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Topic: Found my boyfriend is taking antidepressant

21 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    17 February 2018

    Hi, I'm new to this. My boyfriend and I have been seeing each other for a few years. We are not living together. He had been really loving and supportive until November last year when he went distant suddenly. Around Christmas, he took some time off work, I found he became happier and more talkative, but it wasn’t quite the same as before. In the last few weeks, I can feel he has been pulling away again. I was really hurt. He even said at some stage he just wanted to be friends, but would like to help me and support me whenever I needed it. I found his words couldn't add up and I could tell there was something he wasn't telling me. Just a week ago, I noticed he was taking antidepressant. Now everything seems to make sense.

    I’m not quite sure what his condition is as he has never mentioned it to me. But he did mention in the past that he gets panic attacks. Work had been quite stressful for him in the past few years. And at the beginning of this year he started working in a new organisation. I have read a lot online about depression and anxiety in the last week and I really want to be there for him. He doesn't have any friends and his family is far away. He tends to keep a lot to himself and very self sufficient. The fact that he’s taking antidepressant is kind of good news as I wasn’t sure if he would want to seek any professional help in situations like this.

    We used to text each other a lot everyday when we are apart. But now he has stopped texting me to say hi. When I text him, he responds, but wouldn't say much. He just doesn't sound like the happy, funny guy I used to text to. He has also stopped showing affection. When I'm with him, he acts quite normally (he even laughs sometimes), and we still have sex, but I can tell he doesn't want to be emotionally intimate.

    As he has never mentioned to me he has depression and/or anxiety, I'm not sure if it is appropriate to start a conversation about it bluntly, or should I be more gentle? Also I'm not sure what to do in general. Should I just accept the way he is right now? Is it ok to ask for more affection? I know I need to be strong and not take anything personally, but still, when he is so distant it hurts and makes me doubt his love for me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    9194 posts
    18 February 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Dear Jasmine18~

    It can be a very worrying and confusing time when someone you care for has anxiety or depression or both, so coming here is a good move as you can find how others (on both sides) have coped.

    I guess the first thing you need to do is find out what you are dealing with. There is no reason not to talk to your boyfriend and be quite straight about it. I'm sure you can do this in a gentle and caring way. If you know he is taking ADs that is a starting point of sorts.

    Speaking from personal experience it is isolating and wearing to put on a mask and pretend everything is OK. If he is like me he may find sharing a relief.

    I doubt you would finish the conversation all in one go, it might take a long time. Similarly you may not find the right approach straight away. My wife supported me, but without a personal history of mental illness she had no experience to draw on and basically used trial and error. That worked fine, it was motivated by care.

    There is no need to try to fix anything or offer helpful suggestions. Just saying you are there for him is fine. I tend to get annoyed when offered logical views and fixes, as they simply indicate the person does not really understand.

    Most people would like to know what is the best sort of support to give. Well encouraging the person to make good use of medical resources, GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists, is worth doing. Other than that simply asking him what else he's like might be best. Being there and sharing activities can be good though one can't force the issue.

    It is very understandable for you to feel hurt as he is not the same person as before and also there is a strong temptation to think the change is a result of something you have done, or that he has moved on and no longer cares. This is not necessarily the case, but depression or anxiety taking over.

    I'm simply unsure about asking for more affection. Again looking at myself I could not deal with that when really depressed. As I improved I wanted to show love and affection -plus gratitude off my own bat. I'd think if you became a source of pressure in this regard it might be counter-productive.

    Please feel you can come here and ask whatever you would like, we will be here and do care

    Croix

  3. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    18 February 2018 in reply to Croix

    Thank you so much Croix. It is so good to hear from someone who has had the experience! What you said is very useful. And your support means a lot to me. I have read some of the posts on the forum. I'm so glad I have come to this place. It is such a supportive community!

    My boyfriend sounds and act almost normal when I'm with him, except he's not showing as much affection. But when we are apart, I hardly hear from him nowadays. Is it a normally behaviour of someone with depression or Anxiety? If so, what is the reason?

  4. Croix
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    Croix avatar
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    18 February 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Dear Jasmine18~

    I'm glad coming here is useful.

    Look, I can't really answer your question as I don't know your BF. All I can say is firstly when I was in the grip of depression I felt the world was all too much and retired from it where I could. This meant among other things not initiating more contact with anyone than I had to.

    The other thing was that I did try hard to put on a normal appearance. Probably not very convincingly but something. This was for several reasons, I could fool myself things were not too bad, I could prevent those I loved from worrying - or so I thought - and also it saved me from having to answer questions and deal with my condition.

    Perhaps it might be something along those lines, I don't know. I guess you will form an opinion when talking with him over time.

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    20 February 2018 in reply to Croix

    Dear Croix, thanks again. I haven't seen my BF in the last two days. Every time when I asked how he was going, he always said fine, while I know he's not. He still doesn't like me texting him often. You made a good point that it is not going to be just one conversation. It was not something I'd thought of. I can now sense it's going to take a long time. But no doubt, I'll be there for him. I know he needs me. So I need to stay strong and positive myself. Thank you again for your useful advice!

    1 person found this helpful
  6. smallwolf
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    4416 posts
    20 February 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Jasmine18,

    I feel for you... I truly do. I know you are trying to help but we inadvertently push you away. Let me give you an example from my own life. I have been seeing a psych since Oct 2017. My issues have been around since high school however. Anyway, I "know" (think) that my wife has enough issues to deal with, and therefore should not have deal with my problems also. And therefore I clam up, which can make the situation worse. There is the odd occasion when my wife recognises my depression, but otherwise I do a good job of hiding it. In reality I should lean on her. I cannot remember when, but we went a cafe in the shopping center, and I then explained what I was going through. Like you she wants to help (me). But sometimes we don't have the words to explain what we feeling. At the moment, all I think you can do is tell him that you love him, and want to help him or be there for him. There are also documents somewhere on this site for partners... read those also. Best of luck

    3 people found this helpful
  7. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    23 February 2018 in reply to smallwolf
    Thank you smallwolf. It's frustrating that he keeps me at arm length when I know he actually needs me. I have told him I'll always be there for him. It has been almost 4 months since the first time he was suddenly pulling away from me. I can't stop feeling hurt although I know it is his condition, not him. It's so good to get insight from someone who had depression in the past. Thank you again.
    2 people found this helpful
  8. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    4416 posts
    23 February 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Jasmine18,

    Have you looked on the beyond blue web site for information for partners? From google you should be search for...

    Friends and family who are supporting someone with depression or anxiety

    and you should find links to pages on this site (beyond blue) that will provide you with additional information as a partner. (I cannot provide any direct links. Sorry.) The information will be informational for you, and things you can do to help.

    Again, keep re-assuring your partner you care, and are there for them. Or can you invite him out for a coffee and a chat?

    1 person found this helpful
  9. brownhairedgirl
    brownhairedgirl avatar
    6 posts
    23 February 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Hi Jasmine18,

    It's wonderful you're trying to help your BF who is having a tough time. Not everyone would stick around so you must love him very much.

    i'm struggling with things myself right now and i know it is having a negative effect on my BF and our relationship. Knowing that i'm causing this negativity too is adding to my bad feelings about myself, so the cycle continues.

    From my experience when i'm feeling really low and i'm all locked up inside and unable to express what i'm feeling, i crave for my boyfriend to just hold my hand, touch my arm or something like that.

    Discreet, not making a fuss or anything. It reassures me he's there and i'm not alone.

    Just be there for him. It truly helps. Try asking questions that don't have one word answers to encourage him to start talking.

    i find i'm screaming inside my head and want to tell him everything because i love him and i know he loves me too but i'm frozen and something blocks me and i can't get the words out.

    There are some good conversation starter and question ideas in the Get Support tab at the top of this page.

    BHG

    2 people found this helpful
  10. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    23 February 2018 in reply to brownhairedgirl
    Thank you BHG and smallwolf. Yes, I have read the information on this website and found lots of very useful tips. I have read some other websites too. My BF is not wanting to see me often so I'm only seeing him once a week at the moment. When I see him, I'll try to talk to him again and try to encourage him to open up, even just a little bit.
  11. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    23 February 2018 in reply to brownhairedgirl
    Hi BHG, just wanted to add, pls don't blame yourself about the effect on your BF and your relationship. We know it's not your fault! I'm so glad that your BF is there for you!
    2 people found this helpful
  12. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    22 March 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    I feel so frustrated and don't know what to do. It has been over a month since I found out my boyfriend is taking ADs. When I told him I noticed he's taking medication, he got a bit upset with me and said I was invading his privacy. He doesn't want to talk about it at all, nor does he accepts any help from me. The good thing is he agrees to meet me once a week at the moment. But every time when he meets me, he pretends everything is fine. I can tell he tries hard to be the normal himself. When we are not together though he hardly returns my texts (we used to text each other a lot when not together). I doesn't even like me asking him if he's feeling better. He wants to be left alone. What should I do? How do I make him realise having me on board would help him recover?

  13. Croix
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    23 March 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Dear Jasmine18~

    I know it is very frustrating for you, and of course at the back of your mind is the worry about if the relationship is as strong as it was.

    I guess if he knows you are going to be there for him and he has no doubt of that then you are probably doing the best thing you can already. If he is withdrawing due to depression as I was then constant discussion of the matter will only put more pressure on him - as it did for me.

    If you can arrange to simply do things you both enjoy when you meet, anything from zoos to movies depending on your tastes, then he may feel more comfortable and relaxed. Trying to get him to enjoy himself (and you too of course)

    Croix

  14. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    3 July 2018

    It has been almost 5 months since i found out my boyfriend has depression/anxiety and has been taking ADs. I'm not sure if this is common. He is definitely better than before, in a better mood and behaves more normally, but he is still not the person he used to be. He used to be quite talkative, cheeky and charming. He used to care about me a lot. Now apart from seeing each other once a week, we hardly talk to each other. He never texts me unless I text him and if I text him too often, he gets annoyed. What bothers me most is he is not showing any affection towards me and doesn't want to be intimate. With him looking better, the longer it goes on, the more I doubt if he is still actually interested in me or the relationship.

    Ever since he has had depression, I found it is really hard to talk to him. He doesn't want to talk about his depression. It is really difficult for me to know how he actually feels and what is on his mind. I'd like to support him as much as I can, but he always gives the impression that he doesn't want my help. And the thought of him no longer wanting me is very upsetting. I'd like to know if the way he's behaving normal with people taking ADs. Should I keep being positive about our relationship?

  15. smallwolf
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    4416 posts
    4 July 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Jasmine18,

    I started with one medication and changed to another. Different medications can have different side effects. Not sure if relates to all, or just the one I started on, but they dial(ed) down all emotions, or level out all my emotions. In reducing sadness (for example) it also reduces happiness.

    On talking about it.... I find it hard to talk to my wife about it. Part of me does not want to worry her or add my burdens onto her. However I need to remember that we need to separate perceptions from reality. What I am getting at is that I need to make sure that I speak with my wife on what I am thinking etc. so that she knows where I am coming from. Again, it does not matter if my thoughts are irrational, they exist. This is particularly the case when I am a all or nothing, one thing fails equal total failure (in my mind).

    So to answer your questions, considering that I am not an expert in this area...

    • the effects could be normal for him
    • I (purely subjective thinking here) think that he does need to be more open with you so that you can find a way forward together? You might need to have a conversation with him about this. I am quite certain that you care very much for him (and you might need to re-iterate this point)
    • All people are unique, those with the depression and those without. Try to remain positive. But there may come a point when you think the relationship is all one way. If this is case, you should also make this known to him so that he is aware of the effect his actions are having on the relationship. You can then decide what to do. I would expect my wife to do this with me. Again, all people are unique and might/will react differently.

    I hope this sheds some light on the problem and answers some of your questions. All the best.

    Tim

  16. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8099 posts
    4 July 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Hi Jasmine18.

    AD medication can affect us all differently. Do you know the name of the medication he is taking or could you ask him? You could Google the medication and read the side effects list. It is a comprehensive list, so don't think your boyfriend has everything that is listed!

    The medication does help with the depression but can have its own issues.

    I don't believe that any of us can be the same person we were 6 months ago. Life changes. We change. We do the best we can, challenges in life can change us.

    If possible, an open discussion with your boyfriend would be beneficial.

    All the best, cheers from Dools

  17. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    6 July 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Thanks Tim and Dools for the suggestions and insight. I love him a lot and I really want to be there for him, but I also feel the relationship will eventually fail if he will be like this forever. If he could let me know what's in his mind, it would be much easier for rme. While him not wanting to talk makes it hard, I'll keep trying to make the communiction as open as possible.

  18. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8099 posts
    7 July 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Hi Jasmine,

    It does sound like you love your boyfriend very much. Depression is a hard thing to understand and comprehend at times for the sufferer and those around them. Maybe your boyfriend is struggling a little to understand it all himself.

    My husband doesn't always like to talk about how he is feeling, than now and then he wants me to listen to him for hours.

    When I am not coping very well some days, I will let my husband know so he realises I am not having such a pleasant time of things. He sometimes makes suggestions for what might help or I will read a book, go for a walk or do something that will distract me and help me.

    Hopefully you will be able to have some open communication and discussion. It is not always getting answers when someone is really, really depressed though! I find that a difficult time to talk and to react effectively.

    Cheers to you both from Dools

  19. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    19 July 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Hi Dools,

    I really appreciate your responses. Unfortunately, yesterday my boyfriend has told me he has started seeing someone else and no longer wants to see me. I feel betrayed. All this time I have been trying so hard to support him so that he wouldn't feel left alone, then he dumped me! I'm not sure if his decision has anything with his depression, but he did sound better recently when I met him. I just feel really hurt and don't know what to say or think.

    Jasmine

  20. Croix
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    9194 posts
    19 July 2018 in reply to Jasmine18

    Dear Jasmine~

    I'm very sorry it has come to this. You are a loving person and put so much of yourself into that relationship it must be terribly hard to think he did not value it the same. It's very unfair.

    Looking at own experience when my depression was better I returned to a loving relationship and tried to make up for the bad times. Depression did not make me want to search elsewhere, though I guess it strikes different people in different ways.

    As you say it is hard to know what to think, I'm sure while it might have been completely genuine there are some who might use depression as an excuse to end a relationship. Being reluctant to talk and getting annoyed if you contact him too often could simply have been he could no longer be bothered.

    If that was the case it would be a very cruel way of doing things, letting you care and keep on trying to support him like that.

    When something like this happens one ends up full of not only grief but also self-doubt. Is it possible for you to take a break from your normal routine and do something to distract you and steer your mind away from all this? A family member or friend to talk wiht might be good too

    You have an awful lot to offer a partner and I realy hope hte next one appreciates and cares for you as you deserve.

    Croix

  21. Jasmine18
    Jasmine18 avatar
    11 posts
    19 July 2018 in reply to Croix

    Thank you Croix.

    Your words mean a lot to me. I'm very disappointed that he knew I was sacrificing my own needs to support him and accepted my support, but in the meantime he started seeing someone else. I wish I was less kind to him. That said, it is really something I cannot do someone I love.

    While I'm really upset, I'm coping with it okay. I know I just have to go through this process emotionally, then I should be able to move on.

    Thanks for all your help and support!

    Jasmine

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