How do I cope with my partner who has clinical depression?

My financee has been diagnosed with clinical depression. He used to binge drink in order to make himself feel better but he gave up the drink around 2 years ago. He continually looks at life as glass half empty - everything is rubbish, nothing is good in his life. Something good may happen which will be great for a week then its rubbish again. He is always looking for the next thing that will give him that something to make him feel a little bit of joy. He says he has never felt happy and never will. Even if he won the lottery tomorrow, it would be fine for a a day or two but then life will be rubbish again. Is there anything at all that will help to improve his mood? There are many others that have depression that find ways to cope and live lives that are okay but I am failing to find the solution. Any help that anyone has would be gratefully received. We are getting married in April and I want him to enjoy his day but he is already talking about leaving the reception early because he is not going to enjoy himself (because he can't have a drink). Help!!!

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  • Have you talked to your doctor/counsellor?

    Do you want to spend the rest of your life with someone who can't really experience joy?

    Do you feel as though you are in an equal relationship?

    Do you feel like your partner's carer?

    Do you have supportive friends and family who can be there for you and when your partner is having a depressive episode?

    How do you want to live the rest of your life?

    What do you really expect from marriage?

    What advice would you give your best friend if she was in your situation?

    Do you suffer with depression/anxiety yourself?

    Do you feel that you HAVE to go ahead with the wedding to save face?

    Marriage is about so much more than being in love, or thinking that someone is your soulmate. It is a partnership, an intimate sharing relationship, each should feel that they can pull their weight and their partner will do the same.

    The questions I've suggested above may appear harsh, but if you're questioning yourself, you really need to look at this as objectively as you're able, imagine yourself literally in 5 years time, see that woman, and challenge that future. Nobody knows what the future holds, but sometimes the writing is very clearly on the wall. And if you're not sure - wait. Please don't stay with anyone because you're afraid of leaving them.

    I hope that you can find peace with whatever decision you make and feel confident going forwards.

  • I have looked at your question a number of times and wondered how to answer it.

    It is difficult to live with depression when you have it. It's probably more difficult to live with it when it is someone that you love and care about that has it. I don't think it is something you can understand unless you have actually experienced it and that is okay because nobody would wish it on you. I think all you can do is accept it and it sounds as if you are probably doing okay at that at the moment.

    One of the most frustrating things for someone trying to live with a depressed person is coming to terms with the fact that there isn't really anything you can do about it. We are a miserable lot :) We got lost when people talk about enjoyment and hope ... particularly if they are trying to infect us with it.

    Let your partner know that you don't understand but that you are there for him and may be suggest, in terms of the wedding day, that you look for some suitable escapes for him if things are getting too much. He will really want you to enjoy the day as much as you can but hassle and pressure for him to enjoy it as well are unlikely to help. May be you could have a quiet room where he could go to be by himself or get away from the fuss for a while rather than feeling trapped in the hub-bub.

    That probably sounds really weird - having a place where people can go to feel 'miserable' on their own at a wedding but he may have other ideas. Its unlikely that he will be able to enjoy the day if he feels there is any pressure on him to enjoy it so think you need to minimise that pressure as much as you can. Please talk to him about it and think imaginatively about ways of allowing him to participate and support you without feeling that he needs to do more than that.

  • Hi,

    It sounds like you are having a very tough time at the moment. :-(

    You don't say if your fiance is receiving any treatment at the moment. If not, I really don't think you should be trying to cope without professional help. It sounds like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) might be helpful, both with the depression and with the related drink problem.

    It can be extremely stressful living with someone with depression, ( I speak someone who has long term depression and also have had problems with drinking to self-medicate) and there are seldom any quick fixes. Without wishing to sound heartless, have you considered postponing your wedding until your fiance is feeling a bit better? I know that I found it very difficult to cope with any major events or commitments at my lowest. And I think it will be extremely stressful to someone who is trying not to drink to manage. In any case, It is difficult to make decisions about the rest of your life when you are both under so much strain.

    I was married to someone with severe mental health problems (bi-polar disorder) so I do know how hard it can be.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best,

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