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Boyfriend has depression

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med forum:
Hi there

I haven't been on the boards in a while but my update is that my boyfriend is in depression and I'm not really sure what to do. He has started seeing a counselor and I'm hoping that this counselor will be able to help him open up to all the things that are being bottled up inside. For the last year, my boyfriend was talking about how he has begun to accept his HIV status but I never really believed him because I always
had a gut feeling that that wasn't really the case.
His family is going through a lot of issues, he has an extremely demanding job and he feels like everything is hitting him at once. From day one, I have tried to be as supportive and loving as possible, and in the last 5 months or so, I've noticed an obvious change about him in that he doesn't seem to want to be close to me.
Then, about a month ago, I found text messages on his phone that were very clearly not from me or sent to me that led me to believe that there was someone else in the picture.
When I approached him about it, he just said that he didn't know what to say and then he broke down and started balling about how he feels like he's a failure to himself as well as everyone around him.
I didn't know what to do or what to say. He still hasn't given me an explanation of what was going on.

I know that male and female depression are very different. I just don't know what to do or say anymore.
I feel like I need to be careful of what I say and how I say it to him because I don't want to add fuel
to the fire. I know without a doubt that he's going through some serious depression......does anyone have experience in this or have some words of wisdom to share with me?

I appreciate it

Miss Philicia:
Hello.  I assume that by "counselor" you mean clinical psychologist that will be providing repeated therapy sessions?  If not that is what I would recommend doing, in particular one who treats with cognitive behavioral therapy and (ideally) has treated HIV patients and/or others with life-threatening illnesses, though frankly most will have done some of at least the latter.  If the decision is made to use medication to treat the depression your boyfriend will also need a prescribing psychiatrist, and one who is familiar with medications for HIV to insure that there are no bad drug interactions.  This is the "ideal" set up IMO.

As far as differences in male/female depression I have no clue.  Your profile lists Chicago as where you live, so perhaps he can also seek out some HIV support groups. 

Good luck.

structuredjen:
MF -

My thoughts are with you.  I'm not sure I can offer much advice.  Counseling would definitely be what I would suggest too.  Not only for your boyfriend, but for you as well.  You have to maintain your own health, physical and mental, to maintain your own strength.  Don't forget that.

Couples counseling might also be an idea.  I've realized that the more my bf and I talk about it, the more we seem to be a team in all of this.

If you need to talk, vent, or throw eggs at cars from overpasses - I'm only a few hours away. :)

Hang in there!

Jen

Andy Velez:
Med, it sounds like he has a lot of feelings and right now they are inward and he's attacking himself. That can be a touch wall to get through. Depression is such a huge weight of what is unsaid.

See if you can get him to talk more. Ask him how he's failing? Is there anything he wants you to do? (No, there's nothing wrong with you. It's ME! is a common defense in this kind of situation.) Ask him if you should feel hopeless too and should you just give up.

What you want to do is widen the possibility of some dialogue. You know him well. Use your intuition about how to do that. And as someone else suggested, consider getting some professional support for yourself because this kind of stuff can drive you nutz, as I think you're finding out.

Keep us posted. Relationships are hard work sometimes.

med forum:
Yes, Andy, you're absolutely right. He is attacking himself because he feels like he's a burden to everyone.
There is a lot of family tension going on for him that is completely unrelated to him or his health and his job is extremely demanding where he's basically on call all the time, not to mention he's constantly worrying about his health. He told me yesterday that it's very difficult for him to focus on anything because he has so many problems going on in his life at the same time and yet everyone has always looked to him because he's always been the strong one.......or at least made people think that. Now he's beating himself up internally.

Like I've said in many other posts, I have beenthere for him since day one of our relationship as well as
the first day that he told me his diagnosis over a year and a half ago. Although that has been the reality,
the weight and pressure of everything else has outweighed that. He doesn't feel the support from other people because everyone else realistically doesn't know what he is struggling with on a daily basis.

I am happy to say that he is seeing a counselor and I believe that this is a great first step to dealing with all of the struggles that are overwhelming him. I, too, have been to a support group but I feel like it needs to go further than that. Seeing the person that you care about so deeply break down so often is extremely difficult......and many times I feel like there is nothing that I can do.

Last weekend, we participated (along with some of my family members and friends) in the AIDS Run Walk Chicago and I saw that he was excited that we had gotten a team together for this very special cause and
that we collected close to $2,000 for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Then during the course of the week, we went through many lows......

Thanks for hearing me out.....I hope that you can say a little prayer for us for strength and healing as well as for everyone who comes on board here.

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