My boyfriend’s mental state is worrying me slightly? Depression?

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

I’ve been dating him for 5 months now and I truly love him. He was brought up in a middle class environment but struggled when growing up because of his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He has a job as an apprentice engineer and he has said he will often have angry outbursts at work if he gets something wrong and will hurt himself by punching steel or whatever is nearby. He has extreme beliefs like he will own a particular city one day and change things to suit his “ideal”. He has extreme beliefs that all murders and rapists should be killed (he lives in UK). He comes across quite shy when talking to people (I’m not just saying this cause he’s my boyfriend but he’s really attractive conventionally so you’d think he’d be more confident); he will willingly talk to people but not make much eye contact. He gets very paranoid that I will cheat on him and says if I ever do I’ll never see him again and he says I’m the only person he loves and he wants to marry me in the future even although we’ve only been dating 5 months. He can be quite controlling and doesn’t like me smoking (he caught me smoking at a party and had a random shouting outburst at his friend when he tried to intervene). Last night when we were at his mum’s house he told her everything about him feeling angry at the slightest thing and he started crying cause I’m the only one he’s ever told about these feelings. He says I am the only thing that makes him happy, but he thinks I’m too naive and always wants to be there to protect me always because he always thinks the worst of people he doesn’t know. I’m really concerned and his mum and I suggested he see a counselor even although he really doesn’t want to. His mum thinks he has depression?? What do you think it could be?

A: I admire your concern about your boyfriend. But while I have some ideas about what might be going on, it isn’t possible to make a diagnosis in this manner. What I will say is that you are right to have a concern. My encouragement is to suggest he get an evaluation by a psychiatrist or to have some testing by a psychologist, preferably one with experience in neuropsychology. Only in this way can an accurate diagnosis and recommendation for treatment be made.

Until then, protect yourself by not allowing his needs to eclipse your own. Be clear about setting boundaries, and make the suggestion for an evaluation. But most importantly don’t lose yourself in the effort to help him. Ultimately he has to want the change to take place, and that is something he has to do on his own.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). My boyfriend’s mental state is worrying me slightly? Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/11/my-boyfriends-mental-state-is-worrying-me-slightly-depression/

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