Depressed relationship

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My issue is not with myself really but here is my story. I ended a long term relationship and an engagement about 18 months ago and took some time off traveling to clear my head. While traveling I met a guy who had taken a year off himself. He was living in HK then and about to move back to UK. We both continued with our travels in separate ways and caught up again when we both returned to the UK.

We started seeing each other more as over the next few months, but I felt he could never commit to me. He always kept things very casual. But he was someone I really enjoyed being with and I liked him a lot.

That was until he suffered a panic attack this past Feb and then a nervous breakdown in March, where he spent the first 5 months literally crippled by the nervous breakdown. He described it as his brain being in fight or flight mode during this time. Once he got over the nervous breakdown, the depression kicked in. He has been getting professional help all this time and has spent a significant amount of time in counseling and was at points in care homes. I have been there to help him along with his family to help him in whatever way I can to encourage him and get him over this process.

Over the last month, he has been more back to his normal self, and I can see he is working hard to overcome everything he is going through. He told me he is working through his issues to find himself, trying to improve and become a better person, and not land back to the person he was six months ago. I was really happy to hear that.

While I started this discussion with saying that he cannot commit to me at the start of our “relationship”, through my help to him during his nervous breakdown and depression, I have become his full pledged girlfriend, which he no longer has issues telling his friends or family. I am not going to deny that part of me is generally happy to be his girlfriend, but another part of me is scared where this relationship is going.

I am not going to deny that I have become highly vested in this person emotionally. Having seen the pain he has suffered, I long to help him through whatever he is going through and see him happy soon. But having had some talks with him about his problems, he has admitted to me that it is a long road to recovery, and that this is something that will plague him his whole life and he will probably be on antidepressants his whole life too. If I was to follow my heart, I would really want to continue this relationship and start my new life in London with him, but I am very scared he will hurt me in the end. A few of my friends keep on reminding me that this is the time for him to sort out his head and what he wants in life, and I should let him do that independently. Some have warned me that he might be using me as an emotional crutch. But my heart is also too weak to end things with him when he is going through what he is going through. This is a time when he needs all the emotional support he can get. 

So I am just very confused with the whole situation. I would appreciate any impartial advice to this whole situation.

1 like, 9 replies

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  • Posted

    Hello DeliaJ. To be completely honest with you and I am sure I can be impartial as I have no dog in this hunt I would be very cautious about going forward in this relationship. This man has been honest with you which I admire he is telling you that he has issues that will take years to work on. A breakdown like he had is huge and I am sure took all his strength to fight his way back from. I would not kid myself into thinking that he has strength to give to a healthy relationship. I liked what your friends are saying and I whole heartedly agree with their take on the situation that he needs time to sort out his issues alone with a professional. If he cares for you as you do him he will start getting stronger and more mentally healthy and come for you. Now I have a question for you if you don't mind? When did you grieve the 18 month relationship before you met this gentleman? He seems to be a rebound at least to some extent. Am I wrong? We are here for you. Diane

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    • Posted

      Thank you, Diane for your impartial advice.

      I spent 6 months mourning the loss of my old relationship. It was painful, but probably for the best when things didn’t work out. I was definitely very hurt and then decided to travel around Asia to clear my head and mourn the loss of the relationship. I didn’t expect to meet someone else whom I found charming and with whom I shared the same interests so quickly.

      I would say I have let go of the old relationship and my ex. I have learned to move on, and have settled into a new city, bought a new house and ready to start a new life here. But I just didn’t expect my boyfriend to have a nervous breakdown and suffer from chronic depression.

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  • Posted

    I feel you should continue to be there for him, sounds like you have a great bond with each other, but I also feel you should go with your gut & take care of yourself also.

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  • Posted


    Just because your boyfriend ? has had a Nervous Breakdown does not mean He will have another one in the future. Personally I use that term in general terms and I would give support on the understanding  that He can address the problems that had dragged Him down over the crisis He has suffered from. 

    Mental Health generally does not need to return, many people will recover given time, although some people may have an  odd relapse during His Life  In this case His condition may not return and on occasions medications may not be given for life. He may take medications every now and then, if He is still young all may sort as said above.

    It is important He understand the need to move on from the causes of His illness, and you, if you feel the relationship is worth continuing. If the relationship is worth saving, you will need to be firm and kind. He will need not to dwell on the past and move on. Medications are a prop as can be a relationship with someone who is standing by the sufferer. of a Mental Illness, remember your needs and emotions are paramount to you and He will need to understand these needs. Be certain that He will not be to needful of you.

    Whatever you decide I wish you well and hope all will sort out well for you and you will have patience to make things work. Remember even with Mental Health it takes two to tango and both parties need to work on their future together.

    I have been quite ill over the last two months and it has been Hell for my Wife as parts of our lives have been hard to sort out. We make changes and be strong for eachother

    Good Luck

    BOB .

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    • Posted

      Thanks Bob for your kind advice! I have been told that professionals don’t normally tell patients going through depression to end a relationship. But to wait until the fog clears and then reassess the situation. Is that correct?
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  • Posted

    Hi there Deliaj🙂

     First of all can I say what a wonderful person you sound to be able to help someone who’s been through so much and is on a journey. How long it will be who knows...

    I suffer with depression and anxiety it’s been with me 26 years now.

     I guess it’s from the other side a bit. I was with some one who was cruel and never even wanted to know how I felt for a start so that wasn’t good to start with.

     Over our years together I  would go into deep depression and cut myself off... I do now,!

    Stay in bed, go straight to bed after work. Behind in housework. I am sure we’ll i know in my heart as he said to my he will never understand how I feel. Then I knew Iwas stuck how could I explain to someone who doesn’t want to listen..

     what I’m saying is I think you should be there for him but please always consider yourself and your mental heath through this.

     You’ve helped him through a very bad time there maybe be more to come in his life. 

     Is brilliant he’s picking up and he’s getting the help he needs and recognises this.

    i was terrible at times a lot of times. Comes and goes but for the last 14 it’s been here everyday,,

    I felt for him because he didn’t understand  I felt useless hopeless not wanting to be here he watched all that. but like I said he didn’t want to. I should have addressed my problems sooner but am now.

     What I’m saying is maybe see how he’s getting on how he looks in himself give it time but bare in mind he said it going to be a hard road for him.

    hes talking and that’s a brilliant thing and sought help.

     The thing is we don’t know what the future holds for us any of us.

     Your friend are very good as they have told you what they think, they know you best don’t they.

     Could you go along as boyfriend and girlfriend for a while see how it’s going for you? You are the most important one in your life right now it’s your future.

    Just because he has this illness doesn’t mean to say he won’t get better and you will see an improvement in time you will know.

     It is very hard to suffer with this I am with a new man now he understands a little he’s willing to listen that makes a change and it’s nice to know he’s there.

    So from a sufferer to a non suffer to put it that way.... it’s an awful illness it can consume you. Though having people around him will help a lot wether you choose to still be there is your discion only you can make it.

     Its not exactly what you wanted impartial advice. Sorry just trying to see from both points.

     I say see how it goes is there any rush to move to London.

    i hope whatever you decide it’s right for YOU. don’t stay out of pity but if it’s love then it may work I may have confused you not my intention. Tricky one as we are not you nor him. I hope he continues to get better too

    take care 

    Vicky 🌈


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    • Posted

      Thank you Vicky! As I was asking Bob above, I have been heard that professionals don’t normally tell patients going through depression to end a relationship. But to wait until the fog clears and then reassess the situation. Is that this true?
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    • Posted

      Hey look yes they do somtimes but it me just got out of an abusisive relationship not recommended as they feel I need to know what a healthy relationship is. I didn’t though I’m with someone but I don’t know maybe I should have waited but it just happened.

      It’s up to him and you at the end of the day. 

      you can see how it goes just a day at a time... he may be picking up more now he is talking it may well be a long road! It doesn’t mean you can be on that road with him.

       I would see how you go you sound like you want to help him if you can. That’s very special if you’ve someone there like he has you.

       Try to talk to him see what he would like to do and you think wether you are both in it for the long haul...

       Like Bob his wife is kind and they work things through with each other. It’s a great thing if you are understanding you may not know what Hess going through but you are there.

       I guess he may have found someone very sincere and willing to help that’s great, but you have to look after you first remember

      godd luck to you and of course to the gentleman you are concerned for!

      take care now


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  • Posted

    Hi Delia - one thing we can all be certain of is that no-one what the future holds. You are invested at the moment, so roll with that remembering you are helping an ailing fellow human through a difficult time. Keep an eye on whether his current gratitude to you morphs into an attitude of entitlement. Make boundaries as you go. The most important thing is to look after yourself. Humans have a habit of just doing what they did yesterday, because it's what they know, what they've done for years, what's 'expected' - even though they are unhappy. Meanwhile, good luck with your future.

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