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Topic: How do I respond when my partner is pushing me away because of depression and anxiety

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Dreamcatchr
    Dreamcatchr avatar
    4 posts
    14 November 2015
    Hey guys, first time post. I have been dating a girl for 6 months. When we're together she's sweet and happy and laughs the day away with me. She has suffered with depression and anxiety for years and tends to be a pretty solitary person generally. Recently I got upset because she has been distancing herself and is very hard to get through to. It led to her breaking up with me. Telling me it isn't me, it's her and it's not fair on me. . I know she is going through a hard time at the moment and she is pushing everyone away. I love her with all my heart and there is no chance I'm giving up on her. I want to be there for her, I want to help her get through this in any way possible. Even if I'm not in the picture at the end. I'm not really sure how to go about this, I don't want to make this any harder for her than it already is. Can anyone please tell me what I should and shouldn't do for her. I'm just not experienced in how to be with and be around people with depression. I love her to pieces even though she doesn't love herself. People who know her have seen her shut off and withdraw like this in the past. Any help, advice and even opinions would be most welcome. I'm not sure what I should do, but I miss her terribly and want to be there for her 
    1 person found this helpful
  2. White Rose
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    White Rose avatar
    872 posts
    14 November 2015 in reply to Dreamcatchr

    Dear Dreamcatcher

    Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. It's awesome when people want to help and support another person struggling with depression, especially partners. Many people are afraid of depression and have no idea what to do. I will offer some suggestions.

    First of all, your GF's actions are very common. Many, many people push others away when they are having a crisis. The rationale is they do not want to hurt others, place unnecessary strain on others and generally stuff up someone else's life. I know, I've been there and I'm struggling not to do the same again now. What people cannot grasp when they are in this state is that those they push away feel more hurt by this rejection than by the strain of helping someone they love.

    You would think it was natural to turn to a partner when in trouble of some sort, and in other circumstances that's what happens, but not with depression. The Black Dog is truly a mongrel.

    Knowing as much as possible about depression is the best start. On the home page of BB click on Learn About Depression in the middle of the page. This will take you to all sorts of information. Some you can download, other booklets etc BB will send to you on request, no charge.  If you click on Resources at the top of the page the drop down list will offer more information, some for family and friends. I recommend you get these as well. The better informed you are the more you can help.

    Does your GF have any professional help? This is really important. If not, see if you can get her to see her GP. Depressed people do not necessarily have to take medication or see a psychologist or psychiatrist, although I suspect, from your description, she should be getting help from at least one of these options. What about her diet? Depression can result in under or over eating. Either way she needs to eat the good stuff. It depends of course on her living situation, whether she lives at home, with friends or alone.

    Actions like these will demonstrate how much you care for your GF without constantly telling her so and giving her the opportunity to push you away. Similarly with asking if she is OK and other questions. So keep an eye on her moods and be ready to listen when and if she wants to talk. No judgmental statements such you should go for walk or should do this and that. Just be there, ask questions but ask gently and infrequently. Once she realises you will take things at her pace she will be more inclined to stay. It really becomes a trust thing.

    Mary

     

    5 people found this helpful
  3. Dreamcatchr
    Dreamcatchr avatar
    4 posts
    15 November 2015 in reply to White Rose
    First of all, thankyou very much for replying. She has started a course of ssri anti depressants about four weeks ago, she's currently not seeing a professional but we have talked about the possibility and she has seen professionals In the past. It is also just after exams and she has been feeling the stress. She eats pretty healthily but she has lost a decent amount of weight lately and has been stressing and not eating enough. She eats well when she's with me but every time I see her recently she's lost more weight. She's not an unhealthy weight but it's obviously playing on her mind. It's second nature to suggest a walk for example but I'm learning to think differently about it. I have spent a lot of time trying to equip myself with knowledge from beyond blue and friends who can relate to her or my situation. I haven't heard from her for nearly a week since our breakup so I'm unsure as how to go about things. I don't want her to feel more pressure. Thanks again for your advice 😊
  4. Dreamcatchr
    Dreamcatchr avatar
    4 posts
    16 November 2015 in reply to Dreamcatchr
    Just a quick follow up, I messaged her yesterday just to let her know I still care and am there for her if she needs anything. I got a reply saying thankyou and that she feels the same way which was unexpected but nice. She's normally not one to reply. I think I'm going to ask her to get a coffee or something non threatening tomorrow or the next day. It will be just under a week since the breakup
    1 person found this helpful
  5. White Rose
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    White Rose avatar
    872 posts
    16 November 2015 in reply to Dreamcatchr

    Hello Dreamcatcher

    Sounds very promising.  Perhaps the ADs are kicking in and helping her to focus. Whatever the reason it is good. I would ask her out for that coffee and just chat.  If she wants to bring up any difficult stuff you can follow her lead, otherwise just chat about whatever takes your fancy, so to speak. Trust is built as much by not saying the things the other person does not want to talk about as well as being ready to listen and talk a little when the time is OK.

    Life's stressors also have a lot to answer for in a negative way. But they are also necessary for us to swing into action. You only eat because of the stress of hunger. So go for it and good luck.  I hope you will keep us posted.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Dreamcatchr
    Dreamcatchr avatar
    4 posts
    17 November 2015 in reply to White Rose
    Hello! Just a quick update, I'm seeing a counsellor this morning, just to get some support, perspective and any general advice a professional may be able to convey. I want to be well equipped with knowledge as opposed to being a bit oblivious like before. Thankyou so much for your advice, little things like that will be invaluable for me to keep in mind and put into practice. I shall keep you updated 😊
  7. Cathn
    Cathn avatar
    1 posts
    17 November 2015 in reply to Dreamcatchr
    This has been helpful for me. My partner of 2 years has depression and is on medication but every now and then he goes downhill fast. Yesterday he came and told me he no longer wanted to be in a relationship and I firmly believe this is only because he has plummeted again - there are lots of indications of this. I am a qualified social worker and I have a son with schizophrenia so I'm pretty skilled usually in knowing how to manage such terrible downs. However this time I'm really struggling. I've looked at suggestions and I think I'm doing the 'right' thing but it's so hard when I love him so much and he is rejecting me. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
    1 person found this helpful
  8. Jessy Q
    Jessy Q avatar
    1 posts
    26 November 2017 in reply to Cathn
    Hi Cathn, sorry to hear that you are going through the same thing with me, it's very hard for us to keep giving them support while they are constantly pushing us away, or saying things that hurt our feelings. My boyfriend just told me today that he wanted to break up with me, and I don't even know what's our relationship now. What I learn from BB is that selfcare is very important. I hope everything will turn well for you and your partner.
  9. Ec70
    Ec70 avatar
    1 posts
    17 July 2019 in reply to Jessy Q

    I’m going through a similar problem, best thing to do is just be there for her.

    Thats all all I can really say on the matter, as I’m still learning as well.

  10. Jmor
    Jmor  avatar
    1 posts
    10 October 2019

    Hi all,

    really appreciate you taking the time to share. I have also been struggling as my partner has pushed me away and become very distant after 3 years together. It has got to the stage where we are amicable but I feel like I annoy her whenever I contact her to see how she’s going.

    Did giving your partner time and space work out for the best?

    Thanks!

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