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My depressed partner has shut me out and now I am feeling bad

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elbereth

New member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
4
Location
UK
Hi, I am having a really difficult time dealing with my partners severe depression and hoping someone can help shed some light on what is going on. Our relationship hasn't been going for long, only about 10 months, but I do very much love this man and we were definitely looking long term into the future. However he works very long hours and never seems to have a day off as he is putting aside money for his son (who lives with his ex wife so he only gets to see him ever two weeks). This has resulted in the almost inevitable burn out scenario and a severe depression. I have had depression several times in the past, so I understand from my own perspective how it feels (or not feel as my depression leaves me feeling numb).

The first sign of trouble was when he suddenly stopped messaging or phoning me (he used to do that every day). As I hadn't realised depression was the culprit at the time, I became very insecure and demanding to know what was going on and if he wanted to split up. I thought he was ghosting me and I became really upset and distressed by it, to the point I could not eat or sleep and was constantly crying. He would continue ignoring me, even when I told him how distressed I was, and not reading my messages. Any replies were occasional and short. When he did phone, it was only for about a minute to say he was ok and he avoided getting into any long conversations. I did eventually go round to his house to see him, I only stayed a few minutes but one look at him told me he was not himself, he looked defeated, tired, smaller almost. He had no energy to deal with me so I left him so he can get some sleep.

While I was angry with him, I was also worried. Deep down, I didn't believe this was him ending our relationship, it just didn't feel like that, though some would say the evidence showed that he was being an ass and did want to leave. Eventually however, he did phone me and apologised for not being in touch much and that he was depressed and had also tried to end his life. He then said he was now getting counselling. I was shocked and also devastated that I hadn't been there for him, that he hadn't come to me about his problems as I would have listened to him, that he hadn't told me the extent of what was happening to him. I said he could speak to me any time, that I'd listen and he would not be a burden to me. But instead he shut me out and is continuing to do so. I can go for days without hearing from him, then I might get a quick response to a message I sent. He says he will phone me, but never does; he also says he will see me, but never does. He is non-commital to any suggestion we meet up or have a proper discussion about what is happening and what he/we need.

I am cracking up. I am trying to prioritise myself now and just let him know regularly that I am still there for him. But I feel so abandoned, lonely, confused, stuck in limbo with no idea of what is going on or if he is getting any better as he will not talk to me about it. I am terrified he will try to end his life again and I'd feel so guilty if that did happen. I feel anxious that I might lose him if we do not start re-connecting soon. I have no intention of leaving him, I know what it's like to come out of a period of depression to find your friends have effectively abandoned you and I won't do the same to him. I cannot talk to his family as we haven't introduced each other to our families yet.

During my own previous periods of depression, I always maintained contact with a partner, even if it wasn't the most stimulating conversation for them. I at least responded to messages and calls even if it was just a few words. So I am having difficulty really understanding why he can't just send me a quick message at least to let me know he is ok, that he is still there, though maybe not wanting to talk yet.

Anyone recognise this pattern of behaviour that can suggest possible reasons for it? Is it just that he has become so withdrawn that he cannot even talk to his own partner even for a minute? Is he trying to protect me for some reason? Is he scared I'll judge him for it or that he might appear weak? Because I can't speak to him, I can't get any answers and being an overthinker, I am imagining all sorts of scenarios in my head. Is there anything I can do to help him or am I going to just have to sit it out and wait til he hopefully improves enough to talk. Ugh, I hate depression with every fibre of my being! It has destroyed so much in the past, I don't want to lose someone else to it!
 
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SadRainbow

Former member
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Aug 5, 2021
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Honestly, and this is from someone with depression, I think you should tell him that him ignoring you and shutting you out is not acceptable. I have severe depression and I would not treat an acquaintance like this, let alone someone I professed to love.
 
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SadRainbow

Former member
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Also, I would message him one last time saying if he doesn't respond within a certain timeframe then you will ask the police to do a welfare check on him.
 
SoftRain

SoftRain

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Jun 26, 2016
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sillyville, USA
I am so sorry. Playing the waiting game is for the birds! I think I would let him know he is making you worried and bad for not getting back to you. But on the other hand, I would let him be after that and see what happens on his side.
I have been severely depressed and didnt want to talk and even went days without getting back to someone. My pain fogged my brain of being respectful. I just wanted to die.
 
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elbereth

New member
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
4
Location
UK
I totally understand that depression makes people not want to talk or interact with others, I've been there myself a good few times now.

I don't need him to have a lengthy discussion or tell me everything, that takes energy he doesn't have, but I just need to know he is doing ok.

Last night, he said he would phone me at 9pm. At half past 9, I sent him a quick message to remind him and he phoned me complaining that I was pressurising him and that he needs space. Yet I had not made any contact with him for two days before and I was only reminding him he was going to call me in case it slipped his mind. I only contact him every few days now and thats just to check he is still there.

Suppose this is the other side of depression, those close to you suffer also. I now know how my ex felt when I had severe depression.
 
SoftRain

SoftRain

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As hard as it is, just let him be. That will give you answers. He maybe will call you instead because he isnt hearintg from you.
 
S

SadRainbow

Former member
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I stand by what I said earlier.

Plus having a mental illness doesn't give you license to treat others badly.
 
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elbereth

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Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
4
Location
UK
You are both right, it's just a hard thing to leave it be when you miss them and are worried sick about them. I'll leave him alone and see what happens.
 
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Quietly Invisible

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Oct 29, 2021
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102
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PA
When you are in a very deep depression (suicidal is rock bottom) everything is a chore. You are so tired. I'm glad he's getting counseling. You can't get out of this on your own. In fact, I hope he gets medication. There are lots of good ones out there. I don't mean to be a drug pusher, but my depression just kept coming back and interfering with my marriage, my children, my job and taking care of my house. Now meds have had my depression stable for over 20 years.
Maybe if you just ask him for now to just text you once a day that he is okay, but eventually if you plan to stay in a relationship with him, I would want to go to at least a couple of sessions. You need to understand it and how to help him.
 
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elbereth

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Oct 25, 2021
Messages
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Location
UK
Everything is indeed a chore for him and because I know it is, I understand and can give him some space, but just trying to get him to even text each day is hard going. He did call me a few days ago asking for my help with his job (he is self employed) which i agreed to do as it is the main reason for his depression, but not heard from him since but I kinda need to know what I am doing in order to help him. I'm trying my best to be patient but it is hard going. I am going to suggest we get relationship counselling. I am also going for counselling myself as the whole episode has resulted in my own depression raising it's ugly head and the feelings of being abandoned by my partner, loneliness, fear and anger have been intensifying. It's not easy for both of us and I don't want to burden him with my issues while he is still battling his own.
 
M

Mistral

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Apr 28, 2011
Messages
782
You need to be in a good place to enable you to help him, if that is what you want to do. It could be that he is so depressed that he cannot cope with everything in his life and has to prioritise. I am self-employed as well and I know how important that was do me during my deepest days of depression. It was what kept me going.
 
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