How to have relationships while living with depression?

Posted by marjou @marjou, Jun 21, 2020

Need some help in coping or pointers in how to best handle relationships whether family,dating, friends. Because my depression is the constant factor every day, I isolate in a way as to not subject others to my depressive state which I have to live with but they do not. Feel it's not fair to them or they just avoid me. When to tell or not to tell someone especially if trying to date?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Depression & Anxiety group.

@lilypaws

@marjou From what I understand from your message is that you are Bipolar 1? Mental illness runs in our family and my mom committed suicide at age 69. My son is the one fighting the devil now. He has his PHD, but can't teach, because of his Bipolar 1. His wife also has her PHD and is very successful. I do fill that she is controlling and controlling our son and granddaughter, we have no contacts with them. I am depressive and anxiety, my daughter the same, plus other factors like being very over weight. Most of other family members have some type of mental illness. It is very inherited. I just got home 2 weeks ago from a 9 hour fusion back surgery from T-10 to my pelvis. Had Pinched nerves plus other problems. I am still recovering and it takes time. Blessings and Prayers are sent your way.

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Yes, depression runs in my family…the trait I would inherit. Each day is an incredible challenge just to get out of bed or put a smile on my face. Appreciate your contact. Blessings

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@marjou

@grandmaraines As I read your post I could get the sense of your love for your husband, your care and your wanting to help him. I have been diagnosed as being bipolar which took many years to determine, but the heaviness of depression is unrelenting. I, too, have tried many medications that didn't work or made me a "zombie", ECT, been hospitalized, talk therapy, etc.

For me progress was minimal like lying in bed to lying on living room couch. It zaps the life out of the body both energy and the loss of joy. Science explains depression as a chemical inbalance in brain but is unique for each person and why there's no one remedy or cure.

Have been in a relationship where both of us were depressed and thought at least he understands but that didn't help us. As women we want to help and fix it, but difficult to do when the other person feels helpless/hopeless. The more I did the less he did and I noticed myself resenting him for not trying to do something, anything. So I had to break off the relationship to keep the friendship.

Does your husband have a therapist? Group therapy? Art therapy? Does he have friends that can visit him?
I don't have a miracle answer, but am here if I can be of help. Blessings and prayers are sent to both of you.

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Thank you for your reply. My husband tried going to an individual therapist who gave him strategies, met once more and felt it was all silly and useless to keep a journal or follow a weekly plan. He used to enjoy hinting and dud model trains as a hobby. He just gave all his guns to his son and gave up hobby years He has a psychiatrist who just asks how the meds are, suggests alternate ones to try, prescribed and checks in once every couple months .He is useless. In our area absolutely no one is accepting new patients. We have our church but fellowshipping is minimL due to Covid. All his peers who he called close friends are moved or passed away. We live in the country with no near neighbors and our church friends are almost 1 hr away. No one drives out here to visit. Our son is also over an hr away, who wants to help, but my husband won't discuss any of this with him (he is mortified- I have shared my heartache and what is happening with family, but I can't keep burdening them) and our son has a young family, busy with his own life. When we do see them it is usually with a group or special days like this last Father's day, so we do not mar the occasion with depression talk. My husband just tries really hard to not be a sad downer but he also is pretty silent whole time in a get together. No, I truly am alone in helping him.

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@grandmaraines

Thank you for your reply. My husband tried going to an individual therapist who gave him strategies, met once more and felt it was all silly and useless to keep a journal or follow a weekly plan. He used to enjoy hinting and dud model trains as a hobby. He just gave all his guns to his son and gave up hobby years He has a psychiatrist who just asks how the meds are, suggests alternate ones to try, prescribed and checks in once every couple months .He is useless. In our area absolutely no one is accepting new patients. We have our church but fellowshipping is minimL due to Covid. All his peers who he called close friends are moved or passed away. We live in the country with no near neighbors and our church friends are almost 1 hr away. No one drives out here to visit. Our son is also over an hr away, who wants to help, but my husband won't discuss any of this with him (he is mortified- I have shared my heartache and what is happening with family, but I can't keep burdening them) and our son has a young family, busy with his own life. When we do see them it is usually with a group or special days like this last Father's day, so we do not mar the occasion with depression talk. My husband just tries really hard to not be a sad downer but he also is pretty silent whole time in a get together. No, I truly am alone in helping him.

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@grandmaraines I live in a rural area and good therapists or psychiatrist are in great demand and short supply. This Mayo Connect has been so helpful for me and people are very nice. There is a chat under Depression/Anxiety that you both might find helpful. Would like to stay in touch if okay with you. Sending blessings.

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@hopeful33250

@marjou and others in this discussion about depression and forming relationships. I recently received an email from, https://thinkr.org/newsletter/humankind-a-hopeful-history, with information about Friendliness and how it can build happy relationships. I know that depression tends to create a less than friendly countenance and attitude but perhaps but practicing friendly actions and attitudes this might be something that would work for you. I just copied the last paragraph for you to read. Will you let me know what you think about this?

2. It’s not the fittest, but the friendliest that survive.
Until recently, humans elevated the collective over the individual. Despite popular images of warring tribal hunter-gatherer cultures, nomadic groups preceding the rise of agriculture formed fairly peaceful, egalitarian societies. It was the friendliest who would have the biggest families, and so nature selected for friendliness. It shows in Homo sapiens’ progression toward domesticity. Homo sapiens are at their best and strongest when they are at their friendliest.

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@hopeful33250 I tried to read this article but it was a bit much for me to decipher. The thing I agreed with is the most people are good and friendliness has a larger group base. Maybe I missed other factors, but that's what I could interpret.

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@grandmaraines

Thank you for your reply. My husband tried going to an individual therapist who gave him strategies, met once more and felt it was all silly and useless to keep a journal or follow a weekly plan. He used to enjoy hinting and dud model trains as a hobby. He just gave all his guns to his son and gave up hobby years He has a psychiatrist who just asks how the meds are, suggests alternate ones to try, prescribed and checks in once every couple months .He is useless. In our area absolutely no one is accepting new patients. We have our church but fellowshipping is minimL due to Covid. All his peers who he called close friends are moved or passed away. We live in the country with no near neighbors and our church friends are almost 1 hr away. No one drives out here to visit. Our son is also over an hr away, who wants to help, but my husband won't discuss any of this with him (he is mortified- I have shared my heartache and what is happening with family, but I can't keep burdening them) and our son has a young family, busy with his own life. When we do see them it is usually with a group or special days like this last Father's day, so we do not mar the occasion with depression talk. My husband just tries really hard to not be a sad downer but he also is pretty silent whole time in a get together. No, I truly am alone in helping him.

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@grandmaraines Your husband is blessed to have you in his corner. In reading your posts, it sounds like he is also concerned and would like to understand what to do to ease his burden. To me, that right there is a sign he understands the seriousness and long term effects of this issue. I am glad to hear he gifted his son with the firearms.

Do you have a way to check in with a teaching hospital in your area, and get some answers? SAMHSA [Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline may give you some guidance. Also there is the Anxiety and Depression Association of America https://adaa.org/ that might help.

Will you let me know if either one of these help you and your husband?
Ginger

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@marjou

@grandmaraines I live in a rural area and good therapists or psychiatrist are in great demand and short supply. This Mayo Connect has been so helpful for me and people are very nice. There is a chat under Depression/Anxiety that you both might find helpful. Would like to stay in touch if okay with you. Sending blessings.

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Thank you for reaching out. Yes, staying connected would be great!

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@lilypaws

@marjou I know what you mean, plus on top of it for me I just had a fusion from T-10 to my pelvis. Had complications in the hospital. So fatigued and like you, I don't feel like doing anything. Of course, with this recovery I really can't do much. Take care and this isolation does make a difference. Has to get better, at least for me as I heal. It take a year, but I'm going to be strong and positive that I can deal with my depression. Jeanie

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@lilypaws Hey there just checking in to see how your doing in your recovery. Thinking of you and have a blessed day.

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@grandmaraines

Thank you for reaching out. Yes, staying connected would be great!

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Good morning. Was thinking of you and wanted to check to see how you and your husband are doing.

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@marjou

Good morning. Was thinking of you and wanted to check to see how you and your husband are doing.

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Hi, thanks for checking. No progress. He has now gone 2 weeks of sleeping on the couch (except for Sun church, where he was silent whole time)and essentially no conversation rest of week.. I told him I was lonely, he said sorry I make you feel that way and then silence. He did sit out on the deck yesterday for dinner, monosyllabic answers, then off to check email and back to lay down. Now it is raining so another disincentive to do anything. Sorry to sound so negative. Just so sad i can't see how to turn things around.
How are YOU doing?

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@grandmaraines

Hi, thanks for checking. No progress. He has now gone 2 weeks of sleeping on the couch (except for Sun church, where he was silent whole time)and essentially no conversation rest of week.. I told him I was lonely, he said sorry I make you feel that way and then silence. He did sit out on the deck yesterday for dinner, monosyllabic answers, then off to check email and back to lay down. Now it is raining so another disincentive to do anything. Sorry to sound so negative. Just so sad i can't see how to turn things around.
How are YOU doing?

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@grandmaraines During this pandemic, the weekends are more difficult to handle because of safety concerns and limited as to where to go. Tourists have invaded the area which gives me more concern. These days have to literally force myself to do anything, but managed to make some adjustments to curtains to change the look of a room without any additional costs. So for me that was progress.

Was wondering what do you do to take care of yourself?

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@marjou

@grandmaraines During this pandemic, the weekends are more difficult to handle because of safety concerns and limited as to where to go. Tourists have invaded the area which gives me more concern. These days have to literally force myself to do anything, but managed to make some adjustments to curtains to change the look of a room without any additional costs. So for me that was progress.

Was wondering what do you do to take care of yourself?

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I have a long list of projects, short that might take 15 min and long that take setting aside some time each day. Then I pick from the lists and choose what to do, organize by time need and morning, afternoon or evening. Right now gardening is an everyday task but it varies. I try to be very specific (like tie up the tomato that fell in the heavy rain) or dead head the rhood, weed 3 yds of the garden path. So I know there are things I can accomplish each day. I even list things like empty dish washer. It feels good to make the list, cross off things and see I have not wasted my day. I have to DO things and not sit around having a self pity party or watch my husband waste the beautiful day. My day starts with tea and devotions then as I work I pray, not just for us but for family, friends, and requests on the church prayer list. My relaxation is reading. And today I am getting out a puzzle that has been on my list forever- but I must go work in the messy basement for at least an hour.
Definitely take care of yourself because your mental and physical health can only be a help to you and other loved ones.

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@marjou

@lilypaws Hey there just checking in to see how your doing in your recovery. Thinking of you and have a blessed day.

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@marjou Thanks for asking. I'm doing pretty good. My legs are a lot stronger. Really don't need the walker, unless I go outside for a walk. The pain pill mostly keeps my pain under control. I just have to watch that I don't twist, which is so easy to do. Have to wear my brace for 3 to 6 months.. You have a blessed day too.

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