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Depression Straining Relationship

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Hi guys.

Me and my partner have been together about 6 to 7 months on/off. She suffers from depression quite badly, I mean she can go weeks up to a month with being happy, then 2 weeks of being depressed, she always tells me Ill never understand how she feels when she has depression, but I will point out she doesnt want to see me when shes feeling low, due to her feeling low and that she cant express her love for me cos she just doesnt have it in her. So she doesnt let me see her, she doesnt let me be there to help her, she always always puts herself into a state that she just doesnt care, she could lose an arm and she would just sit there and think oh well, she never has any motivation to get up and do something.

From my point of view, sometimes it kills me. Cos i cant be involved with it when I wanna be. It hurts me that she is like this but she is on tablets which her doctor a couple of days ago has took her dose from 20mg to 30mg along side betablockers i think they are. I love her so so much and she knows it, depression gets in the way of letting her do what she wants to do. But I need some help, I cant sit n talk to her even when she is fine because Im scared it would bring her depression back at the thought of it.

She has suffered from it for along time now, because of her ex that had put a massive downer on her life. She moved away from him to come up to were I live, and we met on a dating site, and then facebook. Thats how it started for us. She had told me about her depression and her life, but i never really expected it to be this bad. I honestly do not know what to do anymore. Specially when she is feeling low about herself and when she gets like that. Its best to keep away, but im her partner. I shouldnt have to keep away. I wanna be there to help her. I see her when shes low maybe like once every two weeks. When shes fine, i see her alot more then that.

What can I do?

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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...

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