or emails, hoping that she had decided she missed me. I went out of my way to send her lunch, put notes on her car, and send her letters in the mail. I got to the point where I was so desperate for her to text me, that I started hearing the tone in my head. Everything could have just gotten better if she would come back. I suffer from OCD and at this point, my obsessiveness went haywire. I have since gotten myself a therapist to work on controlling the obsessive thoughts. I feel progress already and my thoughts are now about myself, not about her. I miss and love her dearly... I am trying very hard to understand the illness of depression- even ordered some books!

I wonder if she misses me, if she loves me... if she will come back. I know that I cannot be her focus right now, nor can she be mine, but when you love someone this much, it is very difficult to rationalize how they can treat you this way. She is not a bad person and she is not purposefully hurting me- it is her depression. I guess I would like some advice on how to behave and silently help her... are the cards in the mail every now and then ok or will it cause resentment?

She has not said that she does not love me, but is it because she is afraid to hurt me more? Do couples last through depression, or do both people tend to move on? I would really appreciate any insight on depression. My books keep stating that when depressed individuals isolate themselves, they do not really want you to give up on them. I would hate to do anything that would make her feel pressured or rushed; I just want her to know that it's ok to have broken parts and to sort them out. That I love her and am here to support her through her battle.

Answer

Hi, Courtney. I'm sorry this has happened to you. Unfortunately, depression often makes people cut off connection with those closest to them and for a number of reasons. Oftentimes, people who are depressed feel guilty about it because they don't have the energy to put into the relationship that they once did, so the rationale is that by withdrawing or leaving takes the pressure off that.

On the other hand, it's possible that it's not totally depression going on. Neither of you may really know at this point. Time will tell. In your response to another member, it sounds like you are doing all the right things to take care of yourself and not make your happiness dependent on one person. I know it's painful, just the same, but you are also learning how to deal with grief, which we all get to do at some time or other in our lives. No one gets to escape unless you totally numb your feelings - which I do not recommend!

I was just thinking about the commercial for Cymbalta, where they say, "Depression hurts" because depressed people can sometimes have physical pain from it. But the emotional hurt is just as bad, both for the person experiencing the depression and those who love them. Hang in there, I wish you all the best, whatever is supposed to be.