Depression, Relationships, and Other Cultures

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traveler01
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/13/2012 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

Just joined this site but I really need some advice. Here are the basics: I live in Peru (I'm an expat from the US) and I was dating a Peruvian guy. We were together for six months but recently he broke up with me, giving no reason other than the attraction was suddenly gone. It came completely out of the blue and has shaken me to my core, especially since I felt like we had something really special. We had never had a real argument or anything. I gave him two weeks to think about it (in which I didn't contact him at all), and then when I saw him after those two weeks, he cried and said that he had been feeling awful and that he is depressed (has trouble sleeping, burying himself in work, feels empty, joint pain, no interest in sex), even though he had never felt that way before. He hadn't told anyone else. He said he missed me, but he still didn't want to be in the relationship.

I have had depression for as long as I can remember, and I also have PTSD from a rape two years ago (he knew about all of that). I said that I would support him as much as he wanted, but that he needed to see a doctor. I don't think he's done this step yet, but he's trying mindfulness and other things he can do on his own.

The truth is, I'm so confused about the relationship and whether he dumped me because of the depression or because of something else. He still won't tell me why, other than that the attraction is gone, but he wants to be friends. It's really hard because I don't know if I can be his friend because I'm hurting, but I also can't just disappear and never contact him because he's depressed (and no one should have to go through that alone). I'm so confused (and hurt, angry, in need of closure, and sad in a foreign country)!

Any advice would be welcome.

Thanks,

Lonely Expat

Post Edited (traveler01) : 9/13/2012 2:14:09 PM (GMT-6)


BnotAfraid
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7515
   Posted 9/13/2012 3:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow Expat, I think you need to take a step back and concentrate on yourself for a moment.

Is your choice involving leaving Peru or just his life?

If you need to leave Peru to get on with your life, than I would consider putting yourself first.

It is compassionate of you to want to stand by your boyfriend or ex. But for how long? He is from Peru correct?

You have been through a lot yourself and might know that self-love is very important. Do not loose sight of that fact! You can be caring, but do not allow yourself to be manipulated.

Stay strong even though it hurts.

Trina
Moderator
Be still and know there is Peace.

Kabir says: "Student tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath". from the poem Breath.
DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 9/13/2012 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
I agree with Trina,

I think you should put yourself first. Though it is awful sweet of you to be there for him. Being you are in another country, are you going to come back to the US if you don't stay with him? Or do you like it in Peru?

Let us know a little more so we can try to point you in the right direction.

Know that we all care about you...

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

traveler01
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/13/2012 5:47 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey,

Thanks for your replies. Here is some more information.

I am in Peru for the year because I got a job here and after my contract ends I will probably go back to the US, unless I find another opportunity here. I am trying to "make it" as a freelance travel writer and journalist, so I feel it would hurt my career if quit my job I went home early. I considered going home when the bf dumped me, but I decided to stay for the job. I don't particularly like it here, but I also don't particularly like it in the US or anywhere else either.

My question is more about cutting myself off from him. On the one hand, I am open to supporting him (as a friend or otherwise) if he's truly sick because it seems wrong to run away from someone who is in pain. I know men process depression differently than women. There is the added complication that the culture does not think of depression as a medical condition. He didn't either until it happened to him. That isn't to say that there aren't treatment options, it's just that he's not used to thinking of the condition in these terms.

On the other hand, I don't like this situation at all, especially if he refuses to see a doctor or a mental health professional. I'm very scared about getting used. Last year I had a guy cheat on me, and it really messed me up. I am also recovering from a period of time in which an extended sequence of bad things happened. I did a lot of work on my mental health in order to do this year in Peru, and honestly, I can't go back to those dark thoughts.

I admit that I'm hoping he'll come back to me once he feels better. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I can't help it. I'm trying to put my own feelings aside regardless, if only to get through the day.

Post Edited (traveler01) : 9/13/2012 4:53:47 PM (GMT-6)


getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 9/13/2012 6:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I would try to keep an open mind where this comes into play. He said he didn't feel the same about you, but it sounds like he doesn't feel the same about anything right now. It is so hard, when somebody asks for space, but that is usually what we need when we are depressed. Like I said before, I wouldn't put your life on hold for him. Maybe work through the contract and see what is going on then with him. But don't do anything our of the norm for yourself. Keep thinking of you.

I would be there for him if it is convenient for you too. But I wouldn't push anything on him, or be contacting him other than to see how he is. And if he is uncomfortable with that, I would back off on that too. Give him the space that he asks for and if you are both in the same place when he is better, then proceed with the relationship. But Don't let your life revolve around his...

I guess I will say once again, take care of you...

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

BnotAfraid
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7515
   Posted 9/13/2012 7:59 PM (GMT -6)   
traveler,

I have to agree with Karen.

Your career and life, mental stability is more important and should come first.

Take it day by day for now and see where life takes you.

Stay strong.

Trina
Moderator
Be still and know there is Peace.

Kabir says: "Student tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath". from the poem Breath.
DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

traveler01
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/14/2012 2:13 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the additional advice. I wish I knew how I could help myself. I'm barely eating and I've been having trouble sleeping. I'm so glad I have a job to go to every day.

Any advice about what I can say to him when I check in (usually via facebook message)? Also, any advice about dealing with our group of friends, who are mostly couples where one partner is local and the other is an expat? Other than that group and the ex-bf, I don't really have a support group here (I have a good relationship with my family in the US). Actually, it's really awkward because I'll be the only girl in the group who is single. And I don't want to be the one to tell them (mostly because I don't have an answer for "why").

Post Edited (traveler01) : 9/14/2012 2:21:59 PM (GMT-6)


BnotAfraid
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 7515
   Posted 9/14/2012 3:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Well traveler in this case, the truth has to be the best answer. That you honestly don't know why he broke it off and that he is struggling with some issues. they will have to go to him for more details if he is willing to offer any.

As for your groups of friends, I am sure some will ralley round you and support you. As life does, you will find new friends I am sure, daunting as it may seem in Peru. After all you are a journalist and they have inquiring minds for new adventures!

You might try mindfulness and/or meditation to calm yourself at night for a better rest. Mindfulness.org is a good place to start.

As to what to say to him, I would keep short and honest and real. Don't get bogged down in "what ifs".

Hope you are feeling more settled soon.

Trina
Moderator
Be still and know there is Peace.

Kabir says: "Student tell me, what is God? He is the breath inside the breath". from the poem Breath.
DX: reverse Trigeminal Neuralgia;Cluster headaches; Atypical face pain; raynauds;complex PTSD; recurring MDD,disassociative disorder;

traveler01
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/14/2012 8:00 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks--everyone is supposed to hang out tonight and that's exactly what I'll tell them.

I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but his problems seemed to come completely out of the blue. For me, my symptoms have been with me all my life, so his situation seems weird to me. Is there such a thing as short-term depression? I know he works all the time (like 60-70 hours per week) at a stressful, detail-oriented job (he's an architect and also teaches architecture classes at a university) and also that he had just returned from a vacation (his first in eight months) when he said that he lost his feelings for me and started feeling depressed. He said he had never felt this way before, so I'm wondering if these issues are stress-related or somehow more temporary than what I have.

I just wish he'd get to a point where he can 1) tell me what happened and 2) understand how much he hurt me.
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