I come here in hopes that someone can tell me what it is I should do. My boyfriend of a year has suffered from depression and anxiety since he was young. Not panic attacks or anything, just a constant state of anxiousness. Decision-making/commitments are hard for him cause he fears he'll make a mistake. He says he feels like he has the flu all the time...he over-eats, over-sleeps, feels sluggish and most of all, angry that he has to deal with this.
He broke up with me 2 weeks ago. He told me he needed to take time to start working on himself (therapy), to better himself and get rid of his anxiety and depression. He said that he can barely take care of himself, let alone take care of another human beings needs and emotions. This I totally understand, and I only want him to get better so he can be happy for once without anxiety.
For anyone who suffers from this sort of anxiety/depression, what is the right thing for me to do? Being together right now is completely out of the question for him. We love each other more than anything and I just want to know what my "role" should be in all of this. I don't want to cause him anymore anxiety. Any suggestions? Thank you!
Yes, I think it's appropriate for him to let you go.
But, in saying that, it sounds as though he's got depression/anxiety...depression happening as the antidote for his anxiety. I have it as well, and I've dealt with it through therapy along with my other "issues". I'm married and at that time as well...and distancing myself from my husband wasn't necessary, but I did isolate from family and friends. So, in effect your boyfriend has done the same thing.
It really is easier, for you don't have to fulfull anyone else's needs, and without you admitting...you definitely would have them.
Is he on any medication? I started Effexor XR, only a low dosage (37.5 and then up to 75 for a year and a half and now down at 37.5. I'll go off it in the Fall)and it definitely lifted me out of my depression. But, I had already dealt with so much through therapy by then that I was able to utilise what I'd learned.
Your boyfriend's fears of success/failure are very common. He's afraid to take the risks that can gain him happiness. I did/do on occasion the same. As simple as that sounds, it's very difficult to break and get out of it.
Does he have a chosen profession? Has something happened to him lately that he has just given up on trying? Does he feel hopeless and believes that no one can help him?
Dr Phil has a great book out called Self Matters. It even has a workbook and it may be helpful for your friend to gain some insight as to how it came to be that he's feeling that he doesn't want to try living to his potential.
Sometimes we who have depression/anxiety look at life as all or nothing. Either we succeed or fail...nothing in between. There's a start and finish...not the work and struggles in between. Is this where he fits in?
His perspective on how he views life is definitely skewed. He may have goals so high that he will never attain them for he sees nothing that he's already done as being successful. Responses like, well I did that but it wasn't how I wanted to do it...or it wasn't blah, blah.
You have a few choices here. You can write him a card and say something to the effect that you would like to go through this with him as a friend because you believe in him. You have no expectations from him, and if things are good with him, you both can talk about it at a much later date to see if you can continue as friends or resume a romantic relationship.
You can say something to the effect that you understand his needs at this time and that the break-up is difficult but accepted and you wish him the best in his life.
In any event, I understand where he's coming from...but being in a delicate state of making the decision to deal with oneself is overwhelming (remember that it's difficult to become introspective and have one's behaviour changed).
It's all a matter of perspective!
It's hard to give advice on someone else's relationship. Looking at it from the other point of view...I really needed my husband's support more than anything... But he didn't understand what was going on with me...and when I finally figured it out, it seemed he didn't want to believe it...like it had to be something physical. It wasn't his fault that he didn't understand it...but it was frustrating to both of us. Since he didn't comprehend the problem, he couldn't do anything for me. And it seemed to me that he didn't care... which wasn't the case, but when things aren't spoken, anything can be translated into the wrong meanings. I guess...if he's decided this for himself, then all you can do is let him know you're always there, supporting him and stuff. My biggest problem was feeling that I was all alone in this suffering... That can make you feel ten times worse...