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Everything posted by AK913

  1. Hi Faith...my knee jerk reaction is to say no, he will not be likely to pull himself out of it, without help. My boyfriend also suffers from depression and that alone was not something he could manage on his own. He has entered into therapy. Adding alcoholism to the picture? Honestly, he should probably find a good therapist (a psychiatrist usually prescribes medication but offers little else in terms of therapy) and maybe look into a group program. In group, sufferers often realize that there are many others like them, which makes them feel a little less anxious about seeking help. They can also support each other in a way that people who haven't had their experiences can't. He would not be weak for seeking help (it sounds like maybe he sees entering therapy as a sign of weakness?). It takes an incredible amount of strength to recognize that he is ill and that he has an unhealthy chemical dependence, and do something about it. And he can interview therapists until he finds a good fit. He seriously needs to cease the combining of the Zoloft with the alcohol...and he will probably need outside help to do that. It's very possible that appropriate therapy and appropriate use of his medication would give him, and the two of you, a fighting chance.
  2. It's great that you've met someone who is able and willing to be supportive through the good times and bad. And no, we can't really understand. Believe me, I've tried. I've read a tremendous amount on the subject, spoken to my own therapist and asked my bf to try and describe what he was feeling so that I might better understand. However, I have no life experience to look to which would help me to truly empathize so I've tried to accept that his depression is simply what "is" right now, and that we need to work through it instead of trying to get around it. I'm certainly learning lessons about patience, compassion and trying to love without an agenda (though I suppose I still have one as I want the relationship back as it was). Also, I don't feel he's quite ready to discuss the relationship. If his situation continues to improve, I may bring it up in the near future. He IS seeing a therapist. When I realized what was happening, I began encouraging him to see someone. He wouldn't at first, but there was one particularly bad evening when we were talking about it, and he was clearly very distressed, and I asked, "I know you cannot help feeling the way you do, but do you WANT to feel this way? If there were something you could do that might help you feel better, would you be willing to do it?" He made an appointment the next morning and has been going weekly. I'm very grateful that I found this forum and that there are so many people willing to discuss their experiences with depression. People who have never suffered with it can't understand and I think sites like this help to bring awareness to something that is truly an illness, and not some sort of self indulgent behavior. I myself experience periods of infrequent, but extreme, anxiety (triggered by specific events) and when it happens I could no more just "stop" being anxious than I could fly to the moon and it would only make things worse if someone took that attitude with me. So thank you for sharing and I wish you continued happiness in your relationship.
  3. Thank you for your replies. Rosesforemily...I'm sorry for your experience but glad that you seem to have made some peace with it. The thing about my boyfriend is that, even in his current state, he's never unkind. He's still a very nice guy, never hurtful, never angry (to me anyway). He's simply "diminished", quiet and unable to enjoy much of anything. Do you also suffer from depression? If you do, it sounds as if it may manifest in the same way as is does with my bf. Dicenvice...I wondered about that myself. He seemed to have a brief, uncharacteristically gloomy period back in the fall but it was nothing like this. If he knows that this is a yearly, springtime experience, it would certainly suggest he may suffer from SAD. I really have stepped back from the romantic and physical side of things and simply tried to support him in the ways he seems to need. He told me that when he gets like this, he doesn't really "feel" much and while I logically realize that this is the reason for the drastic change in his behavior towards me, it's very confusing and concerning. I care deeply for him and it hurts me to see him hurting. i know that what he's going through is far worse than my own concern for our relationship. I've been totally willing to set my own needs/wants in the relationship aside in the interest of supporting him through this. But because of this, we've been behaving more as friends than partners. This is fine for now, but I DO want my boyfriend back when he's feeling better. Is it typical for those feelings to return as the person recovers from a depression episode? Or is it more likely that the apathy he had about the relationship will carry over into his non-depressed state? I know it's going to be different for each person, but I guess I'm asking if anyone knows the most common scenario...or has had personal experience with this. Thank you again and I appreciate any additional advice you might have to offer.
  4. I could really use some insight from anyone who identifies with the following... I've been dating a truly wonderful man for nearly eight months. In mid February, he began to experience what has turned out to be a moderate to severe depression episode. Our relationship came to a screeching halt. As he descended into it, he would tell me he was still "here" but felt as though he had little to say. As things became worse, he lost interest in spending time together, sex, our usually lively conversations and I could physically see the light in his eyes grow dim. I went to see him as often as he would accept it, and I made a great effort to simply be there as a friend. I let him know that I wasn't going anywhere and though I made some mistakes, I did everything I could to make it about him and being supportive, and not focus on the relationship.It's been difficult. We were enjoying each other so much before this happened...the communication was open, honest and healthy...but after the episode began, I felt as if I were dealing with a stranger. He DID begin to see a therapist during this time. Well, we went out to dinner last night and actually had a really nice time. He said that while he was in the thick of it, all he could think about was how awful and empty he felt and that he would find himself in tears several times a day. Now, he said, things felt a little less "heavy" and while he was stressed and still didn't feel anywhere close to normal, he felt a little better, in general. He told me that he has an episode like this each year, from about the end of February until sometime in May, though this one was the worst he'd had. He made a few jokes and playfully sarcastic remarks (first for those things in a while) and seemed a little more like himself. He told me he had been anxious about going out, but was glad he did because he had a good time. When I drove him home, I didn't go in as I would have before the episode (we had been spending a couple of nights a week together), but he gae me a long hug, told me he knew he'd been neglectful and thanked me for being so great to him. I am cautiously optimistic that things are improving. History suggests he's coming out of it and I'm so glad he's seeing a therapist. However, I'm nervous, because during his depression he seemed to "forget" the feelings he had for me and had no interest in the romantic relationship...he told me he struggled on a daily basis to deal with his own feelings and day to day activities and felt he had nothing to contribute to a relationship. Is it likely that as he returns to a more "normal" state his feelings for me will return as well? He knows how I feel so I doubt he would continue to see me if he felt the relationship was permanently over, but I just don't know. I don't want to try and discuss "us" before he's ready...I want to give him whatever time and space he needs to heal. However, while I was willing to transition to the friend mode while he was depressed, because that's what he needed, I ultimately want for us to go back to the relationship that we had. Is there anything I can do to increase the likelihood of this? Has anyone else been in this situation and if so, what did you do and what was the end result? I would sincerely appreciate any thoughts or suggestions. Thank You...
  5. Hi....my boyfriend suffers from depression episodes that last for months. I believe it's brain chemistry, in part, but also triggered by financial stress and drama caused by his ex wife. He becomes completely overwhelmed during these times. When he's down, our relationship suffers because he feels too bogged down and foggy to maintain a relationship. It's really difficult to not take it personally. How they feel is something that you and I probably can't understand. I still try to understand and empathize, but I have also come to accept that his depression simply "is". I am learning to not make it about me. If you are determined to stick with him while he's going through this, you'll have to understand that your wants and needs may be put on the back burner for a while...you'll need to find other people to talk to and look to for support until he's feeling better. When he's feeling better, you can put together a plan for coping if it happens again. It's excellent that he's seeking treatment. My bf beginning a therapy program was the one deal breaker I imposed at the start of his current cycle of depression and he's made good on his promise to go. My bf is currently on month two of an episode and he's isolating and pushing me away. He doesn't seem to want to let me go, but he doesn't have the energy for the things that we normally do. He finally admitted that the main reason he's withdrawing from me is that he has no answers right now to the questions and fears he knows I have, and he feels incapable of discussing our relationship in any meaningful way while he's feeling like this. So, I just temporarily let go of my own insecurities and wants from the relationship and committed myself to being there for him in a way that he could handle, and in a way that doesn't feel threatening to him right now. For us, that looks a lot like friendship (though neither of us is seeing other people). We talk when he can manage it, I bring over dinner and a movie about once a week, we're minimally affectionate and I let him decide what we talk about...sometimes it's the stress in his life, sometimes it's what's happening with me and sometimes it's just a bunch of random nonsense. The point is, I let him decide and we do NOT talk about our relationship until he's feeling better. The only thing I would advise is that if your bf is truly depressed, allowing him to isolate himself may not be a great idea. I've told mine we were going to get together periodically and do something low key whether he felt like he wanted to or not, because it's good for him. I let home know that I had no expectations of our time together other than dinner and whatever else HE wanted to do. I've told him that I understood he was feeling incapable of contributing to a relationship right now, but he wasn't going to make any major decisions about us until the depression had lifted. He accepted all of that and agreed. If you're willing to hang out with him and act as a friend would, avoid discussing the relationship while he's feeling like he is, and let him decide what you discuss and what you do, I would say insisting on a stress free weekly get together would be the best thing you can do for him. Just let him know that you're there for HIM and aren't expecting much from him right now, and you are all right with that. Bring a book or something in the event that he has things he needs to do so he won't feel like he has to entertain you. Listen if he wants to talk but don't push. If he doesn't want you to stay the night, don't get upset. It's not personal. If he does, understand that it might be best to just cuddle and not get too intimate. I know it's hard. It's really, really hard. But if you love him, are committed to seeing him through this and think you can handle it, let him know you aren't going anywhere and allow him to feel safe and non-pressured when he's around you. The only way to do that is to step back from the relationship, focus on friendship and put your own desires aside for a while. It sounds like he loves you...give him the space to heal (because that's the only way you'll be able to have a healthy relationship), but don't step so far back that he slips away completely and socially isolates himself. Hang in there...
  6. Hi there...your post struck me because I think you may have some things in common with my 17 year old daughter. She would describe her life as similar to yours, and yet she suffers from periodic episodes of depression. I don't know your exact situation but HER therapists have determined that her issues are most likely chemical in nature and we are looking into appropriate pharmaceutical treatments. This may be the case with you too...have your doctors ever prescribed anything? And I would say that if counseling provided little relief, you may have been seeing the wrong therapists. I'll say to you what I've said to my daughter. This isn't your fault. You don't need to feel guilty for having these thoughts because an actual, medical condition is probably causing them. A condition like any other condition...high blood pressure, chronic migraines, strep throat, etc. It wouldn't be your fault for having any of those and it's not your fault for experiencing this. But like those conditions, depression is often highly treatable. Depression also lies to you and tells you that you will never feel any differently, and that there is no hope. I know it's difficult to argue with that voice but you must try because it's not telling you the truth. I can guarantee that your parents would want to hear how you're feeling and would be receptive to finding a treatment that will work for you. Please talk to them and let them know how serious the situation has become. I've personally seen the lifelong anguish of a family who's child did NOT talk to them before it was too late. They're on your side...let them help you. And keep posting here. The people here are incredibly supportive.
  7. Hi LLouV...is it possible we're dating the same man? :-) The primary difference in our situations is that my BF is never harsh or mean and he has never lashed out at me while depressed.He's still very kind and sweet while depressed...just 'diminished'. We began dating at the end of August and things were great until the end of October when he sunk into a 7-8 week depression. He was somewhat quiet and gloomy, but it wasn't horrible. His libido was low but we still saw each other once a week. Because I didn't know that he suffered from cyclical depression, I attributed his mood to problems with his ex, his family and the stress of the upcoming holidays (and I'm sure all of these things were contributing factors...just not the entire picture). Around Christmas, he traveled home, where he started coming out of it and by the New Year, the happy, fun, passionate man I'd met had returned. Things were even better than before and we decided that we both wanted an exclusive, committed relationship. By mid February though, I began to feel his mood slipping again so we discussed it and he admitted that he believes he'd been suffering from depressive episodes for the past couple of years. He had never been treated for it. We're still in the current episode. This time has been far worse though and as he slipped further and further down, he told me that it was difficult to remember being happy, that he didn't have the energy to really "feel" or care about much of anything except for his kids (though he's been able to manage work) and that he was having so much trouble dealing with his own feelings that it felt like a burden to have to deal with mine. His libido is at 0 and he only has it in him to get together once every couple of weeks for dinner...phone and text communication is very low as well. He told me that he knows none of it is rational and he also knows that underneath it, he wants me to stay in his life (though he would understand if I couldn't deal with it and left). He says he wants me to stick with him through it, but if I were to leave, he doesn't have the energy to chase after me. I told him that I couldn't fix it for him or even really understand what he was going through, but that what I could do, was stay. That I would stick with him through the bad times PROVIDED he sought professional help and made a real attempt at trying to help himself. He did. He begins treatment this week (therapy and anti-depressants). That's all I can ask for right now and I know it's not an instant fix but a long term solution that's going to require a lot of work on his part. It's true that I can't understand how it feels, but I'm beginning to get a glimpse as my own anxiety is triggered and I start showing some of the symptoms myself (isolating myself, lacking energy to do much of anything, etc.). The most difficult thing for me is not taking it all personally. The significant decrease in communication, his not wanting to get together or have sex makes me feel that it's something to do with me, even though he says it's not and logically, I can see that it's the illness that's causing his lack of interest. I miss him though. I'm afraid he'll decide to push me away for good while he's in the middle of an episode. Everything feels shaky and uncertain and that's driving me a little nuts. I find myself weepy and nervous. HE thinks I'm steady and calm and says he appreciates my willingness to let him have some space to deal with the illness. HE thinks I'm amazing and that I know exactly how to handle all of this. In truth, I'm a sad, nervous wreck and it's only the daily phone calls with my best friend that keep me anywhere close to center. I try to remain steady and calm with him, despite how I'm feeling inside, because I know that's what he needs but it's becoming increasingly difficult. I can't imagine how it must feel for our partners but it's damn hard on us too...and if you're like me, you want to be there for him during the bad times as well as the good. I would only say that appropriate therapy and medication, provided that they're available, are dealbreakers. I couldn't keep doing this, with no light at the end of the tunnel in sight, if I didn't know he was attempting to help himself get better. When he comes out of the current episode, we will definitely going to have some things to discuss but I'm not going to try and have that discussion while he's in the middle of it and I would advise that you do the same. I'm sorry you're experiencing this but I can absolutely relate. Feel free to message me privately if you'd like to compare notes or exchange ideas...it sounds like our situations are very similar.
  8. I think what you need to try and understand is that you can't understand. What the truly depressed person is feeling is something that doesn't make any sense to a non depressed person. It may not even make sense to the depressed person when they're not depressed. Google a couple of blog posts called "Hyperbole and a Half Adventures in Depression and Depression Part 2". There's a part of the post where the writer is trying to explain the extent to which outside people just don't get it. She gives the example of saying, "My fish have died" and her friends responds with, "Where did they go? I'll help you look for them". Doesn't make much sense, right? I think that's what it sounds like to a depressed person when we offer solutions that work when someone is NOT depressed. I know it's different for everyone who suffers with depression, but for a lot of them, it's not that they fall out of love or that their feelings for you change...but that they can't access those feelings. It's like they're covered up and they aren't able to really feel or care. It's not always that they're sad because sad IS a feeling. It's that they can't feel much at all and it's exhausting for them to have to engage and connect with someone on an intimate level. It's exhausting for them to have to try and feel something. That's the way my boyfriend explains it anyway. As far as helping her, you may just have to give her more space than you're used to but let her know that you're still there for her if she wants to talk about it or needs anything. Let her know that it's safe for her to talk to you and you won't try to "fix her" or offer a bunch of suggestions, and do NOT tell her that you understand what she's going through. Because you don't. Just listen, let her know that you hear her and remind her that it will pass as it always does. When she's feeling better, ask her to try and explain what she was feeling like. I know you're afraid of sending her back into another depression, but it may be a relief for her to be able to talk about it when she's not down, without feeling like she's being pressured or judged. It's a good thing that she's seeing a doctor for meds but is she seeing a therapist that she can talk to about her issues? I think this is just as important as a means of discovering the possible cause of the depression. I know that this is incredibly hard for you (it seems nearly impossible for me sometimes), but you can't take it personally. It's not personal. But I know it hurts. Good luck to you...
  9. Well, I'm on the other side of it. My boyfriend suffers cycles of depression...he'll be fine for several months and then will slip into a four to eight week depression where he becomes increasingly withdrawn and "quiet". During these times, he still manages to perform fine at work and be all right with his kids, but he doesn't want to get together very often or talk as much and has zero interest in a physical relationship. He says he doesn't have the mental or emotional ability to deal with intimacy and that he isn't really able to "feel" anything. Eventually, he'll rise back out of it, the "feeling" will return and he'll "remember" what he loves about our relationship. He's at the bottom right now and it's becoming difficult. I've found that if I stand back and give him space, being there when he wants to talk but accepting the temporary changes in our relationship, he is much less anxious about how it's affecting me and more willing to try and help me understand. I've made it clear that as long as he's willing to seek help, and he keeps communicating about what's going on with him, I'll stand by him and deal with the ups and downs. I've asked him to communicate in some way every day, even if it's just to say, "Today sucks." You live with your wife so you're obviously going to be in daily communication with her, but I can guarantee that she would want to know what you're going through and how you feel as opposed to feeling like something was wrong but not knowing exactly what. However, I wouldn't tell her that you're thinking that you want a divorce while you're in the middle of it. You're right in that you shouldn't make any big decisions concerning your marriage until you're feeling better. Depression lies and it's likely lying to you right now. If you listen to it, you'll do something that you'll probably regret. You know from past experience that you'll come out of it eventually and if your feelings are still there when you do, then you should tell your wife how you feel and seek couples counselling. In the meantime, I encourage you to see professional help for yourself. With the therapy and/or medication that's available, there's no reason for you to continue to suffer with it. Your wife may never be able to fully understand what they're going through, but she CAN support you if you're willing to share it with her and you need to have faith that your love for her hasn't disappeared...it may just be camouflaged right now.
  10. Hi Michael...I struggle with social situations in which there are large groups of people and most of them already know each other. In these cases, I always try to attend with a more outgoing person I know who can introduce me to others. This isn't always an option though. In the US we have an organization called Meetup.com. It lists dozens of groups per region, each focusing on a different specialty...alcohol, food, kayaking, art, singles, etc. What I have found is that when I attend one of these meetings, most of the people are in the same situation as I in that they don't know anyone else (or they don't know many of the attendees). For me this makes it easier to start a conversation with a stranger because I figure they may be feeling just as awkward as I. Also, if I choose a Meetup that I have some experience with (like alcohol), it is easy to find something to discuss. I don't know if you have anything like that in your area or if that would cause too much anxiety, but just a suggestion. Good luck...K
  11. Oh my goodness! I JUST found Hyperbole and a Half yesterday! I sent my boyfriend Depression 1 and 2 and got the first laugh out of him that I've heard in a while (not that the subject matter is particularly funny, but her self deprecating humor is spot on with us and her story resonated with him). She's awesome. Thank you for answering. I'll probably never completely understand but I'm learning more and more about what NOT to do. We spoke on the phone for nearly an hour today and in between the apologies, he said he appreciates my effort to just listen, not try to fix him with all sorts of opinions and suggestions and for not "trying to blow sunshine up his a**". So that's something. If he's still in the trough next week I'm going to drag him out of the house for a hike and some ice cream. Thank you again...
  12. I like the cluttered basement/living room/kitchen analogy. I may show him that one when he's not so foggy. He's normally a very introspective, highly intelligent and reasonable man...I think that one might make a lot of sense to him. For me, his relationships with the kids is paramount. One, he has them approximately 70% of the time (his ex is another story and I'm certain a contributing factor to his current issues) and two, he genuinely loves and adores them more than life itself. They're relatively young and may not pick up on the extent of his depression. If I had possessed a bit more insight and wisdom after the first episode, I might have discussed the impact on that relationship with him extensively. Now is not the time but again, when he's not in the middle of it, he's quite reasonable. He did tell me that he's been able to sink into his periodic gloominess undetected for quite a while now because he hasn't had to manage it, along with a romantic relationship for quite some time and that our relationship was making him more aware of his behavior. I guess there is something to the Buddhist concept that relationships serve as mirrors and magnifiers of our "stuck" spots. Can I ask you something? And I hope this doesn't make you uncomfortable but I'm really just trying to understand as best I can...do YOU isolate yourself and push those who love you away? If so, is there any way you can describe the feeling, lack of feeling or impetus behind it? It's such a foreign concept for me. When I'm stressed, depressed or in crisis, I draw on the strength and support of those who love me. I do the same for them if and when they need it. I may never be able to understand what it feels like when he's doing it but I would like to try. I'm glad you're seeking help but sorry for your years of suffering.
  13. Lonesoul...his getting help will be the first conversation we have when The Other Guy (the name he gives his depression) wanders off. I think he figures that since he's so far been able to keep it from directly impacting his children, he has a handle on it. He needs to realize though, that it would be so much better if he didn't necessarily have to fake it with work, kids, etc...that with therapy and possibly medication he might be able to experience life without having to "fake" his way through large chunks of it. He recently said that he is open to the thought of counselling and meds. Since I'm the only one in his life that he can currently be real with and not fake it, he can see how all of this is affecting me (even though to him I appear to be handling it fairly well), and I think there is enough of him left who fears losing me over it or hurting me badly. I think that when he comes out of this current episode, he will do what he needs to do without too much prodding. But he will have to or I can't stay. I wouldn't be with a smoker who wasn't trying to quit, an alcoholic who wasn't actively attempting to stop drinking, a diabetic who continually forgot their insulin and ignored dietary recommendations. I couldn't be with someone who refused to at least try to take care of himself. I DO feel this disjointed, confused sense of ***? It's not easy to get my mind around the fact that someone could actually lose the ability to feel...to love...which is why I take it personally. I don't want to, but it's not an easy insecurity to control. Like you said, when faced with an irrational situation, our minds still continue to search for a known, rational solution. It would be like me asking him, "Did you feed the dog this morning?" and him responding, "We're out of butter." Makes no sense, but I'd ponder it for a while, ask more questions hoping for a reasonable answer and try to MAKE it fit before throwing up my hands and thinking, that makes absolutely no sense but oh well...it just is so I should find another way around the issue of determining whether or not the dog has been fed. Moody Blues...believe me, if I could have foreseen this I would probably not be here right now. The situation that occurred early in the relationship was so much milder and it was my first experience with it. He was dealing with a family issue at the time so I falsely attributed it's onset to that. I never imagined we'd be back in the thick of it, only worse, so soon. But now, I love him. I want to help him. I want to encourage him to seek professional help and my hope is that if he seeks such help, the relationship will survive or at the very least, his suffering will lessen. I've committed to sticking around at least until this episode has passed and we've had the chance to discuss next steps. At this point there is still so much more good than bad. And even in the middle of this, he is in no way cruel or hostile. He is still very kind when we speak (though subdued and "flat"). He doesn't blame me for any of it but turns the blame inward. It's the uncharacteristic quietness and broken physical connection...when our communication and physical relationship were so healthy and strong before...that's causing the insecurity. If someone could tell me that I just need to step back and give him his space and in two weeks he'll return to himself; that then I can help him develop a plan to seek assistance, I would still be sad for him but otherwise ok. It's the fear of the unknown on a day to day, minute to minute basis that breaking me. I thank you both for your thoughts. Today is a bad day and I'm not doing well. It helps to write and know that I'm heard. I guess that's why we're all here, yes? K
  14. Hi...I'm brand new here but could really use some advice. Warning...long post. I met my boyfriend at the end of August 2013 and we hit it off from date one. Our personalities, ideology, senses of humor, goals, etc. fit like a glove and don't get me started on the chemistry. I should mention that while he isn't shy, he definitely fits the introverted personality type, as do I. Things progressed nicely through September and October as we got to know each other very well and began forming a strong and comfortable connection. However... Sometime in November I sensed him getting "quiet", when up until then he'd been an extremely prolific communicator. We were still getting together some but he didn't seem as interested in sex and was a bit distant and gloomy. We talked about it and he told me that this was something he periodically experienced but he'd learned to "sit with it" until it passed. He told me it had NOTHING to do with his feeling for me but when he got like that, he felt an urge to just be alone and didn't want to spend much time with anyone but his kids. I stepped back, let him know I was there in any way he needed me, but would give him space if that was what made him feel most comfortable. It was difficult to not take it at all personally, but I'm fairly confident and have a full, busy life of my own so I simply went about with my business while continuing to see him when he felt he was able. In December, the fog lifted and I had my guy back. We got even closer, confirmed that we were exclusive and had a blast together. I fell in love with him. We are similar in so many important ways, different in complimentary ways and have a strong, adventurous physical connection. On many occasions we've discussed the fact that we've never found it so easy to share our innermost selves with another person, or how completely accepted we feel with each other.I feel like I don't have to be anyone other than myself with him. However... A few weeks ago I felt a familiar chill creep across the relationship. It happened nearly overnight. One day we were cruising along, loving each other's company, and the next day an ice storm hits (literally...we had an ice storm) and he cancels our plans because he felt he needed some alone time. Now, I know that everyone needs some occasional alone time but I know him well enough to have known that something had shifted. Communication once again became spottier and quieter and we didn't see each other for almost two weeks. Last week we got together for an angst filled discussion. I could physically see that the light in his eyes had dimmed. He was weepy and sedate. It was so much worse than last time. He told me the following things... -When he's feeling like this, maintaining a relationship feels like a burden. -He knew that somewhere inside he loved me but he felt as if he's lost his ability to feel it or care.-He had no libido. -He wanted to be alone until it passed. -He has to fake it at work and muster up whatever energy he has left for his kids and he couldn't "fake it" with me...so he felt uncomfortable being around me under those conditions. -He felt broken and scared and those things were holding him back from fully "letting go" with me in terms of the relationship. -He knew that if he let me walk away now, he'd absolutely regret it later but he didn't have the energy to fight for me if I decided to leave. -I was wonderful, caring, calm and patient and he didn't know what I could possibly be getting out of the relationship (he seemed to have entirely forgotten all of the amazing time we've spent together). -He felt his self worth was tied to all the things he'd lost in his divorce two years ago and he felt unsettled and incomplete. -He felt paralyzed and "stuck" in that he knew I wanted to spend more time with him but he knew in his heart that he really didn't want to right now, and he despised disappointing me. -He felt like he was continually disappointing me which made him feel even worse. -His voice broke and he teared up as he said, "If you were to leave, I would miss you. I would miss you. And that's the truth". Our communication is still pretty low, though he's trying. We will not see each other this week either and I miss him terribly. He had said that he "wasn't quite ready" to seek professional help because he wasn't at the point where he couldn't get out of bed or was going into work unshaven. I personally don't believe he's applying appropriate criteria, but I don't think we can have that discussion until the fog lifts again (according to him, it never lasts more than 6 weeks...we're in week 3). I sent him an email saying I was here and in his corner and wasn't going anywhere, and that I was a safe place...meaning I wasn't going to try to "cheer him up", he could say whatever he wanted without fear or judgement, he could ask me for whatever he needed/wanted, and I would continue to reach out to him even if he was being quiet, without becoming upset with him. I also told him not to worry about me because I was just fine, to focus on his job and kids and that I would still be here when the fog lifted. I told him to simply reply yes to indicate that he understood and accepted what I had said. He replied, "Yes. :-). And I'm so sorry,,," I know that when he comes back to himself we will need to have a very serious discussion about him seeking help. Because, while I may appear calm, patient and completely rational to HIM, I'm an anxious, emotional, worried, weepy wreck and this is triggering my every insecurity. I worry that he won't come out of it anytime soon and will simply drift away from me. I'm worried he will start to accept his lack of feeling in general as an indicator that he doesn't really love me. I'm worried that during this time when I can't see his face and read his body language, his depression has actually lifted and he's started seeing someone else but can't figure out how to tell me. I'm worried about EVERYTHING and am increasingly taking it personally (even though I know this is a mistake). I'm committed to sticking it out and being there for him. I WANT this relationship to work because when he is not submerged in gloom, he is the perfect partner. If anyone has advice on how to best support him, how to cope, what conversations are acceptable during this time and what steps I should now take, I would appreciate it immensely, If anyone has been through something similar, I would also appreciate your wisdom, your story and/or encouragement. I would really like to hear that this is all going to be all right, but sadly, I know that there is no guarantee of that. But I love this man and want to do what I can. Thank You...K
  15. Hi there...I'm not sure I can personally relate to your particular dilemma but we may share a few common threads. One, I live north of Atlanta and a portion of my family lives in the N Georgia mountains. But that's just an interesting coincidence and off topic. I believe I may be on the other side of the issue. I'm dating a man who feels a bit like you do. He's obviously not avoiding dating (because, well, he's been dating me for the last six months), but he seemingly suffers from cyclical depression and appears to have some sort of mental resistance to fully investing in the relationship. I didn't truly understand the depth of the depression until a few weeks ago. Back in November, he got a little "quiet" and gloomy but I knew there was a family issue and he kept assuring me that it had absolutely nothing to do with me. Right after Christmas he was himself again and things were better than before. However, in mid February, after a conversation in which he confirmed what I already knew (that he was dating me exclusively and had no interest in seeing anyone else), he seemed to fall off the cliff. He began being less and less communicative and is now avoiding getting together, saying he just wants to be alone when he feels like this. When we finally discussed it, he told me that despite the fact that he felt a close and atypical connection with me, he was reluctant to let himself go with me because he was afraid and felt as if he was "broken" and that he finds it difficult to get his mind around fully investing in a relationship at all, despite his feelings for me (He suffered a fairly awful divorce a couple of years ago and I know he left that marriage feeling worthless and unlovable). He's continued to sink deeper and deeper and now we're barely communicating...though he expresses that he doesn't want to lose me and that he would miss me terribly if I left him because of this. The isolating behavior is what's ******* me. I want to help but have no idea how and the little insecure voice inside my head makes it difficult to not take it personally. If the pattern is repeating itself, he should start to emerge from the fog in a week or two (though it may take me a while to recenter myself once he does). I know this isn't exactly the type of response you were looking for, but does any of that ring true for you? And if you found someone who was "worth it", what would be the best way for them to support you? I am sorry you're struggling. I think a "reluctance to engage" is a difficult concept for those who haven't ever felt that way, to understand.
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