Worried about my ex-boyfriend's depression
My name is Bethan and I'm new here. I'll try and be as brief as possible.
I am worried about my ex-boyfriend who I think is sinking deep into depression. He is 26 and has never been diagnosed with depression or anything before, he's always very matter-of-fact and wouldn't believe in things like this.
First a bit of background: We were together for a year and a half but two months ago he started acting weird, in bad moods all the time, and we eventually broke up. He at first said I am his dream girl and he loves me and he knows he won’t find anyone else like me, but later changed it to say he hasn’t loved me for a while. I was obviously upset, but I am not one to dwell so have semi-moved on. This was around one month ago.
We work in the same office, and even though our desks are right opposite we only really see each other once a week as I am based on the field usually (we are sales reps).
In the office two weeks ago he was back to his normal self and began making jokes about us “going off into the office garden for a quick one”, you get my drift. I told him it’s off the table and he apologized for making me feel uncomfortable.
Anyway, so to now.
Since our break up, I’ve been hearing things from colleagues about his bad moods. He has broken his wrist quite badly, hurt his back, his ankle, his hip and his leg all in separate accidents playing sports. (He also plays professionally, but usually only gets problems with his shoulder).
Colleagues say, he now seems distracted and tired all the time, like he’s not ‘really there’. One colleague approached me about three weeks ago to say he was very worried about him over it.
Today, I saw first hand what he meant and I think he is actually suffering from depression. It’s like the “spark” has gone. I was in the car with him for two hours because we had to go and work on a presentation together, and I dropped him off home after. It was the most awkward car journey ever because we made pointless small talk. As he got out of the car, it made me cry. I texted him about it after and said it was because the whole situation felt uncomfortable, and he apologised for being in a foul mood, saying I’m still his best friend, etc.
Now, I’m not worried about the break up and I wasn’t crying because he’s not my boyfriend anymore. I was crying because he used to have so much personality, but it feels like someone has come and zapped that away. Like someone has switched the light-bulb off.
He is very good at his job and he still does the work expected of him, but it is obvious he just doesn’t care much for it.
Today in the car I tried to broach the subject carefully, but he is a very proud person and doesn’t “believe” much in things like depression. He’s a very practical person usually.
I have no idea what to do. I don’t think he’s going to do anything stupid, but I hate seeing him in such a state with both physical and clearly mental ailments. Can anyone offer advice? Am I reading too much into this - perhaps depression has nothing to do with it at all?
Thank you so much in advance :-)
Hello SunshineBee. To answer your main question, I would say yes, your ex sounds depressed. If ever there appears to be a situation where someone's personality has changed as much as his has, then I would say something is very wrong to cause that much of a shift.
Obviously I am no medical professional but I merely offer my opinion, based off of seeing similar instances and experiencing it myself. Depression turns you into a different person and it classically makes it appear as though 'the spark has gone' as you put it.
I guess the first thing is to consider if you want to go down the road of trying to help him. Based on what you've said, it sounds as though he still values you. I'm not saying you need to get back together with him, I'm just saying you need to work out if you should be helping him or if someone else should be. It is a delicate situation as he may or may not be hurting because of the breakup. Finding this out would be a good starting point.
My advice would be to approach him and be somewhat direct, but do it in a manner so that he knows you clearly still care for him in friendship sense. Make it clear from the start that it's not going to be a case of leading him on or that you're doing it to get back with him. With a depressed person, having them know someone cares for a legitimate reason is what can go a very long way to healing.
The alternative is to approach a mutual friend who might better be able to get to the bottom of it. Suggesting counselling may also work very well. The mutual friend idea is purely because he's an ex of yours, so things there can always be awkward, as you've said. Judging who might be able to help is usually difficult in this instance.
Either way, leaving it isn't going to make it get better on its own. So I do suggest a form of action, such as some of those above. I wish you luck.
In my opinion, there is nothing that can substitute having someone who genuinely cares.
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