well me and her have been dating for a few years now, and the other day she told me she needed a break to find herself, she swears up and down she loves me and wants to be with no one else, but she needs this space to find her self, she says she’s unhappy with herself. Now i know she gained some weight and has been unemployed for 6 months now, sits home and does nothing and is bored all day, but why want to take a break from me? Just last month she was so excited about getting married and making wedding plans. what’s going on?

A: I have a guess that your girlfriend is depressed. She probably has some mistaken idea that she is just a burden to you.

You have a tough challenge here. If you crowd her, she could just get angry. But if you leave her alone, she’ll probably get more depressed. You need to find a way to strike a balance. Tell her you love her and are concerned about her. Let her know her weight isn’t an issue with you but her discouragement and sadness is. See if you can persuade her to see a counselor to help her get a jump start out of the depression and some practical help finding a job. Go to the appointment with her if she’s afraid and if she’ll let you.

Meanwhile, do everything you can to get her out of the house and doing something, almost anything, every day. The sneaky thing about depression is that it gradually gets worse and worse unless something is done to interrupt it. The less someone does, the less they feel like doing — so the less they do. Next thing you know, they’re in the pits. If you can get her doing some things she used to enjoy, it could help turn it around.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie