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Topic: New to this. Depressed partner seeming to become distant and isolated. How do I approach?

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Luga
    Luga avatar
    1 posts
    11 November 2019


    I am new to supporting someone with a mental illness. My partner of just over a year has depression, and is beginning to push me away. We live separately, both at our family homes. I would like to connect with her however am unsure of how to approach delicately as each time so far has been met with a push back. How do you approach when the person is crawling into hibernation?

    My current plan, is mostly to make sure I remain okay, as I have my own relational trauma background that can cause me to get triggered in a situation (for example) when there is something persistently wrong, and I am at fault , and so if I'm not okay, I won't be of any good to her. But what I want to do is make sure she still knows that I value the relationship very much so, and I value her. Should I text? Should I write?

    Please no "it could be worse" replies. I get that everyone is at different stages, and these commentssuggest competition. Politely I request constructive feedback or sharing of similar experiences perhaps at the beginning when the scary wraith at the end of the dimly lit corridor was just starting to make itself known.

    Thanks in advance,


    1 person found this helpful
  2. Quercus
    Valued Contributor
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    Quercus avatar
    3502 posts
    18 November 2019 in reply to Luga

    Hi Luga and a very belated welcome to the forums.

    There seem to be a few posts slipping through and missed lately and I wanted to make sure you knew it isn't a reflection of anything you've written. I hope you can return and keep joining in.

    I found myself admiring the self awareness in your post. It is such a positive thing that you're aware of your own needs and limitations and are focusing on what is within your control. One comment that comes up on these forums often is the saying in an aeroplane emergency... "secure your own mask before helping others". Although you clearly care for your partner and want to help right now what you're focusing on sounds like a good plan to me.

    You mentioned you live separately and aren't sure whether to contact her. My thought on this was to wonder what is 'normal' for you both as a couple (in terms of how often you contact eachother and how when you are feeling well and times you've been down before)? Can you think of approaches that have worked previously or is the isolation something new?

    One thing I find myself returning to often is the 'love languages' theory. It might sound a bit silly but it does help my husband and I to remember we express and feel love very differently.

    When I'm depressed I can't always see his affection because he shows it differently to me and I isolate myself more feeling rejected thanks to the black dog in my head telling me I'm unloved. For example he shows love with acts of service but when I'm low I see him keeping busy doing 'things' when all I want is for him to give me a hug or just sit close.

    Do you think seeing as the approaches you've tried so far haven't worked that this might be a place to start to find ideas of different ways to show her you value her?

    It's ok if this isn't something you find helpful. I can relate to your partner's behaviour (hibernating is such a good description!) and figured I'd share what we've found helpful.

    I hope you can find an approach that works for you both.


  3. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
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    geoff avatar
    13383 posts
    18 November 2019 in reply to Luga

    Hello Luga, and I join with Nat about missing a reply back to you.

    When you're in love with a person who unfortunately becomes or who is already depressed breaks your heart because you're unsure of what to do and if you try and help them in a way that you feel is appropriate and get no response, you're so uncertain as to what to do.

    I've seen this happen time after time, not only for myself but with other people, and although they may not communicate with you, they are thinking to themselves, probably only with negative thoughts which may block your suggestions, but you should not give up.

    If you can see or contact her suggest that she goes and sees her doctor and remember it may take you a few times before realises that she needs help.

    Take care.


    1 person found this helpful

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