Need positive thoughts
December 6, 2007 1:31 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend is depressed. Can anyone help me cheer her up?

Let me introduce you to my girlfriend. She's a student, like me, but at the moment she is on a gap year which she didn't want to be on. She got the grades to enter into uni but she couldn't decide in time which one to go to, so she had to take a gap year. She's been studying for a maths exam and working for her dad to earn money. She has a choice: either go to uni in Germany (where she lives) in April to study law, or go to uni in England (where I live) and study business.

Just recently she has got really depressed, saying stuff like she hates her life, her friends annoy her, and she misses me. Also she just doesn't feel like getting up in the morning because she doesn't have anything to look forward to. There's the times when I visit her but she knows they go over so quickly.
Also she can't decide about whether to start studying in England or Germany, she says that she doesn't feel like doing either. She's scared to choose, but doesn't want to stay like she is now either.
She says she just doesn't want to go ahead with her life.

I've tried so hard to be there for her but with me living and studying in a different country it's not ideal. I've tried to remind her of the good things in her life: she comes from a well-off family, she has plenty of friends, she has a bright future, she has me.

But last night she told me she doesn't think I really understand, and that I haven't done enough to help her solve her problems. (Which is kinda true, although I told her what I thought some of the time, I didn't tell her everytime she's told me she hates her life. Most of the time I just tried to comfort her without saying much, as after I'd tried to remind her of the good stuff she'd rejected that, she said that didn't make her feel better.)

She's going to Spain for 2 months in January to learn Spanish so she has something new to do. But she doesn't even look forward to that.

Last night she told me that being with me didn't even make her happy. Even though she only just came over to visit and we had an amazing time together, she said she felt distant to me. She broke up with me.

We've had problems in the past, but I don't think that she would be doing this if she wasn't depressed. We haven't had any huge arguments recently, and at the weekend she seemed happy.

Apart from the obvious (go see a psychiatrist) I need some ideas about how to make her see the good points in her life, and make her enthusiastic. It's not even about making her get back together with me, but I can't stand the fact that the girl I love is unhappy and she won't let me help.

Thanks for your thoughts in advance.
posted by edbyford to Human Relations (29 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
It takes a really deep-seated connection with the other person to break through funks like this.

Absent treatment, depressions are like the weather. "Helping" really isn't; to be a positive element for her psyche requires an understanding of where she is and how you fit with that.

Appropriate indirection can be key. This is a tough tango to dance.
posted by panamax at 2:13 AM on December 6, 2007

She has a choice: either go to uni in Germany (where she lives) in April to study law, or go to uni in England (where I live) and study business.

She surely can apply to a lot of other courses, in the UK at least, given the early stage in the current application round for UK universities?
posted by biffa at 2:27 AM on December 6, 2007

Try hitting her.

Wtf? Not even funny.

Anyway, it sounds like you are getting an early lesson in codependency.

It's not your job -- nor is it possible -- to "solve her problems" or "make her" optimistic or enthusiastic.

What you can do is encourage her to get a life (find activities, exercise, make friends, etc.) and get help.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:30 AM on December 6, 2007


I really am unclear if this is about you staying in a relationship with your girlfriend (you did start with "my GIRLFRIEND is depressed") or about cheering her up. I'm gonna assume you'd like to cheer her up and keep dating her, but feel free to ignore this perspective if I'm wrong.

If I were betting on this, I would give it 4 to 1 odds the breakup becomes permanent and she makes out with/sleeps with another fellow within the next month. Because she will probably do so thinking it will make her feel better, and it will, for about 6 hours and then she'll be sadder and that will make her more depressed and she'll entirely change the person she is now and she'll emerge in a few years and neither of you will be friends and that's just sort of the way it happens when you're 19. I am just guessing at age, by the way, but it seems likely given the description you've given.

I know this is probably a lousy thing to hear and I hope I'm wrong, but this sort of deep seated depression is not because of you, it is not something you can solve, and your efforts to try and fix the problem for her will end up with her targeting you as one of many sources of her problems, and poof you're gone. This is what I was thinking as I read your post and the part at the end where you mention offhand that she broke up with you last night just makes the inference stronger.

But let's pretend she hasn't broken up with you, because maybe that was a temporary decision on her part. There's three things you can do. 1) Try to solve her problems. This is almost guaranteed to push her away from you. 2) Be her friend, stay supportive but don't impose. This may or may not end the relationship but you'll be helping her through a difficult time. 3) Stay aloof. Keep communicating with her, but when she keeps going on about her depression, tell her you've heard this all already and you're her boyfriend, not her counselor. Tell her this is what her female friends are for, and you're happy to take her on a nice date the next time you see her but it's not helping either of you to have her prattle on like this.

I don't recommend option 3, as you seem like a good guy and it will make you less so. But it's your best shot of keeping the girl, if it matters, and time and time again I've seen the girl stick around if you go that route.

As for cheering her up? Tell her you love her. Tell her she's got lots of great qualities. Make a list of them and send them to her. But don't try to *fix* her depression. And when she shuts you out, let it go. Cross your fingers, and hope you'll be able to pick up where you left off once she gets past it all.
posted by Happydaz at 3:35 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

#3 will not work. if i was depressed and my boyfriend said that to me, i would probably hang up on him. you expect your boyfriend to give you MORE emotional support than your girlfriends, not less.

your girlfriend needs to see a therapist. i would encourage her to do that. i wouldn't push the relationship angle--tell her that you respect her decision to break up, but that you still worry about her. if she comes around and comes back to you, it might be a year or so off. the thing is to be there, no matter what. if you love her, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:15 AM on December 6, 2007

However you decide to help her, I think you need to respect the fact that she has broken up with you (even if you decide you want to try to get her to change her mind about that).

You don't really give much impression of doing that from the evidence of this post, in the way you refer to her as your "girlfriend", and when you suggest that you know she wouldn't have broken up with you if only she was in her right mind. If you love her you need to be open to the possibility that the right thing for you both might not be to be in a relationship with each other.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 4:17 AM on December 6, 2007

Don't think of it as a problem like math that has a definitive solution. It's not something you tighten with a wrench and it's done. Beyond being there, it's hard for anyone else to say what to do: trying to "Help" can be counter-productive if it feels over-bearing. Other people want exactly that sort of attention to help them out of their trough. And some people discover the trough is who they really are. Trying to make her Feel Enthusiastic! again sounds a bit like "How do I get her back to a place where she's making me happy and isn't such a drag on my life."
posted by yerfatma at 5:38 AM on December 6, 2007

Happydaz, can you explain the reasoning behind strategy number three, please? It's completely counterintuitive to me.
posted by Estragon at 5:59 AM on December 6, 2007

I recommend: Fühl dich gut. Angstfrei mit Depressionen umgehen

Its really helped me.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:01 AM on December 6, 2007

I know this is probably a lousy thing to hear and I hope I'm wrong, but this sort of deep seated depression is not because of you, it is not something you can solve

According to my experience, this is true. You can be by her side but only she can get out of this and therapy would help her do that.
posted by ersatz at 6:04 AM on December 6, 2007

Sounds like a quarter-life crisis. She probably needs time to work on herself...not on a relationship. Last year she was me.

You can be there for her, but it might make things worse. My boyfriend then gave me a lot of sympathy, but what I needed was to get out and live my life. Moving on from him kept me from wallowing. Can't say that that's her position, but respect her if she wants to do so. Lashing out may be a sign she does.

Nthing: this is probably something only she can solve.
posted by idle at 6:20 AM on December 6, 2007

I strongly recommend that you insist she see some one about this. Depression like this is something that most people don't get "cheered" out of. Some anti-depressants on a short-term basis would probably not be out of the question.

I think it is very important that you be there for her. Be someone that is her connection to reality, because depression can warp a person's perceptions on what is going on, and why they feel the way they do. I'd suggest a lot of hugs/cuddling/listening if you were in a position to give it. You know her better than I do though.

She's told you that the she thinks you don't understand, and that's a pretty fair assesment, if you've never been in the hole looking up. Make her make you understand.

Also, since you really car about her, don't hold anything she does while in this funk against her. She considers your relationship over. Perhaps you can get back together after she's out of the funk (and perhaps not). If you approach this as assuming that she's still your girlfriend, are you willing to forgive any 'infidelity' that happens while she's down (ala Happydaz)?

and, on re-pre-view, 2nd thinkingwoman.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:34 AM on December 6, 2007

ugh. 'car' should be 'care'. need moar coffee...
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:36 AM on December 6, 2007

Apart from the obvious (go see a psychiatrist) I need some ideas about how to make her see the good points in her life, and make her enthusiastic.

Sorry, man, but in this regard, there's really nothing you can do. She'll either come out of it or won't, and nothing you do can affect it.

I'm sorry to say, but I've been here a hundred times, and it took a long (way too long) time to realize this.
posted by General Malaise at 6:45 AM on December 6, 2007

ArgentCorvid is correct in their assessment; however, in all reality, no matter how hard you push her to seek help, she won't do it until she's ready, and you could end up pushing her in the other direction.

My advice, in hopeful conclusion:
Listen, don't give advice and don't tell her what to do.
posted by General Malaise at 6:47 AM on December 6, 2007

Last night she told me that being with me didn't even make her happy. Even though she only just came over to visit and we had an amazing time together, she said she felt distant to me. She broke up with me.

Its over. Thats not the kind of breakup that people usually come back from. She is saying that she doesn't feel strongly for you and that she doesn't want to deal with it right now.

It sucks. You probably don't want to believe it considering how your feelings are, or like you say, all you want is for her to be happy. But right now she wants you out of the picture, so it really doesn't matter to her what you feel or want. Thats not easy to take.

Also, if she broke up with you because "you don't make her happy", then notice that that is a self-centered comment. For one, its not your responsibility to make anyone happy. People can only make themselves happy or sad or whatever else they choose to be. So her comment implies that somehow she was with you for that purpose and you weren't supplying the goods, which is not a healthy perspective. Second, she didn't talk about how you feel or don't feel, think or don't think, which is again clearly all about her.

You're in love and its hard to see, but she might not be the best for you either. Maybe you might take this as an opportunity to think this over from your perspective too. One thing thats tricky is to realize that other people don't feel, think or work like you. Take her current behavior, of blaming the world for feeling bad, and realize that thats what she might be like for years to come. That its who she really is.
posted by blueyellow at 7:04 AM on December 6, 2007

Change some of the country-specific details and this sounds like something my boyfriend could have written a few months ago.

We both come from two different countries but study in the same place. I love him dearly. But I was depressed - something I've had for 5 years, which got worse due to a few factors collapsing within themselves at the same time. I hated where I was, I was frustrated and stressed and burnt out, I didn't know what to do. My boyfriend, bless his soul, tried to help me, but I still felt angry and upset. I was worried that I was being a burden to him, that no matter what he did I still wasn't happy, so I broke up with him.

I regretted it the next minute. It was a thoughtless gesture. It wasn't up to me to decide whether I was good enough for him. Besides, breaking up with him wouldn't solve my problems. It meant that I was pushing away the one stable source of solace I had during these hard times.

I nearly jumped off a balcony when I caught myself and realized "I need help". I have been trying to do it on my own (I did try looking for help months ago but by some snafu on the clinic's end, never got assigned to a doctor) but it wasn't working. I broke down. I went to my college director and asked for help. She brought me to the university doctors and I went on medication immediately - I had been off meds for 3 years at that point. I even got my mum to come down to Australia to stay with me for a while - which is very uncharacteristic of me as normally I'd want to stay as far away from family as possible (we get along better apart, let's put it that way). I just couldn't do it anymore.

I was flip-flopping on the issue of me and my boyfriend - I missed him terribly and we still loved each other, but he was essentially pissed at me because I had brought him on a rollercoaster of emotions within a week (he never showed that he was angry, but I could tell). Despite all the pain I caused him, he still was willing to listen to me. To hold me when I needed a cry. (Oh god I'm tearing up writing this.) To calm me down when I was having a panic attack. When my mum was starting to drive me nuts he was there for me. Even when I was yelling at him for all sorts of random stuff, even when I was bothering him while he had exams to do.

I went into therapy. Let it all out. Got some constructive work done. Felt a little better. Went back home for a month-long holiday and relaxed for the first time in a while. Quit my job (phew). While I was at home I thought long and hard about our relationship and realized that I was so much better off with him than without. We talked about it for a while and decided to give it a second go.

Am I completely happy? No. I've pinpointed the main source of my sorrow and I'm working extremely hard to make the best of my situation. That takes a lot of effort and often it's hear-crushing. I'm still doing the work I was taught while in therapy. I still have my moments of depression. But I am a LOT better than I used to be. I am able to articulate my issues with my boyfriend better instead of going "Trouble! Breakup!". It's a looooooooooooooooong way to go, and sometimes I fall down, but I'm making progress.

What did my boyfriend do? He listened. He didn't cast judgement on me. He forgave. He supported me. He held me. He loved me even when he was doubting it. He put my needs above his own. He was more concerned with me being happy than with him being happy (not to say he didn't value his happiness - he did, a lot - but he didn't want me to sacrifice my happiness on his behalf). He was there for me no matter what sort of abuse I hurled on him.

Your girlfriend does need to do a lot of the work. She needs to go to therapy, she needs to find someone qualified to help her through this. It SUCKS, and honestly even when you're getting productive therapy everything around you sucks. Sucks if you do, sucks if you don't. The best you can do is be there for her.

But don't try to be her superhero - don't think that you could say one thing or do one thing and that everything will be ok. My boyfriend wanted to be that superhero, he wanted the one thing that would make things better. Thing is, it doesn't exist. There isn't "one thing" that makes it all go away. In my boyfriend's effort to save me, he got drained out.

He can't save me, and you can't save her. There isn't saving involved in this. The best you can do is be supportive and loving.

Good luck, you sound like a kind soul.
posted by divabat at 7:16 AM on December 6, 2007 [6 favorites]

Telling yourself "She wouldn't break up with me if she wasn't depressed!" may be true, but that doesn't mean that once she gets over her depression, she's going to come back to you.

Work on healing yourself from the break-up, because yes, it is a break-up. That's all you can do. She's a grown-up and she can and needs to take care of herself. As much as you care about her, she doesn't want your help right now and you should respect that.

Be well, take care of yourself.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:32 AM on December 6, 2007

Your girlfriend is clinically depressed. This is an illness. You can't fix it, any more than you could fix her having pneumonia. There are some people who have the gift of nursing and can work out the right thing to say and do to make an ill person feel less miserable, but it is still up to a combination of medical science and the body's own resources to do the healing.

You obviously don't have that gift (and not many do--I certainly don't) so when your girlfriend was turning to you for help, you were saying things that made it worse.

She says "I'm unhappy, I need you to help me be happy"
You say "You have a lot to be happy about. You have a great family. You have me."
She thinks I'm such a worthless ungrateful person to be so miserable when I have so many advantages.

Trust me, whatever well-meaning things you have said to her, her depressed mind has warped them into something that makes it worse. This isn't your fault.

So where does that leave you? First of all, you need to accept that there is nothing you can say or do that will make your girlfriend feel happy. Really. There's nothing. Yeah, that sucks. But to return to the pneumonia analogy, there would be nothing you could do to make her breathe easier, and that would suck too--but you wouldn't feel guilty that you couldn't. So forgive yourself for not being able to heal her.

The next step--how to you get her to get the medical help she needs--is a lot harder. Perhaps you can talk to her parents, and perhaps the three of you can persuade her to get help. She needs a doctor to decide if she needs therapy or antidepressants or both, and if she is cooperative, and sticks with her therapy and doesn't stop taking the antidepressants when the side effects get bad, then she'll probably one day be happy again.

Best wishes to you. She is lucky to have someone so caring in her life.
posted by happyturtle at 8:00 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

Happiness is an inside job. And you don't "cheer up" a clinically depressed person. I'm not saying your ex-girlfriend is clinically depressed, but there is a disconnect between the way you describe her mental state and the method to which you are attempting to deal with it. One one hand you are cloaking her depression in seriousness, suggesting psychiatry and providing examples of how it's affecting her life. On the other, you are asking for shortcut solutions to cheer her up, and also reducing the seriousness of the depression to a mood or temporary state where she's not able to make clear-headed decisions. Which is it?

Sorry, but your ex-girlfriend was trying to tell you something and you weren't listening. The fact that you opened this post with "Let me introduce you to my girlfriend" is telling. It suggests that you are discrediting her decision to break up with you. You go on to suggest that if she was feeling better, she wouldn't have done this...which invalidates her feelings about the issue, trivializing them to something akin to a rash decision made in a crazy state. She probably is picking up on all of this. She probably has just as much, if not more, information as you about depression, coupled with the daily experience of it. She sees that your approach is not working. She doesn't want to be a part of it. She's made that clear. You are still not listening if you think you can snap her out of it, change her mind, or help her get over it by your cheerful attitude.

In the meantime, I would take this space she's created for you two and use it to learn about real solutions to potentially long-term relationship problems, so that you can understand better and work through problems successfully in future relationships. This experience as a learning lesson.

Good luck to you in all your future relationships and I hope you recover and move on from this as painlessly as possible. Breakups suck, but this seems like one of those situations where there is no blame and you two can't be what each other needs right now. Better luck next time.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:21 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]

I agree with General Malaise on both of his main points:

there's really nothing you can do. She'll either come out of it or won't, and nothing you do can affect it

This is true for almost everything. You can't get her to change. You can only express your own feelings about it, and what you want. In between doing a lot of listening, you might try some statements from your own heart, like "I'm really worried about you." "I wish I knew how to make things better for you, but I just don't."

My advice, in hopeful conclusion:
Listen, don't give advice and don't tell her what to do.

on preview, iamkimiam and happyturtle just said some good stuff about this. My advice was going to be that you think of your job (if you still have one) as being the interested listener. Try some gentle curiosity. You might picture her being in some strange cave, and your job is to recognize that, ask about what it's like there, maybe help her think about how to get out, offer help, but ensure that you don't get lost going after her. "Wow, is it cold in there? How are you going to keep warm? Do you have enough water?" Attitudes that won't help (I'm not saying you're saying these) are things like "zippity do-da! just be happy!" ("um, have you not noticed that I'm in this dank cave? can we discuss my actual reality?") or "c'mon, your life is good!" ("um, maybe up there on the surface life is good") or "just come on out of the cave!" ("god, I suck, why can't I just come out?" or alternatively "screw you, you try 'just coming out' when you're lost in a maze and it's pitch black!") Supporting someone in depression is a really hard thing to do. Search for past AskMes. Many of those say that it was different than just having a relationship with the person.

During my one year of depression as a senior in high school, I remember feeling like I was consciously plunging myself deeper into it, thinking that if things got bad enough, I'd come out the bottom. (Note to others: That doesn't work!) But in that state, nothing you said would have changed my mind about breaking up with you. For me, hard times have required getting to a point where I accepted that everything sucks and grasped the seriousness of how bad I was feeling, stopped trying to ignore it, even if only for a day or two. Part of that is not clutching at fleeting ways to feel temporarily slightly better (this might be where you fit in) -- like you're a very small inner tube, and she feels heavy as lead and wants to admit that you can't hold her up and just go ahead and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Somewhere on the way down, for me now, the swimming instinct kicks in, but that first time it took me months to learn to swim. All to say, she may be dealing with some serious stuff, and sorry, but breaking up with you might make sense as a first step in focusing on herself and dealing with what she's going through. (Not that it matters if it makes sense; since she said it, you should take it seriously one way or another.) Good luck.
posted by salvia at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2007

This is setting off my alarm bells. Is she suicidal? You can come right out and ask, "have you thought about harming yourself?" If she's suicidal, she probably thinks about it a lot and will tell you.
posted by selfmedicating at 9:03 AM on December 6, 2007

She's just not that into you. The rush of being in a relationship has worn off, and she's realized that what's left isn't enough. Also probably she's not at a point in her life yet where a stable relationship outweighs the flaws. The long distance aspect probably wasn't helping, either. She may not even know what she's looking for, exactly, except that this relationship isn't it. (She may also read too many romance novels, or watch too much popular media, where the ups and downs of relationships are exaggerated, leaving her clueless as to how to find simple, non-crazy-lust happiness and cope with simple, non-dramatic problems... this is normal, and honestly only time and experience will teach her what a normal good relationship feels like--nothing you can do.)

Anyway, whatever her reasons, she's probably had trouble coming to terms with ending a relationship that didn't have any specific, large problems, just lots of little "not right". (Just imho, it's sane and normal and not terribly self centered to want to enjoy being with one's boyfriend, when you stop enjoying time spent with someone it's a pretty clear indication that things aren't working out.)

Adding on to all of that is her decision about where to go to school... which is a huge investment of time and money, shaping the rest of her life. See previous threads about choosing between an inviting offer in one place and a significant other in a different place.

Finally, the general depression... Not to minimize anyone's experience with depression, or to do the internet diagnosis thing, but I don't know if she needs professional help just yet (insomuch as all of us need a professional to diagnose us at all times). It sounds like she's experiencing the normal drifting apart of old friends that comes around that time in one's life, without having uni to help her make new friends. Which sucks, a lot, but is also easily cured when she actually starts getting out and having fulfilling things to do.

Anyway, my final answer is... there's not much you can do. You can encourage her to go out more, but being pestered is just likely to make her angry. You should definitely keep an eye on her to try and assess how bad her mental state really is, but if she's just unhappy (as opposed to need professional help now-ness), well... it has to come from within.
posted by anaelith at 9:47 AM on December 6, 2007

Estragon, hopefully this isn't a derail at this point, but the reason "be aloof and tell her to stop going on and on about her problems" works is it uses her lack of self confidence to turn the situation on its head. Previously, she's probably thinking "I'm unhappy, he completely fails at solving it, perhaps he's the source of it." But if he refuses to be her punching bag, tells her to grow the hell up and changes his attitude, then suddenly she's wondering if she's the source of the problem. Instead of thinking "he's a failure at this", she's thinking "I am failing to keep him, I can feel him slipping away."

I don't know if that's a very good explanation and I agree the approach is completely counterintuitive, but I have seen it happen again and again, both in my failures to be that way myself (thank god though those girls were total trainwrecks) and the way other people I knew handled the situation and ended up keeping their girlfriends in the process.
posted by Happydaz at 11:52 AM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

You're girlfriend is seriously depressed, and she's right about you not understanding. Wanting to cheer her up shows a fundamental lack of understanding about how these things work. No matter how good her life seems, she will hate the things around her to justify the way she feels. Pointing out the good things may alienate her and make her feel like a freak who can't be happy. You really can't do anything for her but give her time and let her know she's loved.
posted by lunalaguna at 3:03 PM on December 6, 2007

Thanks for the explanation, Happydaz. That's very interesting.
posted by Estragon at 5:37 PM on December 6, 2007

The approach Happydaz describes probably works better for some people. I know it would for me. Sympathy and trying to figure out how he could solve it just made me blame him for failing and I ended up lashing out. We broke up multiple times before it finally ended. My next boyfriend gave me my space when I had issues with depression, giving me some physical comfort, but not trying to be a solution. Because of that depression was much less of a roadblock in our relationship. Other things were, but at least I was glad of that.
posted by idle at 6:36 PM on December 6, 2007

I've been seriously depressed, spent over half my life that way, as a point of fact.

When my relationship with my now-husband was new, he tried to cheer me up, by telling me jokes, telling me how good stuff was ... bascially what you described above.

I was not cheered up. I was pissed off. *I* was living my life, not him, and if I said it sucked, it fucking sucked. If only because I wanted to kill myself - nothing in the world makes up for that, at all. To this day, I absolutely loathe it when someone tries to 'cheer me up'. I know my life is pretty damn good, objectively, and my own failure to percieve that subjectively already annoys me - having someone play Captain Obvious does not improve my mood.

7 years later ... I'm better. I'm over it. It was a long hard slog on my part, working through my various issues, actioning them, finally taking a years' worth of drugs to fix my neurochemistry. On my husband's part, it took constant repitition of statements that combated my issues. 'I love you'. 'I think you're beautiful'. 'I think you are a good person'. 'I believe in you, I know you can do it'. 'You are an amazingly talented person, and I'm so proud of you'. 'You are worth the world to me'. He was there when I needed to cry (often, that was an hour out of a day, frequently more). He took care of me when I was too sad to do it myself. His belief, his faith, his love for me shone out of his very being, every time we talked or were near each other.

It's our sixth wedding anniversary today.

I've still got a ways to go. There are still quite a few issues rattling around in my head which need to be sorted out in some fashion. I still slip into mild depression now and again, for short periods of time (a month or so). But I'm getting there.

You should take from this this following:
- listen until you know exactly what her issues are
- say statements about yourself and your feelings that speak to those issues - do NOT point out that she's essentially wrong about her life. That doesn't help.
posted by ysabet at 10:40 PM on December 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all your help guys. She phoned me up the next day and we got back together. However, a couple of days later we are still having arguments and/or crying on the phone. And I said I would think of ways to cheer her up, but I think that maybe reading some of your comments that is the wrong way to go about it.

Thank you so much. You've helped a young guy (yes, 19 Happydaz...that was weird!) get a new perspective, which is so hard to get when you're in a relationship.

Bless you all, and best wishes for a Merry Christmas!
posted by edbyford at 1:35 AM on December 8, 2007

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