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Please help me understand my fiance's depression and anxiety?

 
 
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 05:07 pm
Hi, I’m Adriana. Smile I’m new here, I got tired of the stupid people on Yahoo Answers and found this site instead. My question pertains to my fiance, Robert, and his anxiety and depression. I am 22 years old, and Robert is 24. He moved to the US from Sweden when he was 19, and we met at college and immediately hit it off. I moved in with him about a year and a half ago, and we just got engaged in July. Smile He is kind and understanding and he always makes me laugh. Now that he is done with college, he’s a graphic designer and works from home a lot. I’m a dance teacher, and I still am taking a couple of classes. We do lots of fun things together; we take art classes together and we go to the gym together almost every night. Usually, he loves all of this; he likes going out with friends, etc. But he also suffers a lot from depression and anxiety. He sees a therapist, but he doesn’t take medication. He has tried dozens of them and he says he doesn’t like the way they make him feel. I don’t blame him.

But he’ll have these periods of time (usually like 4 days to a week long) where he won’t even want to leave the house because his anxiety gets so bad. Not once have I been annoyed by this, or felt it put a strain on our relationship. I love him, and I understand what he is going through. His sister died like 5 years ago and I know it still causes some problems for him. He is also very self conscious about his accent (It is quite a thick accent and he mispronounces some words every now and then) and worries that people will think he’s stupid. But anyway, none of this has ever put any strain on our relationship. He never lashes out or takes it out on me. I understand when he goes off by himself for a few hours or doesn’t want to have sex because he “feels numb inside.” I don’t push him or annoy him. But I worry about him.

It breaks my heart when he’s in one of these ruts, even if it only happens like once a month. I don’t know what to do for him or how to help. What can I do for him in this situation? I feel helpless sometimes.
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 05:14 pm
@adriana28,
Ask if you can go along with him to therapy some time (and if his therapist will allow it, if insurance will cover it, you know, cover all the bases). Start talking. Ask about the efficacy of his medications - maybe there's something that hasn't been tried. Maybe the therapist doesn't know that Robert is occasionally skipping out on his meds (and the doctor should really know that, in order to learn that something else should be tried).

If it's somehow not allowed, or Robert doesn't want it (or it isn't covered; hey, I know that stuff's not cheap), see if you can get counseling for yourself. Talk to a professional about what happens, and see if you can come up with coping strategies together. If you have a separate therapist, that person will not be diagnosing Robert, of course, but that person could still have ideas about what you can do or at least how you can protect your own interests.

BTW - yes, I mean your own interests. Because from this chair, it looks to me like you do over half of the giving in this relationship. I recognize that Robert is ill and all of that - please don't misunderstand me. I think you're a fine human being. But you don't need to go into marriage always being the one who does the giving and the conceding and the going without and the accommodating.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 05:16 pm
@adriana28,
My heart goes out to you.

I too suffered from depression and anxiety
Lord knows I put my exes through hell.

Kudos for him not taking meds because he feels uncomfortable
It's going to be tough for you

What do I wish my exes had said?
"I know you feel bad. It'll pass"
"I'll be here for you until it does."

The rest is up to him
0 Replies
 
adriana28
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 05:22 pm
@jespah,
I understand how it looks to people. My family feels the same but does not understand the mental illness so they just think that he is lazy, but I do want people to know that he does a lot for me. He usually does most of the cleaning and cooking because he is home more due to his anxiety (and because I am a terrible cook and he went to culinary school, so that's a thing haha). I just don't want people to think that he is so wrapped up in his problems that I get thrown to the side. He always puts me first and he is there for me emotionally more than anyone else. I just want to do the same for him, you know?
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 05:55 pm
@jespah,
Quote:
Because from this chair, it looks to me like you do over half of the giving in this relationship
with a high likelihood that you will at some point need to supply all or most of the money to keep the household going. Deciding to marry this guy means that the first thing you should do is figure out why you did that, because this is super risky and there was no reason to take the risk so far as you have mentioned (is this to keep him in your country?) Please walk us through your decision making process.

EDIT: we cross posted

Quote:
My family feels the same but does not understand the mental illness so they just think that he is lazy


Shocked

This decision of yours makes even less sense than I feared. You are almost certainly in for a hellish time with this guy, marrying him without family support makes it even worse.
adriana28
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 06:31 pm
@hawkeye10,
No, he is permanently in the US. He has no plans to back to Sweden. And he has a job. He is a graphic designer and he makes decent money. He wants to be a chef someday once he sorts out his problems, but he worries that it's too much to take on at the moment.

And as far as my family, they have never supported anything I do. I used to date girls before I met Robert and they acted as if I was a mass murderer. They don't support my choices in general. It's not just Robert.
0 Replies
 
luismtzzz
 
  3  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 06:52 pm
@adriana28,
First of all you need to unmistify pshychiatric diseases in yourself so you can fully comprehend what is happening to him.

This diseases are like many other biochemical malfunctons of human body. I like to compare it with diabetes, because is a very common disease. So a diabetic patient has an altered metabolism where he or she can´t transform sugar efficiently, and thus it trends to buid up on blood. A normal person and a diabetic can eat the same piece of cake, but one will use it efficiently and the other will take ages for his glucose level to normalize. A depression is very similar, they have a problem with chemicals on the neurons that control emotions. So if a healthy person and a depression patient suffer something stressfull (ex. rejection from a job position they were eager to obtain) they react diferently. The normal patient will likely become sab but will efficiently react and move on, but the depressio patient will not, because his neurons can´t correct the chemical inbalance due to chemical failure. The depression will worsen, feelings of helplessness will rise, etc...

Unfortunatelly there are hundreds of different types of neurons some of those use similar chemical than those involved in depression. No drug if perfectly specific to target only the affectes one, so secondary effected are inevitable. Like drowsiness, low libido, increased or lowered apetite, headaches. Every drug is different so some patients need to take multiple trials until they find the perfect one.

Actual mainstream treatment for depression and anxiety requieres not only drus but also therapy. There are multiple scholls and techniques to achive remision of the disease. There is no way to now what will actually work best for him.

If you love him you should aknowledge that he will need treatment allways, and support. It is a good sign that he is aware of his problem.

Also realize that there is huge ignorance about mental diseases. So you will always face comments like those of your family.

Your path will be a difficult one. And it will highly depend of his commitment to treatment.
Germlat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 07:53 pm
@luismtzzz,
Kudos on your reply! There's also a lot of anxiety issues with being a foreigner period. I get the whole accent thing...I worked on it and most people assume I'm from Boston?! Who knows why. It's not easy to be in a foreign land. Then compounded with anxiety and depression...wow. I agree, this poster needs to find out the exact diagnosis. She sounds very caring.
adriana28
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Aug, 2014 08:24 pm
@Germlat,
I definitely can agree with what you say about a lot of his anxiety stemming from being a foreigner. He's fine at home or with friends to mispronounce a word or say "What's that word again?" But when we go out in public and he has to talk to strangers, I can hear the nervousness in his voice. I can tell that the wheels are turning in his head, trying to think of all the words and it breaks my heart that he worries so much about it when to me, that's one of the things I love about him. It was so endearing to me when I first met him. But you definitely are spot on with that.
Germlat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2014 06:03 am
@adriana28,
That's part of the growth process. It takes time. Understanding slang was tough for me. Is this his first time away from home?
adriana28
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2014 08:49 am
@Germlat,
Yes, he lived in Sweden until he was 19 when he moved here for school. Before that, he hadn't ever left home.
Germlat
 
  1  
Reply Tue 19 Aug, 2014 10:49 am
@adriana28,
That's part of it...
0 Replies
 
Love Unplugged
 
  0  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 09:30 am
@adriana28,
My general thoughts are that his nature won't miraculously change even with medical intervention. He must posses some very appetizing values which attracts you to him, considering the amount of concern you put out for us to read. The thing with medication is that the body gets used to it and medication changes are required at some point which is accompanied by further occurrences of the depression he suffers now - the efficacy consideration. Be prepared to endure further withdrawal type behaviour at times.

If he is not wanting sex in periods of good moods then I'm afraid there are sexual incompatibilities and these cracks will become canyons if you choose to ignore such warning signs. Caring for him and loving are different in a relationship. Caring is often a love synonym. But it's the same sort of caring of a family member and friend. Caring in a relationship is a duty and must not be thought of as a sacrifice on your part. And hopefully this will be rewarded later with a rewarding relationship. Often the sacrificer keeps sacrificing to oblivion. Your very soul is dimmed which can cause future resentment and possible straying and separation. This is when the partner which benefits from the sacrifice thinks 'where did that come from'. Such future oriented comment from me are important to highlight as we are rational beings which can project into the future. At your tender age there is still a lot of your own discovery to grow into.

You have highlighted some positives which keep you with him. But they better be a tremendous value to you as the sexual and 1 week in a month withdrawal thing may or may not get worse in future. Also therapy has a miss rate in treatment too. Don't stake a future on the possible success in such help. You do ask for help here. I envisage some grand and noble comments from others but I sense most suggestions you'll already know and are aware of. The real help you require is for your own wellbeing. If you are not happy with your partner you need to consider the option of leaving or be prepared for a future with concerning signatures already in place. Some concerns already in place will prove difficult to shake off. By honest with yourself and really think if this partner is the one.
Love Unplugged
 
  0  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 09:46 am
@adriana28,
There still seems to be many concerns which will be difficult to live with. Family do see things also. Those brief encounters with family show more than many respect. Family do have a right to dislike him as they do care for you and are protecting you. The very fact that you need to show them that he is lovely at home is a justification flag to family. You want to show success in relationships and career too. A breakup to some people is thought as a failure but often it is a renainance. Don't think it negative for my breakup talk but fix at all cost is a cost to your own emotional wellbeing with no way to fully benefit later. I guarantee the concerns which find there way to this forum are rarely solved.
0 Replies
 
Love Unplugged
 
  0  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 09:54 am
@adriana28,
All the talk about being from another country and not living away from home is not a great influencing factor in one's ability to cope as an adult. I envisage there would have been coping concerns as a child too. Yes misfortune was referenced and sorry to read that but that unfortunate life event can be coped by most.
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 09:59 am
@Love Unplugged,
Quote:
The real help you require is for your own wellbeing.

In a nutshell and what I was trying to convey.
Let me add to my previous post.
It took me 30 years to adjust to my illness.
Are you in for the long haul adriana?
hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 10:43 am
@panzade,
And I bet your women thougt that if they loved you enough and were patient then everything would turn out fine. Only 30 years was not the timeline they had in mind.
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 10:47 am
@hawkeye10,
Exactly. I'm here to testify.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 11:01 am
@panzade,
I have seen the same thing over and over again with these guys who marry women damaged by childhood sexual abuse. The men aim to save them with their love and caring, and it almost never works. A large amount of the time the relationship ends with the men so full of bitterness that they will have difficulty ever loving again.
panzade
 
  3  
Reply Sat 23 Aug, 2014 11:14 am
@hawkeye10,
I don't know about that.
Depression is generally thought to be a chemical imbalance, sometimes hereditary as in my case.
The treatment for PTSD resulting from childhood sexual abuse is pretty effective and I would add any guy becoming embittered by a spouses childhood sexual abuse isn't much of a man.
Quote:
men... will have difficulty ever loving again.

I love it when you exaggerate hawk Very Happy
 

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