Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

When Someone You Love Has Depression


When Someone You Love Has Depression.

Depression builds walls around people and between people. When someone you love has been dragged inside those walls, there can be a distance between you both that feels relentless. You miss them, but they’re right there beside you, except that they’re kind of not. Not in the way you both want to be anyway.

The symptoms of depression exist on a spectrum. All of them are normal human experiences, but in depression they’re intensified. Not everyone who has depression will have a formal diagnosis, so knowing what to watch out for can help to make sense of the changes you might notice.

Depression looks like a withdrawal. It feels that way too. It’s a withdrawal from everything that is enriching and life-giving. Depression sucks the life out of life. That’s how it feels. When depression bites, everything becomes hard. Life starts to hurt. Those who are bitten stop looking forward to things. They stop engaging and they stop enjoying things, even the things they used to love. They can feel hard to reach, and sometimes they can be angry or appear as though they don’t care. That isn’t because they want to withdraw from you or push you away, they don’t, although it can feel that way. 

Here are some ways to fight for them, beside them and for the times the fight has to be theirs, behind them:

  1. Depression is never a choice.

    If people with depression could be happy, they would be. Depression leaves people feeling as though they’ve been scooped out with a spoon. It’s a hijacking of everything that feels good. The hopelessness, emptiness and loneliness is relentless. If they knew how to be any other way, they would be. 

  2. It’s okay to feel frustrated or angry.

    The helplessness of loving someone with depression can be frustrating, exhausting and lonely. It’s okay to feel angry at times, or as though you want to throw your hands in the air and walk away. You’re human and when you love someone with depression, there will be times that you’ll be in the arena too, fighting the battle. Remember that you’re fighting a common enemy and it’s depression, not the person beside you. Try to see through the symptoms to the person you know, because they’re in there.

  3. Depression is a withdrawal, but not from you.

    When you love someone with depression it can feel as though you’ve lost them for a while. The person you’ve always known and loved is still there, but they’ve withdrawn into themselves, away from the pain and hopelessness of it all, not away from you. It just feels like the safest place to be, but it doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t have you right there with them if they knew how to do that.

  4. You’re grieving too.

    Depression steals people. If the depression has been around for long enough, you might feel a sense of grief. If you need to get angry, sad, or fall to your knees some days, that’s okay. You’re fighting a battle too. It’s okay to pull back to recharge now and then. Be kind to yourself and do something that replenishes you. Reach out to someone, but don’t lean on the person with depression. People with depression already see themselves as a burden, and anything that inflames that might cause them to withdraw even more.

  5. When nothing is as powerful as something.

    People with depression won’t always have the words and will feel the burden of being with you when they don’t know what to say or do. Let them know that you love that version of them too – the one that has nothing to say, or plenty to say but no will to say it. Let them know that you’re there for them even if they don’t want to talk. Silence with someone can be lovely when you’re depleted. ‘You don’t have to be anyone different to who you are. You don’t need to change or pretend or put on a happy face. I love you and I’m here for you.’

  6. People with depression are strong.

    People with depression are some of the strongest people I’ve met. They have to be. The pain and hopelessness of depression is immense and to keep existing day after day under the weight of that takes an almighty fight, fuelled by almighty strength and courage. 

  7. What they’re doing makes sense.

    We all have needs we can’t give up. They’re the big ones and they’re an inescapable part of being human – love, validation, respect, visibility, safety, influence, connection, appreciation, purpose. You know the ones. When one of these needs isn’t met, the temptation can be to push it down – to ‘depress’ it – to where it’s out of awareness and can’t cause trouble. But of course, any symptom whether physical or emotional will always cause trouble when it’s ignored. It takes the strength of a warrior to keep pushing things down, and getting on with life. Eventually, when people have been strong for too long the armour will crack. Depression hurts, but it makes sense. It’s a creative, adaptive withdrawal from a world that feels painful to be in.

  8. Being positive probably won’t work.

    Reframing things positively is generally done with loving intent, but most likely it just won’t work. The messages that are sent with love will likely be received as ‘nobody understands’. For someone who is being caned by depression, there is no positive. Research has found that people who are already unhappy don’t want to be talked into the glossy view of life, they just want understanding. The view of reality is shaped by a lifetime of experience and sometimes, the way people see the world is exactly the way the world is for them. Trying to push against this can work against what you’re trying to do and intensify the loneliness and desperation of it all. Reframing things in a positive way is important, but it can’t be forced.

  9. So if positive is out, what then?

    You don’t have to fix anything or change anything. If there was a way to do that, they would have done it themselves by now. Instead, acknowledge their pain, ‘I know this is really hard for you,’ and validate what they’re going through ‘I know you’re hurting. That’s understandable given what you’re going through’, or ‘I know you’re fighting a tough battle right now.’ Be the one who can be with them without having to change them. This will probably explode your own feelings of helplessness, but reworking things towards a positive angle will ease your helplessness, not theirs. That helplessness you’re feeling is the bit you’re doing together. So is the pain and the confusion of that. That’s what makes your love unconditional and your support something extraordinary.

  10. Try not to let the negative talk go on and on and on and on and …

    It’s really important to hear people from where they are, but if the discussion of a negative thought goes on and on and on and starts to feel circular, it’s not good for anyone. It’s called rumination and it can make it harder to move through depression. Talk about it with them for sure, but try to persuade the conversation in a different direction after a while if you can.

  11. If you’re struggling for words, let those be the words.

    There’s no need to gloss it up. The truth is that it’s hard to know what to say because there’s nothing that can take away the pain. Don’t worry about saying the ‘right’ thing, there is no right thing. Instead say the ‘real’ thing with love and an open heart. Share what you’re feeling, because chances are that they’re feeling it too. Common ground will shrink the distance between you. You might not be depressed, but chances are you’ll be feeling a lot of the things they’re feeling – sadness, confusion, frustration, helplessness, and the greatest wish that you knew how to make it better. ‘I wish that you weren’t in so much pain and I wish I knew how to soften things for you, but I don’t know how to do that. What I will do is be here for you for as long as it takes.’

  12. Ask them what you do that doesn’t help. And listen.

    Depression can be different for everyone. You can’t be expected to know how to respond. Ask what they need from you and whether there’s something they need you to do differently. Be open to the response and don’t take it personally.

  13. Don’t ask them what they’re depressed about.

    When people are sad they generally have an idea of why. Depression doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes people will be aware of what has triggered their depression, but sometimes it won’t be obvious. On paper, people with depression can look as though they have everything to be happy about – they can even believe that themselves – but depression doesn’t play by any rules.

  1. Try to initiate the things they used to love, that depression has stolen.

    At a time when people need connection the most, depression forces distance. Do everything you can not to let it. Connection and positive feelings strengthen the brain against depression, and exercise can cause the same changes in the brain as antidepressants. The problem is that the very nature of depression will hold people back from doing any of these. Don’t wait for them to feel like doing things. They won’t. Their depression won’t let them. Depression is there to nurture withdrawal, remember. It does this by stealing motivation, and creating exhaustion. Be tender, gentle and loving and reintroduce them to life, connection, and positive feelings. You’re likely to get resistance, and a lot of it. Know that this isn’t personal and do what you can do anyway.

  2. Another reason to initiate.

    Thoughts, feelings and behaviours are intimately connected. They tend to follow each other, so someone with depression will think depressed thoughts (‘Nothing makes a difference’; ‘I’m useless’), feel depressed feelings (pain, hopelessness, exhaustion) and this will drive depressed behaviour (withdrawal and a depressed mood). A change in one will eventually lead to the other but the change is unlikely come from the person with depression. Out of the three, thoughts and feelings are the toughest to change. They’re tenacious. This is why things like, ‘get over it’ or ‘it’s not that bad’ or ‘just try to be a bit positive, hey?’ won’t work. The best way is through their behavior, but you’ll have to be stronger than their depression. Initiate walks, dinners, holidays – anything that has the potential to create positive feelings. Take their hand and lead them there gently.

  3. They are not broken.

    There is nothing abnormal about the symptoms of depression. They’re a very normal part of human experience, but with an intensity that’s relentless. We’ve all felt sad, disconnected, the need to withdraw, hopeless, helpless, exhausted, and as though the fun has faded for a while These are all common experiences, even if only fleetingly at times and from the kinder end of the spectrum. What makes these very human experiences lead to a diagnosis of depression is a question of degree. People with depression experience the same we all experience, but at a different intensity, duration, or cluster of symptoms. 

Depression rarely takes hold of just one person. When depression settles into someone, helplessness, fear and sadness bleed through the walls it builds around that person and into the lives of those who love them. It’s exhausting for everyone. There is always a way through depression but it takes an almighty fight. You won’t always have it in you to fight alongside them and you won’t always know what to do but that’s okay – you don’t have to do any of that to fight for them. Few things are as powerful as human connection and anything you can do to nurture that will help to put back what depression strips away.

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Congratulations on your recovery process. It’s a big deal. I wish I could promise your love will protect your sister! But what you can do is show her that it can be beaten and live that example… especially being so familiar with the mind trap!
Chris G, I’m sorry that your former significant other felt you smothered her during her depression but please do not be too hard on yourself as though your desire to be a loving and supportive partner ruined things. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. It’s possible that you and she simply were not compatible– since your ways of handling crisis did not align. When people are suffering they feel such a strong desire to isolate and a lot of shame we can’t understand or even alleviate with our affection and love for them. They need that love but it’s also something they push away because they do not feel they deserve it. They do! But if they do not choose to believe you and in your relationship they simply were not the person who could weather life with you.
the guilt you mention is something I dealt with, in my ex relationship and I wish I had a failsafe suggestion for how to counteract that belief they feel that they are putting you through hell or ruining your life. My advice would just be to tell him “I am exactly where I want to be.”
Good luck all!


Thank you all for making me feel so not alone. I am just “fast forward” coming to the realization that my bf of 11 years is suffering from undiagnosed (I fear) depression. I’m trying to learn how to help in a supportive and considerate manner. He and I shared some scary and mean comments that neither of us meant over the weekend (our anniversary). He has asked for space – a break – says the more I try the further he gets pushed away. Wants me in his life, but does not know if I’ll ever have my “Happy guy” back. It’s been the last 3 months that I’ve opened my eyes and accepted what I feared most. I realize I’ve been seeing this for the last 3 years. Says he does not love me, but loves me. I’m so lost. It’s eating me away inside. He said he needs to fix “what’s going on inside him”, so maybe there’s hope. I’ve lost my best friend…..thanks for listening. Xo


Hi, thank you for this . I learned a lot . Now I can help my wife . She has been depressed . But I did her wrong for so many years and she was always there for me through my problems . Now she has been depressed for a while and she always brings bad memories when she is depressed and it’s only with me when she gets mad and irritable. She’s not herself with the kids when she’s depressed but she’s still that living mother with them. I’m the one that gets it all. Can I be the one that caused her depression?


I have been dealing with a spouse with depression for a vey long time. About a year ago he did agree to see a therapist but infortunately it was not a good one and he refuses to go again. Then I was able to get him to agree to an antidepressant. He was on for a while and took himself off. I agree wasn’t right dose but he says I don’t need at all. Ok fast forward a couple months bad relationship with father that was source of depression, father dies suddenly. Some of his family reacted in a way that was greedy all about money, he lost it. He is now in a very bad depression and is angry at everyone. He said he is the only one truly grieving. I am trying to support him but it has been a very stressful week of anger and fighting and now I am truly exhausted, he actually seemed a little better, not really eating or sleeping but anger was better. I work full time and I basically said to him you need to stop and sorry I did say get over it.i meant not grieve past him but anger over family. He snapped and now I feel like we just went back to square one. I am seeing a therapist tomorrow but I am scared that I just put him back. He says I have the problem not him. I really appreciate your hold like some advice as to how other people have handled this?


I can’t express how much reading your stories has helped ease the worry and anxiety I’m feeling atm.
My BF of 1year has been suffering with depression on and off throughout his life my first experience of this with him started in September When he slipped into depression triggered by work related issues, for months I have supported him and loved him in every way possible and even got him to visit his Gp in October who prescribed medication..since then I’ve come to find the more Ive tried to help and nurture him the more he pulls away, he has good days and bad days sometimes weeks.. and although he finds it hard to be loving has told me on numerous occasions “I know I haven’t shown it lately, but I do love you very much.
I thought he had hit rock bottom on New Year’s Day when he was really down, but persuaded him to go to his parents and speak to them, they came to the conclusion that he should move home for a while which I fully supported ( he was living with friends.)
This gave him some encouragement and he told me how grateful he was for all my support and tho he hadn’t shown it lately he does love my very much.
Just two weeks later.. he then tells me..he thinks we need a break..that he’s not sure how he feels about everything in his life including me… he needs time alone to figure stuff out and get better…hes said he wasn’t breaking up or giving up on me but cant feel anything about anything… he seemed so lost and confused and in turn so am I.
I respect the space he has asked for and know I need to trust and hope he come to me when he is ready..
But what can do to help him during this time And to build the love and connection between us???


my fiance and I have been together for 2 years now. when we met she just lost her father and 4 months later she lost her mother, she now has no family here in canada.
she is undiagnosed but its clear that she has walking depression.
i feel like she is so angry with me, very often and she shows very little love.. i know she tries but its like she can not break the wall she has around herself and give me love or any kind of appreciation/confirmation.
i want to be with her, but im afraid that this pulls me down so i get very low and start to have depression myself. and i dont want to be pulled to that state, cause then we are both screwed.
its all so much negative energy and i try my best to keep myself positive inside, but its like she makes everything around her negative and sour..
i find my self in a hard position and dont know how to move forward.


So i find myself keep coming back to this website and the comments. As much as it makes me feel better to know I’m not alone in having a significant other with depression I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. My story is so similar to half these posts. Almost two years with my bf. He has ups and downs but always comes back. Lately its gotten worse and more time apart than normal. Nothing makes him happy, wants to solve on his own-needing a break. Breaks my heart. These posts have helped me try not to push too hard. But that is hard in itself bc i know that connection is the only thing that will bring him out. Friends and family dont really know. If they did not sure if they would make it worse by saying the positives etc. I ordered the depression fallout like people have suggested. I also figured I would tell you what I’m reading now that is helping me better understand and hopefully him at some point. Mindful way through depression : Freeing yourself from chronic unhappiness. It explains it in a way that’s relatable and easy to understand not like alot of self help books can be drol and hard to get through. It’s rough bc u can’t push too hard but u can’t back off too much bc it’ll get worse. I dont know where i fit in if i am pushing too much or not. I second guess everything i want to say or start to text. First couple days i tried to call, no answer. Responding to half my texts, short couple words but he’s there. It’s been half a week and a week since we’ve really spent any time together. Hes still not up to talking and im not sure if i should offer meeting up just to watch tv or movie where he doesn’t have to talk. I dont want to try too soon but how can i sit back knowing the longer he confines himself the worse its going to get. My heart goes out to everyone on here, especially the husbands/wives who have already built full lives with kids. I can’t even imagine. But for anyone who needs something try the book. Looking up depression and ways to help is the only thing not keeping me manic right now. It’s all i can do, all we can do to keep ourselves semi ok while we try to figure this out. Cognitive thinking seems like an alternative to medication and maybe will give a sense of solving the problem on their own. I look forward to anyone who has updates in their situation. Good luck to you all in the meantime and know this will make is stronger in the long run.


Hi everyone,
Found this site while trying to figure out what to do in my situation that is pretty much like a lot of yours. My boyfriend of 7.5 years has stared going to a therapist (which I’m glad about) but after seeing this therapist he told me he needed space to find “his own happy”. I’ve been giving him space, going on week three. I can thruthfully say that these have been some of the worst weeks of my life. I almost feel like I’m becomjng depressed too. I can’t eat I can’t sleep and I’m crying all the time. We live together but I’ve been couch surfing at family and friends houses. It’s so hard cause I miss him and just want to be there for him but he keeps telling me that’s not what he wants right now. It hurts so much that after 7.5 years I’m reduced to barely any communication. I’m glad I’m not alone but I’m sorry for anyone feeling this way. I just want things to get better and I’m scared and fear that the worst will happen and we will eventually breakup. I’m not sure if I could handle it. I really want to try that book,K.
Thanks to whoever will listen.


This story is so similar to mine. I’ve been with my girlfriend nearly four years and she’s had depression once before. At that time she couldn’t let me out of her sight as she needed constant comfort and attention and was actively trying to kill herself, several attempts were made. After medication she stabilised and although over the four year period she’s had dips, the depression this time is different. She says she loves me but feels nothing and it’s breaking her heart. She now wants to be out of the house as much as possible so on an evening will regularly go over to a friends instead. It’s absolutely crushing when you hear from someone you love so much that they feel nothing for you. She says she needs to be able to love herself again before she can love me and that she needs time and space. This is obviously what I need to give her but it’s so hard when you just want to comfort and console that person and be there for them. With regards to myself, I’ve never felt this low in my life, I am also unable to eat or sleep and it is absolutely draining. Having to go to work with all of this on your mind is unbearable. I want to give her all the space she needs but I’m scared I’ll end up losing her no matter what. So painful.


So sorry to hear you are going through this. May I make a suggestion? Try to detach as much as you can, finding strength within and not through outside corcumstances. She will be there if she is supposed to be. Focus on being good to yourself, the rest will fall into place.


Cc, i’m so sorry. Worst weeks of mine too. 3 weeks just about too. Not eating too much either and i know I’m sinking. I went to a therapist, only once so far. I know i have to find my own strength and my happiness can’t depend on a relationship but this is hard. He’s now at the point where he says he doesn’t care about anyone or anything anymore. I’ve seen him 2x supposed to see him tomorrow. Idk tho. I know he loves and misses me but he struggles with saying it much less believing it lately. I feel like I’m losing him. And every bad day he has at work pulls him further down. I know what we have is real but he isn’t able to see that right now so I’m helpless. I do nothing and he gets worse. I push and I get pushed away more. It’s the worst feeling.


Over a year ago I was in your shoes. My boyfriend of seven years basically said the same thing. I know the struggles of being in the cold and not knowing where to go. My family and friends said get over it but I couldn’t. What help me out was first seeing a therapist. While also doing my research on depression. Now I can not say that you boyfriend is like mine but he needs his space to figure himself out. During this time do stuff for yourself. I can say you will get back on your feet. Don’t let his depression bring you down as well. If you would like a happy boat and that there might be a chance once he gets better, after a year and eleven days of our break my boyfriend texted me out of the blue wanting me to come home. Trust that love will see you though. Be strong it will get better. Prayers for you.


My darling, I am in a similar position to you right now, my boyfriend 6 weeks ago said he needed a break, it’s so hard being in limbo, I haven’t spoken to him in 3 weeks as he’s gone away for a month to do a ski job and said he will speak to me when he gets back. I feel like I spent the first 5 weeks obsessively overthinking everything.. my thoughts were consumed by the pain and dreaded thoughts of loosing him and like yourself I’ve had trouble eating and sleeping…
But last week after hitting what I felt was rock bottom.. I made the decision that I cannot live like that… it’s important that we use this time apart to reconnect with ourselves.. to find happiness outside our relationship.. the more we do that I think the stronger and more able we are to cope with the mental strain of it all, and that’s so important to us and our partners. It’s not easy .. but what else am I gna do! Carry on waiting around phone in hand…for him to get in contact? Running through every possible scenario!?? It’s not healthy! Don’t forget we have a life too.
I feel a bet better that it seems to be a fairly common occurrence.. that I am not alone.. this of course doesn’t change the situation.. but I don’t feel so alone anymore… and it’s given me more hope x


I have been researching depression for the past few weeks, while my boyfriend suffers from a distance. Despite everything in our relationship being great, I could feel him pulling away, until eventually, he admitted to struggling with doubts, both about staying and leaving. It made no sense, because nothing had gone wrong, and just a couple weeks before he said I was everything he ever wanted. I noticed the fatigue and a feeling of something being “off” about 10 days before the day he says he felt triggered by doubt, and I believe these doubts are a progression of the illness. It is what’s keeping his mind looping. I was first struck with fear, but as time has gone on, I can clearly see this isn’t my guy, and the battle we’re both fighting is his depression. It’s articles like these that have helped me understand. He welcomes my text messages and admits when he’s having a rough day, but refuses my help, saying he wants to do this on his own. I am so grateful for this article for not only helping me understand him, but for validating what I’m going through as well. “That helplessness your feeling is the bit you’re doing together. So is the pain and confusion of that. That’s what makes your love unconditional and your support something extraordinary.” … These words have helped me more than you can know. Thank you.


Anyone else have any updates on their situations? Hopefully positive ones.. Need a happy boat. There’s some days it feels unbearable but i know he’s still in there. 5 weeks now and he’s sinking deeper and more angry lately with less contact. How can you attempt to change behavior when you continuously get pushed back? I keep trying to initiate unbeknownst to him why. I feel like he’s almost accepted this is how he feels and it’s so real to him nothing else matters. How do we fight for them when they are giving up wanting anything positive?


Hi sadly my world has gone from bad to worse. I have now discovered that he is in a terrible amount of debt and won’t let me in. Won’t let me support him won’t talk about it says that it’s his mess and he will sort it. Not only shut out emotionally because of depression but now my help is not required to ease the burden of a side effect of depression. Each day I’m getting closer and closer to the door. My heart and head matter too



I’ve been following this thread now for some time as my other half seemingly changed overnight back in Aug 2016.

If you look back over the post my original comment is in there as to how things were.

Now here we are in March 2018 our relationship had arrived at critical mass. My stress and fustration with the change that had occured in my partner was becoming overbearing. She wasn’t acknowledging that she had changed and also began blaming me IF any change had taken place.

I’d ended the relationship only for us both to realise we were being foolish.

As of today; my partner is now booked in for counselling next week. We’ve tried relationship counselling but WE weren’t the problem so it wasn’t working.

There has suddenly been an epiphany on her part, it came at the 11th hour and I suspect my ending the relationship was a shock and maybe the proverbial kick up the backside.

I had run out of steam; I love the girl dearly but I couldn’t cope anymore so had to respect myself.

So here we are, I’m wondering now if like before it’s all talk on her part and nothing will change; but I’ve got to give her the benefit of the doubt and owe her that.

I do keep an eye on this post and will dip in again mid year to update you all.

You can’t beat yourself up if your patience runs out. You can’t change someone if they don’t want/aren’t ready to change.

The more you push them, out of sheer frustration and upset will only push them further away. Like a child you are telling not to do something, they do it more. But your frustration cannot be discounted, you are equally as important in the relationship.

Look after yourself and take time to switch off from it all or else it will drive you into depression/anxiety – trust me, I’ve been there.


Hello there, I found this board after many desperate Google searches on what to do when your relationship is being hurt by suspected depression. Like many of you, I have been stuck “in-between”. How much do you offer support? How much do you take a step back? What do those things actually mean?
A bit of context with my story: I have been with the love of my life for almost 3 years. In some ways we are opposites, in other ways we are like the same person. There really isn’t a sufficient way to describe in text how I feel about him, and how he has felt about me. Unfortunately, about a year and a half ago, he started to withdraw a bit from me. I took it very personally in the beginning, thinking something was wrong with our connection and questioning if we were right for each other. After one visit to a couples counselor, he said he did not want to go as a couple and felt it was his issue, that something was wrong with him and that it was not me. He also shared for the first time that he thought it may be depression. I encouraged him for the next 6 months to make an appointment on his own and to also see his primary care doctor. As typical with depression (though I did not understand this at the time) he lacked motivation to take these steps and nothing came of it. He had started to gain weight quite rapidly, and no longer wanted to go out as we used to. I tried a different approach, and encouraged him to talk to family members if he could not talk to me or a therapist about it. Acknowledging that you may not be the person he wants to talk to is hard, but necessary. Sometimes it can’t always be you, because they feel guilt for already not being the person you deserve. I believe he spoke to his brothers whom he is very close to, but I don’t think he shared the true extent of it with them. I want to point out that because depression is cyclical, there were lovely happy moments scattered in the midst of all this. These moments gave me hope that the problem was being resolved, though it wasn’t and isn’t that easy. We had discussed moving in together and marriage, but it never went anywhere. He would withdrawal and I took this very personally. I took this to mean that perhaps it is me, or that I wasn’t the woman he wanted to commit to. I had no idea what depression really was and did not understand that this is typical. Depression makes you question your true feelings about many different aspects of your life. When he would withdrawal, I knew something was wrong but he couldn’t explain what it was. He knew he loved me, but could not understand why he felt so unhappy in our relationship. Recently, he began showing signs of withdrawal again. I became very frustrated, worried, and sad with his actions. We had a conversation (though a conversation with a depressed partner can feel very one-sided), and I asked what was going on with him. He struggled to find a way to explain what he was feeling. He knew he had been avoiding contact, and he felt so guilty for that. He stated that things just didn’t feel right. I begged him to talk to a professional, and stated I could not help him unless he wanted to be helped. He decided he could not figure this out while in a relationship and we tearfully broke up. I don’t believe it was something either of us truly wanted to do, though without the break things would have most likely continued the same pattern. On my end, the break has lit a fire under me. I have begun to research and educate myself on the beast that is depression. Depression takes on many different faces, and there is not a “one size fits all” approach to helping someone through it. For us, we continue contact and continue to love each other, but the future is unclear. He has not yet reached the point of surrending that he cannot do this on his own. I do my best to find the right words of encouragement for him to seek professional help, but it is ultimately a decision he has to make. In terms of helpful research, The Storied Mind and Esperanza blogs have aided me most. There are many articles on how to support a loved one who is dealing with depression. Thank you for being kind listeners.


My boyfriend has pushed me out, doesn’t want to see me or hear from me. It happened overnight. He has struggled with major depression for 20+ years (42 now) and has been to a lot of counseling & is on meds but with no insurance and him feeling good he went of the meds 1 1/2 months ago.

Of course it caught up to him and I encouraged him to start the meds again which he did and was telling me the outlets he needs to do to help himself etc. Everything seemed fine and he woke up one day a different person.

The way he talked and walked was different, the best man I’ve ever met turned mean and said hes done trying, it’s too much. He said it always comes back, I tried to be encouraging saying he is not alone and is worth it, WE are worth it, etc but he shuts me down with every comment & now refuses to respond or see me.

What do I do? If he eventually gets better will he want a relationship again? We both knew we had a love that is only talked about in movies, Im heartbroken…


He’s decided he’s moving back with his parents a few hours away, planning on putting his two weeks in at the end of the week. I know this will potentially help him and maybe it’ll alleviate some of the anxiety of not knowing if today, tomorrow etc will be the day ill see him since he won’t even be here to see. I told him ill visit and he was open to that so maybe this is the start of his recovery. Just heartbreaking knowing they’re in so much pain and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Fighting for someone who doesn’t think they’re worth it. Forgetting the happiness in moments and only seeing what i can’t give. Im hoping we can each find some peace bettering ourselves and come out of this stronger as a couple. Knowing this is going to be a hard road to travel doesn’t help me prepare for it any better. I know i will survive this and nothing worth having is ever easy but is it really too much to ask to want to come out whole.. Letting go of something so real isn’t an option so its only onward through the trenches trying to wade through the mud and remembering to breathe along the way. You guys are not alone even though it feels like that. They are in there buried deep so keep hoping and supporting and doing the best you can do to survive each day for as long as you can. In the meantime you have to get out the house and make an effort to do something. When they come back you cant be as depressed as they were. Smallest thing doesn’t matter. Errands you put off or even if its just a drive to a further grocery or gas. I was told to make a list of everything i ever wanted or needed to do. And talk to someone, anyone. I found a coworker who dealt with his own severe depression and it helps knowing I’m doing everything i can. I just hope its enough to make a difference in the long run. That sticking it out believing they can overcome will bring them back.


This sounds like my now ex girlfriend. She has been in some very verbally abusive relationships. But I know something else has cause her depression. Maybe seasonal affective disorder, SAD. She dumped me, I tried so hard, I even gave her space. But I know she loves me. She even told me and was talking about moving in. Then a cpuole weeks later, lashed out. She was so emotional and crying her eyes out when she ended it, like she didn’t know why she was doing it or pushing away. I tried to reach out once, and she didn’t respond. We havent talked in 2 months. I miss her a lot. I want her back and i love her. But not sure what to do? I don’t want to push her away more. I want to be there for her, but i dont want to push her away? Any suggestions?


I’m sorry. Seems youve done better at giving space than alot of us. I think you should be able to reach out and tell her u still love and miss her. That you hope she is doing ok and you would like to talk to her sometimes. Maybe you just start out with how are you? Idk. It’s the balance of giving support but them feeling like a burden. They know the pain they are causing us but can’t help it so its easier to distance themselves. They don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, they may not even believe it exists. This feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. It’s not just a relationship failed. It’s depression stealing them. I don’t know your full story but I hope she isn’t alone and she has someone to talk to. Family seems to be the less pressured people over friends or significant others. Just try not to get mad at her, she’s not doing this on purpose. She just doesn’t know what else to do. Like Vicki said above those lines help me too. All you can do is educate yourself and try to move forward. I have hope but it’s a daily battle with anxiety and fear of the future. Hard to live in the present when your world seems to fall away and you don’t know what or if there’s anything more u could be doing to make it better or even if you’re making it worse. Just stay true to yourself and try not to put on too much pressure but if you still have hope dont give up and fight for it as long as you can. Try to keep some contact bc as much as they feel like a burden they should know they are still cared about even at their lowest points.

Chris G

Well said. I could have used this advice when I was dealing with my own relationship. Instead of giving her space I kept pushing the issue until I eventually pushed her away. For good maybe but I pray I’m wrong about that.


Chris g
Are u still blocked? Any contact with her in the last 9 months?
Maybe you could write her a letter? Reread and rewrite over and over to get correct but at this point i feel you still need closure one way or another. Is the person still there that loves us so much, are they still struggling or are they happier now and have moved on? It’s limbo. I know my bf is still in there and i would wait a year for him to re find himself. His issue is more financial security and purpose. With yours idk if something terrible happened at school and unless she said it you can only guess. I wouldn’t put that in the letter tho. Just positivity and warm thoughts. Maybe mention things you used to enjoy together or anything meaningful. It’ll either bring back and remind her of some happiness she once had or maybe you won’t get a reply. At the end of the day you need to know you did everything you could when that time comes. But if you’ve had no contact with her for months at a time then why not reach out. You can apologise for pushing and tell her you forgive her etc. She may need to hear it. Idk. I really hope she finds her way back to you tho. I feel like all of us need some happy endings.

Chris G

I’ve spoken with her over social media. That’s about it. I’m still hopeful that one day maybe we find our way back to each other. But for now I think it’s better to just let her do own thing and I do mines tbh. When we spoke it was good and all but I don’t wanna force anything. That was a couple weeks ago. I’ll always love and care for that girl and knows that much. Idk it’s kinda of a weird situation but as much as I wanna be with her I can’t sit and wait forever. Im working on bettering myself atm so when the time comes where we may get back together I’ll be ready. I don’t think I was ready for her back when we were together, I see that now. I’ve learned a lot about myself since we’ve been separated. And as far as what may have happened to her, I still don’t know and I’m not going to ask either, if she decides to tell me it’ll be of her own accord. But I hope you situation turns out better for you.


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