Please help me treat a depressed boyfriend the best that I can.
posted by anonymous to human relations (32 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I really, really need some help with this one. I have been seeing a young gentleman for about 3 months now. So far, he is about the most wonderful boyfriend anyone could ask for....almost too good. How much should I take a diagnosis of depression into account?
My situation: I am a 31-year-old woman who has been frankly working my ass off for the past five years just to live and pay rent and whatnot. By "working my ass off," I mean 3 jobs at once. And still not much left over for extras, meaning if I want a sweater, it goes on the Mastercard. Stay with me....it gets relevant.
So I meet this guy. He's pretty wonderful. In fact, he is almost too good to be true. He's kind, considerate, caring, can be witty at times, etc etc. The problem is, MeFites, he's been diagnosed with, apparently, severe depression to the point where he's on Seroquel. I know that's for bipolar, but that's not how he's describing his issues to me. I know in advance that I am going to sound like an unsympathetic, cold-hearted bitch, but please stay with me! I'm not really one! I just want to know what is reasonable to expect here and if there's anything that we mefites can do to make a life better....
1) I've read so many threads on AskMeFi where the asker has a SO who turns out to have significant depression/emotional problems, and then the SO turns abusive. My question here would be, how much does one hold an SO responsible for their own abusive behavior hen they've been diagnosed with depression? Is that a free pass?
2) I've always been led to think that one of the key causes of depression is lack of a purpose in life, or put another way, lack of goals that one should work toward. So it seems counterintuitive to me that the "therapy" that this guy goes to would tell him that he "can't" work. At all. If I didn't work, I'd be depressed too. I think he's bored and would do a LOT better with something to work for.
I really see a great deal of potential in this guy. He is kind, considerate, and quite frankly the best boyfriend I've had, ever. And by "potential," I mean SMART! Could be a prodigy. I really, really want to help him, but I find that the help I give him doesn't coincide with what these group sessions tell him. They say that it's OK to be dependent on the government when you are a 36-year-old male, no physical problems, has a great many marketable skills. I say, get a part-time no-commitment job doing something that he loves to do (for instance, he knows how to fix wind instruments such as trumpets when someone drops it or spits in it too much. He also knows how to run cranes. And tie flies. And plays a mean guitar). They say, and he seems to agree, that if he even so much as tries to do anything job-related he will wig out and possibly never recover. Is this true? Really? YANHD, but really? Am I just missing something here?
Again, you think I'm cold and unsympathetic, but I'M NOT!! I have been dealing with depression my whole life, and I never ever chose to go the route of shutting off and not bothering anymore. All of my jobs allow me to help people in profound and lasting ways, and I admit I couldn't live without knowing I was doing something good for the future of the world. But that's just my point! If I didn't work, I'd be miserable too! And should I, in that case, allow some gov't worker to tell me that I COULDN'T work? Couldn't help people? I'm not jubilant all the time by any means, but I would NEVER allow some therapist to drug me and disallow me from my job.. Are they doing right by him? Is he doing right by allowing them to keep him from a meaningful life? Should I break up with him before something weird happens? Like me bringing up the fact that I work 70-hour weeks to provide him with his SSI? Which I will never, ever see when I'm old? Am I completely insane? Please help!
PLEASE don't think I'm judging anyone for having depression,. I have it too! I am, however, judging those who take someone's already fragile emotional state and tqist it for their own purposes.