How to Support Girlfriend with Depres... - Anxiety and Depre...

Anxiety and Depression Support

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How to Support Girlfriend with Depression/Anxiety

FightorFlight11 profile image

I could sure use some advice if anyone is willing to offer. After battling depression/anxiety myself for years (and I still do, everyday) I now find myself in a support role to my girlfriend (which is very new to me). Although I know what I want and need when I am in a depressive state of mind I have been at a loss to try and figure out what she needs from me. When I ask her "what do you want and need from me?" Her response is "don't ask me that. It puts too much pressure on me. I don't know what I need." I feel like everything I say or do is wrong. I try giving her space. I try sending her loving text messages. I try to get her to open up to me. She is in a very dark place right now and has a lot that has gone wrong in her life over the past few months. She was already dealing with a lot from her past to begin with.

I have read so many articles, so much advice, but I just can't figure out what the best way to support her is. I don't want to smother her when she needs space, but I also worry that if I back off too much she will think I don't care or I am going to leave.

Her depression/anxiety has also made her even more sensitive than she already was. She gets offended/takes personally almost anything I say or do and she knows she does this which I know is part of the reason she is keeping me somewhat at bay. She feels like a burden and told me she feels like she is ruining my life.

I tell her I'm not leaving, I tell her I love her, I send flowers, I write letters. I know in the state she is in that they don't illicit much of a response in her right now because she doesn't love herself, currently. Do I keep doing these things? Do I back off of doing these things? I just can't figure out what to do. I am worried about her and I care for her deeply. I just don't want to be shut out and she her continue in this downward spiral.

26 Replies

I imagine this is extremely hard. I think you need to strike the right balance between space and support. The next time you’re with her I think a hug and the following words or some variation of them might go a long way at least for that moment.

“I know you’re in a dark place right now but you aren’t alone. If there’s anything I can do for you or if you need space simply tell me. You aren’t alone. I love you and I’m here for you with whatever you need.”

At that point you need to judge for yourself if she wants you to stay or give her some space.

You can’t force her to change or get better. A major part of that always has to be her decision but feeling utterly alone and unwanted certainly never helps me or anyone I’ve ever talked to.

If you’re on here I don’t know if she’d be comfortable sharing but she could always read posts and reach out to someone individually if you suggested that. What all is she doing to get help or practice self care?

Thank you for the response. We have had several moments just like you have suggested. Long embrace, offering words of reassurance (I constantly tell her I am here for whatever she needs). She is seeing a therapist and has been for the last year and a half. She is also on medication. She has just been hit with so many things over the past few months that she is just having trouble battling through. She is a fighter, but this feeling of helplessness on my end is just so frustrating. Now I know how others have felt when they have tried to help me. Seeing her in pain is worse than experiencing it myself. She just has such a low opinion of herself right now and it is tough to see and hear. She is such an amazing woman and I just want to take away her pain.....although I know I can't.......

Don’t worry so much about taking pain away as being present. If she feels less alone you will take away part of the pain regardless. I’m not really sure what else to say on the matter at the moment but I’ll try and give it some thought and let you know if I come up with something else.

Thanks. Any advice or discussion about it in general is helpful. If you need any advice/or to talk please feel free to reach out anytime.

Let her come to you but let her know you’re there for her, I am this girl...and my poor boyfriend bless his heart...I hate it for him...but he never gets mad when I get upset he’s always kind and always tells me it’s going to be ok in such a loving tender way...he lets me cry it out and honestly doesn’t say much, as people with depression/anxiety I think we know what we need to do intellectually but our emotions take a while to catch up. So we just need that time to breathe think it through and let it sink in. That’s when our partners play a key role in our lives, just being there is doing SO MUCH to help. Just keep reassuring her that she is loved by you no matter what she does to you or puts you through. Keep doing what you’re doing it’s helping more than you think

Thank you very much for sharing. It is hard to not take things personally, but I am really trying and have gotten much better at it. The difficult thing for me is that we don't live together so if she tells me she doesn't want me to come over then I can't be there for her. Sometimes I feel as though she wants her space, but other times I feel like she tells me that, but really wants me to come be with her and I can't decipher when to back off and when to go to her. Its so confusing.

For me I will always want him to come anyways, my boyfriend and I live separately too but I would want him to come even if I say I don’’s twisted but that’s how my emotions go...but she could be different...some people actually want to be left alone when they say so, but sometimes we don’t always know what’s good for our own selves.

Thank you. I think she varies. Sometimes she wants me to come over and other times she just wants to be alone. The problem is I know that all of that isolation isn't helping. She constantly tells me she doesn't know what she wants or needs. Its all very confusing.....

Yep imagine how confusing it is for her to experience those ups and downs, and not knowing how to express what she needs, it’s brutal. But you’re soo g a great job just keep it up


Btw this is helping me with trusting that my boyfriend is going to stick with me and that I’m not as much of a burden to him as I thought

I'm glad to hear that. It is helping me to not feel that she is pushing me away, but her depression is. I wanted to come over tonight, but she said she had a tough day and wanted to be alone. I told her I understood and was here if she needed me. It still hurt that she didn't want me to come over (I have my own demons with rejection) but I'm learning to cope. I just want to hold her and comfort her and when she doesn't want that its tough.

Also, if your boyfriend loves you you're never a burden. He may get frustrated and confused like I do, but I always tell my girlfriend that I'd take her on her worst day than any other woman on their best day and I mean it. It sounds like your boyfriend feels the same.

Just let her call the shots- no pressure. It’ll give her a sense of control 👍👍👍

Trying to do that as best I can, but I just don't want her to shut me out completely.....

Ask her how she felt when she helped with your problems and what she says may help you understand how best to approach things, maybe a different way to look at the situation. I hope you can both help each other through this. I would love to have someone as caring as you.

Thank you.

Just show her that you are there for her. Let her know that you are always available and will listen whenever she wants to talk. keep showing you love her. Just keep trying is all I can say... I hope things get better for you and her.


Thank you. I'm trying.....

Your Not going to like this, but you need to step away from that role as much as you want to help because it could ruin your relationship? Your never going to say the right thing, alway listening to her is going to exhaust you and you could end up resenting her? I don't talk to friends and family about what I'm going though cause they seem to get frustrated with me? My kids isolate me as a way to deal with it and try to tell me how to behave when we're out in public. Suggest counseling, be gentle if you say that? People generally don't want to hear that it's like your implying their Crazy?

Thank you. She does go to therapy and is on medication. Sometimes she talks to me and other times she pushes me away its confusing and frustrating, but I'm trying.......

When I'm depressed I tend to retreat and not want to be around people, maybe she feels the same?

Hey! Sorry this is going on... I want you to know that I am praying for the both of you. Also, have you considered talking to a pastor or a counselor? It has helped me several times. Hope to hear from you soon!

We have had discussions about speaking with a counselor, but have yet to do so. Could be a next step. Thanks!

Wow! I'm so impressed that you are on this site asking how to help your girlfriend. Good for you!

My ex husband of over 20 years never made an effort to understand my depression and anxiety.

I would say, she definitely needs YOU. She also needs space so when she feels this it is hard for her to say it so you should just tell her you understand this and tell her you are okay with it, do this in a casual way soshe doesn't take it like it's dramatic and all. Use a safe word like cupcake or something to have her let you know when to go away haha. Props to sticking by her side, not many would, shows the love you have for her :).

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