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My girlfriend is going through a tough time and is being depressed and is genuinely emotionally draining me. What should i do?


Bruhmomento
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It all started when her father got a perforated ulcer while having covid and is struggling now on a respirator. Im so sad about it and i really want to give her all the support i have.

Because of covid we couldnt see each other this week. Every day we went onto voice calls and chatted for a lot. In 90% of those chats and calls i constantly was emotionally supporting and fully trying to make some positivity get through to her. She is utterly depressed and has so much negativity it is killing me inside.

Im generally a positive dude, i dont like negativity and i love spreading positivity and i just love seeing people smile. Seeing my girlfriend like that, depressed as all hell is making me sad too. I know its something i gotta deal with but yeah.

Anyways the problem is the fact that she constantly needs my emotional support, it doesnt matter when. She just randomly messages me during the day and expects me to fully support her and be positive. Now being positive is fine, i did that for 6 days from when all of that happened. Today we also spoke and it was fine and nice. I told her i love the UFC and today is a big event i couldnt wait to watch. I live in Europe so it starts really late. And here i am watching fights and, again at half past 1 AM, she messages me that she woke up and coughed alot and is absolutelly depressed about it again. 

I just said i cant help her and that im really drained out and tired. Then she made me feel guilty because i did say im always there for her in situations like these. Turns out i cant be. I wanted to chill and just enjoy a sport i like but i again had to be emotionally supporting and drain my mindpower and i just couldnt do it. Now i feel bad and confused.

It really wasnt a problem until now, it was hard, but compared to what she is going through it isnt much. But idk its kinda runing my mood totally. I cant focus when studying, i can barely have fun with my own hobbies and friends and idk. Im starting to be depressed too because of her.
Which i hate to say. I love her to bits, but its alot. Ive been giving it my all this whole week and its not going anywhere. Not a glimpse of positivity to be seen. It hurts listening and reading her messages when she is in this state and its making me miserable too.

I dont know what to do. Im really damn sad i cant help. But she wont listen to any of my advice. We cant see eachother and online i cant make her happy like i can in real life. 

I feel like every time i make her happier or make her mood better, some fifth thing happens that makes her miserable again and i gotta go through all of that again, say pretty much the same stuff again, and take an hour or two out of my day again.

There was one day when she was positive and it really seemed like i finally made it and made her see the world in a more positive light but not anymore. I just cant do anything to make her happy long term. She is absolutely and utterly depressed and idk what to do.

This is literally me just venting but im down to hear some advice cause im just completely confused. I want to help her but i just made her more sad when i said i dont have the energy to talk to her for another 2 hours just so she can fall asleep again having some sort of positivity in her mind. I just wanted to wind off for a bit. Damn it

Edited by Bruhmomento
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Be there as a listening ear but please don't start converting yourself into someone you are not. Being upbeat all the time is absurd. It's not your responsibility whether people smile or not. That they do is of their own volition. The most you can be is genuine and patient. That is all.

Only listen to her and be wary of her placing undue demands on you or aiming her frustration and anger at you over grief of her father's illness. Let her know that you're there for her but communicate another compromise when you sense her requests are unreasonable. Redirect where things are going. As it seems right now you are doing everything you can to please her because you feel sorry for her. Empathy is fine but please take care of your own health and things in your life that need attention.

I'm guessing you were in the middle of watching your game when she interrupted you past midnight about feeling down. Next time either answer her or respond to her then or respond the next morning. You also seem to feel guilty about not being able to be there with her in person. Resist that. Stay busy and productive and start renavigating your own life. Make plans with your friends and let her know when you are out/busy. She will have to respect your time and space to decompress also. It's part of mutual respect when you're a couple.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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I have to agree with Seraphim on this one. Everyone copes with tragedies differently. That's how she is coping with it. She may not be looking for advice, perhaps she only wants to vent, or desires emotional support. IDK. What's a given - it pays off to be understanding and flexible during times like these.

Having said that, does she have other people (friends, family members, support group, therapist) to rely on? It seems you're her main lifeline, and I get if that's exhausting you. Whilst you're there for her, you also need your "me time" to recharge. That's healthy. So, I feel it's imperative to have a diverse support system, that's something I learnt in life. If you feel she's depending on you so much for support, which seems that way, why not encourage her to talk to a therapist, a close friend, etc?

 

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Sorry this is happening. How long have you been dating? How old is she?

Does she live with her parents/family? Does she go to school or work? 

It's not your job to be her cheerleader or therapist. While it's ok to be supportive, you're overdoing it and resenting it.

Stop giving her advice. Stop cheering her up. Start there. Boundaries. Decide how often and how much you can listen to without burnout and resentment.

It's understandable that she's distressed and upset, but there's only so much you can do.

Next time just listen for a bit then ask her what her friends and the rest of the family are doing.

Focus on your studies and enjoy your leisure time. Decide if she's just going through something and terrified or if you're just not compatible anymore.

 

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Thank you all for the advice! By the way im 19 and my girlfriend is almost 18. We were together for 8 and a half months and its my first relationship.

I understand what you guys are saying and i will definitiely try my best to manage everything. 
 

To adress what Greendots said, she does have friends to vent to but she just goes to me, because she generally complains alot about stuff in life (we talked about this before and managed to solve this problem completely) so her friends also got burnt out in the past, but it was ususally some insignificant stuff like school and all of that. Its really significant now so i completely get why she is in this state but yeah its just draining. 

Im going to see her today and i hope that i will finally be able to make her forget about all the stuff that is going on. Thank you all again, all this great advice really means to me!

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In some respects, you need to look at yourself.  It's unreasonable to think YOU are responsible for other people's happiness, that it's your responsibility to spread positivity and happiness, that when people are happy it's somehow because of you.  

Life has a lot of ups and downs.  Serious illness, a person dying, depression etc can not be "cheered up" away.  Like you fixed one thing, then another thing happens and she's sad again.  It's an ongoing thing.

In some ways consider yourself lucky that you haven't had anything seriously bad happen to you, so you don't understand how she feels.

It's really selfish to kind of blamer her for your bad feelings.  As bad things do happen.  And life is not lets be happy all the time.

All you can really do is listen to her and be a support.  You can't solve things like death, depression.  Not like you can solve a flat tire.... 

Recognize that someone dying is sad and it's going to impact you.  Yeah it's rough.  

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45 minutes ago, Bruhmomento said:

Im going to see her today and i hope that i will finally be able to make her forget about all the stuff that is going on. 

Don't do this. Don't be a cheerleader or clown. Simply don't let her go on endlessly about trivia. However if her father is dying leave her alone and let her be with her family and friends.

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You seem frustrated when your attempts to make her happy and positive don't come through.  You need to ask yourself if are you really supporting her and what she is going through. Or are you trying to fix things so it relieves the discomfort and inconvenience for yourself.

I read a couple things in what you shared.  First you shared recent events, her Dad, covid etc.  These events are stressful and can be depressing.  You can't make her stop feeling what she's feeling.

Later you mentioned a more global view of your entire time with her, possibly being negative by nature?

If these are current life events troubling her, you need to respect that and support her.  It's not the same as trying to fix it and make it go away.  You are still young, but this is what life is about.  Life is challenging at times and our partners should support us during difficult times.  But if this is an overall flavor of your relationship with her and she's been negative the entire time, then you need to reconsider whether this is the right relationship for you.

It's important to remember while supporting her, you are only there to listen and not fix things.  Once you make these problems yours and she doesn't do what you suggest to make it better, you get frustrated and start to suffer.  Recognize there are some things in life you have no control of.   Be there for her and continue to seek balance in your life and do things that bring you comfort.

Edited by reinventmyself
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I really like what Reinvent wrote. I saw my job as a spouse to figure out how I could best support my husband whether it was what I would want or need or otherwise.  Whether it was convenient or otherwise. This was when his mom was dying and then a few years after his father.

It was hard on me because I had to tamp down my need for approval or appreciation because often the support is invisible. It’s behind the scenes.

It’s practical nitty gritty. Like offering to sit in a hospital room for 2 hours a week or more with my MIL in a vegetative state so my husband could get a break and be with our son.
 Taking calls from my father in laws elderly friends who wanted to know what food to bring to the celebration of life - while trying to wrangle a cranky 7 year old into a bath and get him dinner.

 No I didn’t tell my husband who was hundreds of miles away making funeral arrangements. Or realizing that the best thing to do is be quiet.  Be quiet and let the person talk. Do not look at your phone or a screen.  Just be. Just make normal eye contact and let the person talk.

Take the persons lead as far as a response. Or no response just a hug. Or no response just caring eye contact.  It’s not about you then.  Or your needs.  

And if as a caregiver you get burnt out then have your own support system to go to. Not her.  Not her family. Your people or a religious figure you respect. Or angry clean or work out to relieve any stress.  
Nice you want to make people smile and be positive.  
 

Not nice if you approach a person in pain with this sort of agenda because it’s what works for you. Your approach is not working for her. Which is frustrating but take it as an opportunity to go outside yourself and be humble that what works for you and what you want may not matter so much in these situations. 

I hope she and her family heal and recover very soon. 

Edited by Batya33
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You can't fix her Dad's covid or anything else she's grieving. Believing that you can implant lasting changes to her feelings about such events is a bit disrespectful to her and unnecessarily frustrating for you.

I'd also avoid advertising when I intend to go watch a game or do something enjoyable. It's not that you can't go do those things, but saying so sends the message, "yeah, it sucks to be you, but since I'm not you, I can go enjoy myself and tune you out..."

I realize that's not your intended message, so just don't go there. It will have the opposite impact you'd hope for, because it specifies when you're removing your emotional safety, so that's exactly when she's likely to feel the most needy.

I'd just listen and tell her I realize that I can't possibly understand, but I'm here for you. I'd let her do the talking, and if she reaches a point of sounding spent, I'd ask caring questions that are open ended, which can prompt her to use the rational part of her mind. For instance, "I'm so sorry you're feeling lousy. What kind of self-care things do you think might help you to feel some comfort today?"

Grieving people typically insist on feeling lousy, and it's not a measure of their cooperation or respect for you when they don't straighten up and fly right. Her problems are persisting, and so will her pain. Recognizing that instead of trying to change it will be most helpful to you both.

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Is she in school? I would suggest she seek out a counselor.

As for the day to day stuff, why not divert her attention by playing a game together, or listen to fun music, talk about fun stuff, make her laugh.

 

I get it...talking it out is good, but moving onto other things, or putting it aside temporarily is therapeutic too.

Edited by smackie9
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Do not try to "make her forget".  One thing that gets me the most angry and frustrated is when I'm going through something absolutely devastating and someone tries to cheer me up or "lighten things up" or tell me everything's going to be FINE!!! or otherwise minimize or make light of what I'm going through.

She also probably doesn't want "advice".  Generally people going through a rough time aren't asking for you to tell them what they should do.  Rather they are wanting someone to listen and often to sympathize.  They aren't asking you to "fix" their problem.

You are very young so it's not surprising you're not sure how to react and you don't want to be pulled into her depression.  But she needs to learn you are not an unlimited source of sympathy and comfort.  You do have your own life to live.

When you see her, just tell her you do feel bad about what she's going through and you want to be supportive.  But there does need to be limits.  Then decide what those limits will be, whether it's no more middle of the night phone calls or no more two hour marathon sympathy sessions.  

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Her Dad is on a respirator (ventilator?)  Either way, that's very serious.  Anyone would be preoccupied by this and say her negativity is depressing to you reflects your own immaturity.  This moment isn't about you.

Her constant need for support may be reflection of her own immaturity.  As much as we may require extra support during certain times, we need to recognize when we might be possibly burning someone out.

I lost my mom a couple years ago and recall how upset I would get when my boyfriend would try to distract me or change the subject when I showed any sign of grief.  He thought he was being helpful.  In his own words "I don't you to be sad"   At some point I lost it and said " But I AM sad! I am sad all the time and I need someone to talk to and you just keep changing the subject."   Mind you, I was careful to not burn him out and spend alot of time alone processing it.  But at the same time I can't pretend I am happy and hide it to relieve his discomfort.   I did my best to set time aside with him and try to be normal when nothing felt normal.  It wasn't easy.

Grief is a tricky thing.  It makes people very uncomfortable.  But sometimes the quickest way to the other side is to have someone safe to talk to and just listen.

She's afraid.  Understandably.  That isn't going to go away until her Dad's situation is resolved.  It's up to you if you have what it takes to be a supportive partner.

Edited by reinventmyself
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It’s in moments when something difficult comes up in our lives we find our support system. Whose really there for us. 
 

You’re very young still. I can see why you’re making this about you. You’re thinking of her hardship and how it affects you. Have you ever thought about putting yourself in her shoes? How this is all affecting her.  
 

Right now her dad is very ill. Sometimes we have the right to vent and ask for a lot of comfort when tragic things happen. 
 

Life isn’t going to be positive all the time.

 

Shes not asking you to save the day and fix everything, or to be a hero. She’s asking you to let her vent and be there for her. By being there for her you’ll need too listen. 
 

I understand it’s emotionally draining. Often hard things are. The best you can do is not make this situation about you and how you feel. Think about if you were to go through something similar, wouldn’t you want her there for you? To be offering her support and just letting you vent as much as possible? 
 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, boltnrun said:

Do not try to "make her forget".  One thing that gets me the most angry and frustrated is when I'm going through something absolutely devastating and someone tries to cheer me up or "lighten things up" or tell me everything's going to be FINE!!! or otherwise minimize or make light of what I'm going through.

This. 

OP, you may have good intentions and hope you can provide a distraction for a little while, but please don't approach this dismissively. 

She is going through a lot with her dad being so ill, and isn't going to be able to forget. Nor should she. Be mindful of that in your expectations of her right now. 

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Is she in general like that? Now it is normal that she needs emotional support and that you as a boyfriend are there for her. Her dad is on respirator, very small ammount of cases gets through those, even if they do, they basically learn how to breath again for the next few months. It is a very stressful thing and its normal for her to seek support in close people. And yes, you should offer your full support there.

But, there are some people that will just emotionally drain you. The term is "emotional vampires". In general, you should avoid those. And distinguish if they do it for the crisis or just for the drama. Again, this is indeed crisis and its normal. But if its just drama all the time then you should really rethink your involvement there. Especially if she is like that with everyone around her. 

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