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I just found out my boyfriend is quite depressed.  He's been trying to hide it all year and just told me this last week.  I'm the only one he can talk to about this.  He's afraid to go to therapy, but is considering it.  He also refuses to take meds - who can blame him?

Now, I've suffered depression since childhood, and know exactly how he feels.  But his knowing that doesn't help him any.  I'm on Lamictal (I'm now bipolar, yay!) and it keeps me from getting depressed.  It's been awhile since I've felt the way he feels and I've sort of forgotten how horrible and terrifying it is.

My problem is that I just don't know what to say to him.  I don't know how to comfort him.  Just after I say something to him, I realize that it's not what he wants/needs to hear.  Telling him that things will be ok and that this won't last forever doesn't help.

What things could friends/family say to you to make you feel better?  What things do they say that don't help at all, or make things worse?

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For me what helps is people adressing it, validating it (I hear that you are very upset) and encouraging me not to be scared of getting help.  He knows you ahve gotten help for it and are better, tell him he needs to get help to get better.  Encourage him to find a doc, or therapist, tell him drugs are not so bad (they have saved many lives, so what're a few side effects?).  He is coming to terms with not only dealing with mental illness but dealing with it personally.  It's one thing for another person to be ill, it's something completely different to deal with it yourself. 

My vote - do anything you can to get him to a doc/understanding person.  NOT your doc though - that can be bad.  Your pdoc is OK I think, but not tdoc.  GO with him, make the appointment if you have to.  Do what you can to show him the door, without leading him through it.  (Who knew the Matrix would come in so handy???)

Good luck!

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Ditto on the encouragement to see his doc.

Ask him if there is something you can do to help him right now.

Remind him that he is not alone in this. Reassure him that he doesn't have to hide his moods from you.

Ah, hell, I don't know. When I'm depressed I feel so hopeless and broken I don't think I could respond to an offer for help.

Take care of yourself. Don't take his moods personally.

Keep talking/posting.

Greeny

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be a broken record.  Keep telling him to go get help. Therapy and meds and NOT getting on his case for being down! Going with him is a fabulous idea, though I find therapy is best pursued alone. Wait in the waiting room.

sounds like you're on the right track, just make sure he gets help.

and Greenyflower is right, he may not respond to you at all. Realise he's not "here" right now. 

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Guest Vapourware

I agree with the others...try to encourage him to seek help, and try to validate his feelings. I think it is easy for people with depression to minimize or trivialise their emotions, so it is important for them to know it is okay to be depressed.

Just a quick note: remember that you are his partner, and not his therapist.

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Thanks for the advice!  Now all I need to know is how to keep myself from getting depressed while helping him dealing with his depression, because it's starting to get to me.

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Beth - make sure you give yourself enough time to yourself and for yourself.  DO things you enjoy.  You can't be so devoted to helping him all the time (like most women are, including myself - DUH).  Set a good example for him by continuing to do things you enjoy. 

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