Dating Somebody with Depression

As you can guess by the title, my partner has depression. I have been dating him for over 3 years and it has never been easy.

He was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. During our relationship his depression became so severe that he became addicted to ‘spice’ and became a zombie. He lied to me repeatedly in order to hide his addiction, until I eventually found evidence and faced him.

He went cold turkey as soon as I faced him and threatened to leave. Over a year on, he is still clean. I don’t think he will ever go back to using such harmful substances, but the lying was very difficult to deal with. I don’t think I will ever fully trust him again. He has built the trust over the last year, so I’m not a paranoid mess like I first was. But, his depression is still as severe as it ever was.

Sometimes, he won’t answer my texts for 2 days. It gets to the point where I have to call him to make sure he’s okay. He normally says that he just didn’t want to talk to anybody. Obviously, that is part his condition, but it is very hard to deal with as a partner. Especially when we are long distance.

We have had plenty of arguments about us moving. He is so deep into his condition that he is too anxious to leave his parents town. He even admits that he’s scared to move any where else. This is despite his dreams of moving to a different area. His first experience of moving away to university was very negative, so it has just made him scared to leave.

He likes to have alone time. I mean everybody does, so I am very happy to give it. But, he spends too much time alone, so much so that he starts to feel lonely. This then spirals him into an even deeper sadness. But, he has plenty of people that will be there for him. Yet, because he’s spent so much time alone, he feels he can no longer talk to them. If I say anything, I get told that I need to give him space because he just wants to be alone. Then, 2 days later I’ll get an apology saying that I was right and he’s felt terrible the last two days.

Sometimes, he can get angry very fast. Especially if he is tired. If a say something which is harmless, he could flippantly have a go at me. This is mainly due to his insomnia, which is a result of his mental health problems. I also believe that it is sometimes because he feels terrible, thus he irritable.

We had arguments about labelling our relationship. It was only after 6 months of dating and an excruciating amount of debates, that he agreed to be boyf/girlf. For the first year and a half he wouldn’t allow us to book anything (like a play) that was beyond 2 weeks away. Because he would say ‘you don’t know where we are going to be then’. In other words, he thought there was a chance we would not be together so we shouldn’t book it. It got to the point where I had had enough. I made it clear that there was no point in continuing with the relationship if he was so uncertain there would be a future. But, I know that that was his anxiety.

He has also been very self-centred throughout. When he feels down he doesn’t want to talk. But, what about me? What if I want to talk? Especially in the second year of our relationship, if I was really upset because of a housemate or something, he would hardly be interested. I would call him crying and ask if he could come over, and he would be like ‘I don’t want to’. If he is in a low mood or it is a decision which is spontaneous, he is very defensive and resistant. He does not like change or spontaneity. His anxiety sets in and he immediately refuses to do whatever it is. Or, he says ‘i’ll think about it’. Then, he’ll just overthink it to death so that it affects his sleep and makes him in a deeply low mood for days or even weeks.

The thing with having a partner with severe depression and anxiety is that it is not easy. You are the rock. But, most of the time you don’t feel like you get the support you need. You are too busy supporting the vulnerable one, rather than focusing on yourself. They are too busy focusing on themselves to notice, or sometimes it feels to even care. You have to step back and let them have all the attention and ease them into decisions and relationship progression. My boyfriend is a commitment phobe. Moving in together is considered to be a mind-blowing step for him… even after 3.5 years of dating. I mean it is big, but it shouldn’t be as scary as he perceives it.

Sometimes I do get upset. Sometimes I feel lonely and that he is not there for me. I feel unsupported. I feel like I have no energy because I spend it all on making him okay. I try and be forgiving, I try and be supportive. But, there are times when I have to have alone time in order to recuperate and regain my energy back.

Having a partner with severe mental health issues is exhausting. It is hard and it is lonely.  But, if you love somebody that much that you are willing to persevere with them through just about anything, then it is worth it.

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