Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Conreezy on Mon Oct 06, 2014 11:23 am

Hm.  That was interesting.  

I can't say it helped me understand it any better, though, at least, not enough that I might be able to do something to help my wife with this issue.  She's never expressed such nihilistic, bleak thoughts.
Conreezy
Conreezy

Posts : 269
Reputation : 97
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Enail on Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:43 pm

Conreezy wrote:Hm.  That was interesting.  

I can't say it helped me understand it any better, though, at least, not enough that I might be able to do something to help my wife with this issue.  She's never expressed such nihilistic, bleak thoughts.  

There are lots of different ways people experience depression, and different degrees of it. Are you able to talk to her and ask about what it's like for her?  I get the sense that you've had some trouble communicating with her about emotionally fraught issues.

As an overall approach, I think it's important to remember that depression isn't something you can fix for someone, and not try to take that on as your role with them.

ETA:  I'm definitely no expert, but I've been happily married for 12 years to someone with depression, so if you have any questions, my experience might be of some use, and I'm happy to answer.
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by reboot on Mon Oct 06, 2014 10:13 pm

Cosign on what enail said. You can not help someone with depression any more than you can help someone with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other chronic condition. What you can do is support and assist someone if their condition acts/flares up until it settles down again. The best way to find out what you can do to help is to ask when the person is not in the throes of their condition and check in during the good times that everything is still good to go. It is best not to try to guess what someone needs or wants in situations like this.
reboot
reboot
Moderator of "Other Relationships" and "Gender, Identity and Society"

Posts : 2514
Reputation : 1005
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Conreezy on Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:55 pm

Enail wrote:
Conreezy wrote:Hm.  That was interesting.  

I can't say it helped me understand it any better, though, at least, not enough that I might be able to do something to help my wife with this issue.  She's never expressed such nihilistic, bleak thoughts.  

There are lots of different ways people experience depression, and different degrees of it. Are you able to talk to her and ask about what it's like for her?  I get the sense that you've had some trouble communicating with her about emotionally fraught issues.

As an overall approach, I think it's important to remember that depression isn't something you can fix for someone, and not try to take that on as your role with them.

ETA:  I'm definitely no expert, but I've been happily married for 12 years to someone with depression, so if you have any questions, my experience might be of some use, and I'm happy to answer.

I don't want to fix it, because I know that it can't be fixed. She's made long strides with it, especially since her teenage years.

She tends to be very nit-picky about things, and get critical about the slightest thing--she gets very uncomfortable when she's not in control of something, fearful that it might not go the way that she wants it to. She says it makes her very anxious to think about new ways of doing things because she's not entirely, 100% sure that they'll end up with success (this applies to EVERYTHING, like how to clean the kitchen counters or what roads to drive to a destination). I understand that, if only in an academic way; the only problem I have with it is her response to it--I don't like to constantly be told (or have it implied to me) that I'm wrong for merely doing something differently.

I apologize for the quick post. I'm sure I'll re-read this and find it too vague, but I've had a busy week.
Conreezy
Conreezy

Posts : 269
Reputation : 97
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Depression and anxiety within a relationship

Post by Enail on Tue Oct 07, 2014 10:21 pm

Conreezy wrote:
She tends to be very nit-picky about things, and get critical about the slightest thing--she gets very uncomfortable when she's not in control of something, fearful that it might not go the way that she wants it to. She says it makes her very anxious to think about new ways of doing things because she's not entirely, 100% sure that they'll end up with success (this applies to EVERYTHING, like how to clean the kitchen counters or what roads to drive to a destination).  I understand that, if only in an academic way; the only problem I have with it is her response to it--I don't like to constantly be told (or have it implied to me) that I'm wrong for merely doing something differently.  

Is this something you've discussed with her? It's great that you try to be supportive of the fact that it makes her anxious, but it sounds like maybe you two need to work out a way to separate things she's doing and anxiety about her own potential failure, and things you're doing, for which she might need to give you more trust that if it isn't successful, you can adapt and try something else. You might want to talk a little bit about what kinds of potential failures will have a big impact on her, and are thus scarier for her even when you're the one doing it, and what ones have relatively little effect on her and thus might be better trials for her to get comfortable with taking a hands-off approach.

It sounds a little bit like you feel like you're responsible for handling her anxiety, no matter how she deals with it and how that affects you. Is she seeing someone about that/working on developing skills around it? I get a bit of a vibe that you feel like you have to be the strong one and just lump it, and that you can't have feelings or concerns around how her issues affect you. But that's not a sustainable role, long-term, it's exhausting and stressful, and it's not a healthy dynamic in a relationship. She's got difficult things to deal with, but that doesn't mean she's not capable of being strong in her own ways and caring for your feelings too.

This seems like it's getting a ways off-topic, so I'm going to move this to a new thread.
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Conreezy on Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:34 am

I get a bit of a vibe that you feel like you have to be the strong one and just lump it

Yeah, that's pretty much it.  I don't think she's avoiding dealing with her issues at all, though not all of her coping mechanisms are 100% healthy.  She can easily over-do her exercising, which she says helps, to the point that she's very tired and irritable and reluctant to give it up for anything.  This leaves me feeling like my hobbies are on the chopping block when we need extra time to deal with something.

And I make all sorts of legitimately bone-headed mistakes, don't get me wrong.  I have no problem with being told I'm wrong when I'm wrong, but I don't like being lambasted at the first whiff of potential error.  (Many times, an action of mine is misinterpreted as being malicious when it was merely ignorant or well-intentioned. It kills me that she won't even bother to ask those kinds of questions before concluding that I'm in error.)  Personally, I never engage a person with raw anger or snark unless I'm sure I have an air-tight complaint that justifies that sort of behavior.  I'm not always sure such emotional vetting is done on her end.  We've had endless discussions about this, and improvements have been made, but I still feel like the framework is this:

1) If I act like an asshole, I get yelled at

2) If she acts like an asshole, I get yelled at

When I feel I'm being unfairly punished (as in too severely or even at all), sometimes I can defend myself and clear the air, but the damage is done and I still feel like the onus is on me to not set off the landmines.  

I get really anxious about blaming every negative emotion thrown at me on her depression, as I'm pretty sure that's gaslighting.  She's absolutely allowed to be angry/annoyed/sad/hurt, but the emotions can come out so strongly that she's unwilling to listen to how the beliefs causing those feelings might not have been true to being with.  

it sounds like maybe you two need to work out a way to separate things she's doing and anxiety about her own potential failure, and things you're doing

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here.
Conreezy
Conreezy

Posts : 269
Reputation : 97
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by reboot on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:14 am

[quote="Conreezy"]
 

it sounds like maybe you two need to work out a way to separate things she's doing and anxiety about her own potential failure, and things you're doing

I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at here.

Enail can correct me if I am wrong and this is not what she meant, but it sounds like your wife wants an error free existence because errors make her anxious. This means she tries to correct and control your behavior because she can not see that if you make a mistake it is not her mistake and that you can handle errors in your own way. She is not seeing your errors as independent of hers.
reboot
reboot
Moderator of "Other Relationships" and "Gender, Identity and Society"

Posts : 2514
Reputation : 1005
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:39 am

If I had to give one piece of advice, it would be this: separate the conversation from the emotional moment.

It sounds like you try not to engage in anger, but she does it a lot. When she's angry, chances are that you're not going to be able to have a really productive and healthy discussion.

Can you try to talk with her about the way you argue sometime when you're not arguing? Would it help if you planned for a sort of "safe-word" plan from arguments? "This is an important conversation, and I really want to have it, but I think we're getting to a point where we're losing content in the emotion. Can we take an hour's breather, and then come back to it?"

In this scenarios, you're not presenting it as her overreacting or being too emotional; you're not referencing depression at all. You're just saying, "We aren't having the best version of this conversation that we can, and it's an important enough conversation that we should respect it."

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by kleenestar on Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:54 am

As the anxiety-having partner in my relationship, one thing that helps is to remember that avoidance makes my anxiety worse. Instead of learning to control my environment such that my anxiety never gets provoked - which is not only impossible, but unfair to those around me - I've focused on learning to tolerate the experience of anxiety, and to build a big library of experiences where something went wrong and I was able to cope. I have no idea whether this is helpful to you but it's what I've got to offer.
kleenestar
kleenestar

Posts : 289
Reputation : 204
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:27 pm

Yep, reboot, you've got it.

I very much second ElizaJane's comment. You can very much respect and respond to her feelings, without having to deal with everything at the most heated moment. And I think it's important for her to understand that the way she deals with her emotions right now, regardless of whether they're ramped up by depression/anxiety or not, is hurtful to you. If there are things that she's unhappy or angry about that she needs to raise with you to make changes, that's legitimate - but the way she's doing it is not avery effective or very loving way to do it.
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by fakely mctest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:19 pm

Oh, okay, I've got a question for this one! Today is my "Ask Questions About Depression Day" I guess. Cool

So the guy I'm seeing has depression that's successfully medicated, as do I. Recently, I saw my psychiatrist and asked about lowering my dose (I'm likely a lifer, but I'd also like to be on the lowest dose possible in the long term). She said it would be fine if I tried and laid out some ground rules for doing that, which I'm following currently.

Obviously, I am going to be hypervigilant when it comes to looking for any signs that the lowered dose isn't effective. I mentioned it to him and explained what I was doing and asked if he would mind also keeping an eye out and letting me know if he saw any change in my behavior that I might have missed. He agreed and asked some very conscientious questions about what sorts of things might pop up. Now I'm wondering if I stepped over a line in asking him to do that. I don't want to make my depressive symptoms his problem.

_________________
Please let it be an empty shoebox with a note saying “LOL Just kidding, I love cats, sorry I worried anyone. xoxox E. Schrödinger”
fakely mctest
fakely mctest
General Oversight Moderator

Posts : 298
Reputation : 74
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by kleenestar on Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:24 pm

FWIW this is part of the deal I have with my partner. I've given him three warning signs to watch out for that he is likely to see sooner than I am, and I've asked him to help me do specific things if he sees them. What makes it work is a) I asked if he were willing and he opted in, and b) I'm asking him to help me make small interventions before I get too depressed to help myself.
kleenestar
kleenestar

Posts : 289
Reputation : 204
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by eselle28 on Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:30 pm

fakely mctest wrote:Oh, okay, I've got a question for this one!  Today is my "Ask Questions About Depression Day" I guess. Cool

So the guy I'm seeing has depression that's successfully medicated, as do I.  Recently, I saw my psychiatrist and asked about lowering my dose (I'm likely a lifer, but I'd also like to be on the lowest dose possible in the long term).  She said it would be fine if I tried and laid out some ground rules for doing that, which I'm following currently.  

Obviously, I am going to be hypervigilant when it comes to looking for any signs that the lowered dose isn't effective.  I mentioned it to him and explained what I was doing and asked if he would mind also keeping an eye out and letting me know if he saw any change in my behavior that I might have missed.  He agreed and asked some very conscientious questions about what sorts of things might pop up.  Now I'm wondering if I stepped over a line in asking him to do that.  I don't want to make my depressive symptoms his problem.

It sounds like what you're essentially asking for is a second opinion to add to your own observations of your feeling and behavior, not for him to take over the task for you, and like you have a plan in place and a person besides him to help you in the event you do experience changes in your behavior. That doesn't seem like making your symptoms his problem to me. I think many people value a partner's input as a check against their own biases, whether it's about depressive symptoms or morals or mood issues unrelated to depression.
eselle28
eselle28
General Oversight Moderator

Posts : 1994
Reputation : 999
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:33 pm

That doesn't sound out of line to me. As long as it's clear you're in charge of monitoring your moods and not trying to outsource the challenge to him, I think it's actually a courteous thing to do, b/c it shows awareness that how you are managing your depression has an impact on him and a respect for his thoughts on it to an appropriate level.
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Conreezy on Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:41 pm

Thank, everyone, for the responses.


Can you try to talk with her about the way you argue sometime when you're not arguing?

Yes, we do that fairly often after the heat of a fight.  I approach fights like writing a paper in college, complete with sometimes taking notes on her points so I can engage them when she's done talking.  The systematic way is how I think through everything.  She's a medical professional, too, so it surprises me how that seems to be so alien to her.  

But our argumentative tactics might have nothing to do with anxiety/depression.

Would it help if you planned for a sort of "safe-word" plan from arguments?

Actually, she suggests the breaks from the argument, which I welcome.  Sometimes they're helpful, sometimes she stays so angry she barges into where ever I am to start the fight again.  (Honestly, I think that's funny.)

I have no idea whether this is helpful to you but it's what I've got to offer.

It's similar to what I try to do, as well.  I approach every "problem" in life with something like Assess-Diagnose-Treat-Reassess.  It handles the variables at work, where I have no time for worrying over extraneous issues, and it's not far off from the mindset of my martial arts.

She does this at her job, as well, but I haven't noticed that she applies it to life outside of work.  I find this hard to wrap my head around.  She's a great Nurse Practitioner; she makes lots of necessary and coldly logical medical decisions-- which are always done outside of perfect parameters-- and minds the humanity of her patients.  Still, it seems like outside of work she's very hard pressed to analyze a situation and arrive a working conclusion without being crushed by the emotions brought on by the fact that a problem exists.

I don't want to make my depressive symptoms his problem.

I would think that someone else with depression would be pretty sympathetic.
Conreezy
Conreezy

Posts : 269
Reputation : 97
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by reboot on Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:14 pm

Conreezy, this sounds like a specific issue you guys might want to take to a couples counselor because you both might need an objective observer to give some strategies after hearing both sides. This seems like something that you guys might need new and customized tools to solve.

I know suggesting couples counseling can be fraught because it is so associated with the terminal stage of a relationship but if more people sought counseling before getting to the terminal stage....
reboot
reboot
Moderator of "Other Relationships" and "Gender, Identity and Society"

Posts : 2514
Reputation : 1005
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:26 pm

Conreezy wrote:
I have no idea whether this is helpful to you but it's what I've got to offer.

It's similar to what I try to do, as well.  I approach every "problem" in life with something like Assess-Diagnose-Treat-Reassess.  It handles the variables at work, where I have no time for worrying over extraneous issues, and it's not far off from the mindset of my martial arts.

She does this at her job, as well, but I haven't noticed that she applies it to life outside of work.  I find this hard to wrap my head around.  She's a great Nurse Practitioner; she makes lots of necessary and coldly logical medical decisions-- which are always done outside of perfect parameters-- and minds the humanity of her patients.  Still, it seems like outside of work she's very hard pressed to analyze a situation and arrive a working conclusion without being crushed by the emotions brought on by the fact that a problem exists.

So, it sounds like there are two different things there. One, your wife's way of handling personal problems may just be that pragmatic aspects of the problem and emotional aspects come together, and that she prefers or needs to deal with them together. That's not in itself wrong! Emotions are a legitimate part of a problem! For some people, it's not useful to separate them the way it would be for a work problem, because all the solutions require emotional resources and will have emotional impacts too! So I think it might help if you could approach that as a valid way to handle things rather than thinking of it as "she can do it in X way at work, why can't she do that at home?" That might mean stepping back a bit and trusting her to do that in the way that works for her, even when it feels to you like she could solve things much more efficiently if she took the distanced approach. Emotions

But then there's problem two, which is that the way she handles the emotional side of things seems to be to take them out on you. Which is not really okay. It sounds like she needs more channels for her emotions, like maybe you two have established a pattern where you're in charge of soaking them up. Maybe a bit of joint counselling could help you reset the pattern? But it also sounds like she might specifically benefit from some alternative tools - if she's seeing a therapist, perhaps you could ask her to check with them for some ideas, or if not, maybe it's something she could see a therapist about?
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by reboundstudent on Wed Oct 08, 2014 5:51 pm

General question: is it ever... okay?, to NOT have empathy for your partner when they're in a depressed state? Like is it ever all right to put a halt on a conversation because your own emotional well has just been taped dry, and you've got nothing to support them with? Is it awful if your well is kind of shallow, and you can only give out so much empathy/support/understanding before you have to call a temporary halt? Or does that make you an awful partner?
reboundstudent
reboundstudent

Posts : 460
Reputation : 261
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:00 pm

No, that is totally okay. You have the amount of water in your well that you have, and it is important to make sure you've got enough for you. Sometimes that means finding less draining ways you can support them, sometimes that means them needing to have other supportive people and ways to look after themselves. Sometimes, unfortunately, it means you and that other person are not the right people for each other.

But it doesn't work to keep going when you're run dry, and honestly, I don't think it helps them for you to try. Limits are healthy things to have in a relationship.
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Guest on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:03 pm

reboundstudent wrote:General question: is it ever... okay?, to NOT have empathy for your partner when they're in a depressed state? Like is it ever all right to put a halt on a conversation because your own emotional well has just been taped dry, and you've got nothing to support them with? Is it awful if your well is kind of shallow, and you can only give out so much empathy/support/understanding before you have to call a temporary halt? Or does that make you an awful partner?

It's not only okay, it's the right thing to do. If you're a doctor, you get the first vaccine. If you're a parent, you secure your oxygen mask before helping your child with theirs. If you start to drown, then there are two drowning people, and no one to help. You need to take care of yourself so that you can continue to be there for them -- and they need to do the same for you.

Guest
Guest


Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by UristMcBunny on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:39 pm

Hey look, the Captain went and made another awesome post about handling issues in relationships with depressed people!

http://captainawkward.com/2014/10/08/633-my-meandepressed-friend/

_________________
Some of you will know me as Bunny from the old forums.
UristMcBunny
UristMcBunny
Moderator of "Romantic and Sexual Relationships"

Posts : 371
Reputation : 116
Join date : 2014-09-24

View user profile http://uristmcdorf.tumblr.com/

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Conreezy on Wed Oct 08, 2014 6:55 pm

reboot wrote:Conreezy, this sounds like a specific issue you guys might want to take to a couples counselor because you both might need an objective observer to give some strategies after hearing both sides. This seems like something that you guys might need new and customized tools to solve.

I know suggesting couples counseling can be fraught because it is so associated with the terminal stage of a relationship but if more people sought counseling before getting to the terminal stage....

I have no problem with it. In fact, we've gone before. I enjoyed it; it felt like a better forum for airing out issues than in a high-emotions argument, that's for sure.

That might mean stepping back a bit and trusting her to do that in the way that works for her, even when it feels to you like she could solve things much more efficiently if she took the distanced approach.

I'm up for whatever she has to do, so long as it doesn't involve blatant disrespect for me and my feelings. (Like you said, problem #2).

like maybe you two have established a pattern where you're in charge of soaking them up

I figure I've volunteered for a certain amount of that. Still, there are limits.
Conreezy
Conreezy

Posts : 269
Reputation : 97
Join date : 2014-10-01

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:57 pm

Conreezy wrote:
like maybe you two have established a pattern where you're in charge of soaking them up

I figure I've volunteered for a certain amount of that.  Still, there are limits.  

It's easy to get into a pattern of that sort, harder to break it :\
Enail
Enail
Admin

Posts : 3997
Reputation : 2214
Join date : 2014-09-22

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression] Empty Re: Depression and anxiety within a relationship [split from Helping people understand depression]

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum