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How Can I Help My Boyfriend Understand My Depression?

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From a teen in the U.S.: i”ve been dealing with depression and anxiety issues since i was 6 years old. i’ve never really enjoyed living, being so depressed makes me push away everyone i care about, leaves me unmotivated quitting every job ive had and dropping out of high school, and constantly wanting to be alone and curl up in a ball and not do anything with my life. i have no energy and i kinda just sit and sulk all day, i also deal with bipolar, extremely bad panic attacks multiple times a day, and body dysmorphia.

i’ve been dating my boyfriend for 6 months now, and he’s usually been able to really help with my mood and genuinely make me feel okay. but it’s always this time of year that i get really depressed and distant and lose all motivation for doing anything. he’s constantly accusing me of cheating because of it and getting mad at me, which makes things worse and usually always sends me into a panic attack. i just feel like he doesn’t understand.

i’ve been with him everyday for about a month now and things have progressively gotten worse, i sit here not talking not wanting to go out with him and his friends, not really wanting to do anything or say anything and he just really doesn’t understand.

He says he has depression, so i thought it’d be okay i thought he would understand me and why i act like this and why my mood swings are all over the place and why i get so insecure and anxious about stupid things, but he really doesn’t. he’s my safe place and even if we just sit here in silence i feel better just knowing that he’s here, but he just doesn’t get why I’m so distant and i just don’t know what to do.

it’s making me more depressed, making me want to run away from this relationship like i used to in the past and just be alone, but i love him so much i want to make it work. i just want him to understand me and why i act the way i do. are there any tips on how to better myself for him to make him less insecure? i’m on lamictal for depression and bipolar and buspar for panic attacks but i haven’t seen any improvement in my mood or anxiety. thank you!!!

How Can I Help My Boyfriend Understand My Depression?

Answered by on -

A.

Thank you for writing. I can understand your boyfriend’s worry and frustration that you can’t seem to enjoy life. But I don’t understand his accusations that you are cheating. That sends up a big red flag. It suggests that he is insecure and controlling. You don’t deserve to be defending yourself. Do consider whether you are so grateful to have someone in your life that you are accepting unacceptable behavior. If he keeps this up, he’s not for you.

On your side: It does seem that you are too dependent on your boyfriend for your emotional well-being. He cannot and should not be expected to be your only anchor. One thing I know for sure (and there are very few things I know for sure) is that the less a person does, the less they feel able to do. If you wait until you are motivated, nothing will change. I suggest you make a list of small steps you can take each day to make life happier and work on doing them — even if you don’t feel like it. The more you do, the better you will feel about yourself.

You mentioned medication you are taking but you didn’t mention whether you have also participated in therapy. The treatment of choice for symptoms like yours is a combination of therapy and medication.

If you haven’t already been in touch with the Body Dysmorphia Clinic at Mass General Hospital in Boston, I hope you will contact them. Focused treatment on that issue might help you with your other problems as well.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Can I Help My Boyfriend Understand My Depression?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). How Can I Help My Boyfriend Understand My Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/06/23/how-can-i-help-my-boyfriend-understand-my-depression/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Jun 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 19 Jun 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.