My boyfriend (56 y.o.) is clearly depressed. He spends hours on the computer, playing poker or chatting with his “friends” on FaceBook about how the globalists are about to (1) take away our guns; (2) start killing senior citizens by denying them health care; (3) pick a crazy idea of your own. This man has many fine qualities but I’m at the end of my rope. He refuses to seek treatment (too expensive, doesn’t want to be on “mind-altering drugs” when the civil war breaks out, yadda, yadda). I’m toying with the idea of saying, get treatment or leave, but I do care about him and, frankly, he doesn’t have any place else to go. Suggestions? And, please, be nice. Thanks.
Perhaps today isn’t the best day to expect empathy for a mentally ill gun nut, but I’ll give it a try.
An ultimatum isn’t inappropriate in this circumstance. If you’ve talked to him seriously about his illness and he won’t seek treatment, then your ability to help him is limited. You have to worry about your own happiness, and certainly some people with mental and emotional difficulties of all stripe can find a pathway to healing when their illness costs them the compansionship of those they care about.
You might want to demand counseling (even joint) as a condition of his staying. That will at least get him acclimated to the therapeutic project and seen by a professional. It might also introduce a voice of authority that can tell him he needs a medical intervention that he’ll listen to more than he would a loved one.
But ultimately, you have to realize that you’re not the one who fucked up the chemicals in his brain, and your guilt about doing what you need to do to help yourself, and maybe to help him, doesn’t do anybody any good.
How long have you been with him? Did he used to be a conspiracy nut? Do you WANT to be with him, or just feel bad to leave him?
What is your financial situation? Are either or both of you working? What prospects are there to change routine by traveling? His rejection of help may be integrated into routine cyclic behavior, so changing things up and getting a little less connnected he might be more amenable to at least talking to someone about his issues.
So, you are getting resistance in your approach to deal with the issue head on (that is, by directly confronting your boyfriend about legitimate and pretty serious issues). You’re doing the right thing by thinking about another approach.
One possibility may be to seek some support or counseling for yourself relating to codependency. I’m not saying that you are codependent, but if you are finding yourself tied to a sinking ship, so to speak, it is something you may want to look into. At the very least, it may give you some new insights on how to deal with this issue.
You are right to be concerned about the state of this relationship and for the health of your partner. I wish you the best and I hope you can make progress on this.
Here’s a (possibly critical) question:
(a) Does he not believe that he has a problem with depression (or other mental problem)?
(b) Or does he recognize that he has a problem, but believes that no mental health treatment can ever do any good?
(From your OP, it looks like probably case (a), but not entirely clear. You say he is depressed. Does he think he’s depressed?)
If he is worried about the globalists taking away guns, does he have a gun? That would make me very worried.
Is there someone he trusts who can help?
Cliffy: I have tried so hard not to label him as a “mentally ill gun nut” but seeing it in your response actually made me laugh out loud. I suspect he is just that, which is something I *really *need to think about. Joint counseling is an excellent suggestion. I will suggest it again (I mentioned it to him once in the past). I expect he will refuse with what seems to him to be a perfectly logical excuse. That is part of my problem, I think. His skewed view of reality seems so reasonable and logical to him tat my denial of it wounds him to the core. I HATE hurting other people.
Blackberry: We’ve only been together a few months. When we met, he seemed more “patriotic” than “conspiracy nut.” you know, America, love it or leave it, be a good citizen and exercise your right to vote, etc. Now, well, let me just say that according to him, when the U.S. votes to accept the U.N. small arms treaty on July 27, civil war will break out across the country. As for your last question, I really have to think about that one.
Tri-Polar: We both have good jobs but his divorce three years ago destroyed his credit. Okay, let’s be accurate: his depression and inability to deal with his divorce destroyed his credit. He’s living with me (and contributing $$ to food and rent) but would have a hard time renting a place on his own.
I’d like to believe that all he needs is a little emotional/morale support to get back on his feet. He was successful in his life in the past but the divorce apparently really crushed him. The fact is, tho’, even if he gets back on his feet financially, I don’t think he’ll ever stop believing the conspiracy crap. And, that’s the real dealbreaker, isn’t it?
Ravenman: Thank you for your support. I am getting counseling for codependency. This is not the first time I’ve tied myself to a “sinking ship,” but I am sincerely hoping it is the last!
Senegoid: He says he knows he needs to address things (the need to file bankruptcy, the need to find a better-paying job) but lacks “motivation.” He says that it’s is hard to focus on those things when he “knows” that civil war is about to break out. How do I respond to that? Telling him that I think he’s loony is not going to be productive, me thinks (tho’ how I’ve restrained myself this long, I can’t imagine).
Voyager: Sadly, the only people he seems to trust, besides me, are his like-minded FB “friends.”
It certainly sounds like he’s legitimately sick. And so you need to confront the fact that moral and emotional support aren’t going to get him better anymore than they would if he’d broken his leg.
And maybe these are my prejudices showing, but from your description it seems like he’s at least got the potential to turn dangerous. If the opinion of some anonymous asshole on a message board means anything, then I think going along and seeing how things shake out isn’t a feasible strategy.
I’d be fighting an urge to bet him big money on the July 27 date. Or maybe, you can bet him his cooperation in counselling. Not that he’d abide by a fixed date.
You said, “We’ve only been together a few months.” How do you know that the divorce caused the depression? The depression, divorce, and destruction of credit could all be part of the same downward spiral.
My Dad held onto his conspiracies with both hands, no matter what else was happening. I suspect that your boyfriend is using them the same way he did. I won’t speculate on what my Dad’s problems were. But they left him with a big need to be socially isolated, and a constant background fear and anxiety.
The Horrible Big Thing That Was About To Happen was soothing, in that it explained his fear and anxiety without labeling him as a frightened person. It also let him ignore or talk over the top of anyone who was talking about less important things. When I say anyone, I mean anyone who was part of his comfort zone, which, for him, was his wife and daughters. Talking to outsiders was stressful because they didn’t agree with the Horrible Thing and didn’t give it priority.
Your boyfriend is not going to let go of his Horrible Thing because it allows him dispensation for whatever he has decided he doesn’t want to deal with. It’s not preventing him from filing papers or getting a new job or treating you well. He has decided not to do those things and the Horrible Thing gives him permission to not feel bad about it. It lets him think that he’s not that kind of person.
Even if he lets go of the Horrible Thing, he might not be able to file papers, get a new job, or treat you well. The depression, anxiety, lack of focus, whatever, will still be there and may be very hard to shift. And he’d have to experience them directly, with no soothing HT to distract him, and he’d have to feel the embarassment of admitting that this is part of him, that he’s been letting you down because there’s something wrong with him. This is very hard. I would not bet on him having the determination to face things head on at the suggestion or insistance of someone else.
With an investment of only a few months, you really have to assume that he is what he is and assume that the only person you can change is you. He wasn’t a different person three months ago, he’s just slowly shown you more and more of what he is and what he does. Work on what you want and why you want it.
Listen to this advice. I’ve seen this happen - depression leads to problems like the loss of a job, which lead to more legitimate reasons for depression.
Counseling would be good, but I’ve seen people break out of this loop with the appropriate medication. Some do cause problems, he should try to find one which minimizes them. He might find the whole civil war thing absurd once he sees clearly.
I don’t know the best way to make him get medicine. You’d hope he’d take you over refusal to take a pill, but maybe not.
Sounds to me like you are trying to go swimming with a boat anchor. Sorry, but it is a scenario I’ve seen all too often and seldom ends well or gracefully.
My advice is, seek someone with fewer issues and more time and concern for you.
I googled this and got this thread again. Can you explain more, or point to a wiki link about the subject? I would really like to know more!
jayrey my first question is why, after only a few months, is he living at your place? He doesn’t sound like a stable person and that you would need him to leave (rather than being able to pack up and leave yourself) doesn’t sound good.
Some studies have shown some depression improvement using St John’s Wort. I personally have had positive response using St John’s Wort.
But, I agree with the person above who posted that you need to decide what YOU are willing to accept and set the boundary. If you’re not happy with him in his current state, then perhaps he should find his own living arrangements.
I’ve known people like him. In my case it was a roommate who was supposed to be paying rent. They had a long woe-is-me story when they showed up and quickly started putting down roots like some sort of fungus that kept spreading out, taking more and more liberties that were not included in the rent (e.g. like eating a very expensive specialty cheese that absolutely was not their own). I finally had to threaten having the cops throw them out before they finally left. And of course, they didn’t pay most of their rent or utilities.
Yllaria, that was very insightful. I never saw people of that mind set in that way before. It makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the expanding my world view.
It is ridiculous to label the boyfriend a dangerous gun nut, he has done nothing to deserve it.
He may or may not be depressed, you’re not going to be able to bully a 56 year old man into treatment though. You complain about him spending time online talking about conspiracy theories, are you upset he isn’t spending the time with you or do his politics clash with your own? If the mere act of spending hours on the internet playing poker and chatting indicated depression probably everyone here qualifies
I don’t even know why you are worried about HIS finances seeing as how you two have been dating a month.
Bottom line is that you need to realize you are not going to be able to force your BF to change and that you are at the end of your rope after one month tells me you guys probably aren’t compatible. It is almost worrying that you are already so entwined with him in such a short time, you’re not responsible for him. You need to ask yourself whether the relationship is worth pursuing.
Has counseling helped you at all. You stated that this isn’t your first go around with a ‘sinking ship’ what happened in the past and how did you deal with it then? Is there something in your personality that makes you seek out sinking ships to save them?
Also, I had no idea there was going to be a civil war this Friday. I need to adjust my grocery shopping list accordingly before I go to the store later today.
jayrey, just curious to know if the please be nice plea in your post was as an alert for if this seems like a going-nowhere-but-hell relationship, don’t say it.
Just remember that you cannot help those who don’t want to be helped; and if it’s like this after only a few months, don’t kid yourself that it’ll get any better.
He has gone through a divorce and is in financial ruin. That’s a reason for anyone to be depressed. It’s not the same as suffering from depression. I would be depressed too. In fact a little while ago that was me. I worked through it. Your first reaction shouldn’t be take some pills. For one the success rate for medication isn’t great. And often when they haven’t found the right combination it makes it worse. Counseling might help. Encourage him to get off the computer. Encourage him to do other things with you. But for you, you have to decide if it’s worth it. I know plenty of people who believe kooky ideas (especially by Dope standards) who lead normal lives and are good to their families.