Fortunately for me, my family would not tolerate me in this condition and forced to me to get out of bed and dragged me to doctors and checked me into mental health units until we found the right doctor who perscribed the right medication that worked. Turns out typical anti-depressants don't work on me because I am bipolar and was experiencing bipolar depression.
It's been three years of recovery now and I am very happy. I take my quatiepine every night and get the sleep I need so I don't relaspe into mania and then depression.
My family is not sophisticated about mental illness. They would rather not think about it. But the one thing they did is to refuse to let me remain in that state and forced me to take action.
Part of my motivation of writing my original comment was because I realized that the author of the article made a mistake. I'm not blaming the author because I've made the same mistake and I've seen it made often. I never really thought about it much. The mistake is trying to explain depression in terms the non-depressed family could understand. He even used that common metaphor of being in a dark tunnel. Everyone can relate to being in a dark tunnel, right? That's the problem. Then they think of terms that they can relate to and are more tempted to blame the depressed person for not just "getting up" like they've done when they were in a dark tunnel.
It occurred to me without really being conscious of it that the correct way to describe depression is in terms they do not understand. That way they'd see depression correctly, as something really abnormal and serious. I wanted to show that the depressed person was incapable of thinking in any way helpful for others or themselves. I wanted them to see it like you might see a man sitting on the tracks when a train is approaching and not only refusing to move, but seeming disinterested in it and almost content to die. It's shocking but it's true. It's so far out of the normal band, unlike the dark tunnel. Family are not powerless and should get into action. Push that man off the track!
That's why I shared, because it's important for family and sufferers know that people do recover. I don't share under my real name, although I would like to, because some people are really frightened and prejudiced against bipolar people. Maybe from a bad experience. Not all bipolars get psychotic and think they're Jesus who can fly.
Every once in a while a local paper somewhere runs an article about someone running down the street naked claiming they were Jesus. Dollars to doughnuts it's an undiagnosed bipolar patient having a psychotic episode. The flying is probably from Reefer Madness, I believe, but you were undoubtedly speaking in hyperbole to sarcastically feign sympathy for some idiot for irrationally fearing a bipolar patient like they were equivalent to the absurdly exaggerated pot-crazed teenager diving through a window to their death because they were so stoned they believed they were a chicken and could fly.
Parents Of Suicide Victim Saw It Coming A Mile Away
I do have issues with my balance and motor control. If I get dehydrated, my blood sugar gets low, or I get too tired, I can lose the ability to drive. Not drive safely. Drive at all.
As a precaution, I always have extra food, water, and medication with me all the time. I plan trips so I don’t get into problems. And I have friends who will drive me home. Which I did have one do early in my treatment because I didn’t know all this yet.
My psychiatrist has me on additional medication twice a day to help with both motor control and muscle pain. Works pretty well.
I’ve learned that feeling one strand of muscle being tight in my arms or chest is a warning I’m getting dehydrated. At that point, I have about half an hour before I’ll start having problems.
Note: If you’re worried about my ability to drive. It’s not an issue. The symptoms are very obvious to me and it about an hour to get that bad. Anyone who is diabetic deals with the same kind of issues.
After I wrote my comment I thought of something weird. California sent me a tax bill every month. Every month I would ignore it and every month it would go up due to fines. Finally California siezed my bank account and cleaned it out, all $13,000, leaving me destitute. What I thought was weird was my reaction. I didn't care. I was watching it happen like watching a fly walk across the cieling - with complete indifference. So here's something else family can do - ask to see the bills.
The other thing is that unlike with depression where you have to squint really hard to see much of an effect from most treatments, there are reasonably effective treatments for mania and hypomania, including good old lithium. So if you're being treated, while you might still suffer from regular bouts of depression, you'll likely have much reduced or even eliminated hypomanic or manic symptoms. So it's not unusual to see manic depressives who are treated showing very few manic symptoms for years on end.
Once someone demonstrably has issues with mania, yes, sure, I understand wanting to prevent it, but in a lot of cases I see very little separation from actual mania and "I felt good one day" (which if someone were depressed may feel very weird).
There's also strong arguments that one or two manic or hypomanic episodes are not enough evidence for a bipolar diagnosis.
As someone who's been clinically depressed, your examples seem contrived to me. Are they based on any specific evidence, and if so, would you please share with the group?
Yet, when I searched for help the diagnosis seemed rushed and I decided not to take lithium. Years later after much therapy a new psi prescribed me an SSRI. It did wonders to my anxiety and subsided the thoughts of taking my life. But the main motivational problems persist.
Now I'm convinced to stop taking them because they make me kinda numb. It's like I miss crying or taking some issues as serious and important.
Then a question arises: just from taking SSRIs these two years and not going nuts, does that prove I'm not bipolar?
Apparently yours do not quite work well enough, since you seem to be describing aboulia, which is a depression symptom.
The fact that I had cooked dinner and mopped the floors didn’t count.
She was angry with me probably 33-50% of the time. For about a year I tried to get out ahead of all the chores. But that’s impossible. Finally I realized that this wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t a bad partner. This was something in her head.
I could actually watch in real time as her own brain gaslit her. I’d pay her a compliment — “that dress looks nice” — and see a perceptible lag as her brain figured out how to turn it into an insult — “your other dresses aren’t nice.”
Eventually she recognized something was wrong and got help, but it took a couple of years. She is a completely different person now.
If you are the partner of a depressed person, your primary responsibility is to yourself. You have to stay sane. THEN, if you can, you can support and help your partner. But if you lose your own mental health you’re pretty much done.
My wife hasn’t found a solution yet. She will sleep in until 11 on a weekend and get out of bed only to get upset with what hasn’t yet been done. She does very little with herself outside of work.
Like your wife, any compliment is actually an insult. That sort of dynamic definitely complicates kindling or maintaining romance.
I remind myself that it’s worse for her than it is for me. I’m also grateful for the challenges it has presented because in many ways, it has made me a better person.
I do wish she was happier. For her sake and for our kid’s sakes. Life isn’t always happy though, and it all takes work. Relationships take work. With the right framing and patience these things can be worked through.
Your last point about maintaining your own mental health really is key, though. I’ve crossed that line several times and essentially developed my own depression. It’s very dangerous.
I’ve found it very helpful to reflect on what I contribute, how hard I’m working towards my duties as a partner, and how my actions meet my intentions and so on. When I can honestly tell myself I’m doing well, just about the best I can manage, I let things slide. If it’s all I can do and it isn’t good enough for someone else, I’ll still reward myself for my efforts and let the depressive ire slide off my back. Most importantly though I’ll recognize my own efforts and make sure I don’t allow myself to be pulled into thinking it isn’t good enough.
I think I did the right thing when I read through all the comments in this thread.
All the focus in your post is on your duties, not on hers.
I obviously don't know your relationship from the inside, but I experienced similar and it was relief to get away from it.
I think a major complication is that she's somewhat manic in that she has highs and lows. Her lows are extremely low. When she's higher though, she can be very pleasant, kind, good to her family, etc.
I find it very difficult to nail down who she is on that spectrum, or where she might eventually land between those states, and how I can judge her or my decisions based on how things fluctuate so much.
The word gaslighting is absolutely accurate, though. She does this a lot and I wish she didn't. I'm vulnerable to it because I tend to blame myself and hesitate to engage in confrontation when I'm uncertain of myself.
If you don't have kids, you should leave her. People's characters don't usually change or improve.
There's an interesting set of perspectives around this type of problem in psychology. Whether you look at popular moderns like Alain de Botton, Jordan Peterson, ancient philosophers, religion, etc. there is a recurring theme that commitment to a person matters, and without it, things kind of fall apart.
I find this interesting and compelling. I don't expect life to be easy, and I think welcoming and anticipating challenges is very healthy. This sort of problem does straddle boundaries that I find difficult to define, though. At which point is enough enough? When do we decide the commitment is no longer warranted? How "easy" should a relationship be? If I leave, will I be foolish for seeking anything different?
Not to drag this on - I find the topic very fascinating for both personal and more general reasons. This is a problem I believe a lot of us face. If I can't sove it for myself, I'd be happy to understand it better if only to serve my friends or children eventually.
> People's characters don't usually change or improve.
I wish you were wrong, but this does seem to generally be true. There are exceptions of course, but it seems inadvisable to ever hope for it to happen. It takes incredible work, and it's work that a lot of people don't have the knowledge or tools to understand or work with. Personal growth is perhaps one of the greater challenges in life.
Anyway, thanks for the discourse. I appreciate the advice. I should make apoint to look out for myself more when I sense gaslighting is occurring.
When it is under control, life is great. When it's not, it's not. We've been through many meds and doctors and therapists.
We're in a decently stable place right now, but there's always a fear in the back of my mind "but for how long". Her previous meds worked for years and then just... Stopped. There was also the "fun" 6 months where she decided she didn't need then anymore - spoilers, she did.
We're currently quarantining because we both caught COVID over Christmas. We've both been sick for a solid week at this point and the cracks are kind of showing.
All this is to say you're not alone, and there are others. Hold in there.
Addendum: I’ve looked for like online support for people in this sort of relationship and come up largely short. I looked at BetterHelp but couldn’t really justify the cost. If anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear it.
The last time was different though. In her seventies, her body couldn’t take the strain again. And now she’s in a long term care facility for dementia, probably for the rest of her life — fortunately close for her husband. Moral of the story: if you want to go off your meds, make sure a doctor is keeping an eye on you. No matter how good the good times feel.
It took me years to get to real stability and meds still suck. The only reason I haven’t gone off my meds is I’m both high-functioning and very used to managing chronic medical problems. I know how to work with my Psychiatrist to manage my own medical care and decide what is and isn’t acceptable to me.
It might just not work with bipolar. If bipolar person go manic, then reckless behavior, overconfidence, and unlimited optimism may beat any moral of this kind.
For sociological reasons that bear discussion, there is very little support for men in this situation. You may need to depend heavily on strong, close friends and family members. There is rarely a village to support a modern marriage.
Do not isolate yourself.
A relationship can be good or bad or some kind of stable compromise. When things go sour, one has to take a hard look at the risk to oneself in trying to personally support another person whom the psychiatric field may or may not be able to help. Then there is also the sunken cost of marriage, with home, children, and economic risks.
If I may offer a final personal observation... by the time you feel you are hurt by the situation, you have been hurting for a long time and worse than you realised.
Sincere best wishes to you!
I had a similar thing happen with my long time girlfriend, 5+ years. She had a rough childhood and covid measures eventually made her suicidal as we graduated college. Eventually she got treatment, and is doing better (yay!).
This is all great other than the meds have now evened her out too much. She’s a totally different person and antidepressants have some side effects that have effected us.
Even if the meds are good for you, and they probably are, it was difficult to adjust to a whole new person after so long. I could even see either the side effects or who she is now ending our relationship.
We’re working on it, but i think in part the meds messed with our dynamic.
I assume part of this is the typical effect that she now has almost no libido
I'm surprised by how many people go trough the same. This seems to be more widespread that one would assume.
 There's an argument to be made for depressive realism that would say I'm pointing out how things really are, but I'm not going to make it because there's also thousands of years of philosophy that makes a compelling argument for reality not being so easy to pin down anyway.
 It occurs to me that the seemingly increasing rate of depression in a lot of developed nations may be due, like almost all of society's ills, to advertising. Advertising confronts us constantly trying to get us to do things we don't want to do, namely spending money on shit we don't need, and so we develop a defense mechanism. That mechanism takes the form of a contrarian inner voice that argues against the bullshit advertisement telling you you'll be happy if only you buy whatever it is it is selling, but the contrarian voice doesn't have an off switch and recognizes all the little sales pitches of every day life as a threat too.
I think we're in agreement that a depressed person generally doesn't want to be cheered up and won't be receptive to it, so you can be positive as much as you want and it won't do much.
I've been on both sides of this, and as the depressed person it seems most helpful to remember that I need to put in the extra effort to try to be positive especially when I don't want to. And as the partner it's helpful to remember that you need to create some separation so you don't get too pulled in and then are unable to help in any way.
Psychologist has been fighting such social stigmas for decades.
I'd also add that (again maybe just for me) it's a way more helpful way to view it. It helps me recognize when I need to just go through the motions of being positive until I can get back to doing it naturally. It usually feels a lot better in the moment to focus on the negatives but somewhere in my head I know that's not going to help me.
> But if you lose your own mental health you’re pretty much done.
Happened to me. I started the relationship with zeal and willingness to help. I wished to make a difference, yet it can be incredibly taxing one one's emotions. You can very much be affected yourself.
I sometimes feel I am at the edge of this then somehow I do some work I am happy with, see a friend, ride a bike or go for a swim and I am back from the edge.
The gas-lighting is sometimes so surreal I am speechless.
This paragraph reminded me of the advice given regarding oxygen masks on planes. If you can't breathe, you're of no use to anyone, so sort out your own mask before helping others, etc. The fact they have to keep reminding us of this, though, is perhaps a demonstration that this doesn't come naturally to many.
That understates what happened. She started wishing the dog would just go die.
That finally brought home to her that her thinking had dramatically changed and that it wasn't just situational, e.g. it wasn't that I was lazy. This is incredibly specific to our situation and I'm sure it doesn't help anyone else.
But the takeaway for us was that she had a come-to-Jesus moment that made her realize this was her problem, and she needed outside help. She did not realize she had clinical depression until that moment.
It helped that I was in graduate school and had a very supportive set of people around me. They valued me and let me know it.
As stated elsewhere on this thread - there aren't a lot of support options available for men in this situation.
Making someone "see the problem" is missing the point entirely. Firstly because often, people with depression are fully aware of how they are treating people. They simply can't help it.
Your role as a partner is to love and support them. You also, however, need to prioritize your own mental health and happiness. There is an extremely common relationship 'trap,' one I've lived through. You are in a relationship that is causing you personal distress and unhappiness -- but your love of the other person makes you feel trapped. You can see how much they are struggling, and can't bear to hurt them -- often because you are afraid of what may happen if you leave.
When you love someone with a debilitating illness, mental or otherwise, you need to decide whether you can accept the other person as they are. If you can, then you have to do that, and choose to stay with the person precisely as they are -- while having and enforcing healthy boundaries. If you cannot -- and often times there are extremely good and valid reasons why you cannot -- then you owe it to both of you to discuss this and potentially end the relationship. Sometimes such a conversation can be the spark of change for the other person, but often times it isn't, and that's okay. Staying in a relationship that is making you miserable is doing no one any benefit.
It's a supreme challenge with depression, but you cannot allow the depression your partner experiences to affect your own emotional health. The best tool for this is something called "loving detachment." I'd recommend you read about it, and about the concept of co-dependency in general(*). It was a life saver for me.
The worst relationship mistake you can make (after the obvious choices like affairs or so on) is being in a relationship with a mirage. Too many people have a false ideal of their partner -- their partner after they've been "cured" or "fixed" or "realized the problem" or "got clean" or whatever. You cannot have "you must change" as a condition of the relationship. Either the person will change or they won't, but staying in a relationship where you expect the other person will change is controlling and damaging. Are you in love with the person? Or with a made-up vision of the person you have in your head? Remember that love is unconditional.
The best thing I did in my relationship was spend a year (I'm not exaggerating) thinking about the realities of the situation, the options I had, the way my life could end up whether I stayed or leaved, and so on. It was an extremely difficult time and required the help of therapists, both personally and as a couple. In order to do this properly you need to admit divorce as a possible end -- and I don't mean the empty threats of divorce many of us make. For instance, the hardest session I ever had was when my personal therapist pushed me to walk through a concrete plan for leaving. Where would I go? Who would I tell? How would we split up our possessions? And so on. Making the possibility real is extremely important. In order to not feel trapped, you need to fully believe that leaving is an option.
In the end, the decision I made for myself was that I could accept my wife as she was. Almost immediately my mental wellbeing improved drastically. I no longer felt trapped. My wife's depression did not magically become cured, but I learned how to detach from it and be a good partner while protecting my own health.
In the years since, my improved wellbeing and happiness has slowly but surely helped turn the relationship around. Her depression is still not cured, but now I know how to be a good partner for her, which has in fact helped her to a large degree. She now trusts me as someone she can turn to for help, rather than viewing me as someone who was taking her mental health personally (which I was definitely doing). In the end, this is thing most spouses don't want to realize -- it's you that has to change, not your partner with depression, whether that means leaving the relationship because it can't and won't work, or learning to love them as they are.
(*) It can be really easy for spouses to take suggestions like this personally. I know I did. Being called co-dependent by the couples therapist felt like a full scale assault. How dare he say that I'M the one with a problem!! Doesn't he know what I've BEEN through?? What I was missing is that he was telling me that to help me. Learning about co-dependency -- and how to overcome it -- was the most liberating thing I've ever felt.
Do you have any resources that you'd care to recommend? I've found it challenging to find good resources. I find recommendations like the one in this article, "just listen", to be profoundly unhelpful.
I've got a lot of empathy for people in relationships like this. It's not easy and even though there's help and medication, it still ends up being an up hill battle.
I myself have been struggling with Dysthymia since my teenage years so you can imagine how fun that experience was with her.
I tried everything with her to change her outlook on certain things, find ways to distract her mind, finding coping mechanism etc. Nothing worked, though I think she might not have wanted to get better in a sense. Having 5+ hour long arguments every day about things that weren't logical finally broke me. My Dysthymia turned into full on depression. For months I'd tell her that I'm going to bed praying I wouldn't wake up - hoping that she'd find better ways for managing things... I just eventually tapped out and had to leave.
So yeah, I have loads of empathy for people in similar situations. Just remember that you can leave. If you've done all you've could, no one will blame you. Some people just aren't meant to be in relationships or need a lot of help before getting into one.
Marriage means you share your spouse's life and well-being. Often for better, sometimes for worse.
Your situation sounds like the textbook description of depression as caused by "mental distortions" from proponents of CBT. Did your wife consult a CBT practitioner, and did this help?
I am in no way trying to say I know the solution to your (past) problems, but CBT is sometimes described in a bit too enthusiastic terms by its proponents, and your story sounds like an opportunity to get anecdotal evidence on how much it might actually work in practice. In particular TEAM-CBT proponents claim to be able to cure depression in a session (and then continue to accompany the person through the innevitable relapses). I love their very data-oriented approach, but find it too good to be 100% true.
It helped me a lot, in particular in dealing with thoughts something like what the OP's partner apparently had. It has great strategies for first recognizing, and then dealing with such thoughts. They're not "just feel better" ideas, they're specific things to do which help.
I also want to put a plug in for dogs. I have struggled with depression on and off in my life, and two years ago I adopted a dog I saw being abused in the street. She was just a little puppy, and I absolutely did not want anything to do with raising a dog at the time, but I felt I had no choice. I picked her up and took her home.
Since then I have not been able to sleep past 7am in the morning without these two little eyes staring me down. But it is wonderful. She gives me relentless love every day, and she gave my life a really healthy structure it desperately needed. We go on walks three times a day looking for her doggy friends. I spent a lot more time in nature, because she doesn't give a damn for computers or video games. I know even some people look down on me for how much I love my dog, but they have no idea what I was like before. This dog saved my ass.
Now it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to just lie in bed, and that is a great thing, not a bad thing.
Some of the problems I've seen with people who've adopted dogs:
1) One dog got scared by a loud firework and now runs home from walks at any sudden sound, and won't even go out at all in many conditions, leading to great stress.
2) One dog has separation anxiety and shits everywhere if left alone too long.
3) One dog owner is depressed and doesn't walk her little dog, instead relying on wee wee pads, but the dog ignores them so the apartment is disgusting.
4) One has to wear a muzzle and chain harness on every walk and only the husband can walk him, since he goes berserk if he sees other dogs.
Etc. And all except number 3 above are people who are good with dogs, did everything you're supposed to do, consulted with trainers, etc. Look at the Biden's dog, Hunter - all the money in the world for training, a patient family and they couldn't fix his issues.
And then there's people out there who blame the owner/blame the victim when a dog makes the owner's life worse. "You must be just doing something wrong."
So again, if you're depressed, you might get lucky with a dog, but don't blame yourself if you have to rehome it.
I have tried for months working with the dog and spent thousands on training and tools to try and train him out of his resource guarding issues with no success. It looks like I have very little choice except to have him go back to the rescue I got him from, as moving is out of the question with how much housing costs in my area (I live in a house a good friend owns and I'm paying under market rates right now), let alone even if I moved out I would have difficulty finding any roommates who would tolerate a dog which bites.
The dog has been a great companion and I love him, but having to let him go has made me feel absolutely horrible, and I feel the worst I have in years now.
Cats aren't perfect for someone who's not home for a long portion of the day, or who likes going out too much, though I Assume someone with depression doesn't go out much to begin with.
Hunter Biden is one of Joe Biden's sons from his first wife.
The German Shepherds are named Major and Champ.
I was already running through my head a scenario like on King of the Hill where Hank Hill's father, Cotton, decides to name his newborn son Hank and refers to him as "Good Hank".
The love you get from animals (dogs, cats, etc...) is pure. These creatures are incapable of malice and wrong, and their desires are simple.
Accordingly, Animals (and children) are the only creatures to which I can give unconditional love.
I found that their disposition came in waves and would be worse for a few days and better for a few days, and during those better days we could work together on damage control from all the bedridden days, and discuss different treatment options to pursue. But even during the worst days, I still needed to get them to eat, or stop them from wandering off in the middle of the night, or get them to call back their panicked family member. It was hard work.
Coping with depression and similar with others is a very individual task and just like you said, different situations and characters call for dealing with it very specifically.
I hope you had a good network of people to support you during that time, as well.
Go exercise, eat some healthy food, take your damn meds, try new meds, try ketamine if suicidal, try psilocybin if treatment resistant.
But coddling depression just drags it out longer and digs the spiral deeper. Yes, it is a disease which means it needs to be treated.
All of those with depression who I have been with do a combination of:
- Sleep small amounts of absurd hours
- Eat junk foods
- Spend all their time on video games, YouTube, TV shows, social media
- No exercise
- Take substances such as caffeine or other recreational drugs
And it is indeed coddling that has gotten them to this point. The general response may be "It is so easy for you to say and do", but it really isn't easy for anyone.
With an increase in people who either identify as or are diagnosed with depression, they have continued to claw at other aspects to blame, and it's now shifting to blaming "loved ones" for "failing" them.
- Sleep small amounts of absurd hours
A small amount of research will let you know this isn't necessarily a sign of depression, even if you witness it in others. Many folks sleep entirely too much instead. Not only that, but this is easily something other life things do: Having an infant, for example, or working long hours at a stressful job or having a health issue. Heck, if you only see them once a month, a woman's hormone cycle could do this.
- Eat junk foods
Sometimes, but that's because depression robs folks of energy and motivation. Junk food is better than nothing at all. But more to the point, it is really common for normal folks to eat junk food. Just have a busy schedule or live in the Midwest.
- Spend all their time on video games, YouTube, TV shows, social media
This isn't a sign of depression because it is normal in society. Signs point to such folks spending the time differently.
- No exercise
So, basically normal. Exercise isn't a cure-all, and not everyone can afford things like safe areas outdoors nor proper shoes.
- Take substances such as caffeine or other recreational drugs
Coffee sells really well, as does tea. I'm awfully sure that this isn't a sign of depression. I'll add that loads of folks take recreational drugs - most popularly, pot/hash and alcohol - that aren't mentally ill.
It doesn't matter if it isn't easy for you: Depression makes those things more difficult. No one said it was easy.
Exercise is required to be a human. Walking 10,000 steps each day is a good rule of thumb, it doesn't require proper shoes, or any equipment. Many people will get there just through their day-to-day activities. If that's unachievable, there are games like Ring Fit which are very accommodating.
Sleep is required to be a human. 7-8 hours a day. It doesn't need to be all at once, but it is so important not to devalue those restorative hours.
Food is required to be a human. Our gut biome is instrumental to cognitive well-being; our brain requires Omega-3 fatty acids which can not be produced within our body, and important vitamins such as D, B-12, iron, etc. are often not available in many processed foods (which is why many are becoming fortified!)
Lacking in all the above is co-emergent depression, as well as a recipe for systemic health issues.
It's a zombie lifestyle. Exercise isn't a cure-all because reasons and people have no shoes. What!?
If you don't like it, don't do it. It doesn't make other's lifestyle less normal.
Barely sleeping and only eating junkfood. Spending time only on games.
Surely you understand that exercise is an invention to compensate for our passive lifestyles that require far less physical activity? Does this really have to be explained?
I would gently suggest you spend some time thinking about this. What makes you seek out relationships with depressed people?
I say this because I was in a similar life situation. Examining the question I just asked you very deeply helped me to a place of significant improvement for my own wellbeing.
> it's now shifting to blaming "loved ones" for "failing" them.
I didn't get this from the article at all. I think you are feeling some defensiveness, which is normal, but still.
> This article doesn't understand how hard it is to listen to hours, days, months, years of a person you care about constantly speaking of ending their life.
That's because -- as difficult as this is to accept -- in these situations the right thing to do is to leave the relationship.
I would (again, gently) suggest you research codependency. Doing so would be for your own health and happiness. I know when a therapist first called me codependent it felt like an aggressive attack; I took it extremely personally. I hope you don't feel the same. Just trying to help a fellow HNer.
Isn’t that a side effect of lazyness?
> - Spend all their time on video games, YouTube, TV shows, social media
> - Take substances such as caffeine or other recreational drugs
Doesn’t everyone drink caffeine? Asking seriously. I am depressed but I believe computer addiction sucks my liveliness, fortunately with programming instead of gaming, so I was able to make a career out of it, but it’s been the bane of my life. I prefer caffeine because it bumps my mood and I can still do sports, as opposed to meds which cut my libido and break my will to do sports and make me want to eat fat (so basically cuts my manliness), but could caffeine be the cause of anything and do most people do without?
After 39 years old, I just conclude people hate people who work and invent values to break our life (preferring some people to others, celebrating other people’s deeds (meanwhile I’ve donated thousands to charities, in hours and money, who cares?), now locking us down with covid psychosis, it sounds very fun to them), I’m done trying to better myself, ideology of favouring the weakest turns into hating the “rich” and plain bullying. If the world didn’t revolve around making our life difficult, people like me wouldn’t spend our life at work and they wouldn’t be able to fund their awful “social” (social but not me) projects. The economy of the nation revolves on stable bullying.
BUT, we generally need to eat a lot better, exercise more, spend less time on TV for the sake of wasting time..
But i can't generalize it all. There are lots of computer games that exercise the mind, relieve stress, offer creativity like nothing before. Minecraft is that for me - from the music to the expressiveness and the simple joy of playing.
I watch a lot of youtube videos on making music, improving my coding/development skills and history... so its not like i'm just wasting my time there.. but i have to do it in the right doses and not ignore my family/day to day life
so it's all about balance
and its so hard to balance when you work 40 hours a week, have a family, have kids and have dependencies that playing a game for 3 hours on friday is nothing compared to the rest of it.
And that's what causes the depression/burnout i see...
Your whole post is an example of failing them.
Everything feeds into everything. It has become a vicious cycle. I'm trying to break out of it but somehow I fail everyday. Commenting in hopes of moving the needle by re-iterating it to myself.
I know it's hard, and I have to remind myself of the same things all the time. But I'm successful when I get out of my head and start acting.
What I've learned is that there are no general easy solutions on how to deal with someone that is depressed. Even when someone says "X worked for me", you might find that it only worked because other things they did brought them to a stage where they were ready to accept X and it could work for them.
The only real advice I can give is that sometimes you'll need to listen, other you'll need to push, sometimes you'll need to listen and wait before you can push, or viceversa. But you'll never really know when to do each or how to do them. Try to get them to a therapist (this can be hard already) that knows what to do and if they need medication, but other than that just be attentive and compassionate. There's no magic solution.
I know someone who left his depressed spouse of over 25 years. He loved her and tried to make it work, but eventually chose happiness for himself, for the second half of his life. He left her alone and essentially friendless.
No easy answers there.
Years later I still silently feel guilty beyond anything and wonder deeply if it was the right choice. The reaction of my friends, parents and colleagues was something along the lines of "at last!" as they only saw me as a martyr who always "compromised" and put up with large costs, financially, emotionally, and with no reward other than being yelled at a lot; sleeping on the sofa every night. I felt very, very bad about leaving, but I just could not cope and wondered what would happen for the rest of my life either.
As far as I can tell, my departure promoted her to re evaluate her life, and explore other hobbies and activities. I chose to believe that this has been a net force for good for both parties. I just wish someone would tell me that I did the right thing, and am not a monstrous human, failing a partner in their hour (well, decade) of need.
In my book, you did the right thing. (I’m bipolar, if that helps.)
Genuine question here. What do you mean when you talk about "failing a partner"? It seems like everyone in this type of relationship hesitates to leave because they think they'll damage the other person.
It doesn't sound from what you've written that your partner was doing so well when you were with them. Have you considered that maybe part of the depression was caused by their relationship with you? (Obviously I'm not saying that is the case, but reading your post, you seem to be of the opinion that your relationship was a good thing for your ex-partner.)
That has been my experience too when I left my partner.
But sometimes reflecting back to someone what they just said about their own life is helpful for them.
Perhaps not in this case, given the downvotes and pile on of replies.
Anytime you try to help, it risks going sideways. I'm prone to trying anyway.
Chalk it up to longstanding bad habit (insert wry smile).
I’ve fallen for that trap a few times and so now I even delete comments before posting as if I think “maybe my intent wont come across correctly here”.
I think the problem with the comment (the one starting FWIW) is it comes off a bit sarcastic even if you didn’t mean that.
No, that's not remotely my intent at all.
Most people raise children on either a guilt model or shame model. I raised mine on the basis of enlightened self interest.
Understandably, many people read in accusations of guilt where none exist. They've been trained that way.
I'm only replying in hopes it provides some clarification for the person I originally replied to. I care not at all what others think of me or my motives etc. But I sincerely wish that their takeaway is "You don't need outside validation if you can see with your own eyes that it was for the best." and not "Here is some random internet stranger just adding to your pain because the world is an awful place full of awful people."
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to try to clarify that detail.
Glad to hear that.
>Most people raise children on either a guilt model or shame model. I raised mine on the basis of enlightened self interest.
Glad to hear that too
Could you elaborate on that training? If that's what I'm doing, I'd like to understand the mechanism by which I came to that habit.
If you want to sort out how you may be projecting guilt (or projecting guilting behavior) onto other people and how that came to be, you might start a journal.
On HN, the guidelines ask that we assume good faith and take a charitable reading. If you work at that, it's a good exercise in how to sort out who is actually bringing their baggage to the conversation and when it is you, yourself, bringing the baggage.
A good rule of thumb is to observe patterns of behavior. Consider the history of the person speaking whom you seek to judge and consider your own patterns.
I sometimes downvote something on HN and then wonder if it's me, if I really have enough info to judge the comment or if I'm being lazy and reactive without adequate info to properly judge it. If I think "I don't really know that they are behaving badly like I think they are. I'm kind of leaping to conclusions here." I will reverse the downvote.
I usually am trying to understand a comment as best I can from their point of view while respecting myself and why I see it that way. Sometimes it's just not worth hashing out.
There isn't enough time in the day to really understand every random internet stranger, their life story, their personal history, their culture. Sometimes it's better to just drop it as the least worst answer I have in an imperfect world and an imperfect life with a limited amount of time on this earth.
There are people who spend years in therapy tracking down the defects in their own patterns of thought. It's not something that typically gets fixed in a "once and done" fashion.
Though sometimes it does get fixed that way. Sometimes just having the right thing said does make a person go "I did not know that about myself (or about how life works)." And they are permanently changed for the better without a lot of drama.
I feel like this is probably what people mean when they speak of seeking enlightenment -- that magical aha! moment that doesn't hurt and makes everything better forever.
Best of luck in your journey.
For what it's worth, GP, I think you did the right thing too.
This makes me wonder if putting people with mental problems into a new situation away from family can break some of the negative patterns. My sister used to live with my parents for many years, barely left the home besides for work and in general just hated life. Then she went to a six month stationery treatment and you could see with very visit how she did better. Now she has her own place and an OK life . Maybe family or partners can prolong mental problems? Even if they want to help it's possible they are also contributing to the problem.
That said, I've also seriously contemplated suicide in all these times of crisis, and I'm guessing a certain percentage of people in this type of situation won't make it through. Whether it's ethical to force them to deal with an even more awful reality in hopes that they'll become stronger is questionable, but I believe it's sometimes necessary, because many people with depression/anxiety don't really live anyway.
I'm personally glad that not everyone tolerated my unhealthy lifestyle and outlook on life, otherwise I'd still be living with my parents without a job and without having seen anything other than the inside of my bedroom.
I fully acknowledge why I was left and I’m trying to be better.
Staying just for their sake will be worse in the long run.
I have bipolar depression.
"Now I miss you,
Now I want you,
But I can't have you,
Even when you're here"
I wonder how people with depression think about this? Do they themselves at some point think: "Please, go on without me?" Sure, they do when they want to commit suicide, that is their rationale, but can you also say: Go on, be happy while I work this out on my own? Or is the tunnel too dark? Are you really alone in there?
The people I know parted ways but I feel that the depressed partner never forgave the other party, and I do get that feeling (after all, they promised "for better or for worse" in front of their entire family). Meanwhile most people I know are seeing the healthy partner blossom, and their child now having a positive environment again. No more hiding of knives, no more strangers over the floor taking mommy away. No more going to grandma in the middle of the night.
Those are extremely difficult questions and they arouse a lot of guilt in partners and I feel that it is often overlooked. When is enough, enough?
In the end I believe the answers to these questions will vary a lot depending on each specific situation, there's no "right" answer. Sometimes you will want to stick to it, and you'll be able to overcome these challenges together. Other times you might not be so luck. All in all if you decide to part ways do so peacefully and respectfully to your partner, and if possible check on him/her every once in a while if that's not too harsh for you.
All people need to do is listen and don’t try to fix things. But people want to fix things. If I don’t let them fix things, I’m the asshole. If they can’t fix things, it’s my job to absolve their guilt, or I’m the asshole.
If I’m having suicidal thoughts, I’ve learned just say I’m “good” or “a bit tired” and change the topic. I don’t need people getting freaked out over every day problems I deal with.
No one can do anything to help that isn’t already being done. I have a psychiatrist, medication, and multiple safety plans. I don’t need more help. What I need is understanding and no expectations.
The problem is people do whatever they think will help instead of listening.
It can feel weird sometimes, but I think you get way better outcomes when the person knows how you want them to respond. Then you don't have to worry about not letting them fix things or absolving guilt if they can't. If you don't expect them to know then that's a perfect reason to tell them, and you can be super nice about it and say something like "Hey I really appreciate you trying to help but the thing that will help me most right now is just listening and not suggesting anything".
Edit: sorry in advance for the suggestion if it isn't what you're looking for haha, just sharing what's worked well for me
The problem I run into outside of controlled situations is the same one I have with my dairy allergy. I can’t eat the food at most social events. This either makes people uncomfortable or they feel sorry for me. Then they expect me to make them feel better about my allergy.
Adjust for any number of things.
Anyone with ADHD ends up getting asked “have you tried writing a todo list” no matter how hard they try to avoid it.
What about the possibility that the depressed person might have suddenly stopped seeking help from their therapist/ stopped taking their medication? That seems important to mention in your list-- IIRC at least the latter is actually a symptom of some types of depression.
Also, please think about seeing a therapist. It might help to talk to someone who can understand what you are dealing with.
The fact that this negativity reflects on yourself seems to be of no interest to the author.
It's not bipolar because it's not random, there are things that trigger the change.
I also had offers from FAANG but I purposely did not take it because I know myself and I know that these companies are not forgiving.
I did something much more risky and moved to an ecommerce firm in Europe. I thought this company would be forgiving and the competition would be less. Boy was I wrong, people are competent here and I was already given a warning.
I had one of my triggers and now I'm extremely tired all the time and cannot get out of bed. My mind is working at 30 percent and all the work I have done in last 4 months have been because of short 1-2 hours of productivity bursts.
It gets sooo stressful to work, but I try really hard just to avoid an embarassing pip and avoid losing my visa. My family back at home depends on my money.
I keep contemplating going back home but I cannot make up my mind.
Any advice will be appreciated.
I am not a mental health professional, and neither are you. Perhaps you can use the opportunity that you have right now, living in Europe, to access free public health services, and seek professional advice.
I also had to stay in my job for 5+ years to keep my visa, I am just out of it now. I also struggle with on-off work ethic. Mostly depends on how interesting the work is (after 6 years it often is not.)
The best advice I have is to find ways to entertain yourself (in ways that make you grow, OR NOT) aside from the job. Looks like you’re thinking about it A LOT, for understandable reasons.
I'm in tech, been in similar shoes. Besides therapy, I found going for walks to be exactly what I needed. Don't do ANYTHING but walk.
After you get a few walks, don't bring music but instead listen to an audio book of a book that you have been itching to read/finish. Take as LONG as you need to finish it - it's not a race. But sooner or later, you may find yourself walking more to listen to that audio book and you may find your spirits lifted when you stop to pause and live in the moment on the walk.
Walking can also change you from those doldrum times of floating in and out of work to busting out productivity a lot more - because it gives you the freedom and headspace to have clarity.
Whatever you do, don't fall into the "manage it all" trap. Humans and our brains are complex systems, we have to give them space to work. Buying shit to track your day, track everything, graph everything, be extremely detail oriented just adds anxiety into the mix. Give yourself room and space.
Listen to music that feeds that room and space. I've grown to love to mess with synthesizers because the sound is full of space and dimensions and movement even if it's stupid simple and you can get it all growly and fun - but warm
being a tech guy i see so many people burn out more because they buy a smart watch to track stuff and smart phone to track stuff and they try and journal everything and review everything - but that becomes more work and distracts you from the headspace we all desperately need.
as for going home, I'd start with a visit (when safe to do so). If found out that home is what i make of it and living where my family lived wasnt home anymore and there was nothing wrong with that - but i absolutely love visiting my family whenever I can and that was the hard thing with holidays this year - not doing that again. I had a potential covid exposure and my dad is mid 70s so i didn't want to risk being the one to spread it.
I hope you show her the appreciation to make it good :) For you both :)
I’ve been in a challenging episode for the past few weeks. I have been fortunate to be able to take a week and a half off work. I thought it would be relaxing, but all I’ve done is lay in bed.
My girlfriend lives with me, and I feel so guilty and embarrassed. I wouldn’t want to be with me.
I don’t think my problems are ever going away. It’s been years, and every aspect of my life is way better than when this all started. Except my mental health. I still feel just as shitty as I did 6 years ago.
I’ve started to look at life like a party that I reluctantly agreed to attend. I’m at the party, and I’m having a bad time. I just want to go home.
My vacation is over and I’ll be signing on to work in about 14 hours. I don’t think I’ll get much done. I’ve been thinking about checking myself into a hospital, but I’ve been there and didn’t find it very effective.
Loving someone with depression is depressing. I’m sorry to all of you loving people like me.
(posted on a throwaway because it’s too embarrassing to associate with my main, and I’ve actually had online comments like this used against me in the past)
As someone who is now in their mid 30's, but whos depression started in their early 20s, let me beg you - do not wait to get treatment.
It won't go away, and it will take years from you. Don't let it take what should be some of the best years of your life. If you don't approach depression as a disease that needs treatment, then you will resist doing anything about it and it will silently suck the joy out of existing.
Whatever you can do to preserve a positive outlook and a happy disposition I believe you SHOULD do. If you aren't enjoying your life then you are effectively not living. You're young enough now that you have the ability to dramatically reduce the damage that depression can do to your life, and trust me it can do serious damage.
Not to be even more of a downer, but… I feel like I’m running out of options. I’ve tried Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor, and Remeron, prescribed by 3 different doctors. I’ve seen 6 different therapists. I’m extremely
privileged to say that I’m currently seeing a Stanford PhD out-of-network weekly.
I’ve heavily experimented with psychedelics, and while they’ve given me a much greater appreciation for arts and humanities as well as a curiosity about this universe, they haven’t made me want to be alive. I’ve experimented with ketamine recreationally, too.
I don’t know what to do. Nothing helps. I’m thinking of trying TMS, but I’m really skeptical of that.
Part of me wonders if I have what your sibling commenter describes as “congruent depression” — depression which is expected given the circumstances of one’s life. There is one aspect of my life which is lacking: social connection. I feel lonely, but it’s hard to tell if this is the cause of my depression. Even if it is, I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t really like talking to people — I’m very introverted and also talking to people makes me very anxious. It’s even more difficult because of Covid.
Your comment really hits close to home. I’m not living. There is no joy. And I can see, very slowly, the damage which is being done.
Thanks again for your response.
I spent a long time in a state like that, with suicidality and all. In retrospect it was a total "poverty of spirit", and I had to accept a drastically different understanding of myself and existence altogether to move past it. But it was necessary for me to experience it to do that, and I can truly say I am changed for the better. All this is a roundabout way to say, that accepting the idea of total depravity, and realizing that the all-encompassing hopelessness that springs from that state of being is completely valid, was surprisingly helpful to me, at least. I still had to find hope somewhere else (or in someone else to be specific), but doing so did help in a way medicine didn't (for me).
I attended a Christian church service a couple of weeks ago, for the first time in over a decade. It was an odd feeling. On one hand, I felt a bit like I was in a cult meeting and I was totally disillusioned. On the other hand, after talking with people there, many of them seemed to describe a “void” in their life which was filled by religion. I can feel a void like that in myself. Maybe this is the “poverty of spirit” you describe? Still, while I agree with many Christian teachings, I don’t think anybody could convert me into a believer.
I feel the all-encompassing hopelessness; the nihilism. Nothing matters. There might be consequences of
my death, but ultimately those consequences don’t matter.
If I thought anything mattered, maybe I would think I matter.
I am very curious to hear more about your experience. I have to admit I’m having trouble understanding your solution.
The service is very unlike other Christian rites. There is no priest, and anyone can speak. I remember long stretches of silence in contemplation, punctuated with a thoughtful couple sentences here and there from someone more spiritual than me.
Importantly, it's also my understanding many Quaker meetings openly accept atheists and agnostics, among a diversity of beliefs. See https://nontheistfriends.org/
So I didn't think I could be converted either. I thought "Good without God" was how I could live, and things would eventually work out if I could just tune my environment or my brain chemistry accordingly. But I eventually found myself backed into a corner when I realized I had no way to reconcile meaning, joy, or goodness with myself or life as I could understand it. I wasn't good at all, if I was honest with myself. I felt exactly as you described, without value in a world that had no value.
There's a lot to be said to tell the whole story, but to be anticlimactic, my solution was indeed Jesus. Considering his words, his claims, his promises, and daring to believe they applied to me, that's how I found hope, and a reason to live life as though I do have some value. How I got to that point from atheist, that required a long process of addressing a number of assumptions and biases before choosing to believe. The whole "church" part came after, and was more of the icing on the cake.
BTW, if you're curious at all, here's what I was reading tonight that actually got me thinking on the topic of "poverty of spirit" and what it means to Christianity in particular (starts at section I.1 - https://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/sermons.v.xxi.html )
I gotta go to bed, but if you wanna chat more or hear the whole story sometime let me know. I can email that address you posted in the other comment. Wishing you the best.
Though to give some background, even when I was an avowed atheist, moral relativism was something I could never abide. I always felt strongly that as intelligent beings, there was truth and objectively better ways of existing to be found. The book "The beginning of infinty" helped me justify that rationally, and also made me realize how incredibly powerful, rare, and valuable intelligence is as a force in the universe. From there, CS Lewis' "Abolition of Man" got me onto the idea of natural Law, and the "Gospel of Thomas" got me thinking on the timeless, and somewhat subversive nature of the truths that Jesus taught. I looked many places, but found Jesus' teachings to be uniquely valuable to understanding the state of myself own soul. From there, it was a matter of choosing to believe him on the harder stuff (CS Lewis' Trilemma came into play there). The feeling of belief did not precede the decision to believe, which surprised me, but is apparently not uncommon.
I'm glad I did though, and my spirituality (which I only developed afterward) has become really essential to my life and hugely positive for my wellbeing. The organized religion aspect is more of a support system and framework to practice it in, but quite helpful nonetheless.
I have a similar issue. It's a chicken/egg question. Is depression causing the struggles I'm going through, or are the struggles causing depression?
I've done a lot of self exploration recently through a bunch of different therapists and have been diagnosed with ADHD. My original theory after learning this was that the ADHD caused my depression, especially because I noticed that during periods when I wasn't depressed, I still had issues with executive function.
However really inconsistent results from ADHD medication make me question my theory. Maybe the depression is so pervasive that even when I'm not feeling depressed, the habits and thought patterns that I'm so accustomed to stifle me even though I'm no longer in the depression cloud. Maybe heavy internet/gaming/porn use for 20 years combined with a lack of good habits has just created an addiction to stimulation and set me up for failure in general. Maybe the asocial digital lifestyle I lead is just completely against my nature and I need to go be a high school teacher instead of a software engineer (but I think a high income is too important in the US for a comfortable life). Maybe I just need to start believing in God and let Jesus take the wheel.
> I’m not living. There is no joy. And I can see, very slowly, the damage which is being done.
I've heard multiple times that people with untreated ADHD have shorter life spans due to increased risk of suicide and stress-related health problems (I assume this applies to all mental disorders). The problem is that all mental health disorders are on a spectrum and that no one solution can fit everyone. I don't really have a solution for myself, and I wouldn't be surprised if I die "early".
Speaking of TMS, a new depression treatment out of stanford has come out recently that sounds similar (i don't really know the details of either): https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2021/10/depression-tr...
This is something I wonder too. Could I have trained myself into this state? Is this a learned behavior? Has years of laziness and gratification seeking created a state where effort is no longer an option?
> Maybe I just need to start believing in God and let Jesus take the wheel.
I've been told this works really well. I have a weird feeling it might even work for me, if I could somehow get myself to buy into the whole organized religion thing. Maybe if Elon started a Church of the Simulation I could get on board, haha.
The potential link to ADHD is interesting. At times I've wondered if I have ADHD. I certainly relate to many of the symptoms. I actually was diagnosed and prescribed Ritalin, but I have to admit that I was drug seeking at that time so not really sure the diagnosis holds water.
>Speaking of TMS, a new depression treatment out of stanford has come out recently that sounds similar
Funny you mention this, I was reading about it on HN a few days ago. It gave me hope. I actually emailed the group asking to be a part of a future study.
That's what I think about myself, and medicine won't magically undo the years of instant gratification. I read atomic habits (https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits) and am trying to integrate good habits/clear out some worse ones in addition to medication/therapy. It's fucking hard to make new habits.
I'm sorry that none of the treatments have worked for you. I can understand how that leaves you feeling very little hope. It may provide some comfort to know however, that it is often a problem of finding the one treatment that works. It's a crude science of essentially trial and error, but there should still be some hope that you can find some combination of medication and therapy that will help. Don't give up on your search. It's a matter of life and death.
The social aspect very well could be a major factor for you. Given you have tried so many medications, that does lead one to wonder if it's not some chemical imbalance but rather a deep void left by a feeling of disconnectedness from social circles. In that case, you owe it to yourself to work on this.
Work on becoming more social. Just like learning to ride a bike, or learning geometry, you can learn to be more social. Do it for your mental health. I fully understand how it feels to hear the words "work" as someone with depression. It's the great conundrum of the disease - you have no energy, no willpower, no drive, nothing. Giving advice to "work on yourself" is well, bad advice frankly. But that's where therapy, and medication, can give you the little "boost" that you need to start putting in the work to your personal life where it's needed most.
How to be social is about finding your community, your people.
I hope you won’t think I’m a creep for this: I clicked on your profile and noticed you left a comment on the Stanford SAINT trials that were posted here a few days ago. I remember reading your comment and the thread it spawned. That post was actually what put TMS on my mind. (I also emailed the group asking to be a part of future studies.)
I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with this much longer than I have. I read about those who have been suffering for decades and it always makes me feel a strange combination of empathy and astonishment. From that earlier thread, it sounds like we have some similar experiences. I too lack the “kick” to do basic tasks. I have so many questions. Is this something you still deal with? Have you found some treatment that works? How have you kept going after 20 years? A question I’ve been grappling with: how does one distinguish between “depression” and “laziness”?
Btw, since this thread is getting long, I thought I would drop an email in case you (or some other reader) were interested in chatting later: firstname.lastname@example.org
And regular yoga brings feelings of joy, adds delicious juiciness to life.
> I don’t think my problems are ever going away. It’s been years, and every aspect of my life is way better than when this all started. Except my mental health. I still feel just as shitty as I did 6 years ago.
I became very aware that my mental health was in very bad shape about 6 years ago. Ever since then I have been on a journey to try and understand why, because, as you stated, every aspect of my life (for the most part), expect my mental health, was better than when I became very aware of the problems.
I don't know if this will apply to you, but, on the chance that it does or that it applies to someone else, I wanted to share some articles and videos that helped me better understand what I have been going through:
2. That same website has a handful of other articles I found helpful: http://www.ocdspecialists.com/blog/
3. Therapist Answers: "What is Congruent Depression?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDhqTf5eJH4
Take care everyone.
The OCD ones were especially interesting — I actually clicked around to some of the other articles on that site. I relate very much to the “obsessive” bits, but not so much to the “compulsion”. I spend a stupid amount of time thinking of past events, worrying about my mental health, and rehearsing imaginary conversations. I also obsess heavily about aspects of my girlfriend’s past, and this is something that has been observed by my therapist. I don’t know that I would qualify as OCD, though.
Congruent depression is something I wonder about a lot, although I haven’t heard it described in those terms before. I most often think about it in the context of Johann Hari’s TED Talk . If I have congruent depression, it’s because I’m lonely. At the same time, I have no desire to hang out with people. This problem has really been exacerbated by Covid since I’ve been working remotely. I used to get “enough” social interaction from being in the office, but now I haven’t seen any of my coworkers in nearly 2 years.
Thanks again for sharing. Would love to hear more of your thoughts if anything else comes to mind.
She has never recovered from depression thoroughly, so I have accepted this is a lifelong situation. I agree with the point "when they talk, listen." Because in my experience, the talk will become an argument finally. And that will hurt everyone in this family. So let's listen.
My sincere advice is to think twice when you love someone with depression. It will be very hard.
1. As the partner, you will be in a dilemma. You can not force them to see the doctors or take the medicines, as it's irrespective. And you are not willing to do nothing, you want to help.
2. Sometimes it's a competition. Either you will help your partner out or your partner will destroy you. You might feel the only one you can help is yourself.
So think twice. If you still decide to move on, you need to find out a way to take care of yourself. So that you can stay on this hard journey.
I read this from after following a few links from a post the other day, and it was a real eye-opener regarding this very feeling.
As you can imagine, this has been stressful. Culminating in her attempting suicide when I had to go to work one morning.
Luckily after three tries, the fourth therapist did the trick. He specialized in treating emotional regulation disorders with DBT therapy. My wife can now function in life, its incredible. People who interact with her now wouldn't recognize her from 3 years ago.
From the wording I thought it would be an article on identifying and empathising with the less-visible curse of depression, that of being a carer. Instead it was just advice, intended to help not the carer, but the advice giver, to feel better that they've actively tried to 'fix' the problem.
This was sort of helpful to know I wasn’t alone.
Going through different medications with your partner is rough too. The side effects suck, and some medicine doesnt help or makes things worse. Trintellix helped my partner, after 2 or 3 others failed medications. Those were a tough few months.
My recent 2 cents for partners, try taking a personality test on behalf of your partner. The results, may give you some better understanding of them... Especially if they are reserved and unwilling to open up and whatnot.
I've done this recently and I'm quite surprised by the accuracy of a lot of the content that I read about different personality types. For some in my family, reading descriptions of their personalities has been comically accurate. Maybe reading about their personalities just helps me to think more objectively and clearly about their own emotions, rather than getting it all mixed up in my own emotions.
You can search like "INTJ unhappiness" and read up on their perspective.
Maybe this all sounds dumb to you, but just give it at shot. At the least it'll be kind of fun to take the test on their behalf and see what the results are like.
For background - the test was created by a mother-daughter team who were authors but with no background in psychology. They were inspired to create the test, but they couldn't convince any psychologists it was legitimate so they instead sold it to businesses as a way to assess employee strengths and weaknesses.
> As Emre explains, the test has become part of our neoliberal discourse about making yourself into a commodity, selling your personality, loving what you do
> It seems their ideas about personality and gender made them blind to structural problems so that they saw gender inequality as an individual problem.
Kinda unrelated to this discussion, but there's also this darker side to all these personality tests where they encourage people to fit into a certain role because it benefits a company and not because it's who they really are.
Can i ask what improved the situation ?
My INFJ issues were related to perfectionism.
We went to therapy together, and it helped.. would reccomend. Therapy is a great safe place to ask them "dumb" questions about their behavior and thoughts.
If you're not at that point yet, keep researching about their brand of unhappiness and see if any suggestions come up.
Having depression or being bipolar doesn't give you the right to treat other humans like trash.
It can be really difficult to see when you've crossed the invisible threshold between supporting someone you love who is in pain and being an enabler who is participating in your own abuse.
I don't particularly like to talk about this, but for anyone who needs to hear it:
If you find yourself in a situation where you are being hurt by someone you care about, and you can't get them to stop - do whatever it takes to leave, immediately. Destroy your phone if you have to. For me, I couldn't think clearly and make good decisions through the fog that they and I had erected. If they hurt themselves after you leave - that is not on you, it never was. You're in a burning building. Get out with your life.
If you have friends and you see concerning behavior - don't stop telling them that it isn't okay. Remind them them that they deserve to be respected. Remind them that their mental health matters, too.
I worry I came off as an ablest here, so I'd like to elaborate a little bit.
I don't believe depression makes people behave this way. I believe narcissism is what makes people behave this way. Virtually everyone I know has struggled with depression at some point in there life, and to my knowledge, only 2 of them have behaved this way towards anybody.
While one cannot allow themselves to be hurt like this, these people are of course in great pain and deserve empathy and respect.
The advice in the article is great. What has helped me manage my own depression is accepting there is no solution, in the sense that nothing will permanently fix it and make it go away forever, and the strategies that work today won't work forever. But there is a lot that can be done. I've seen such amazing results in friends when they found the right therapist, right medication, whatever worked for them. It's incredible and life affirming, but it's also slow and subtle and hard and painful. So slow and subtle they might not notice it themselves.
I've found the best way I can help is to be there for them consistently, and, when they're feeling lost, remind them of past conversations we've had and how far they've come. Ultimately you can only help yourself. But sometimes a friend can hold onto a nugget of your own wisdom, and give it back to you later.
It’s *hard* to “just listen” without judging when your spouse can barely get out of bed or shower; when they don’t clean up after themselves in the bathroom, kitchen, or other shared areas; and they abandon or abdicate their part of any shared responsibilities in the family. I felt like any attempt that I made to pick up the slack just created room for them to retreat even more into their depression—and at times like that it feels like the stress and frustration is killing me.
So to all the spouses, family, and friends who support bipolar or depressed folks: I see you. I feel what you feel—love, frustration, guilt, anger, resentment, and hope. You don’t owe anyone else anything, and it’s OK if you can’t do everything on your own.
Sure, you'd take them to the doctor for a broken leg, and help them as they get better. I'd leave someone that didn't do this.
But if the person refused to go to the doctor, what do you do then? How do you assess if they are bad enough to try to force them into hospitalisation if they aren't obviously a danger to anyone? What if the broken leg winds up causing abusive behavior (on repeated occasions) - do you stay? If their leg doesn't heal correctly and you have to care for them, can you handle the stress? What happens if you find out you aren't a good caregiver and it makes you hate your life?
I know these examples seem extreme, but it is closer to what folks sometimes deal with when their loved one has a mental illness.
Ive been very depressed and had very depressed friends. Getting then outside, on walks, with friends, and doing the things they like again is very useful. Even it it doesn't do anything that day going through the motions is useful. Depressed people don't feel like doing anything they'll have to do things they don't want to or they'll never leave the bed.
I feel like I'm stuck in this trap where I am not healthy enough to endure full time employment, but I don't have enough income to pay for treatment.
I expect there might be government services available, but I'm dubious of their efficacy.
What I'd love is some sort of grant program where the goal is to help intelligent semi-effective people improve themselves by healing their depression.
Disclosure: I know the founder.
I used to joke "man, if only there was a few months where i could sit at home and finish all the things i wanted to do" and 2 years into covid being at home i haven't done any of that shit i realized my extreme desire to stay busy and occupied was no different than my partners desire to not feel like do anything - i just "coped" differently.
Once we got over that, we could realize what each other were doing and not feel like it was poisoning the relationship. My wife now gives me space and I give her space but we meet in the middle a lot more and things have gotten better.
We practice the relaionship bits with intention now and that helps too.