Has anyone had attachment issues during the time they have been treated for depression?

To cut a long story short...

I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety half way through my first year at uni. This completely de railed me, I was 350 miles away from home and locked myself away in my room for days on end despite my flatmates being genuinely concerned and my boyfriend and parents back at home constantly ringing me and nagging me about me failing my course.

Due to the side affects of my meds and the stress of everything else, I gradually stopped going to lectures at all, drinking and cheating on my boyfriend regularly and then running away for days on end to try "clear my head". I was a complete mess.

Until Dan. He was one of my flatmates who I had confided with due to the fact he had previously had mental health issues which he had been treated successfully for and we became extremely close. This resulted in me finally breaking it off with my boyfriend of two years and becoming completely and utterly in love with Dan who is the nicest guy I have ever met.

We have been together for six months and he has been my rock and has helped me through some particularly difficult times. But now even if we are not together for just a couple of days I completely fall apart again and don't want to get out of bed. I do not feel strong enough without him, even though he has told me I am.

Has anyone else had this problem? Where they have felt completely dependant on someone??

Love H x

19 Replies

  • Hi there. Yes I think if we are Depressed or down we tend to be more

    Needy. I would have been like this when I was younger. When your on your own

    Keep busy and your boyfriend is right, your stronger than you think.

    My neediness improved a lot with age and I feel much

    Stronger now. So take heart and just accept its just the way you are at the moment. Everything changes and you will change too.


  • I was always such an independent person. I find it hard grasp sometimes how depression can affect basic personality traits. But you are right Hannah, I think I need to just accept that I need just a little extra support at the moment. I think it doesn't help that I am beginning to get nervous about starting my year at uni again on Monday.

    Holly x

  • Holly I should think its very normal to be anxious or to be stressed

    about going back to Uni especially if you had a bad experience

    Last year. The mind then remembers our past failures and

    That makes us nervous and stressed

    Give yourself a chance and just take it one day at a time.

    Try and talk about your feelings and worries even if its on

    This site. Change such as starting Uni is stressful and we all

    React differently to that. Forgive yourself and I wish you every

    Success as this should be An exciting phase of your life.


  • Hello Holly

    You've had a rough time and I wonder how much of that is because you are so far away from home? I have some questions if that's ok?

    Did you want to go to uni and did you want to go to this one? Have you ever been away from your family before? Are you an only child? What meds are you on and what strength?

    I'm a fully qualified counsellor so maybe I can help you understand your plight, even if I can't provided face to face advise at this stage.

    Cheers for now.

  • I think it was possibly because I was it was my first time away from home and my ex boyfriend wasn't being particularly faithful at back at home. As I'm not very close with my parents and felt too ashamed to talk to my friends about it, I was very alone.

    I am going back to the same uni and I really enjoyed being there this last year, I am changing courses though as I felt that the course I was on did not suit me and I felt that the lecturer really let me down on any kind of support even though he knew of my recent diagnosis of depression.

    I am really excited to start my new course but my parents are constantly reminding me of the troubles I have got into this last year and are unsure I cope with another year, which is making me doubt myself slightly.

    I am on 20mg Citalopram and I am supposed to be seeing a counsellor but due to the misunderstanding with uni I haven't seen one since March.

    And I am not an only child, I have a younger sister. :)

    Thanks very much for your concern, it is very much appreciated!

    Holly x

  • Hi holly, uni is hard work just getting there, there is so much to achieve just to get a place so well done you.

  • Hi Holly. I have a lot of empathy for you. I first got depression at University, and I think it's an especially difficult place to be depressed. With work, it's different, you have to get up and go in or you'd lose your income, but at Uni you're being given loan money and nobody bats an eyelid if you don't go to lectures, so you're not forced to do things. I was exactly the same as you, stopped going to lectures almost completely, and stayed in bed all day.

    Quite a common thing with depression is to feel like we alone aren't worth the effort. Certainly I'm far more likely to find the energy to do something if somebody else is going to benefit. If it's just me, I won't bother, I don't feel able to make the effort for myself. I wonder if that might be it, that when your boyfriend's around, making the effort for him means you find that extra energy from somewhere. He is right that you do have that same energy when he isn't there. It might be a case of valuing yourself enough to find it.

    You're very brave going 350 miles, so give yourself some credit! I went from home in Kent to York (280 miles) and everyone thought I had a screw loose. I loved it.

    Have you ever had any CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)? That's all about finding coping strategies and things you can do to deal with really bad days. A lot of getting over depression is learning how and when to tell your brain to shut up :)

    One thing Uni is great for is societies and teams and stuff. Those can be helpful. I played in a 5-a-side football team. No matter how bad I felt, I would always get up when we had a match because if I didn't the team would be short. If you find things like that it can help.

    This is always a good place to come if you're feeling really bad. There's usually someone around to respond, and you won't have to justify or explain yourself to any of us, since we've all been there ourselves.

    Changing your course is an excellent decision if you weren't happy with it. In retrospect, I wish I'd changed mine, I ended up hating it. Don't worry too much about what the 'rents think; they tend to be very cautious because they worry about us. Mine don't like me taking meds for my depression, but I'm ok with it, so I take them. You know what you're going to be happy with, so go for it.


  • I get very anxious if my husband is away for any length of time. But , then earlier this year he was hospitalized for 11 days and I had to go it alone. I was very frightened, but do you know what, I did it and became a stronger person for that. Like your Dan says, you can do it, just have belief in yourself. I know that isn't easy, believe me, but if you had to, like I did, you would be able to do it. Thinking of you. xx

  • You will have an advantage now in that you understand many of the pressures that university life and being away from home can bring. It is only natural to doubt yourself when entering new and different situations.

    Keep reminding yourself of all the stuff you said you enjoyed. If your lecturers are not able or willing to offer support; make sure you find someone or a group who can.

    If you know likely challenges you will face, try to prepare for them and plan how you will deal with them when you are at your best. Plan for your exams, perhaps, stressful times with your coping strategies; revision schedules you don't need to beat yourself up over if you miss a day. Time to relax and be active with people you are comfortable with.

    Your friends from last year will have different pressures, and timetables, and may not be able to meet as often as you like. Remember it isn't you people may not be refusing but only a time or unfavourable situation for them. Help them deal with stress and you both will benefit.

    Enjoy uni


  • Sorry for taking so long to write back, been a hectic and tiring week but I have got through my first day without any problems THANK GOD! Very overwhelmed by the support I have found on this forum and you don't realise the pick me up it gave me this last week!

    And borgduck, I'm sorry that this have made you feel worse and I do know I am lucky, very lucky but that was not me bragging, it hasn't always been that way to me.

    I can also relate to the difficulties of trying to get support in a rural area, the services are appalling and something does need to be done about them.

  • Hi

    Yes, I felt what seemed like irrationally attached to a therapist for 20 years but it was precisely that attachment which enabled me to grow. Attachments are the most basic need before anything else other than physical survival and if we developed with attachment problems then that is the first task for moving on. Suexxx

  • I'm amazed to find someone who was in exactly the same situation as I am now Hollypie!

    I feel like I have constantly struggled with depression most of my life, as I'm not close to my parents and really don't get on with my Mum, who makes me feel rubbish about myself and her words are like my inner thoughts if you see what I mean. They don't know about anything that I'm going through and like you, doubt my ability to pass my exams which is making me worry even more.

    I started uni in September 2012 (last uni year) and my depression started to get really bad and the anxiety started. Through talking to a counsellor, I think the cause may have been ending up in the wrong friendship group, which I really didn't fit in with and struggled to be friends with them and study as they were a lot more clever than me. I then had a panic attack in my first exam and consequently failed it. After that I told my doctor and was diagnosed with moderately severe depression and severe anxiety and was put on Fluoxetine by a rubbish doctor, which made me ill for the rest of the uni year. I am now retaking 1st year on an exam-only basis but am still trying to find a treatment that makes me feel better. I'm on sertraline now but I still don't feel great; I'm tired all of the time, can't concentrate on my revision, and just feel generally 'down'. I keep thinking, maybe it's not depression and that's why the antidepressants won't work - maybe I'm just being stupid. But I just don't know what else to do. My exams are in May and I feel really underprepared considering I've had so long to revise for them!

    As for the relationship thing. I've only ever had 1 boyfriend back when I was 15. Like you, I became totally dependent on him but looking back it wasn't a very good relationship to be in and when we broke up (even though it was me that dumped him!) I was completely ruined. I was really really low for about a year afterwards, one of the worst times of my life. Since then I have avoided any relationships because I'm scared of getting too attached to anyone. Last year I was seeing a guy, because I thought he was the loveliest guy I'd ever met. He was like my best friend and we talked about everything. But it was him that I finally went to for help and he completely freaked out and stopped talking to me. I found this really hard and I missed having him there. It made both my depression and anxiety a lot worse and has definitely made me even more scared of relationships than I was before.

    I hope this year of uni is going better for you as I hope that will be me this September! I completely understand what you went through xxx

  • Hello MJ93 I have just read your reply to this post. It's quite an old post from7 months ago; healthunlocked have this thing of putting things in the "read next" below posts which makes you think they are new.In one way it doesn't matter as you have expressed yourself but at the same time Hollypie may longer be on the site to get the benefit of your experience. Having said that I immediately tuned into the title myself.

    I do think that if we don't get on with our family we will have what they call "attachment issues". Sometimes it isn't just pure depression but a "need" for something we didn't get. I agree antidepressants can sometimes make you feel worse particularly in the case of concentration. The thing about your mother obviously when a parent it critical this can then be internalised; we develop this "critical inner voice" which can be very strong. Its important to try and practice compassion towards yourself and to examine these "automatic thoughts" which can come about because of being criticised by a parent.

    It seems you are already seeing a counsellor which is good. There are many types of counselling from pyschodynamic to cognitive analytic to person centred. I think any of those three are good at connecting the past to the present. Even CBT can help if it is not too entrenched but if it is really entrenched it will come back after CBT and you will need a more indepth look at things. I hope it is helping you sort out why things are how they are and how to move forward.

    I've written stuff on here about these issues; I am in my 50's and its taken me till now to sort through the "maize" of all that has gone on in my family and how its affected me. It sounds like you are making good progress overall.

    Best of luck with your studies and keep working on yourself; you will get there!

    Gemma X

  • Hello Holly

    We all feel lost when someone we love is away from us, I have been married now for thirty five years, we are never really apart. Hazel broke a leg about ten years ago and was in hospital for several days. It made our home so hollow.

    Now we are never apart and we are always together.

    All the feelings you are suffering is natural, your emotions have been brought to the service and you feel exposed.

    Be kind to yourself. when alone. All is part of life and love


  • Yes i will be attached to people when i am in depression.i was not feeling like going out and facing people and society want to speak to only those who are close to me.So finally Lost all the close people because of continuous depression and anger :) .Now i am feeling being foolish is not any ones mistake its our own mistake.

  • Thank you Gemma! It's scary knowing how long it can take to work things out. I'm glad you are better now than you used to be though :)

  • MJ93, just a quick note to say it will get easier! You just need to make sure that the university support services. I have found everything much easier to handle now that I have made that connection with them and they now give me extra help with work, counselling and even financial help! Its also good to do this because they can talk to your lecturers for you, because I found that especially hard and when i'm really not feeling well they can take it into consideration and give you extensions and stuff.

    I am also going to be a complete cliche and say find something extra curricular to do! I always grimaced when people said this to me but I have become a student mentor and ambassador and I feel like I have an actual purpose, helping other people makes you feel good!

    But seriously, if you ever need a chat, I know how difficult and lonely it can be, I am the person to talk to :)

  • Hi Holly - just thought I'd say I'm glad you've got extra support from the Uni and you get on better. Always nice to hear positive things :)

  • Yes. The attachment issue is a sympom of the depression. Go to a doctor and get help with that. No matter how nice Dan might be, he is not qualified to deal with your illness, which is what depression is. Do yourself and him a favour and get professional help.

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