My boyfriend has depression, I've tried to help but I just don't know what to do anymore

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So I’ve been with my boyfriend for 4 years, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs within those 4 years. He has depression and it’s got a lot worse in the last couple of years, he doesn’t cope well with expectations or commitment (he doesn’t think anything lasts because other relationships like his parents, etc, haven’t lasted) which I’ll be honest I find very hard due the my trust issues and anxiety. I feel like I have tried everything to help him, I’ve been there for him whenever he needs me but I’ve also tried to give him whatever space he needs, I’ve been supportive of him, I’ve researched and researched depression and what helps and what to do to help someone with depression, I have tried to understand and do everything to help him but I feel like it is never enough. I’m making him a happy jar which has lots of his favourite song lyrics, photos and memories, but also quotes and sayings to try and help him think positive in his moments of darkness as such.

He likes having time to himself and he says it’s to work through what is going on in his head, which I understand and try to give him as much space as he needs, but I know he distracts himself with other things so he doesn’t have the opportunity to think as he doesn’t necessarily know how to process what is going on in his head (his words) which means it takes such a long time for him – And for me it is incredibly hard because I depend on him a lot, he’s like the only person I trust and he’s the one person I want/need to turn to whenever I’m having a difficult time, but whenever he has a down moment I feel I can’t because he needs space and I don’t want to burden him with my problems when he’s got what he’s got going on.

He was diagnosed with depression about 6/7 years ago after his previous relationship had a bad ending, his parents basically forced him to go to the doctors and they gave him medication and counselling though he didn’t do either for very long. He says he managed to “snap himself out of it” (again his words), but I’ve tried to explain to him that depression is a medical illness and it isn’t something he should or can cope with on his own (because this is what he wants, to deal with it on his own) and he won’t consider getting medical help or going to speak with someone, I’ve suggested becoming a part of an online forum so he doesn’t have to face people when talking about his troubles (he’s mentioned this is something that is hard for him) and that then he can see that others go through something similar and it’s okay to feel this way and that it doesn’t make him an awful, terrible person – But he wasn’t comfortable with this either.

I myself have gone to my doctors and been referred to counselling to work on my issues, I wanted to do this because I hoped that if I could control my troubles maybe I’d be able to understand his troubles more and be more accepting to when he needs his space, but I feel like he’s still making it out like we need to fix things in the relationship and I feel horrible thinking this, but I am getting help and I am making the effort to help this relationship and to make it work, whereas he hasn’t really done much to do that.

The worst part is that whenever we meet after he’s had space to try to talk his answer to everything is always I don’t know, I know he might not know but I don’t know how to understand that he doesn’t know anything. He says he loves me, he says he sees me and this relationship as something serious, he says he wants us to have a future, but then he always says he doesn’t know. He never knows how much time he needs so I just have to sit and wonder what is going on and what he is thinking, which gets me upset and panicked which doesn’t help the situation.

I don’t really know what I’m going to gain from this post or what I want to be honest, maybe a bit of guidance on how to cope and handle this, I want to help him and be there for him but I feel like I’m feeling more and more pushed away and I’m doubting if he actually wants to be with me. I never know what is his depression talking or him talking and that makes me so nervous. But yeah, any advice would be much appreciated

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  • Posted

    Hi zoey , it is hard to live with someone that has depression , but you done good in looking into depression which a lot of partners don't do including mine.

    It's hard to sometimes tell people what's going on in there head be coz sometimes it's to painful to talk about .

    I get that he wants time on his own , most of us with depression want that . And it's not always a good thing because all we do is think and think .

    And sometimes we just don't make sense of it all either , sometimes it's easier to be alone then burden others . With me I just hate the fact it's oh she's feeling down again or she's crying and I feel I bring people down with me .

    He does need to do something , coz at the moment what he doing is not helping .

    He needs medication for one , and you saying for him to join the forum I think a great idea.

    No one on here knows your background doesn't know anything about your life unless you tell them .

    And people will help him on here , you are really doing a great job . Your boyfriend really needs help hisself now .

    It is hard really is , but he needs get out that hole his dug hiself in and start climbing back out of it .

    There loads of people like me and him in this world and we have to atleast try and be happy and have a life .

    Belive me after 25 years of having depression it can be very draining .... zoey try and keep your chin up , your not alone xx

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  • Posted


    You are in a difficult place what with His depression an that of your own mental health problems. You need to consider your needs and sconly His.

    If He is refusing treatment and assistance from a CPN or other departments, He will after at least five years have real problems approaching or controlling His condition, His past relatonship is now over and He now has you to consder and be able to help you with your developing problem. 

    Part of His problem I can see is He needs to come to terms His past relationship, it is very wrong for Him to expect you to bow down and give leeway to his concerns.

    I do feel you need to consider yourself, what concens me, if your condition has been instigated by His mood and negativity, you may ned to move on and allow yourself a normal progressive life as it seems He has no encouragement to seek treatment. Can you imagine living your next sixty years with all this sadness and negativity.

    You need to put your foot down and get Him to see His Doctor, who will arrange a course of treatment and ways to control His mood. If He refuses you need to consder both futures as all He is doing is dwelling on a long dead relationship.

    One thing you need to find out if you stay with Him the problems He had as a child, His Parents may help there although sometimes there can be problems of protectioism and possible anger and confusion why you nd to follow that course of action. You also may find it useful if you here various other family, friends etc who knew Him when His past relationship was running through good and bad. Personally i really feel it takes two to Tango, and because of the timescale involved consider the relationship may have been having the same problems as now.

    You need to protect your own sanctatey and understand and folow your needs a life long problem like above will draw you down.

    Remember BE FIRM AND KIND, do not stand for all this trash He needs a GP APPOINTMENT and possibly a INTENSIVE TREATMENT PLAN


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  • Posted

    Wow this story is like reading about myself I had such a hard time coming to terms with the fact I actually had depression.

    I still don't take medication altho I know I need it my trust problems are so bad I early go to the gp.

    It throws into light my past relationship which has ended very badly for me personally.

    Over the past few months I have realised myself that it was a relationship that should never have started. I hadn't dealt with the Desmond of the last one ending in the way it did I felt so betrayed and unworthy of anyone's time that the first person that came along and showed intrest was so flattering I thought I could treat my daemons of unworthiness with new feelings of being wanted shamefully I must admit here I never loved my ex I did try but I couldn't trust her ya know (not through anything she had done but from my experience of my last relationship) she was a crutch if you like that sounds bad I know but it's the truth

    What I'm saying is as much as you love him if he's not dealt with those demons if it's not clear about why it ended or if he's not recognised why that relationship would never have worked out then he's not ready for another relationship

    I realise how hard hat is to read I do I was single seven years between my relationships and I still wasn't ready ya know I totally blamed the old old girlfriend for cheating on me I lost everything in one go ya now she was my world it's only now 15 years later I can look back and think ya know what I became complacent I took her for granted worked to much I think even when someone cheats on you before you can really move on you have to realise where you yourself went wrong ya know like Bob says sometimes you got to do what's right for yourself you've got to look at it and think if he's not over his ex should you even be in his life in that romantic capacity it may last two three or ten years but eventually it'll break down

    He needs to help himself before anyone else can help

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  • Posted

    Hi Zoey - how difficult all this must be for you, not knowing quite where you stand, what you can do to help, and he not making a concerted effort to address his issues. The fact of the matter is that he cannot "think" his way out of a mental illness. It needs to be addressed medically and psychologically, otherwise things are not going to change for the better. Since he is in a relationship he is 50% responsible for the health of that dynamic. It is selfish of him not to be - especially when he knows he is ill. Since he won't see the doc, I think your suggestion of introducing him to a forum is a fantastic idea. I wonder if you will show him this space? What about sharing what you have written and the responses to it? We are always here to talk, and most all of us are survivors of depressive/mental health disorders, have been through the wringer, the system, the despair, the isolation, the helplessness, and know exactly what it is like. Sharing in an anonymous environment like this site can provide relief and a realisation that one is not alone in depression by any means. Will you ask him?

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