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Understanding depression


Glosoli
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I sometimes forget what it's really like not to be depressed.

Since about age 12, I became progressively more withdrawn, paranoid and pessimistic about everything.

Here's my problem.

My significant other has absolutely no idea what depression is.

All it amounts to, in his way of thinking - "Having a bad day".

He really doesn't understand I can't turn my mind off the way he wants me to. I can't stop thinking negatively - I surely would if I could; I don't enjoy this life. At his most supportive, he gives me a hug and says either, "Don't worry so much, everything is fine" or "Get over it already."

After suffering a major panic attack at work, and needing to be picked up early, he was angry with me for it. I had said I felt exhausted and nervous, and it only got worse from there - to excessive sweating, labored breathing, and having no control of my hands. Here's what he absorbed from the explanation:

"You were tired so you freaked out?"

...Which, went put like that, makes me look like a complete idiot.

I'm wondering: Is there any material out there which is effective reading for someone like this? I want to give him some literature to absorb, to see that my emotions are real, not fabrications, or being lazy.

Somehow explain that it's physical, too - I can't get up and run laps when my arms feel like lead, and my back feels like someone beat me with a sack of oranges.

Is there anything out there to help him understand?

Or am I stuck talking to an emotionless wall for the rest of my life?

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Well, on one hand, if he truly is an emotionless wall, no amount of reading material will do much for him. And, some people may not be susceptible to depression or anxiety, and thus have a harder time understanding those who do.

But I think, for a caring partner, it would be worth the effort to educate them about how you feel. I'm sure there's quite a bit of material on this site (start here and work your way into any topic that's applicable.)

The only thing required from him is that he be willing to try to understand how you feel.

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Hi Glosoli. I just read your post and wanted to say i'm sorry you are feeling so depressed. Are you being treated for it in any way?

I can't turn my mind off the way he wants me to. I can't stop thinking negatively - I surely would if I could; I don't enjoy this life
.

I know how hard it is when those around you don't understand. I myself haven't told anyone in real life about my problems and it can get pretty lonely. Your partner not understanding must make it even harder for you, since he is probably the one that you want to be able to turn to when things get bad.

Maybe you could have him come here to the forum and read what you wrote as well as what others have written about being depressed. Do you think that might help?

Good luck to you and take care.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Golosi,

I agree with Malign. However, if he continues to not understand, or to make no effort to understand, then I would take a hard line and end the relationship. If romantic partner can't make the effort to understand, after you have really tried to teach him, then, in my opinion, it's not a good relationship.

Allan

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Hi Glosoli, welcome

Living with a mental health problem is not easy, even for us who live it, so one can just imagine how challenging it would be for a partner or family member to understand. That said, I think that when we suffer from problems such as anxiety or depression, we can't put ourselves in situations that will only strenthen our feelings of stress, self-doubt and perhaps even low self-esteem. My X never understood the depression that I suffered from either, often used it against me by calling me crazy and a nut case. At times that may even have been true, but it did nothing but increase my feelings of dis-ease and the solitude I already felt.

Perhaps you will have to decide if being with him actually makes you more anxious and adds to your feelings of depression, or if his presence makes your life more pleasant and optimistic. In my case I determined that it only made it worse and that I could no longer sustain the emotional charge. How do you feel your relationship is overall, is it a positive thing in your life?

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@Endlessnight: I am being treated - I'm currently taking the max dose possible for Prozac, and seeing a therapist, though my symptoms seem to be getting worse rather than better lately. :confused: Happens at least yearly for me, dunno why...

@ASchwartz: I see what you mean. I've discussed these issues with my therapist, and I'm trying my best to deal with individual issues as they come up.

He seems inconsistent with his understanding - one day will be full of hugs, and the next could be eye-rolling and annoyed muttering. Thankfully it doesn't get worse than that. If it did, I'd have been long gone already! :)

I just worry about what I would do if that DID have to happen. I uprooted my entire life to move out here - all my doctors, insurance, bank accounts are here, and my parents are in no fit state to look after me anymore. By rights, I should be with them looking after THEM, but I can barely manage my own affairs right now. It's a pickle.

@Symora: My relationship isn't perfect, clearly, but it's pleasant most of the time. We live in a decent apartment with quiet neighbors, and we exist pretty peacefully.

I find it difficult to know if it's him or me at fault for the lack of understanding - He makes an effort, and in my clear times, it all works out well enough. But when I'm very depressed, anxious or distraught, I'm confused and don't know which side is reality - or if I'm being irrational or not.

A few weeks ago, it seemed perfectly okay to come right out and say, "I'm sorry but I'm leaving you", which I DID! Then as the conversation progressed, something in my head gave off warning bells - this isn't something I should be doing. Why am I doing this?

And so after a long talk on a crisis phoneline, and some hours separated, I decided to just declare myself momentarily nuts. :D

Leaving the only support I actually had seemed insane to me - and starting a new life would have been even more stressful, especially in my home state of Vermont, where mental healthcare has not been good to me.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Glosoli,

I am somewhat worried about what you have written because you appear to be somewhat dependent on this man. Not that I think that is always a bad thing. What concerns me is that you would stay in a relationship for fear that you have no support. That's the type of situation that can lead to being abuse. I am not saying you are about to be abuse. I am not accusing him. It is only that every human being has the right to leave an unhappy relationship if its unhappy. I hope you understand that I am not suggesting that you should leave him but only that you feel free to leave him if things do not work out.

Questions???

Allan:)

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