His depression is making me depressed
October 25, 2009 9:44 AM Subscribe
My boyfriend is depressed, again, and I'm starting to get concerned that I don't have the patience to get through it with him this time. I want to help him, but I'm not sure how many times I can keep doing this.
My boyfriend and I have been together for several years, and as in most long term relationships, there have been good and bad times. When he's doing well, he's smart and funny and kind and outgoing. The problem is, he has a history of depression, and for the last several months has been in a down phase. He went through this once before (while quitting smoking, which he's doing again) and got through it, but that was an extremely hard time in our relationship. For the past six months or so he's had a lot of stressful things to deal with. We moved in together just as he was starting a new job, and the job ended up being a terrible fit, so much so that he was having trouble eating and sleeping and actively dreaded going to work everyday. He's subsequently left that job and is back in one where he's happy, so I thought that would help with his depression, but he's now quitting smoking again, which has made things spiral out of control. In the last month or so his depression has gone from low-level lack of desire to be involved with friends or complete tasks around the house to suicidal thoughts or extreme anger.
I love my boyfriend very much, and remembering what our relationship used to be like makes me want to do whatever it takes to work things out, but I find myself sometimes dreading coming home because I'm never sure what kind of mood he's in, and I'm starting to doubt my ability to live through this whole roller coaster with him again. I've suggested therapy but he's been resistant to that because he says finding a therapist and going through all his issues will take months, and he doesn't feel he can take that on right now. He wants to start exercising more and working on developing healthy habits, but he says the only way that's going to happen is if he quits smoking. That's understandable, but for this whole depressive phase he'll quit for two weeks, go through horrible withdrawal, start smoking again, then start the whole process over, which I think is a lot of his problem.
I've brought some of this stuff up before, but I feel like I'm getting to the point where it's making me stressed and depressed as well, which doesn't help either of us. I want to talk to him, but in the past he's brushed off suggestions of working out or therapy because he says he needs to do it in his own time. I don't want to make it sound like an ultimatum, but I do need him to understand that this is really affecting me.
Does anyone have any suggestions of things he could do other than therapy or medication (he won't consider medication either because he's had bad experiences in the past), which might help him pull himself out of this? As I said, he knows that exercise would make him feel better, but he can't make himself do it. His emotional instability is making me emotionally unstable, and I'm not sure how I can deal with it.