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An Unclear Future With My Depressed Girlfriend

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My name is Tate (18). I've been with my girlfriend, Savannah (16), for 4 months. We met in marching band and according to her friends she had crushed on me really hard, even to the point of coming and secretly watching me at practice whenever she was on break. She and her bestfriend, Tiffany, explained to me her condition a week after we started dating.


She's suffered from depression since 7th grade when she experienced bullying. She was addicted to cutting, even to the point of cutting "ALONE" into her arm. She claims to have attempted suicide at least 4 times by trying to overdose on some unknown medicine. We think she has an eating disorder from crash dieting due to her state of mind about herself.


My first words on hearing it was "I love you unconditionally". I meant it too, and I was willing to be there for her through anything.


The first month of our relationship was, to be honest, really amazing. However, around October she started having bad nights and they were scary. She began joking about death and would talk of how terrible she felt.


Her mother, who I have a great relationship with, wasn't ever aware of her condition. Savannah was excellent at faking being happy when inside she felt tormented. Savannah never wanted her mom to know and she blamed her mom's "preppy"-lifestyle as part of her problem.


One night, Savannah was really bad, and she scared Tiffany and I awfully and she said goodbye, saying "I'm voiding everything". Fearing for her life, we made the decision to tell her mom. I texted her mom and she was overwhelmed but handled the situation calmly. She said Savannah was asleep. She promised she would handle it and not let Savannah know that we told her.


Savannah seemed better at first, then about 2 weeks later she found out we had told her mom. She was suspicious and she went through Tiffany's texts on her phone and found out. She understood we did it out of love and her best interest, but she said she "had no emotions now". Her mom would later tell me she did body checks on her and talked to her. It seemed to me she wouldn't get professional help because she didn't realize how bad she really was.


Things would go pretty smoothly afterwards, but upon winter, things went downhill.


I would find out about a secret Instagram where Savannah would follow depression pages, dark material, and people she called "scene". I wasn't supposed to find out about it but she reluctantly allowed me to follow it. 


At this point, I begin feeling the hardship of being "pushed away". Savannah began talking less to me. Upon Christmas vacation, I learned that she had continued talking to Tiffany about her depression and suicidal thoughts, and not me. She even made very dark jokes, including "66-" jokes. Around this point, Savannah began talking to me even less and she rarely wanted to go out on dates or hang out with me. 


I still hadn't completely researched depression, and on a few occasions I became angry at Savannah for not talking to me and not hanging out. Later when I researched it I began understanding.


Now, a few days after our 4 month anniversary, Savannah has started shutting out Tiffany and rarely talking to anyone. When she goes to her dance practice she acts completely happy, talkative, and affectionate toward her other friends. At school, she’s completely fine acting to other people.


A few days ago I complained about Savannah making a new Snapchat and not adding me, but adding others instead, who she says that "relate to her". I also got upset about her hugging one of her friends, Nick, a lot, while she has become unaffectionate with me. I mean, she’ll hug me but doesn’t act excited about it unlike some other people like Nick, and some mornings she doesn’t want to give me a single kiss.


Savannah gets offended when I try to talk to her about our relationship and when I complain. I know I shouldn't complain in the form of bickering and raising my tone, but regardless of that, she doesn't want to talk about our relationship. She assures me that she loves me and it'd ruin her If I left her, regardless of her not wanting to continue conversations and not acting happy when she is around me, though she acts it to others. Those "others" are several other depressed people at school. Savannah is not well-liked at school because she apparently takes out her frustration by hurting others and annoying people. She is often put in a "preppy"-environment that she hates and she blames it on her mom.


Savannah says she is sorry because she knows that she hurts me. However, she says this is the way it's going to be, and she loves and wants me in her life, but I need to either leave if I can't put up with her, or just get over it.


My friends have told me I don't deserve her treatment and tell me to breakup with her. However, I understand Savannah has a real mental illness and I want to be with her. Despite me wanting to be there for her, I can't help but get hurt by her a lot when she ignores me and treats me differently than other people. I'm big about fitness and the gym is my special place to "get away", improve myself, and be social, and on countless occasions lately I lose so much motivation that I leave and I get in very sour and down moods. I also find myself in a more negative mood in general.

A few days ago one of their friends told me that Savannah had a crush on Tiffany. I was completely stunned by it and didn’t believe it, but I saw texts that showed Tiffany admitting that Savannah told her this. I confronted Savannah about it and at first she was angry at me for considering it and told me to go away. She finally talked later and she promised repeatedly she was completely straight and completely loyal to me, that it was a misunderstanding. I didn’t want to press it on, and I know I need to trust her, so I dropped it despite no real explanations over the texts.


Her mother told me that very night she had appointments for professional help scheduled for Savannah but that she hadn’t wanted to say anything. Hearing that brought me a lot of hope. Regardless, I see a long road ahead for recovery, not only for her but for our relationship to heal after this winter.


I know I can’t say at my age and for how long we’ve been together that I’m certain that we’re meant to be. What I do know is that I care and I want to be with her, and I’m willing to wait. I just have to be patient.


I just felt like sharing my story on here. I would love to receive any comments or advice on being the supportive partner she needs, and I’d like to understand more about why it is often those closest to the depressed person who feel the heaviest blows. Also, if she does get much better then will it be extremely hard for us to move on or will our relationship always be constrained to the past and the memories it holds? I’m sure I could easily let go. Despite her help though, as far as we are concerned, will it always affect things between us?

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Hi Tate, welcome - I'm glad you felt you could share here, writing it out may help you sort some of your own thoughts and feelings about the situation. This section (and many others) may be worth a read?


You seem uncommonly thoughtful in how you're dealing with Savannah and trying to learn more about her depression, she's lucky to have such supportive and caring people behind her. If she works on things / gets better there's no concrete reason why as a couple you'd be chained to the past, but everyone deals with things differently (and depression tends to wax and wane; it's a slippery fish).


I think you can always hope for the best, especially if she can see the care and support you're able offer during dark times. You're right, people dealing with depression can be hardest on the ones they love and trust the most (second only to themselves) which can leave some residue on both sides if you let it, but the more you learn, the more prepared and understanding you'll be and the more support you can offer.


You have to consider yourself too though, if she's unwilling to work on things, be honest/respectful, or you're feeling she's intentionally hurting you or pushing you away (or if, on your part, jealousy/mistrust is rearing its ugly head), those are tricky factors to deal with so early in a relationship. Communication is a solid key. Cliche but rings true. I wish the very best for both of you.

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Thank you for the reply and the link.


Yes, jealousy has been an issue on my side.


I'd mentioned how Savannah hugged other friends a lot more than me. For example, we were talking outside of school just this evening and she'd drape her arms around other people, even more than once. She used to do this to me all the time back when we were crushing and during the first couple of months of our relationship. She never once tried to hug me or initiate anything until I hugged her when she was finally leaving. Made me kinda sour tbh.


However, I think that may all go back to the partner thing. Savannah is only friends and talks with these other people casually, like they don't know any of her problems. Savannah longs for friends and attention and she probably does the hugging thing to feel better about herself. 


Then there's me, who she loves and trusts. She's admitted to me before she is terrfied of me rejecting her, which I gave an example of earlier about her hiding her Snapchat. 


She waits until I initate anything and she acts nervous. Because she probably is afraid of her not being good enough or not pleasing me, very possible right?


Perhaps when she's around others her mind is unclear and she seeks acceptnance. When she's around me, who she knows accepts her, her mind perhaps freezes. All these questions maybe swarm through her mind: "Do I look okay?" "When he hugs me does he feel my fat?" "Maybe he doesn't want a hug right now?" "Am I just going to mess this up like I always do?"


It's like... I'm understanding it, but I still struggle with it getting to me sometimes. That's for me to fix and deal with though, and I have been doing better. I need to be the one coming up hugging her and acting excited about seeing her when she honestly can't handle it all the time. Maybe If I do that more often, not only will I get more sweet moments with her, but I'll also comfort her fear and when she gets help and doesn't feel that way, then It'll pay off hopefully.

Edited by JerryTate
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I can tell you have much love for her. It really sounds like she is struggling. I don't have a clue what my boyfriend thinks of my depression. i just know he accepts it. Im sure its hard. It may seem at times that she doesn't want to show you affection, but that is her way of coping. i know sometimes i push my boyfriend away because i cant get over the fact that he loves me for me. I feel like hes only with me because hes lonely. But we have been together for 3 years and have promised to stay with each other forever. SOmetimes you just know its the person youre going to be with. and youd do anything to stay. Don't give up on her. She does need help. I have a feeling though, if she keeps helping herself, stuff will get better. winter time can make everything a lot worse. I have noticed how different i have felt winter vs. summer. ANyway, i know i didn't say much, but i hope it helps. Take care and i hope you guys get through this!!

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