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Carers UK Forum • Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression - Page 2
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Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:17 pm
by MrsAverage
Hi Anya
I too am worried.
Here is a link to Mind, a mental health charity.
They have much information for carers and I've started you at a carers page. Please read the 'emergency' section and make sure first and for most that you are safe and well at all times
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-sup ... TGrx2jTW2c

Best wishes

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:49 pm
by jenny lucas
Anya, by and large, because the NHS is under such pressure, getting to see a consultant (senior doctor) at a hospital is quite a slow process usually. A GP will refer a patient to hospital if they think they need to see a consultant, or if they think the patient needs a scan (like an MRI scan - I can see what you're saying now, but it's unclear whether it was the GP sending him for an MRI scan, or the hospital consultant). The hospital consultant can also, of course, send a patient for a scan too, at the hospital (but not usually at the same appointment!)

Everything in the UK is very slow when it comes to the NHS. There are long waiting lists to see consultants unless it is really urgent (eg, if cancer is suspected by the GP) - so really, I'm a bit surprised if your boyfriend got an early appointment at the hospital from the GP - usually it takes weeks and weeks to get the hospital consultant appointment. You certainly can't just 'turn up' on your day off if that is what your boyfriend is telling you! (Hmm, is he taking advantage of your ignorance of how the UK NHS works????)

IF your boyfriend agrees, you can be with him when he sees his GP, and when he sees his consultant. But of course if your boyfriend doesn't want you there, he can refuse.

His GP CANNOT discuss him with you, unless your boyfriend gives specific permission (which it doesn't sound like he would!)

BUT, there is nothing to stop YOU talking to his GP (especially if it's your GP too)(and yes, in a GP practice it's common for patients to see whoever is the next available GP - sometimes you can see a particular GP, but it can take longer to get the appointment), so you can tell the GP about him and what he is like, so that is 'input' to the GP. BUT, the GP can't 'talk back' to you about him.

However, you can also tell the GP what he is like and say 'in these cases, what do you think?' - the GP can answer in general, but not about your boyfriend personally.

Sectioning is unlikely to happen unless your boyfriend is a danger to you, or others, or himself - remember, the NHS is very stressed, so there are very few places in psychiatric wards, so they are reluctant to section if they can get away with not sectioning him!

If your boyfriend truly has been to see the GP/hospital consultant, it's more than likely he will have been prescribed anti-depressants. If he's not mentioning this, and taking them, then alas he may either have lied about going to the hospital, or he may not be taking the pills he's been prescribed.

By and large, though I'm sorry to say it, in the UK there is, in truth, very little 'help' for people with mental illness. Pills are the usual 'help', and a long wait for psychotherapy (and often you only get half a dozen sessions), so by and large your boyfriend will be 'left to himself'.....

I know, sadly, you keep saying about 'helping him' but like I say, please do accept that mental illness is a HUGE problem in the UK, and there is very little 'help' for people with it....

Please do NOT hope for too much....

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:14 am
by Anya_1706
Thank you for your replies and your advice. I really think that he lied about going to the doctor's. Today I received a letter about my registration with the GP and he never received it. Just another clue that the story is made up.

I will go and ask the GP about what to do when I go and see them. Hopefully they can give me some guidance as to what my boyfriend needs.

I don't even think that he lied about seeing the doctor to trick me, I think he is really scared of what might happen when he goes. So if I know more about what might happen I may be able to convince him to seek some help.

Jenny, thank you for your honest words. I do think I had too high hopes for someone just to fly in and "fix" us.

Thank you so much for the kindness and help.

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:51 am
by jenny lucas
Anya, sadly, that is the state of the NHS in the UK at the moment - it is seriously underfunded for what it has to do, and mental illness (often, by the way, called 'mental health' services...also, in this forum you will see 'MH' which means, 'mental illness')(English paradox!), is particularly underfunded against the demand in the population alas.

Because of this, there really is very little 'help' other than, as I say, anti-depressants (ADs) and some limited psychotherapy which usually takes a long time to get (ie, there's a long queue - the British love queuing, which is just as well when it comes to the NHS).

A key lesson for anyone trying to access MH services in the NHS is, alas, to 'shout loudly and continually'.....in a way, what help there is goes to those who make the most noise about it! If you are 'good and patient' then you are all too often fobbed off because, sadly, there are not enough psychiatric nurses and doctors in the system to treat everyone 'properly'.

I agree with you that it could well be that your boyfriend is frightened of what will/might happen to him if he does go to the doctor, and I think it's an excellent idea for you to see the GP and find out what that is likely to be, so that hopefully you can reassure him. I do think, though, that the GP will want him on some ADs first....

I'm glad your boyfriend can work, as 'keeping busy' is essential. It really will do him no good to be at home and brood. Other key 'self-help' 'healing' for depression, as well as work, are the following:

- getting out into the fresh air. Go for walks, get out into the countryside, do gardening if you've got access to a garden.

- exercise. Exercise will release endorphins in the brain - these are our natural 'feel good' hormones which will help lift his spirits (see below). Exercise can be as simple as long walks (ie, combined with fresh air as above!), or jogging, or working out in a gym (most councils have gyms though you may have to join) or swimming (public swimming pools are 'pay as you go', but you need to find the sessions that are not for 'children', though often there are a couple of lanes kept aside for exercise swimming)

- counting your blessings. Depressed people always see the 'worst' in their lives, and fail to take account of all that is good. There is ALWAYS a lot lot lot of GOOD in the lives of anyone who isn't, to push it to extremes, in a Nazi death camp!!!! Even a simple exercise like 'Shut your eyes. Think about what it feels like not to be able to see. Count 30 seconds. Then open them again.....and think how WONDERFUL it is to see'..... it can take self-discipline to count blessings, but it needs to be done, little by little, day by day. Some people with depression keep a 'blessings diary' in which every morning/evening they write down all the 'nice' things that happened - and that includes things we take for granted about our rich safe western life, eg, eating food, not being bombed, etc etc etc. Don't take our precious life for granted....others would give all they (don't) have to share it with us!

- animals. Animals are always therapeutic, and help to 'soothe' us. They have simple needs and wants, and take visible pleasure in life (cats purring, dogs running around excitedly). If you have access to a dog, eg, a neighbour, take it for a walk, or maybe phone an animal sanctuary nearby and ask if you can help out, or dog walk or some such. Dogs don't 'demand' anything of us, they just like our company and want to go for long vigourous walks (so you get exercise as well, and in the fresh air!)

- kindness to others. Helping other people is empowering. It makes you realise that even though you are depressed, you have the power to make someone else 'better' in some way. It makes you feel 'good' to help others, and restores 'faith in humanity'. It takes you 'out of yourself' and gives you something else to think about, other than your own woes. It also adds to the 'count your blessings' factor, if you help someone who is worse off than you.

I hear what you say about your boyfriend saying that the part of his brain that feels 'joy' is 'dead', and whilst this is, so far as I know, not something that 'shows up' on an MRI scan (!), yet it is, of course, exactly what a depressed person feels, that NOTHING can 'seem good' at all - the world is black and bad, and they cannot take off their 'black-tinted glasses' to the wonderful world that is 'really' there from which they feel excluded.

His depression cannot 'lift' overnight, as in be suddenly 'cured', but little by little it can be worn away. The ADs will help, as in stop him sinking even further, they provide a kind of chemical 'platform' for the beleaguered mind, so it does not just flounder in despair, they give the mind what should be a 'purchase' (eg, hold/fulcrum) so that it can start to climb, slowly, back upwards towards the light of good life.

There is also, too, of course, two other 'informal' sources of therapy - one is one forums (and if you search the internet there are a good few number of forums for those afflicted by MH - though perhaps you should check them first to see they are not just full of people who are SO 'down' they will drag your boyfriend further down)(and BEWARE of 'pro-suicide' sites!!!).

But there is also simply 'talking to you' and 'writing things down' for himself. If he can 'get a handle' on just WHY he is so depressed, and start to see the patterns in his life, the threads of the web that bind him, he may see ways of pushing back, or breaking them, to free his mind.

The human mind should not be 'set' to depression permanently - we should be as capable of 'elation' as 'despair', but when you are depressed you lose the ability to think you can EVER be 'not-depressed'. Depression is like a cancer of the mind, it 'takes us over' and in a way the first thing to fight is the 'depressed about being depressed' state of mind, the state of mind that makes us feel there is 'no point' in trying to 'feel better' because it's impoosible. Depression WANTS us to feel it's incurable .....

From what (little) I understand, depression can be caused by two things (broadly speaking):

- a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is a 'faulty setting' that is caused by brain chemicals, just as any 'illness' is caused, ie, it is not (possibly!) within our control. (Just as, say, epilepsy is not in our control). BUT it can, one must hope, be controlled, or at least managed, by, say, anti-depressants, which simply serve the function of compensating for the biochemical imbalance in the brain

- 'bad things' happening to us in our lives. These 'bad things' could be anything and everything, and of course could go way, way back into childhood (eg, a traumatic event), or things still going on, etc etc.,. Then it is a question of using both ADs, and psychotherapy, to 'tease out' just what is behind the depression, what is the 'bad stuff' that has haunted us and continues to haunt. By exposing the cause, you can start to tackle it. Problems don't just 'go away' on their own - they tend to fester unless they are exposed, identified and understood, and, hopefully, we come to 'peace' with them.

Or, of course, there can be a combination of the two - a chemical imbalance might create what could be called a 'predispostion' to depression, which could then be triggered/exacerbated by a 'bad life event' etc etc.

One thing is for sure (in my mantra personally!), we are not 'designed by nature' to be depressed - like I say, we are designed to hold the balance, and adapt to our circumstances, and find the strength, courage and determination to triumph over them. We are designed to be 'happy'.

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:50 pm
by crocus
Im going to offer an alternative here.
My caree has an acquired brain injury from a road traffic accident and he is showing similar symptoms to your boyfriend. It may be that your BF has Frontal Lobe Syndrome. He too tells me things that are not true, but he absolutely believes them - its called confabulation and is the product of a damaged brain.
Have a look at this link. https://www.headway.org.uk/about-brain- ... sfunction/

BTW, although his GP (assuming that he has one) will not talk to you about his problems, he/she can listen if you wish to tell him/her about things. Also, if you accompany him to appointments you can ask questions as it is assumed that the patient has given consent for you to know.

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:58 pm
by jenny lucas
This is very timely from Crocus - of course it's essential that first of all sufficient scans/tests/whatever are done to identify whether a brain injury is impacting on the way he is now, and contributing to it (even totally causing it?) So, yes, don't let the docs rush to a 'it's depression!' diagnosis without ruling out any alternatives.

PS - Crocus - lovely to see you here again and I hope things are 'OK' as can be for you.

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:44 pm
by Anya_1706

I just wanted to leave an update here in case someone else reads this thread and might be in a similar situation as me.

I have left my boyfriend a few months ago. He has assaulted me, because he didn't like my arguing with him and I ran away, straight to the police. This was not the first time, he has physically assaulted me several times, raped me, strangled me, pushed me, locked me in the house and holding me hostage for hours.

I have since realized that he was using his depression, threats of suicide, and staged rage to manipulate and control me. But abuse is not a result of depression, and depression is never an excuse for violence.

I have also realized that he has lied to me about many, many things. Seeking help for his issues last summer was just one of these lies.

Leaving this relationship was so hard. I felt responsible for him, even after what he did to me. I thought that I had to take care of him because of his mental health and thus had to accept the abuse. What a fatal mistake, when living with a violent person, who will do anything to control me.

Thank you for your advice last summer and helping to open my eyes to what was happening.

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:12 pm
by jenny lucas
In brief - well done, and thank god you're out of it.

BE CAREFUL NOW. You won't need me to tell you that the MOST dangerous time for the victims of abuse is AFTER they leave their abuser. The abuser seeks to come after them to punish them for 'daring' to leave and then to GET THEM BACK into the abuse cage.

Make sure you have 'protection' - that the police know where you are (and him), and contact women's rescue agencies to get their best advice on what to do now to keep safe.

Finally, from what I have read about controlling relationships, the controller will do ANYTHING to try and 'get back in contact' ....they try and re-establish contact by any and all means. You have to go 'no contact' on them.

And also, be aware he will now try and move on to 'someone else' to make them a victim too. Again, a woman's aid refuge should be able to advise you if you hear he now has another victim, and what you can - or should or should NOT! - do to help her.

He is, at the kindest, a 'troubled soul' but you cannot heal him. Only he can heal himself, with professional help - and he has to WANT to heal.

Now, however, your life is about YOU, and I hope all goes very, very well for you - you deserve it!

Kinest regards, Jenny

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:30 pm
by bowlingbun
Anya, I believe we are all responsible for our own happiness, we can't control others but we can control ourselves. I am sure you did the right thing, fear has no place in a loving relationship or a happy home. I wish you all the best for the future, try to put this time behind you, and I hope one day you will find someone you love, who loves you.

Re: Caring for my boyfriend with severe depression

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:10 pm
by helena_1512
Just wishing you all the very best Anya. I do hope you have had counselling. You have had a very lucky escape. I agree totally with what Jenny and BB have put. Please be careful.