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feeling drained dating someone with untreated depression/anxiety


LesPaulGuy

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I've been dating my girlfriend for about a year now and her emotional problems are wearing me out. She has pretty severe depression and anxiety yet she has not seen a therapist in years and keeps delaying it. Because of this she is extremely negative all the time. She's constantly on about something negative. For example, she is a server at a resturaunt, and if she gets a large party booked in advanced she will complain for days about how bad it is and dreading it. She's constantly fretting about school and had a full fledged panic attack yesterday while studying for a math exam yesterday because she was so anxious about it even though its in a week from now. She's retaking this math class from dropping it last semester. This whole time Ive said just get a tutor, its free at our college and she just hasnt done it. I think I've done a good job being understanding and sympathetic, but its gotten to the point where I feel like Im coddling her because she wont take initiative and get the treatment she needs.

 

She drove one of her coworkers home last night and came home in the worst mood, hardly saying anything. Eventually she told me it was because this girl asked her about how her dad (who my girlfriend lives with) is moving 8 hours away and she has to get an apartment now. Which don't get me wrong, is a pretty serious life change and Ive even posted a thread on here about it. But again I feel like she's been sulking about it for months and hasnt tried to make the best of it. She just keeps saying "i dont know how I can go to school once I have to pay rent, I'm only going to take three classes next semester so I dont push myself." But she already makes $1200 in cash from working 20 hours a week and her dad is going to give her $500 a month, which is plenty to live on in this area. She also has savings bonds to pay for her tuition so in my eyes shes just allowing herself to fall behind but theres no reason. I take fulltime classes and work fulltime and still have time to socialize, shes got half as many hours to work with her family supplementing her income.

 

I just realized that when Im in a jam I try to think my way out of it. When she's in a jam she tries to find every reason why things are bad. It's driving me nuts, I have depression too and I'm trying to combat it with a can-do attitude and confidence in myself, it really gets to you over time when the person you live with is constantly fretting, and constantly distant or snapping because theyre in a bad mood. I'm sick of it!

 

I work as an EMT and see people pretty bad off, so when I hear a lot of people complain I think to myself "you have no idea how much worse things can be". With that said, I dont feel that way about my girlfriend. She has had a pretty traumatic life and has some deep emotional scars to show for it. I truly do understand. But my frustration comes from the fact that she wallows in this self pity instead of trying to get professional help which her father would pay for.

 

I do love my girlfriend, she does a lot to make my life better and is a good person. But I'm just so sick of her walking around with a rain cloud on her head. How can I talk to her about this without her saying Im insensitive about her depression and making it about me? which is what she said the last time...

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You see yourself as being supportive...but I think you have (unintentionally) crossed into being an enabler.

 

You can only help someone who is willing to help themselves. If your gf won't seek medical attention, all she can do is drag you down with her. It already seems to be having a negative effect on you.

 

It's time to sit her down, tell her you are concerned about her and that you want her to make seeing a Dr about her condition/s a priority. Like, call THAT afternoon and make an appt priority. Offer to help her find a Dr and to go to the appt with her. If she still refuses to get help, you have to let her know you can't stay in such an unhealthy environment...and mean it.

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OK, first, the majority of students these days DO work and it is a lucky privilege if you don't have to, but perfectly ordinary for most to work and go to school and pay for somewhere to live. And students do live in REALLY ratty apartments, or more commonly share a house with a bunch of other students where they split expenses and have their own room, but share the rest of the house. So it is easy enough for her to find a place and pay for it like everyone else in school. So this is just spoiled whining on her part.

 

I think you have outgrown your GF, and she still has a childish attitude towards the world and resents having to deal with normal adult problems and would prefer that someone else manage her life as a parent does a child. What you need to do is sit her down and tell her that whining is not a substitute for action, and if she wants her life to get better, she needs to stop focusing on every little irritation and start figuring out how to live as an adult. The world if full of 'bad' things but also full of wonderful things and she needs to take responsibility for figuring out how to live life joyfully rather than miserably.

 

So if she's not in counseling she needs to be there! And it is not your job to be her shrink and listen to her every complaint. So also tell her she should take advantage of counseling (often free to students) to learn how to roll with the punches in life. Be honest with her and tell her it is straining your relationship between you are not a shrink, and you want to enjoy life and feel she should too, and she needs to learn how to cope and stop complaining all the time.

 

So insist she see a counselor, and when she starts her litany of complaints, just cut her off and tell her that you've already talked about that, and you both need to focus on being more positive rather than negative. If she flips out or won't go to counseling or won't stop the whining, then ultimately you will probably need to break up with her to have a normal life because she prefers to live that way. The reality is all of us have things in life we don't like, but we learn to deal with it. She needs to do the same. Whining never solved anything.

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People who focus constantly on the negative all the time can really drag people down around them. Negativity is so toxic and can serverly scar someone if around it for to long. I suffer from anxiety and depression as well. I do not see a therapist and I never have nor do I take medication. However, I have done research and I have talked to family and friends about everything and I have gone to workshops on how to try and always think positive and push the negatives aside.

 

Unfortunately, you could talk with your girlfriend until you are blue in the face about how the negativity is effecting not just you but your relationship, but in the end she needs to be the one to realize the effect she is having on the people around her before she can decide to fix anything on her own. From the sounds of it, your girlfriend is focusing a lot of the negative aspects of whats going on around her to seek attention where she can get it. I know this may not be true, but it is what I used to do. Before I decided to help myself, I would focus only on negatives and constantly complain and freak out and cry and spaz out and all of that to get attention from my S/O, family members and friend to try and make myself feel important. When I finally opened my eyes to what I was doing to everyone around I saw that a lot of the situations that I was complaining about had alot of positives.

 

Example, your g/f complained about having a large party get booked and she is was saying how horrible it was. I used to work as a waitress and ya, have a large party come in is stressful because that's a lot of orders you can mess up but a positive, the tip from that table is going to be a lot better then serving a bunch of little tables.

 

Have you tried instead of listening to her complain, you try and point out the positives in the situations she is complaining about? Maybe instead of "coddling" her, you try and point out some positives in situations she is stressing about. Like the whole moving on her own thing, ya thats stressful and scary and can be over welming... but a positive - no more having to be quite because mom n dad are sleeping, no more having to tell them where you're going and when you are going to be back, no more someone telling you what colour to have your bedroom or what you can put on your wall... there are sooooo many positives to living on your own.

 

I would do a sit down with her and discuss how this negativity of hers is effecting you and your relationship in general - tell her how you have been feeling and thinking lately. Don't try and make her feel like you can gaining up on her or that you are being unsensitive to her condition but that you are concerned that if she doesn't get help for herself soon, you don't know if you can listen to the negitivity much longer. It's hard, I know but, if she loves you she will hear you out and understand where you are coming from just like you have understood where she was coming from many times before.

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Thank you for the responses. And I agree I have unwillingly become an enabler because she freaks out whenever I'm frank about these things. The last time she said "you're making my depression about yourself". Which I think is just a cop out so she can continue to sulk. I'm around her constantly, her depression does affect me. I'm going to try and talk to her about it again because I just cant listen to the constant complaining anymore its driving me mad. She victimizes herself and is always looking for a way to make her situation sound as bad as possible. I cannot deal with that mindset; someone who intentionally makes their life more negative than it has to.

 

And you're right I should not be her shrink, she needs a professional. Thats why I dont try to ever give her advice because shes overly sensitive and takes it as a personal slight.

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This is spot on. I do think that she victimizes herself for attention. It makes sense too because her entire family does the same thing. They are all incredibly passive aggressive and moody so maybe she just thinks thats how people act. I'm going to take your advice on trying to take the positives out of the things she complains about and see if it sticks.

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Has she always been like this or is it a recent change? If it's a recent change maybe it is only situational... Just saying that yeah, it is hard to be around someone who is constantly down but also we are only hearing your side of the situation. Maybe she is just going through a rough time and things will get better. Relationships have ups and downs, but if you don't see yourself being in it for the long haul, maybe it is best for you to leave.

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