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partners of those who suffer from a psychiatric disorder
Hi. I just joined this community. It seems kind of dead,… 
30th-Aug-2010 10:04 am
Hi. I just joined this community. It seems kind of dead, unfortunately. Maybe a new member will perk it up? I'm 39 (today, actually), and I live with my boyfriend Andrew (as well as 2 housemates and my daughter). I've been with A. for four years. He has depression and anxiety. I have my own history with these issues, but I respond very well to effexor, so I'm pretty functional. So far, A. hasn't found any medication that helps, but he's in therapy, and working on himself. He doesn't have much paying work, and has problems with self-care. I love him a ton, and often I feel at a loss regarding his emotional problems, so I'm hoping to have some folks to talk to who understand.
30th-Sep-2010 01:12 am (UTC)
I can relate, actually. My boyfriend and I are in a similar boat (29 and 24 respectively). My boyfriend has been trying meds for years and can't find anything to help the depression. He's trying Lexapro now. Have you had any luck since posting?
30th-Sep-2010 01:58 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting! It's still the same. The last few days have been hard for me, because he says he has some kind of bug that is sapping all his energy. No symptoms other than fatigue. To me the only difference is that instead of just hiding in his room playing computer games, he's also sleeping more than usual. I'm doing my best to be patient, but I'm feeling frustrated and rejected.

I'm glad that your boyfriend is at least trying meds. Is he in therapy?
30th-Sep-2010 02:18 am (UTC)
It can be really hard. My boyfriend hasn't been on a therapeutic dose long enough to know if it will help him yet, but we should get some idea in a couple of weeks. He was diagnosed with dysthymia, which is having a low mood every day, so he doesn't have frequent majorly depressive episodes. He's just generally bleak...all the time.

He's in college now and can see a counselor there for free, but it's gotten discouraging as the counselor has all but given up on his possible success at school (he's had to withdraw many times because he becomes overwhelmed and panics), so we haven't gone back to that counselor in a while.

When we first moved in together (in June) Josh was similar. He sort of shuts down sometimes and I feel rejected too, but he's told me it has nothing to do with me. His coping mechanisms have always been solitary, so he was unused to dealing with someone else around. It took a lot of me telling him how I felt and us talking things out to come to a compromise when he gets really depressed. Is Andrew still seeking therapy? Do you ever go with him or seek it yourself to help you cope?

3rd-Oct-2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, your situation sounds very similar to mine. Andrew's still in therapy every week, though last week the therapist sent him home since he was so fatigued. I've never gone with him. I don't think it's necessary, but if he ever asked me to, I would. I've been in therapy myself, off and on, since adolescence, for my own anxiety and depression. I'm currently on meds and therapy. My own shrink hasn't been very effective in helping me manage the effects of Andrew's depression, but I don't know how much she could do. I think peer support, like here, is better for that.
6th-Oct-2010 06:36 pm (UTC)
We went together because the counselor had seen us both separately for a long time, and so he sort of knew our individual issues. I was also having trouble dealing with his behavior while depressed, and we'd talk about it but hit walls, so the counselor helped us figure out, together, how I could best respond and keep my sanity and how Josh could help by trying to work on his behavior as well. It was great for us because we were able to compromise and work to the benefit of what we each needed.

Have you talked with Andrew about how you feel when he behaves certain ways and tried to work out a way to face his depression together? For instance, Josh would isolate himself, sometimes suddenly and dramatically, when depressed. Lock himself in a room for hours and not respond to my attempts to communicate. My anxiety would shoot through the roof, and I was at the whim of his storms. We talked it through, and came up with a compromise that even if he felt he couldn't talk, he'd let me sit beside him and hold his hand or hug him until he felt he could. I was less anxious because I didn't feel as shut out, and he felt closer to me because he allowed me to be near in those moments.

I think a peer support group is helpful, though unfortunately this one seems sort of dead :-(
16th-Oct-2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, Andrew and I talk a lot about depression-related stuff. He's very self-aware and good at communicating. He actually responds better to touch than words. I'm a more verbally-oriented person, so I've had to learn (still learning) to "speak in his language." Your solution sounds like an example of that sort of thing. I think he's doing the best he can under the circumstances, but I still need to talk to people who understand my experience. I just read Depression Fallout, but I didn't think it applied much to our situation. It was focused mostly on people whose partners turned into assholes when they were depressed, like borderline abusive. Andrew might get a bit short-tempered, but since he's usually super amiable, it probably just goes up to the level of a normal person. ;-) It also had this assumption that the depression started while the people were already in the relationship, and they kept talking about "This isn't the man I married" and such. And it assumed that the depressed partner would be in denial and resist treatment, which isn't a problem for us either. So I guess the only benefit I derived from the book was realizing that I have it pretty good compared to many people. :-/

Edited at 2010-10-16 10:37 pm (UTC)
17th-Oct-2010 12:46 am (UTC)
I hate how so many self-help things like that assume we all are in situations where our partner developed the depression in the relationship. Josh doesn't remember a time in his life when he didn't feel this way, so trying to find "normal" for him is hard since depression is all he knows. Yet we can find precious little at all that addresses that issue.
18th-Oct-2010 11:20 pm (UTC)
I hear ya.

What do you think about posting a request for intros again, to the community, or some other question to get people talking? Would you like to do it?

(Sorry, I posted the first time under my professional account - whoops!)
25th-Oct-2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
I think that's a good idea, but I've just started a full time job so have been super busy and forgot to reply. Perhaps an entry sort of highlighting the lack of discussion here and a call to participate?
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