My boyfriend has depression, what can I do?

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Hi, my boyfriend and I have been together for 5 years but we're 20 and still live with our parents separately. He's always have sort of minor depression but in the last year it's gotten incredibly bad and he dropped out of uni as he wasn't doing well.

He's been on a couple of different types of anti depressants for the last 3 months but they haven't helped, one of them actually made it worse. He's on the waiting list for counseling but there's a wait time of about 4-5 months from now.

I help him sort of short term, I'm support him and don't pressure him and I'm there for him and I do as much as I can to cheer him up and make him smile day to day. But he's 20 and has no money, he needs to either go back to uni or get a job and think about his future. Of course this is hard for him but his parents really pressure him into it and are horrible about it, so I want to help him get away from that environment. He's apathetic and doesn't know what he wants and can't really get the effort to find out what he wants.

I feel a bit lost, I want to help him but I also don't want to pressure him. Has anyone else been in this situation, on his side or mine? Can you give me any advice?

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  • Posted

    Where, roughly, do you live? Which anti-depressants has he been given?

    Did he make a mistake when he set his chosen path in uni? It seems that there might be something at uni that has really got him down. Are you also at uni?

    Clearly from what you say his parents do not understand. They probably think he is shirking and have never encountered depression. You could help by finding one or two of those pamphlets usually available in surgeries or pharmacies and giving them to his parents, and do it while your boyfriend is not around but do not challenge them.  If you see a TV programme dealing with depression, anxiety or worse make a suggestion that all of them watch it.

    There is not much you can do other than what you are already doing. Depression is not an easy condition to treat. The patient needs help to lift him/her out of the worst bit so that they can fight it. It cannot be cured like say a virus because it all depends upon strength  and positive thinking. The patient will either fight back with the help of the meds or the meds are not the right ones.  The meds do not make it worse but they do have side effects in some cases. Therefore a change is important.

    In this case it may be fluoxetine (Prozac) that will be good for him. That is good for changing moods and enabling the patient to feel an uplift. But based just on the bit of info above finding the cause is impossible. That is what is needed - find the root cause.

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    • Posted

      That may not be surprising if you have been unlucky enough not to see the medics who could diagnose and offer help. Psychiatrists are never right all the time and frequently not even most of the time. They tend not to disagree with one another unless there is very good reason. After all, it is all in the mind and we may be close to discovering a major development in both brain knowledge and brain surgery but close is just not good enough. If you turn up at a clinic with 'mental health issues' they will  want to hear a lot about what you may consider mental health issues.
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    • Posted

      29 years is a long time but happens to be about the same period as I've suffered it! Sadly I didn't recognise it and neither did anyone else. Most of the time it was fairly mild and manifested itself as generally not getting the most out of life because I felt insecure and negative all the time. Things such as redundancy and bereavement would trigger huge anxiety and deep depression going on for a year or more. I am now this month getting some help and am taking antidepressants for the first time. Not much but at least I feel a bit more optimistic - I really want to get to the point where I was breifly some 16 years ago and very happy and felt emotionally very strong. The cause of my depression is lack of security and fear of losing what I have (family, home, job etc). Constant worry, stomach churning feelings, reluctance to meet people and doing anything, feelings of inferiority and non-achievement have all haunted me for years and although I'm not in a good place right now I am slowly becoming more determined to beat this thing. Really hope things can move forward for you too.
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  • Posted

    Hi Harriet,

    I was in the same situation as your boyfriend - dropped out of uni, didn't know what I wanted to do etc but didn't have someone like you to be there for me! Sadly I didn't recognise I had depression until nearly 30 years later! What a waste! Anyhow, the best advice I can give is to try and get your boyfriend to get professional help and stick with it. Whatever it is that is causing him to be this way its best to face it and deal with it. It could be simple or it could be complex but do what you feel you can to help him get help so he doesn't do what I did and not make the most of life. It's only these last few months that I've realised I've had depression for so long - I'm now at last on some medication and hope it helps me.



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  • Posted

    It will take a long time but eventually he will recover on the meds and with the counselling. All you can do is be there but try not to get worn out by it. Try and distance yourself a bit so that you won't go down the same path yourself.

    All the best


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