Posted 9/22/2009 5:36 AM (GMT -7)
I've been dealing with a depressed woman and need some help myself now. Were both young, under 30.
I found the love of my life about 18 months ago. She had a rough year few years back, worked a lot and is very pedant, demands a lot from herself and at the same time suffers from low self esteem. Around the time I met her, she was first severely burned out. This naturally had no affect on my own feelings, as first she was happy and outgoing, so I saw the "normal" side of her as well as the tired side of her. I fell in love with the person. Burn out then steadily progressed into depression. She went to get help from a psychologists, and she got medication (not sure which one, but anti-depressants, SSRI) and some therapy. I was naturally very worried and wanted to be supportive, after all, I already knew that this is the woman I will marry later on and have kids with.
She got a long sick leave, and she is still on it (last 6 months). I've been struggling with feelings of frustration. I am frustrated, but I know these are the effects of the disease. I am struggling between how supportive I should be and when I'm actually reinforcing some of the negativity by just accepting everything passively. At this point I should mention we are a couple where she is very demanding of herself and has a low self esteem, where as I am quite passive, leading to a situation where I have built in lots of frustration inside that I cannot let out. It's very difficult to tell her about the things I'm frustrated about, even if I'd be as constructive and careful as possible, she equates it with me not loving her anymore. This is frustrating, and even more so as she is a bit jealous and says that at times she don't trust me. I feel very bad about these comments because all I do is work and come straight back home and spend all my time with her. All my time quite literally, I think I've had time for myself for about few days during the last year.
It is difficult for me to function as everything I do or say, I feel, is under surveillance, and with a measuring unit of me not loving her anymore. If I call to say that I'll come home an hour later because I have lots of work, I can hear her tired voice and almost hostile voice saying OK. I feel like I need support as well. I'm a doctorate student and I also have another research job plus I'm actively building a start up company. All this considered, I still spend about 8 hours a day for all my work, which leaves it in a disgraceful state, but if I do any more, there will be problems.
Even as we lived in a smaller apartment, one-room flat, she continuously mentioned how lonely she feels when I read a book while she was watching TV. Not lonely in terms of depression makes you feel lonely, but as in me doing something else. I feel frustrated because she basically wakes up in the morning and opens the TV even if nothing is on, and watches it until it's time to go to bed. And when I'm home, which is all the time, it is as if I have to watch TV as well or it's a sign of me not loving her and wanting to be on my own.
I realize this sounds bitter, but I guess I am a little bit. I had depression before we met, and I had just recovered for the most part. I do understand the serious nature of this disease and that it indeed is a disease. Sometimes I can't help but feel like a prisoner though. Our sex life is naturally very toned down. This also contributes to the fact that she is jealous, but I'm a loyal person and I feel bad about the whole thing. I'm staying next to her and still it is as if I'm doing something wrong. She has gotten a little bit better during the last 6 months, but I'm getting tired myself. I would like to spend some time for myself and not feel bad about it or as if this means I don't love her anymore. When ever we discuss about this, she says she's sorry for it and that she has a low self esteem, and then it's suddenly about how she feels she is ugly, even when she's not ugly but beautiful. It is as if everything is about how she feels, and that's usually negative, and I spend all my time with her anyway and that's not very healthy even if the situation was normal.
I'm very afraid to say anything that might hurt her feelings. And everything does hurt her feelings at the moment and has been for quite a while. I would like to hear from your experiences, and also how you cope with it. I don't know what to do so thanks for letting me vent a little bit. I'm frustrated, I last saw my friends for a day in new year's eve and at the rate it's going, I'll see them again after 10 years. Low self esteem, I think, leads to a situation where nothing can be said without it being interpreted as me not loving her or that there's something wrong with her appearance etc. Rational approach is beyond reach. I love her but I need something for myself as well and I want to say things and do things without having this automatic first reaction of "how would she interpret this?". I'm just tired.