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Topic: Supporting my girlfriend

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Cwilliamc
    Cwilliamc avatar
    1 posts
    26 November 2019

    Hi

    I don't know where to start.I love my girlfriend and we have been together for about a year and a half. She is incredibly strong and just finished studying, starting her new job in a highly emotional/mentally draining field.

    I guess one of the things I am struggling with is that I work in a emotionally taxing field myself and after work, I get home from working with individual who has serious health conditions. after work I feel I spend many afternoons talking over how she is in pain and feeling down with negative thoughts. Sometimes I feel I emotionally just don't have any more to give anyone and I've had a couple of breakdowns over the last couple of months.

    My girlfriend has had a couple of life life changes from studying full time to working and is finding it hard to adjust. She's dealt with depression and anxiety for many years now, seeking councillor help in the past but says it didn't help. I've suggested seeking extra support around her by seeing a psych which might help to cope with these changes in her life and give strategies to deal with things. She started seeing a psych a couple of months ago, she liked her but had to sort some paperwork with her gp and stopped. I've asked her several times to make appointments with her gp to get the paperwork sort and she says she forgets, I understand that can happen. I suggested making an appointment online while I was with her, she went to the appointment and forgot to follow up with the paperwork.

    I don't know what to do, I love her but I feel emotionally drained sometimes. She tells me that she is at her end and does not have any reserve left in her. I feel like I'm heading down that path myself I don't know what to do.

    Sorry about the big ramble and I really appreciate your time reading this. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheets

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Peppermintbach
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Peppermintbach avatar
    176 posts
    26 November 2019 in reply to Cwilliamc

    Hi Cheets,

    You sound as though you’re a very loving, caring, devoted & supportive partner. You clearly love your girlfriend very much, & it shows through your actions. I think she’s very fortunate to have you in her life :)

    But it also sounds as though you’re starting to feel understandably overwhelmed & perhaps even emotionally burnt out. The double emotional strain of working in an emotionally charged field then coming home to emotionally support your girlfriend is a lot for any one person, even if you love your girlfriend very much...I really feel for you...

    I think reaching out here is a wonderful step forward. I’ve heard of people saying “carers need care too.” I know you’re her partner & not her carer, but I think the same principle applies.

    My gentle suggestion is something along the lines of, love with boundaries. What I mean by that is we can continue supporting loved ones, but in a way that doesn’t mean we end up highly emotionally depleted or burnt out.

    I’m happy to share some suggestions, & you can see if you like those ideas or not. If you don’t like them/think they’re unsuitable, that’s of course okay, we can continue brainstorming :)

    • Try to find some time to pursue your own interests (e.g. sports, art, etc)
    • Try to spend some time apart (not all the time but sometimes) to maintain a sense of “self.” For example, you might like to see your family or friend’s, go for a walk by yourself, get a coffee alone, etc.
    • Openly communicate with her that you’re also struggling & would like some support yourself. I completely understand that sometimes relationships mean one person ends up supporting the other person more at times, because of circumstances or mental/physical health issues. But long-term/overall, I think it helps in most cases to have that imbalance restored where it’s more reciprocal/mutual.
    • Consider seeking emotional support yourself from professionals. For example, if you haven’t already, maybe you could make an extended appointment with a GP & explain that you’re struggling & ask if they have any suggestions, recommendations or referrals.
    • Perhaps have set days each week where it’s your relaxation time, during which, she’s not come to you with her troubles.

    As I said, I think you’re a wonderful partner & I hope things work out for your mood/emotionally.

    There’s obviously no rush or pressure, but if & when you feel like writing, I would like to hear how you have been since your first post :)

    Kind & caring thoughts,

    Pepper

  3. Redbird
    Redbird avatar
    2 posts
    1 December 2019 in reply to Cwilliamc

    Hi

    I am in a similar situation as you and I can relate to everything that you have said. I too have been supporting my bf for more than a year now with his depression. He's very "new" in depression and I can see him struggling to even come into terms of accepting the mental illness himself. For months, I developed anxiety because he has chosen to move away with his parents but he still wants to be with me, and I am the only person whom he can talk about his depression.

    I've done many self help for myself, including going to GP, seeing psychologist for myself, reading self help books, opening up my story to new colleagues. They all help, albeit temporarily. My biggest savior was meditation. I was never into meditation, I was very skeptical. I downloaded headspace, and I persisted for months. After 2 months, I noticed the change in me. I could stay in the moment, I could recognise whenever I was going to spiral down, I could even just sit and watch my emotions pass.

    It doesn't treat the cause of the problem of course. But at least it gave me the strength and clarity when I needed it. As a matter of fact, he is missing at the moment and I am very anxious about his safety. The only thing I could do now is to keep calm, pray and hope.

    I've read Michael Singer's Untethered Soul. It really helps. Also, there are podcasts on Spotify which have given me guidance sometimes way more than my psychologist.

    I hope you will find your inner strength and don't let mental illness take over you too. You are a loving partner and I truly believe there's an end to the tunnel we are both in. It might be dark at times, but the light is within you.

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