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Needing some non cat related advice

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ok, I really don't know how to even say this so please forgive me if I ramble on or get off track a bit.

As some of you know, I've been some what "dating" a guy named Ric. We've had our differences because we both wanted different things from this "relationship". We've got that completely straightened out & we're on the same page. We still see each other at least once a week...sometimes twice a week. We're still in the learning about each other stage & he told me things last night that really shocked me. First of all, I was overwhelmed that he felt comfortable enough to tell me the things that he did & I could tell that he just needed to get some things off of his chest. What he told me, I've never had to deal with before & I don't know much about, so that's why I'm asking for some advice from you guys. He told me that he's battled Depression for almost 12 years & that he's been hospitalized for it a few times. He was completely honest & told me that he tried commiting suicide many times, but was unsucessful...thank God! He didn't tell me why he wanted to do it & I didn't feel comfortable asking him. I could tell it was hard for him to tell me about this. I just sat back & let him pour his heart about it. But to be honest, it scared me. I know that he's on medication for it (I seen the bottle of med's), but I didn't realize it was this severe. He told me that he hasn't "tried" in almost 5 years & that during the months of October through December are really hard for him because that was when his folks had him put in the hospital the first time. I'm sure there's more to it than that, but I didn't want to pressure him. He told me that he felt like a freak & that no one understands what he goes through or what he's gone through. I just don't know how to absorb all of this info right now. I want to think that it didn't affect how I think of him, but deep down it does...mainly because I don't know what he's going through.

So, I'm needing a little advice on how to handle this. He's really a good hearted guy & now I know (somewhat anyway) why he keeps things bottled up inside of him. It explains a lot about some of his actions, but I don't know how to move past this. Is that possible? I've thought about it all day & I still haven't got any where with it in my mind. Can someone enlighten me about this? I've had a bout with depression, but it was fairly minor & only lasted a few months. This is a lifelong battle for this man & it's something that I need to prepare myself for. I'm not saying that I plan on being part of his life forever, but I would like to think that I will be. If we aren't mean to be a couple, then I know we'll be friends for a very long time.
What do you think I should do? Any advice or suggestions would help me tremendiously at this moment. I'm really at a loss. Thank you all in advance & for listening to me. This is something I don't feel comfortable talking to any of my friends or my Mom about. I know that they can be a bit closeminded about things like this & honestly, it'd freak my Mom out if she knew.
Thanks again!
post #2 of 25
Hey Shell!

I've battled depression on and off since I was a kid. I've been on Zoloft for 6 years now and it has made a big difference! One thing that may help you to put it in perspective is remembering that a lot of depression is the result of a serotonin imbalance. Taking medication to correct that is along the same lines as a diabetic taking insulin to control his/her blood sugar levels. That's what helped me come to terms with it, looking at it as a physical problem with emotional symptoms, rather than "mental illness".

The fact that he has told you this about himself speaks for his trust in you. I know that when I've opened up to people about my depression, even if they can't relate on a personal level, the best thing they can do is listen and be nonjudgemental. My mom was a classic example of the worst way you can respond; she told me "Depression is a luxury only selfish people can afford, it's wallowing in self-pity." Gee, thanks for clearing that up for me!
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks Sue! It makes me feel better knowing that I did the right thing in just listening to him. I think that it's not the fact that he has depression, but the fact that he was suicidal & tried many times. In a way, I want to pull back away from him because it scares me. It scares me because I'm afraid that I'll get hurt in the end. Saying that makes me feel so selfish, but I'm afraid of possibly loving someone & then losing them that way. I know that if that would happen, I would have a very hard time dealing with that. I know I'd blame myself & I don't want to go through that. But yet, my heart tells me to give this guy a chance & don't judge him on things that I don't know completely about. I'm just torn about it all...my brain thinks one thing & my heart is pulling me in a different direction.

Last night when I got home from having dinner with him, I just sat on my bed & cried. I don't know why & I'm getting teary eyed right now...dunno why. I guess my heart hurts because I know see what he went through & how alone he must have felt...and still does. I'm kicking myself now because I realized that I didn't give him a hug before he left. I know that he really needed one, but I was so overwhelmed with what he told me that I couldn't even think straight.

So, how do I over come this fear of suicide with him? That really scares me the most right now. I never would have guessed that he had issues like this. He's very positive about everything but I can't help but wonder if he's really good at faking his emotions now.
Thanks again Sue.
post #4 of 25
Hi Shell,

Many people (including myself) have the disease of depression. Medications are very good these days. But it's also important to make sure he's dealing with where the thoughts of suicide come from (counseling/therapy).

There is never any gaurentee in life. Any one of us could walk out our front doors tomorrow and be killed accidentally by a car (God forbid). Depression is a treatable disease and many wonderful people suffer from it. You are wise, however, to be thinking about it. Good luck!
post #5 of 25
Shell, he must really trust you to open up like that. Good for you, that you listened, and didn't judge, or run away scared.

The most important thing to realize is that depression is a chronic illness, like diabetes, or heart problems. There are medications, there are lifestyle issues that need to be dealt with, and he will also have side effects of drugs to contend with. Its a really insidious disease, because people sometimes become resistant to their meds, and have to be changed.

But really, if he has support, and looks after himself, he should not attempt suicide. I bet that was during a period when he wasn't handling the disease well, or the need for medication.

Its no walk in the park, but would you hesitate to date a diabetic, because they might have a shorter life span? Its just the same as lots of other diseases, it just has a horrible social stigma. And there are lots of support groups and information about dealing with this type of mental illness.

Just remember, its not the same as being depressed. That usually has a trigger, and runs its course, and you end up feeling better. Depression is a life long chronic illness, that you can cope with and live with.
post #6 of 25
Depression isn't a bad disease (he didn't ask for this), but it is very serious. It's just like diabetes. You take medication to keep yourself stable. How do I know and understand this? I am Bipolar. I get to go both ways and it's not fun.

You don't have to say or do anything about this. If you feel you must you can tell him that you're honored he felt comfortable enough to tell you about this issue. Most people with Depression or Bipolar or any other mental health disorder will not be open with others. You'd be amazed at how many people have these illnesses if they were.

If you decide to have a more permanent relationship with him then you would be best to make sure he sees his doctors and takes his medication. That is the most important thing. If he does this he'll be fine and you will not even notice anything "special" about him.

Remember, it's like diabetes. It can be life threatening if you don't take care of it, but as long as you stay under a doctor's care and do what you need to do to remain stabilized you can live a full and normal (whatever that is) life.

Plus cats and loving mates are really wonderful at keeping you stabilized. I've been getting better and better since I got my babies and found my hubby.
post #7 of 25
shell,I also suffer this sickness,and yes I tried to kill myself one time,(thank God I failed),but today I am on med,s , and I am much happier,Ted stuck beside me and has no fear of my trying it again. I also went through conseling and therapy.i best thing you can do for him is trust him and listern,when he needs to talk. hon,PM me if you want to talk about this.
post #8 of 25
Oh, and Shell? I've attempted suicide numerous times. The only reason I was never hospitalized is at the time I was deathly scared of mental hospitals (my only experience was as a visitor to a state hospital and THOSE are scary!). I was also in an abusive relationship at the time. That's what triggered me to start to really cycle. I haven't attempted suicide for almost 5 years and I 'm not in the same place I was back then.

Hope this helps. You did a good job of just listening.
post #9 of 25
Hi Shell,
What a sweet person you are for 'just listening' to Ric.
Generally, when a person is suicidal, they are are feeling about as far down about themselves as possible, and when they feel that someone else cares about them...well, I would assume it would give them a little self worth (an enough to live a second/day/week/month longer).
As for the depression, again...all you can do is be there for Ric 'talk to' and be able to talk out his feelings. That might give him an additional perspective thinking his thoughts out loud to you, and might give you an idea of what to do. Has he considered also talking to a counselor/psychiatrist as well as taking the "depression" medications from the Dr. offices?
Well, take care and let us know how you two are doing.
post #10 of 25
TTmom It has been 5 years for me also.Ted is a very wonderful man,he has stood by me. My father and 19 year old brother died right before I tried it. I think this triggered it.
post #11 of 25
Shell, you did a great job by just listening and not being judgemental about it. There's nothing I can add to what has been said, except for one thing, along the depression/diabetes disease line. When you've been around someone for awhile who has either one of them, you can tell when the "disease" is acting up and help him through the rough times. If you don't believe me, ask my husband, I have both, and he can tell, sometimes better than I when something physical is amiss!
post #12 of 25
Hey Shell,

it's good that you are listening to him. I've tried suicide many times and just some minor bouts of depression, no meds required kinda thingy. He just needs some support and all but there's something which i feel i should really warn you about. If he starts to rely on you too much and all and then maybe you decide that you guys are not meant to be a couple kinda thing, it might be a huge blow to him and it might just trigger the suicidal thoughts in him again. It's tough and please be prepared for it.
post #13 of 25
But also remember that you are in no way responsible for what he does. Only HE is responsible for what he does.
post #14 of 25
SO TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #15 of 25
The best thing as everyone else has stated is to listen and be there for him as a 'friend'. The best medicine for my battles was my husband who stuck by my side through thick and thin, no psychs or meds could help me, though I may need one or two every now and then What you went through is the same thing my husband went through. It was very tough and hard and difficult and very emotional for me to reveal to him everything about me, my past, etc. This was while we were dating also. He was so sweet, just as shocked as you were, sat there, didn't know what to say but he did the sweetest thing, took hold of my hand and said 'We'll get through this together.' Of course both of us started crying. I never had anyone, not anyone ever tell me that in my entire life. Great now I'm getting teary eyed LOL! Anyway....so the best thing is to just listen to him....and ditto the last two statements above me...
post #16 of 25
Hi Shell, i think you did the right thing by listing to him, i have a friend that has had problems with depression, and then was told that she suffered from ByPolar, it is a illness that is controlled with meds. and most problems like this can be controlled, but i have talked to her enough to know this, if you plan on having a long term relationship with Ric. then as time goes on you need to learn what he has been diganosed with, is it just depression? because if it more than you will need to understand all about the illness and read up on it so you can understand it, my friend has had a hard time with relationships because they dont undrstand. Ric sounds like a really great guy and problally is, and it was so honest of him to tell you this, so if i were you and i cared for him, i would just listen and learn and enjoy yourself, my friend takes meds. and she lives a fairly normal life, i say faily not in a mean way but in a honest way, so what ever you decide i hope you are happy with your decesion, and good luck, i hope this helps
post #17 of 25
ex-fiancee has it big time too. I am currently back-together with him (sort-of) and we have a very good relationship. He came close to committing suicide only once about 10 years ago. He called my mother for "counseling/prayer" before he actually did what he planned to do.

Depression IS a selfish issue in the sense that a person who suffers from depression always bring the focus on them, how they feel, what makes them unhappy (or happy), they often will get the center of attention just through their LACK of response to anything. It isn't a concious, purposeful thing they do to GET attention, rather it is their condition that causes people to inadvertantly focus on them.

My father is similiar to my ex as far as having depression (and refusing to admit it) but my father has never even come close to wanting to kill himself through outward means. He basically lives life with a sour and glum look on his face, he only takes delight in making fun of others, he sees the "negative side" to ALL situations, never compliments, never admits to being wrong, "acts" overly cheerful and is downright DOMINEERING when conversing with company. ALL conversations are one-sided and he never really truly "listens" to the other person. He only wants to talk AT people.

My father also gets MUCH, MUCH worse in the winter months. He will spend hours in front of the T.V, will stare blankly out the window, and generally be in a very "down" frame of mind. He perks up during the summer, but still refuses to compliment or converse with any type of real interest in the other person.

EVERY SINGLE one of my close friends has it too. They all are on prozac, paxil, whatever. I basically don't let it faze me anymore because nearly everyone in my life has it to some degree. My ex- is a bit selfish and self-centered, but he would do ANYTHING for me and really seems to love me. I don't sweat the depression any longer. If he chooses to remain morose and unsocial the rest of his life, that is his problem. IF he wants to get over it and get help, he will. If not, I still love him anyway (but I REFUSE to let him drag me down too!.
post #18 of 25
Shell I to have been fight (so to speak) depression ever since may of 1979 at which time I was involved in a wreck that put me in the hospital for three weeks. I didn't seek help until a few years ago at which I comitted my self for three days. seems my brain chemistry was changed in the accident and I was having more than just depression but violent outburst for no real reason. the fact that your bf told you all that he did was his way of warning that life with him was going to be rough and he didn't want surprise you or possible hurt you. Just be supportive and contiue to let him talk about it,it sure does help with the treatment.I thankfully have a family the lets me talk over things when I need to. Good Luck and Good Health to you both
post #19 of 25

You are such a wonderful person just for listening and being a trusting and caring friend to him. Even if a romantic relationship doesn't work out between you two I think you would remain good friends.

I think you need to do what makes you the most happy, but remain friends with him. He has put great trust in you to come out and tell you this. That took a lot of courage and I'm sure it wasn't easy for him. You're a good listener Shell, and I think he's figured that out. Now he needs that part of you to be there for him.

I agree with most people here about therapy. I think once you feel comfortable enough to talk about this with him.. you could find out if he is seeing a therapist and maybe even offer to go with him if he'd like. As a friend or girlfriend, if you decide you will be there to support him then definitely show him that.

Either way, whatever you decide to do Shell, I'm sure that everything will be fine. I will pray for you and Rick and send out very positive vibes too!

Oh and Shell.. hugs do work wonders! (((((((((((Shell))))))))))))
post #20 of 25
I don't suffer from depression myself, but my husband does. Jeff is a truly wonderful man and I love him deeply. He is on medication and was hospitalized at one point, it was a long time ago, and right after a pretty horrible happening. It can be hard to be with a person with depression, but if Ric is a great guy it will be worth it. In fact, the only time Jeff and I have had a problem that had to do with Jeff's depression/anxiety disorder(yes two different things but Jeff copes with both) is when he decided he didn't need his meds anymore. (We got that straightened out pretty fast) My advice would be to just take things slow, see where it takes you.
post #21 of 25
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has an online forum for family and friends: http://www.dbsalliance.org/Forums.html

It may be useful to contact a support group in your area: http://www.dbsalliance.org/info/findsupport.html
Many hospitals with mental health programs will have support groups for family and friends as well.

Articles on suicide at the National Institute of Mental Health: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research/suicide.cfm

A suicide FAQ: http://www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH...2337&p=~br,IHC|~st,8596|~r,EMIHC270|~b,*|&d=dmtContent

Some years ago, a college friend of mine who had started working in psychiatry told me that the development of psychiatry now is where physical medicine was 50-100 years ago (in the Western medical tradition). We are at a turning point of uncovering all the mechanisms of mental health, with informed effective therapies sure to follow. In clinical depression research, the equivalent of isolating the polio virus is happening right about now.

This means that the treatments currently available are good, and should only get better. Of course there are no absolute guarantees, but we're moving many forms of depression away from creating a permanent crisis state in people's lives and towards the day-to-day manageability of an insulin regimen. Hopefully this allows for enough of a qualitative difference that people with depression can now have a fair chance at leading a happy, productive, "normal" life.
post #22 of 25
Some years ago, a college friend of mine who had started working in psychiatry told me that the development of psychiatry now is where physical medicine was 50-100 years ago (in the Western medical tradition).
Boy! Ain't that the truth! This is what I can't understand, you have someone who is depressed and has a lousy self-image so you give them medications that do what? Lose their sex drive and cause them to gain weight! Blech!

Actually, not all the meds are like that anymore, but the most common ones are. I went through all the ADs and Mood Stabilizers before we found ones that worked that I wasn't allergic to and that made me feel like me. That's the hardest part about treatment, getting the right treatment.
post #23 of 25
Shell, listening to him was a great 1st step. I used to work in a group home with people with psychiatric illnesses. I know it is scary to deal with when you don't have experience with this illness. That he told you speaks a great deal to the trust he has in you. Don't feel bad for not hugging him, you were on overload. I would suggest however that you tell him, either in person, on the phone or via e-mail, that it meant alot to you that he trusted you with this. Most importantly be honest to him about your thoughts and confusion. Let him know that you care for him, but that you may need some time to come to understand what he is going through. He will respect you for your honesty. If you try to hide what you are feeling, he will sense it. Just remember. He is an ordinary guy with a common illness. He acknowledges the illness and is working to treat it. His illness doesn't change the person you know into something new and frightening, just unknown.

Good luck and if you need to chat, just PM me.
post #24 of 25
Shell you are wonderful person/friend.

But you also have to evaluate the flip side namely how this will affect you. You need to see if you are able to deal with this in the long run, because it won't be easy, nothing is easy if emotions are involved. You need to be able to pull back if this relationship is negatively affecting your own life and that will be the hardest thing you will ever do.

I hope you will be able to make this work. He is sure lucky to have you!!!!!!!
post #25 of 25
Living with someone who is chronically depressed can be very draining for a healthy individual. Caught up (without trying to be) in the "me" syndrome, everything will go back to that person because life is simply to overwhelming for them to look beyond that point. It speaks a lot of your relationship with Ric that he told you, and although you don't want this to affect how you feel about it, how can it not? If you take it to the next level (let's say) and get engaged, and then married, then "till death do us part" takes a scary edge.

It can be controlled with the right medication. If the person stays on the meds and it doesn't mean the person is lacking in anything, it is usually a chemical imbalance or the result of being through something traumatic and not being able to get past it. If he is the man of your dreams, then you go forward with him fully armed with information about this disease. But if he is not, then safeguard your heart and start stepping away. I sense you are strong person, but even the strongest heart can be challenged with a disease like depression so you have to ask yourself, what is it you want to do- and then go about that decision with gentleness and firmness and not give this poor individual anything else to be depressed about. It is not an easy choice- I wish you the best.
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