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Topic: My girlfriend's mental health is worrying me, she's breaking down quite regularly but cant seem to talk about why at all.

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Enochi
    Enochi avatar
    1 posts
    23 December 2019

    I've been with my girlfriend for about a year now and she's told me about having anxiety and depression which I understand because I suffer with both myself, but she seems to struggle talking about specifics in terms of what is going on in her life and how she is feeling. The break downs tend to be soon before she has to leave my place or face a task. We spend most weekends together but lately it seems like every Sunday she gets down about facing the week ahead. She basically gets to a point where she will just be in my bed staring into space, with tears streaming down her face and when I ask her what is going on she cant find the words like there is a mental block. I hug her and try make he feel better as best I can and just sit with her but I feel quite lost with what to do.

    She is also currently doing her masters thesis which is super stressful and from what I can gather is very burnt out from it all. I try and be as supportive as possible but I dont really know how to help or know what to do without someone talking to me about what is going on and how they are feeling. I know she has been through some pretty major trauma in past relationships and has told me bits and pieces so I can understand why she struggles opening up to people. As someone who has been to therapy myself I really think she could benefit from it, but she struggles to talk to anyone at all (me, her friends, her family etc) about what is going on in her head and convincing her that therapy would be a good idea seems like an impossible task because she doesn't think she needs it or can afford. My current tactic is just to be there, hold her hand, give her tissues, somewhat guess what is going on inside her head and say things like "I care about you" "its ok, let it out" "when you're ready to vent Im here" etc.

    Does anyone have any advice on what more I could do to help support her?

  2. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2564 posts
    23 December 2019 in reply to Enochi

    Hi Enochi,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for reaching out. It's lovely to hear how much you care about your girlfriend and wanting to support her.

    Honestly I know it may feel like you are not doing a lot, but just 'being there' when someone is hurting so much is so powerful on it's own. I'd imagine you'd know from your own experiences that anxiety and depression can be quite isolating, so just having someone who cares about you is so important.

    Both myself and my partner have depression (although I have more issues than him ha!), and he shuts down. I talk a lot about my feelings, and like you, I get a bit stuck when I don't understand what's going on. I've learned that it's okay just to sit there. It might even be helpful to ask your girlfriend (when she's feeling a little better) what she needs in that moment. She may not know and that's okay too.

    As for therapists, they are trained in all of this. It's so common to have a 'mental block' or even this feeling of numbness, and therapists will have seen all of it and worked with it before. There is no pressure whatsoever to open up about feelings. Some therapists even use alternative therapies too, like art therapy - maybe your girlfriend might be able to open up through painting, music or even exercise. Also while I understand that money can be an issue, you may be able to find a bulk-billing therapist so that your girlfriend isn't out of pocket.

    Hope this helps a little; feel free to browse around the other supporting people threads and jump in if you like.

    rt

    2 people found this helpful
  3. MissBenthos
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    MissBenthos avatar
    141 posts
    24 December 2019

    Hi Enochi,

    When I was in my darkest place I didn’t know what was causing the depression so I wasn’t able to figure out how to talk through things with the people around me.

    It has been many years of therapy and doctors getting to a better place and finding myself. What romantic thief bought up reminded me of the alternative therapy I did which helped with places to start conversation. I kept a dream journal and read my dreams to my therapist, it was quite insightful to hear her perspective on the patterns that were reoccurring and how they might relate to my real life.

    It may also be good for her to have someone who’s not a part of her life but is a trustworthy professional to let out anything she may be holding onto without judgement or bias.

    I think it’s good for everyone to get in and have some therapy, even if they aren’t mental ill. It does sound like she is struggling though with what you’ve described and she could see her doctor about getting a plan for subsidised sessions.

    All the best xo

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Lady Nova
    Lady Nova avatar
    117 posts
    11 January 2020 in reply to Enochi
    When I read your topic, I thought it might have been my partner talking about me.
    I feel like I know exactly how your gf feels and I still have no words for it, even on my good days. The overwhelm just sits so heavy on me that I can barely breath let alone articulate, and when I can martial the words in my head they no longer have a voice coming out and I struggle to just not give up trying to make the sounds that might be speech.
    I might suggest, in those moments, to find another form of communication; drawing, typing, diarising ...
    It may not hope right then and there, but it may get her working through the overwhelm.
    I wish you both well. We are always aware how hard we are to be here for and we often feel unworthy of the care we receive.
  5. poorlydrawn
    poorlydrawn avatar
    14 posts
    21 January 2020 in reply to Enochi

    Enochi, you are doing a great job! I have been on both sides of this, and I know it can feel very 'unrewarding' and helpless to be in the situation you are in, not to mention exhausting. I would also say that even if she can't talk about it, I am sure your girlfriend sees and appreciates your support.

    Given you have experienced anxiety and depression yourself, you will have some personal knowledge as to how they can affect a person which is a good start, but if you know some bits and pieces about her history, something you may be able to do is try and learn a bit more about those kinds of traumas and how they can affect a person. By that I don't mean asking her directly, as she will likely close up even more, but there may be some hints from what she has said that may be able to look into, ie. physical/mental abuse or whatever the case may be.

    In terms of therapy, it can possibly help, but as you would know, it's a matter of finding the right person at the right time and in the right timeframe, so it's important to look at that as a long term goal. As others have said, I don't think she should be worried about costs as there are subsidies available, but I feel it is important for her to be able to consider it as a viable option for her if it is to have any chance of working. How to do that, though, I'm not sure! As you have had some success with therapy yourself, perhaps you could try relating some of your experiences to show her how it helped you? Therapy can also be a bit of a 'mystery' sometimes. It may be she doesn't even understand how it works or what it might be able to do for her, and just has an aversion to the word 'therapy'. It is worth noting that there can be a definite lack of transparency in terms of what to expect before going to a therapy session too, which can make it challenging. Perhaps you could also do a little research into some sort of 'Therapy 101' to give her a good grasp as to what it actually is? It may not be what she thinks.

    I hope this is of some small help to you - the others to have posted before me have also made some great suggestions. Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

    p.d

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