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depression and lost love


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Hi all. I went through a rough break up about a month and a half ago, and I originally posted pretty much the full story (yes, I nearly wrote a book here:


(HRMM, it's not letting me post a URL... it's in the "getting back together forum", a few pages deep now. Check it out if you have time and want to help. It's called confusing situation -- how to proceed?)


Any further input in that thread would be great as well -- I still have periods where I really want her back, but the emotions and thoughts about all this fluctuate a lot...


So anyway, here is my question. I have read from several psychology sites (in my process of trying to figure out * * * happened), that depression can lead to feelings of lost romantic love. Basically, what it boils down to is when people become depressed they withdraw, want to be alone, and lose interest in things that are ordinarily very important to them. Of course it's pretty hard, if not impossible, to be "in love" when feeling this way -- I know from experience. Just a pointless personal anecdote -- had knee surgery a couple years back, got REALLY depressed from the pain meds for some reason and not being able to get around and do anything. Lashed out on my now ex once when she did something that I would normally just brush off, thought about leaving, and I certainly didn't have that "in love" feeling through all this.


Now I certainly don't KNOW that she left/fell out of love because of depression. It could legitimitely be she just lost interest in the relationship after 4 years. But, there is certainly a lot of evidence that points to depression. An example -- one of the major pieces of evidence is I found out a couple days ago that, unbeknownst to me, the girl I'm talking about was completely SET on leaving me a year ago right before we were about to move into my (formerly our) current apartment. Her parents had a room set up for her to move home and everything; I knew nothing about this (!!). Her family thinks she is just freaking out because she doesn't have a reason. Turns out she went off of her meds for OCD/depression for 3 months. They told her she should go see a counselor. After ONE visit, and her getting back on her meds, she comes home to her parents and basically says "everything is fine". We move in, and things are (well, were) great.


She undoubtedly had really low self esteem for about a month before she left me this last time. REALLY stressed out about a ton of other things too (see my other thread), and was overall almost definitely depressed. Now, I feel bad because sometimes I feel like I really could have been more there for her emotionally the last couple months, but I get told a lot that I'm also just beating myself up over it, and that I could not really have done anything to prevent this. So I dunno, but that's neither here nor there.


My main questions are: how common is it for significant others (who seem to ordinarily be deeply in love with their partners) who are depressed to leave a relationship and "fall out of (romantic) love"? Despite the evidence I think I have, is this just really unlikely?


Also, if this IS the case, do they usually come back around eventually? If so, how long should I expect this to take? Obviously, it will vary with the individual and the situation, but is there a general trend? Oh, and if I want to mend this relationship, how should I go about it? Do I need to leave her alone for awhile, or what?


She acknowledges she has severe problems right now, and has told me she is really looking to buy health insurance since her job doesn't offer it and go back on therapy.


Any advice would be great (in the other thread too!). Thanks everyone.

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When people feel badly about themselves it is also VERY HARD to see the good things in others and appreciate their partner.


It is ok for her to feel bad. She wlll have to work through it. You can't fix her. Just take the pressure off by helping do little things in anyway you can. Don't make unreasonable demands. Don't offer solutions. Don't defend your position. Give her space and time.


Only after people pull out of it will they see what all they truly have that is good.

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It's very common for people who are depressed to "fall out of love" and/or start mistreating their partner, or leave the relationship all together. Sometimes once they leave the relationship and realize that the problem is them and not the other person, they will come back around, but not always. The best thing you can do now is take a step back and let her work through it on her own.


There's a very good book on this subject called Depression Fallout by Anne Sheffield, which is all about the affect of depression on romantic relationships. I would definitely suggest you check it out, it's very informative and helpful.

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The thing nobody can know is whether she got depressed from being tired of the relationship. That used to happen to me all the time when I was younger and in a long-termer. I didn't fare much better after breaking up, because I was already in a depressed state, and that is a biochemical condition.


I never used meds, but rather pushed myself into tons of exercise and eventually worked through it. That doesn't mean that therapy isn't a good idea, I just didn't have access.


If you want to increase your chances of her reaching out to you in the future for possible reconciliation, I'd avoid the role of her social worker right now and let her work this thing out. You don't want to be any more associated with this problem than you may already be, or when she comes out of it she could view you as part of the problem she needed to overcome. It's not something you can 'fix'--she has to do it herself.


In your corner.

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As most people are saying here, space and time are the best thing that you can do for both of you.

If she is serious about therapy, but is worried about the cost,

she might benefit from any National Associations (of psychotherapists, psychiatrists, etc.) to look for information on referrals and low-cost/sliding scale providers.

Many accrediting institutions (e.g., Universities) offer such services to the public, so that might be something to look into, as well.

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