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Topic: Long distance relationship: how can I support my partner?

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Twiggs
    Twiggs avatar
    2 posts
    17 March 2019

    Hi, I thought about asking for some advice cause I'm at a bit of a loss here, I've only been with my partner a few months, & he's told me from the beginning that he gets sad sometimes.

    We have a long distance relationship & see each other about twice a month, which is hard in itself, but we talk every single day, though I've noticed lately the times he's been feeling down have been more and more.

    Little comments & what I would consider minor things seem to trigger a mood swing, especially if he's been drinking.

    He was overweight as a kid and still has pretty big issues with that, even though now I would describe him as probably underweight, & tells me all the time how he hates the way he looks, so he gets quite down when he sees a reflection of himself. He's super hard on himself & constantly puts himself down.

    He also thinks he's such a burden on me & his friends when he gets down, thinks that people don't like him, & has said multiple times how he feels like he can't enjoy anything anymore.

    I've spent hours talking through things with him, but he's afraid to see a doctor because he thinks it'll confirm that there's "something wrong" with him or that he's "a broken person". Today he confessed he's had suicidal thoughts, though said he could never go through with it.

    It's super scary, & I've never been in a situation where the person I care about the most is having such an awful time. He knows I'm here for him, that he's not a burden to me, & how I find him incredibly attractive, but I feel like I'm not able to support him as much living 1500kms away. He won't open up to his friends (who are lovely & supportive) so I'm the only one he talks to about anything.

    I've tried doing some research, talking to his friends, asking him to see a doctor, telling him how important his is to me, but is there anything else I can do to help him that I've overlooked? I feel a little overwhelmed & extremely helpless, especially living so far away from him at the moment.

    Thanks so much for any tips or advice!

  2. PamelaR
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
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    PamelaR avatar
    2681 posts
    18 March 2019 in reply to Twiggs

    Hi Twiggs and warm welcome to our forums

    Thank you for sharing your story and being so helpful to your partner. Supporting someone with a mental illness is not easy, especially long distance as you say.

    It sounds like you're doing all the things we suggest - get him to talk to his friends, go to his doctor, get on a mental health plan, get a referral to a counsellor. If necessary, doctor may prescribe medication.

    One important thing is for you to look after yourself too. Caring for others is very tiring. Have you had a look at the resources available on our website? Perhaps do a search for keywords in the search field at the top of the page. E.g.

    supporting someone with depression or anxiety

    supporting someone to see a health professional

    Hope some of this helps Twigg. You're not alone. Have you browsed through the forum Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition under the - Caring for myself and others category to see how others have managed a similar situation to yourself?

    Kind regards

    PamelaR

    1 person found this helpful
  3. romantic_thi3f
    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
    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2715 posts
    19 March 2019 in reply to Twiggs

    Hi Twiggs,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here.

    I'm sorry that your partners going through this. It sounds like you are doing all the right things however I commend you for being here anyway because it is tough.

    I think the biggest thing that I can suggest is to encourage him to push with the doctor. You said that he mentioned it'll confirm something's wrong or he's broken, but if it does confirm that somethings wrong - isn't that something he knows anyway? Lots of people do see doctors for their mental health, regardless of how much their struggling and how 'serious' it feels. Therapy can often be useful just for general stress and time management; you don't have to be feeling broken to go see one. Even though it goes without saying, he's not broken. He's struggling - there's a difference.

    Do you think that it might help to say these things? Sometimes (especially with men) the idea of therapy can feel very defeating because there's such a need to deal with things himself, but if he's potentially able to reframe it as helping to deal and giving him techniques to deal it might be able to change his perspective a little. I feel like the benefits of going certainly outweigh those thoughts and fears.

    The only other thing I can think of is to ask him about what's good - what are the things he does enjoy? When can he remember a time where he wasn't so caught up in those thoughts? Identifying this can be really hard, but even if it's something small, it's good anyway.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Twiggs
    Twiggs avatar
    2 posts
    20 March 2019

    Thanks so much for your advice, he'd had a really rough weekend so once the dust settled I was able to talk to him when he was in a bit of a better state of mind.

    It was a long (and very draining) conversation, but overall it went well. Re-wording things definitely helped, and even though he's still adamant he doesn't want to talk to his friends about anything, he's agreed to see a doctor. I guess it's just a matter of making sure he follows through with it and actually makes an appointment now, without hassling him.
    The CEO of his company even noticed how he was feeling and has had a talk to him just yesterday (he had said they'd maybe had 2 conversations the entire time he's been working there, which is about 4 years, so if other people who don't even know him that well are concerned, there might be something going on)

    Thanks for sharing the resources info - it's comforting to know that people are going through similar things and have come out the other side.

    Thanks so much for your input and support, hopefully things start improving!

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