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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is it common for someone who is depressed to be unsure what they want?

    My ex ended our 2 year relationship 2 months ago since then it has been like a dance two steps forward one step back. He will open up to me and tell me how he is not sleeping, eating lost heaps of weight, feels the world is against him and has said the stress his under is literally killing him, he refuses to get professional help or tell others how he feels not wanting to be a burden on them, he has increased his alcohol in take too, he cries every night i believe it was his depression that caused him to want to end our relationship because he said he cant commit to anything including work and just wants to be on his own, he hates the thought of being a burden I find he will often say he will be in touch and days go by before i hear from him, however he will talk to others during this time, when i do hear from him he always apologises and has a good reason. Is it common for someone to be depressed and act this way and how am i best to help him?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Wendy Roncolato

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Cloudberry Clinic is a clinical psychology practice specialising in women's mental health concerns. We offer a safe space to reflect honestly and explore emotions with … View Profile

    Dear writer

    Firstly let me acknowledge that you are very empathetic to be thinking about your ex-partner's needs while you are dealing with your own hurt around the relationship break down. 

    Your concerns about your ex-partner are warranted. You have listed many common symptoms associated with depression. Although he would need an assessment before a diagnosis is made, his symptoms sound quite severe.

    There are very effective evidence-based therapies for people with depression. Unfortunately isolation and self-medicating (consuming alcohol) are common ways of coping with symptoms but both compound the problem.

    As you mentioned that he does speak to others, could they also be in a position to encourage him to see a clinical psychologist? Low motivation and negative self-talk are symptomatic and make it difficult for people to ask for help. Going with someone to the first session is also an option. 

    While I cannot be sure of his reasons for ending the relationship, it seems clear that he needs assistance to manage the depression before the relationship issues can be dealt with. 

    I hope you are also finding support for your own needs at this difficult time. 

     

     

  • I am a Melbourne Relationship Counsellor and Family Lawyer who is skilful in helping people get out of the pain of relationship distress and create … View Profile

    Yes, it is. He may feel a lot of shame about his emotional turmoil and managing a relationship is just beyond him right now. I agree with the previous answer. However, there is not much you can do to assist him and trying to may just keep you stuck in there. Can you give yourself some care and nurture? It could help for you to prioritise your own needs now so that you can effectively move through your own sadness and grief. He is the one who needs to help himself and you can demonstrate how you look after yourself which will only assist him in the longrun. All the best.

  • Georgina Watts

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I am passionate about journeying with people on their road to wholeness. I work with males and females who are needing to work on self … View Profile

    I agree with the above two answers and want to commend you on trying to be supportive to your ex-partner during this time - it can get very confusing for you as you try to deal with your own grief over the relationship, and then possibly have a spark of hope flash on when he starts to talk with you. 

    I just want to add that if you are determined to be there as a support for him you need to have firm boundaries to protect your own heart(emotions). You need to be able to honestly say you are willing to help him for no other reason than he is hurting and needs a friend - nothing else right now. Part of your boundaries may need to be that he needs to get himself some professional help rather than the self-medication. If he feels he is being a burden to others then maybe a professional who is trained to help him and has chosen their job to help others is the best choice for him. 

    Although we may want to help and we run ourselves ragged trying to help (or rescue) others from their hurts it really doesn't help them until they are willing to take responsibility and help themselves (other than with self-medication). 

    He sounds very overwhelmed with life at the moment and maybe if he does trust you then you may need to take the step for and with him to make that first appointment either with a doctor or psychologist to get an assessment. Also let him know that he is not alone in feeling this way and there are many avenues of help he can journey at his own pace.

    Most of all you need to care for yourself and may need to also find someone you can talk this through with on a professional level.

  • Dr Pek Ang

    Psychiatrist

    Specialist Psychiatrist - management of Depression and Anxiety Disorders, PTSD, Bipolar, ADHD, Autism, Mood and Anger problems and Personality Disorders. Management of Psychological problems associated … View Profile

    Thank you for talking about a common situation with relationships where often the male partner is slow to get help.  Women are much better at seeking help as a rule.

    Agree with the other comments so far.

    Firstly, your own needs and health after the breakup is a priority not to be overlooked.  Talking with good friends, family and your own GP is often the first step.  Since your grief is complicated with your concern over your Ex.  talking with your GP, Counsellor or Psychologist can help you be clearer about what you can and can't do to help, what is good for you and what is not.

    Your description highly suggests your Ex has Depression and Alcohol Misuse.  Not sure if he has had Depression a while?  Is there a Past History or Family History of Depression, Anxiety or Alcohol use?

    Sometimes leading him to fact sheets or websites with self rating questionnaires can be a private way for men to check their symptoms against some standardised measure.  Focusing on healthy lifestyle with exercise, diet and low alcohol to "get fit" can also be a way some men will respond.  There maybe a friend he could train with also?

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