Commenting Guidelines

Fall Color in Tree Canopy

As the readership of Storied Mind has grown, I have received more questions about the commenting process and have also run into my own limitations in responding to everyone. I’m setting out a few guidelines here so that you will know what to expect.

My Responses to Comments and Questions.

I have always tried in the past to respond to every comment and every email question, but the increasing numbers have made it hard to keep up. It’s not only the number of comments but also their length and compelling personal content. I’ve taken each one to heart and tried to offer what I could from my experience, but I guess I’ve reached a limit both in time and in emotional endurance as well, I have to say. I need to stand back for a while.

From now on, I will respond to as many comments as I can on new posts but will respond on older ones only when I think I can add something that hasn’t been discussed elsewhere in the comments on that post.

As I have mentioned on the Contact page, I will no longer be responding to emails requesting help with personal problems. I am not a therapist and have offered all the advice I have in the hundreds of thousands of words I’ve written here in posts and comments.

I hope you will understand if I do not answer your comment individually. Whatever you write is important to all of us in this blog community. It’s how we learn, and we’re all grateful for your willingness to share your experience.

Courtesy and Respect

Among the thousands of comments submitted to this blog, I can count on one hand the number I have refused to publish because they did not follow basic rules of courtesy and respect for others. As the readership and volume of comments go up, however, there are a couple of things I notice that merit a reminder or two, just to ensure that you don’t inadvertently say something that blocks your comment.

Each comment should make clear that it responds to the post or to another comment in some way. Very rarely, I get a rant about mental illness or a piece of pure self-promotion that could be written anywhere and has no relevance to the post or to other comments. I don’t publish those.

Above all, respect the feelings and integrity of every other commenter. You may certainly disagree with something you read, but I don’t publish comments that criticize others for feeling the way they feel or that attack others in any way. Just focus on what your experience is all about rather than trying to evaluate what someone else has done or telling them that they aren’t really depressed.

I hate to mention this since commenters here are overwhelmingly respectful, thoughtful, kind and supportive. But sometimes, people get carried away in the strength of their reactions and say something that’s insensitive or worse. That’s when I have to step in.

Delays in Posting Your Comments

I do review all comments prior to posting, primarily to screen for spam, so there is a delay between your submission and publication. I check comments throughout the day in an effort to keep the interval as brief as possible, but there can be delays of as much as a day, especially if we are separated by several time zones, a continent or half the globe.

I hope you’ll be patient if it takes a while for your comment to appear, but please let me know, by way of the contact form, if it seems to have gotten lost.

Disclaimer about Therapy

I have a disclaimer that this site does not offer therapy, and that applies to commenters as well. We all give advice to each other quite freely, share stories about what has or hasn’t worked and try to be as helpful as possible to others who are asking for assistance. That’s all fine, but if you are a professional mental health provider, please be careful about suggesting your own services or saying something that is more appropriate for a consulting session. Thank you.

Personal Information

I do everything I can to protect your anonymity, while asking for minimal information (email address) to make sure the comment is coming from a real person. The email address is kept confidential, and I do not use it for any other purpose.

Sometimes, commenters put personal information inadvertently in the name or website field (these fields are visible to the public), or use their full names out of habit when they don’t intend to. I am happy to correct problems like those, but it’s better to prevent them before your personal information appears on the blog.

Modifying or Removing Comments

Please be sure that you are comfortable publishing your comments before you submit them. Very rarely, a reader asks to have comments taken down after they’ve been posted. It’s usually because they would like someone else to read the blog but don’t want to reveal that they’ve been describing that person’s situation online. So please think ahead about that, or any other potential problem.

Often, by the time I get the request to take down a comment, other readers have already responded, and it has become part of the ongoing dialogue. It’s a loss to all if the comments suddenly disappear.

I will respond to any request you might make to modify or remove your comment and will do as you ask unless there is some compelling reason not to. I want to be sure that your contribution here never creates a problem for you. However, I also want to keep the comments intact except in unusual circumstances.

Rights to Your Comments

To be clear about the control of your comments, you always own the rights to anything you publish at Storied Mind – or any other website. Many sites, however, include terms and conditions (which most of us don’t bother to read and often don’t even know exist) that grant the site owner a non-exclusive right to use the material for any other purpose they see fit. I believe that goes too far.

I agree that anyone posting on a website is granting a “non-exclusive right” to the publisher. That just means that you, as the owner of your writing, are allowing the site to publish your comment while reserving to yourself the right to publish elsewhere. I’m OK with that, but I don’t agree with the idea that the blog publisher should also have the right to re-publish your words in ways that could go beyond your original intention.

By posting a comment on this blog, you are granting me the right to publish it on a non-exclusive basis in the context of other comments attached to a post, as you intended. You also grant me the right to edit your comment solely to make grammatical or spelling corrections, and to quote from it briefly in other related posts, only on Storied Mind. That’s it.

Occasionally, a comment has such valuable insight or tells such a compelling story that I want to publish it as a post on its own. In those cases I will always ask for the author’s permission in writing beforehand.

29 Responses to “Commenting Guidelines”

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  1. Jenny says:

    Have loved your website seems to be the only one that actually talks about feelings and anxieties. Have been married for 34 years thought i had the perfect marriage, Husband my soul mate very rarely argue and three wonderful children. We had given up on sex for a few months couldnt be bothered and he was withdrawing himself from life, stopped going out just sat on computer every evening and worked seven days a week.If i suggested he have a day off he got grumpy and said he couldnt afford to. The children and i just thought thought it was part of getting old.He still enjoyed big family dinners and family games nights every week Then out of the blue six months ago he tells me he wants to leave he loves me but its the wrong way not how you should love your wife, not really sure what that means but guessing sex. Any way its now six months down the road and i am still suffering severe anxiety and depression on a high dose of meds. He is still here has slept with me every night, had sex at least sixteen times says he feels nothing but always wants more …friend sex. He acts loving and supportive to me and the children and life at home seems normal apart from he says hes leaving. He hasnt told anyone our situation acts normal . Any way hes now taken a loan to be able to rent flat but giving me house says hes going to come round all the time to see me and the kids. Im back at work its a struggle . He says he will give me extra money and always provide for me and children. So my dilemma for 6 months ive lived with a man who says he wants to leave but hasnt he is going too in a couple of weeks. Acts normal and loving at home tells me he will always be in my life. I need my pain to end in limbo wish hed gone six months ago would be over him now. Hes not having any affairs.I love him so much just dont understand what he wants.

    • Jenny says:

      Also hes going to rent an unfurnished flat and just take his computer , bed and music. Everyone thinks he will want to come back when he leaves just love him so much and pray he will one day. Never get over him will always love.

  2. PixieStar101 says:

    One day this year this group chat will say 1 week ago, then it will say 11 weeks ago, then a year will go by and all the memories of us will be thrown away and we will forget about all the hours, days and minutes we spent together so i just want to say i love you guys, you made my life great and i just want to say thank you, you will always be in my heart.

  3. Lorraine says:

    My husband of 30+ years, was diagnosed with depression and bpd over 13 years ago. He was given meds but only took them sparingly for a few months after he was diagnosed. He is trying to manage his depression through denial by believing it will go away. We have both grown and young kids, and we have all seen the change from his naturally kind persona, to an aggitated, more secretive, moody, an on edge kind of person. He spends all his time alone; refusing to spend any time with our family outings, and refuses to invite us to his, or to visits with his family.

    In 2016 he was diagnosed with bpd, ocd, bipolar, depression, anxiety, intimacy disorder and a few others. He is so hurt and embarrassed, he refuses further counseling and refuses to talk about any of this. His family has some of these diagnoses as well, but they all refuse to talk about any of this, and they do not suggest to my husband that he needs to counsel, but they tell me and my kids that he needs counseling. All of his family is secretive, and they group together to protect him and enable him.

    My husband has left home on numerous times and come back; each time saying that he missed his me and his family. He has made comments that he is unhappy, feels numb, feels empty, feels bored, feels he is living a lie by acting happy, needs to find out who he really is, needs to discover why he takes actions he does, he lost feelings towards his marriage/love/me or says he has no feelings at all. He wants honeymoon excitement and does not get that now, and says he doesn’t know why he can’t speak up to his family and the general population.

    He says he feels he has no authority with our young and grown kids, and doesn’t feel their love. He has never spent much quality time with them during any of their lives. One day he is the person we know, and the next day he smiles or grown cold and refuses to interact with us, and even purposefully refused to give presents and hugs to our twins on their 8th birthday; rendering reason that presents cost too much, but he buys items for himself and his brother and dad all the time.

    All of this has us totally confused. Its as if when he got his diagnosis, he turned into a mean, conniving, vengeful person, secretively, and is out to prove a point (what ever it may be). Our marriage is about over now because he has changes back and forth from a person we know, to a a person we do not know. He says he’s the same person he’s always been.
    Due to home responsibilities with kids, I work but do not make as much as he does. His leaving will leave me in a financial crunch.

    Are we crazy? Can a person with untreated issues progress and change like this? Can they get better? Are they blinded to the hurt and anguish they cause to a spouse and their family?

    Any suggestions? Anyone ever had similar experiences?

  4. Helen says:

    I am so grateful I have found you all. I’ve been going through the comments and find myself nodding my head and muttering, yep, that’s right. I am depressed, and I really think it’s getting worse. My sister passed in April and at the service many of her and my friends came up and said just call if you need anything, well, yes, I need help, I need companionship, I need someone to care about me…but why do I have to be the one to call? I didn’t say all that though. It wouldn’t have been polite. The last time I went to my doctor I told him I was depressed. He responded well, of course, you’ve just lost your mother and two sisters one right after the other. And then wrote a script for some kind of antidepressant. I left. I don’t do pills. I keep forgetting to take them, even when they’re sitting right in front of me. I haven’t been back to him, though he also told me I was pre-diabetic…I’m trying to deal with that with exercise and diet, but I guess I should go back at some point. I haven’t had time to grieve for my family, I know that. That’s one reason I’m depressed. I know that, just can’t do anything about it. My whole life has fallen apart, chunk by chunk, at 70 I see no joy in life anymore. I’m now at the tail end of a bankruptcy. I’m too old for this. My husband got us in debt, and I just kept trusting him. He passed in 2014. I’ll probably lose my house, and I’m not sure what I’ll do or where I’ll go then. I finally called a friend today. Told her I needed to talk to someone, so I’m going over tomorrow to see her. She’s a good person but I hate to “dump” all this on her. People seem to expect others to get over loss quickly. I don’t think I ever will, I just don’t see it happening. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one on the planet, there’s just vast masses of nothingness all around. And then I just cry some more. And I’m so sorry to lay all this out there, I thought it might make me feel better in some little way. I connect totally with what you’re saying, Ella and One too, that last sentence goes around in circles in my head, Ella, no one has time for in-depth friendship. Perhaps it’s a lost art. Caring thoughts and best wishes to all.

    • Therese says:

      Hi Helen,

      We have so much in common. Five years ago, my husband of thirty years died over an excruciating two year period. Ultimately, I lost our home and in spite of having been active in my community lost most of my friends. I became homeless and slept in my car. Some people offerred there homes and I took them up on it but there were discoveries there as well and none lasted beyond three months. I moved to another part of the state, nearer to my daughters and looked for work. I had been a homemake and despite all of my activity, here it was meaningless. Nobody cared. I was a washed old lady who needed work and I was expected to start at the bottom of the pot. After a year and a half of temp jobs I found a job I hoped to build a career upon. It has not exactly turned out that way but I am better, much better.
      Those were dark days. I have share your vacuum. I am now 61 and starting over. Because I had to have roommates, I lived in shared apartments. I have lived with people who peed in my food, spite in my food, stole my belongs, damaged my property. Why? Because I asked them to return my clean dishes to the cupboard, clean.
      Now, for the first time since my nightmare began, I have my own place. Its heaven. I am looking for another position and I am confident I will find a good fit. I still cry. Sometimes alot and I’m still frightened but I am better.
      People do have time for friendship. We just have to find them again. That prospect is also frightening for me.
      It has been great sharing. I hope we are able to connect. Take good care, Helen.

      Kind regards,
      Therese

      • Helen says:

        Dear Therese, Yes, starting over is unbelievably difficult. I do a lot of staring at walls, trying to work things out in my head…what to do next, where to go, etc. I have endless lists of my options, options revised, options that might work out or might not. The only good thing that’s happened to me so far is that I think…I think….the bankruptcy will go ok, I have two months to wait for discharge papers. The lawyer says I can sell my house after that, however, since I refused to sign a reaffirmation form the bank won’t report my payments to the credit bureaus and won’t send me statements, this seems to be a big deal …but you know, I don’t care anymore. I’ll make my payments each month and when I feel it’s time for me to leave, that’s what I’ll do. I’ve been wanting to move out of state for years, so maybe this is leading to that.
        The friend I went over to talk to seemed to be very caring, but she’s never called me again and when I call her she doesn’t pick up. Neighbors are the same, they all have their own lives. I only have a nephew left here in this state and I never see or hear from him. There’s nothing here for me anymore.
        You couldn’t have moved in with a daughter? None of my business, I know.
        My sister lived with me for four years before she died. I miss her so much.
        I did go to a meeting of GriefShare at a local church and I think it will be a good thing for me so I’ll keep going for the next twelve weeks. I wanted to join a Tai Chi class but can’t afford it right now. I know I should be connecting with people but it’s too soon, Pam just passed in April this year. People are uncomfortable when a person cries, so until I can get past that no one will want to be around me. I’m still amazed that most people don’t seem to grieve for any length of time! Three days after Pam passed my neighbor wanted me to go shopping with her! I tried to explain how I felt, her response was it would take my mind off things.
        I guess another good thing that’s happened is I’ve lost 30 pounds, how about that? Crying, not eating, grieving……definite weight loss plan.
        I’m so happy that you have your own place now. Step by step it’ll all work out.
        Keep in touch.
        Hugs, Helen

        • Therese says:

          Thank you, for getting back so quickly. Losing in such a profound way frightens people. It’s like the plague. Unless you have been through it, there are very few people, including family that understand such a profound loss, let alone know how to respond.
          I’m so sorry for the loss of you beloved sister. People do push others to “get over” our grief. I remember the same vacuum you talked about in your first note. That stayed with me for about 2 years. I was utterly devastated. I called my eldest daughter one day and said, “I forgot, I don’t know how to get out of bed.” She said ‘Drop one leg over the side and begin to sit up….” I asked another friend to call me every morning just to say. Get up. She did. I asked other friends for similar help, most did not come through. Before my husband’s death or before he became infirmed rather, I entertained almost every Friday night and of all the people I knew, three friendships remain solid. I feel lucky to have them in my life.
          I wish I had your lawyer. I know you don’t care now and I understand but that house means you won’t have to sleep in your car, or a shelter. Those are frightening places. It also means you can re-establish your credit. That is so important. I haven’t been late with a payment in five years and my credit is only fair. Other than the house, I had very little debt. I think I need to start writing letters to my old creditors. I think it will most likely help.
          As for my daughters, two had just started college when my husband died. The only policy remaining in good standing, I put toward their education, against everyone’s advice. Losing so much at such a young age, I wanted their lives to continue in the forward momentum they both had worked so hard for, their whole lives. I could not allow their lives to be derailed as well. They never missed a semester, graduated with honors and a shit load of student loans. Finally, I did move in with my eldest daughter, but our relationship had been strained for a long time and living together was very very difficult. I stayed about nine months and when I was finally hired, I rented a room. Since that time my eldest and I have made great strides in our relationship. She has learned to be more thoughtful of others. She has even taken in one of her sisters when she returned from college abroad. And, of course, I have grown as well.
          If you don’t mind me asking, in what state do you reside.

          I’ll keep in touch, 🙂
          You too,
          Take good care,
          Therese

          • Helen says:

            Dear Therese,

            we are having so much rain here…Texas. I used to like the rain, saved on the water bill, but at this time it depresses me. It’s started pouring now.
            I am grateful indeed, I have this house, for as long as I can manage to pay the mortgage anyway. But there’s so much sadness here. My mother and my sister both died in this house. And there’s bitterness because when I finally got my husband to move out I finally admitted to myself that our relationship was a sham. He did so many bad things behind my back. I still don’t understand why he wanted to get married when he actually preferred men. He was looking for a cover, I guess, maybe he couldn’t admit it to himself….I don’t know.
            I try not to think about that part of my life. It’s enough to grieve for my mom and sister.
            My lawyer was good, yes. But it seemed at the time that he assumed I knew things I really didn’t know….how could I? This is the first time I’ve ever had to go through a bankruptcy. At my age, it was embarrassing and I’ve only told three people ….you’re the third. I’m sure most of my questions were stupid, and a lot of times I didn’t even know what questions to ask. But I’m down to two months and two weeks, after that a discharge…so that’s all I’m concentrating on now.
            I’ve always been an introvert, very happy to do my little projects, walk my dogs, read, etc. But since all this has happened I feel that I need people around me, and now people don’t seem to want to be around me.
            I will probably go to a cash only existence and I think I may move out in the country somewhere. I’m not sure yet, but I’m leaning that way. I’ve been reading up on it, just don’t know if I’ll be able to do it at my age.
            Well, I have to get ready for work. I have a small part-time job in home health care, about 12 to 15 hours a week. The end of this year I think I may resign from that. It seems to be an effort sometimes and I’d rather be by myself most days.
            Take care, and lots of hugs to you.
            Helen

  5. Tammy says:

    Hello everyone, I stumbled across this website and have found it very helpful. I thought it would be appropriate to share my story. On November 2nd, my husband asked me (at 30 weeks pregnant) to leave along with our 2 year old son. He says he didn’t want to be with me anymore and that I have done nothing but make his life a misery for the past 3 years. Within those 3 years we have gotten engaged (he proposed to me), married, had a baby and planned another one which is due January 13th. This has come completely out of the blue and now he will barely look at me but to shout abuse and blame me for everything that is wrong in his life. To make matters worse I found out he had a brief affair around the time we split, with a work colleague. Although he denies the affair I have seen messages and her things in our family home just days after he ended our marriage. After the initial shock, hurt and anger that such a situation can bring, I have began to realise that my husband is depressed and to be honest has been for some time now. I am not trying to make up excuses for my husbands behaviour but he changed so rapidly overnight, constantly blames me for everything and takes very little interest in his son. Something I never thought he would do. I see a broken man trying to act like he is ok but I know him and know this is completely out of character for him. To make matters worse, I was so hurt and hormonal after the split that I made sure he knew what I thought of him rather than try to understand what was going on. This is the worst possible reaction I could have given him as all it has done is kicked him down even more. I have since tried to offer support but he is in denial and without him accepting he may need help, I know I am limited to what I can do.

    I have both suffered and recovered from depression and can see the signs myself when they are beginning to show. Although I am confident I have the tools to help my own mind get back on track I am at a loss of what to do with my husband. For me it isn’t about getting our marriage back, it is about helping a lonely man find himself again so he can be the good dad I know he is. I have never been on the receiving end of someone who is depressed but know what it is like to feel the emptiness from the other side. I am female too and we handle things a lot differently from men. While I want to stay and help my husband, I also need to be careful not to allow myself to dwindle down the route of depression. I need to stay strong for myself and my sons. Completely at a loss of what to do now, I just want to see him happy again.

    • Therese says:

      Hi Tammy,

      Thank you, for sharing your post. Your situation brought a lot of issues back for me, most of which, I am gratefully, well beyond. How are you, today? If you feel you might enjoy or benefit from a conversation with me, I would be happy to listen and share solutions which have worked for me and also those that have not.
      Above all…

      Take good care,
      Therese

  6. Karen says:

    Feeling so lonely and depressed. Its so hard to reach out to friends. Either a feel like a hopeless whiner or I’m resentful because they all know I suffer with depression, but they don’t reach out to me. I have no life beyond work (which is depressing in and of itself) and my kids. Financial problems due to having to go to court for custody of my younger child, and still no child support in place 5 months later! I know becoming a hermit isn’t the answer, but can’t seem to get out and get involved in anything.

    • Therese says:

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for sharing. I see it’s been a few months since you have posted. How’s it going? When families are in turmoil the crowd vanishes. Call someone and give them a very specific task. I was a homemaker whose last children had just left for college when the bottom fell out. I asked a dear friend who worked and did not have much time to help in other ways, to call me every morning and say one thing. Get up. She did and it helped. So at times you think it would be helpful for you to do something maybe yoga, that you are struggling to begin, suggest a friend call lets say, every Tuesday at 6 or about an hour before yoga and remind you to go to yoga. Let them know the conversation will be limited to just those few words. You won’t always go but sometimes you will and maybe you will start going regularly. Once you start, don’t tell your friend to stop calling and do not extend the conversation until you know for sure that you have passed the need. Be grateful. People respond to small act of kindness in both directions. I hope you and the children have found steady ground. Life can be so hard.

      Take good care, Karen

      Kind regards,
      Therese

  7. Becky says:

    Hello Everyone. I hope you are doing fine despite the circumstances. I have been dealing with a best friend and boyfriend for about two years and I have never shared my issues with anyone, let alone my family. Its why I am here. It can get very lonely.
    Two weeks after our one year anniversary on July 12th, my boyfriend and best friend broke up with me. We met a little over two years ago on a social networking site. It wasn’t serious. We lost touch and a few months later, he contacted me. We started being really good friends and the relationship grew stronger. However, he was still grieving from the end of a three year relationship with a girl he loved dearly. We became really close, and we got intimate after a while. He was really hesitant about declaring that we were together, and wanted to keep it casual. It hurt me very deeply, but I held on because I loved him so much. When he is not hurtful, he is an awesome person, Smart, sensitive, loving, caring, funny, and full of energy. On July 12th 2014, he asked me to be his girlfriend and I was very happy, but wary. I had gotten to know a little about his depression and bipolar. When we were still friends, he attempted suicide once and I went to see him in hospital everyday after work.

    Now I almost regret, and I’m a little angry at myself for accepting to be his girlfriend a year ago. For giving so much of myself, yet so guilty at the same time. While the relationship has been great in terms of open and honest communication, sex, and friendship, it has been soul crushing in equal measure. One minute he would talk about us being together in future and wanting kids, the next he would say that he sees himself being alone for the rest of his life and that the wants to care for no one but himself. He says he cannot handle the demands of a relationship when he is depressed. Since April, he has broken up with me 3 times. In all three instances, I would work insanely hard to try and make him see reason, how great our relationship was and that it would be better off if we worked through his fears and anxieties together. He has often cited that the reasons he breaks up with me is because he fears he will amount to nothing in the future despite how intelligent he is (he is in Medical Sch) and that I should run while I can because he is a “bad bet” Then he would regret his decision and ask me to take him back because envisioning a future without me was terrible for him. Then he would break up with me again and I would pick up the pieces… He was on medication but he stopped taking it and he does not have professional help although I encouraged him to get it.

    When he broke up with me two weeks ago, he said he does not see us ever getting back together again. That he is tired of all the emotions involved in breaking up with me and wanting me back and getting back together again. He says that he needs to focus on his studies and his career and being in this relationship will make him sacrifice that and he does not want to. He said that in the height of his career, he will probably get a young girl from the university to warm his bed as he goes through life. These statements hurt me to the core. I am beginning to think that he just does not love me or never loved me at all. But with depression and bipolar one can never know which side of the person is real and which one is not. He is a stark opposite from the caring and loving friend and lover that I know. When we got back together last time, he said he was willing to work things through with me regarding his depression, but now he says he did not mean all of those things. He has blocked me from Whatsapp. And he hangs out with his other friends but he never speaks to me. I thought that he broke up with me because of the depression so I took it upon myself to maintain communication. Saying hello now and then. His responses are always brief and a bit cold.

    I am deeply hurt, terrified, confused, tired and sad. I feel so alone. He was not just a boyfriend, but my best friend as well. Sometimes I feel really embarrassed for all the times I have begged him to see reason and to give the great relationship we had another try, while working on his issues. I am beginning to think that I have a problem because I put up with so much. I am ashamed to say that I would rather have some of him than lose all of him and that is why I kept communication open even though he broke up with me and said that he wants to be alone and that the relationship should evolve on its own. If we can maintain it, fine. If not, he is okay with that too. That bit also hurt me so deeply. Honestly, the reason I fight for him is because, deep down under all that there is a great person in there. And he comes out very often. We share the same ideas about family and community. But I think its time to hang up my gloves. I have so many mixed feelings, sometimes I feel like I am going crazy. But if time is indeed a healer, I hope I heal in time.
    Thanks for your audience.

  8. George says:

    Good article until when you started using the male as the one with depression. lost you there…I really want to understand my partners depression, she has had it since I’ve known her and I am just starting to take the first steps in my understanding of this disease. Thank you also and I hope I can find more resources to help me.

  9. Emma says:

    Hello, I don’t know what to do, and I really need help understanding what is going on. I have been with my boyfriend for little over a year. He made me feel so special! He was warm, kind, happy- everything about him was perfect! Four months into the relationship he got really ill. He was in and out of the hospital many times during the last seven months we were together. He was hurting so bad, and I didn’t know what to do. He lived a couple of hours away, and I came to visit him as often as I could. He told me that I was the light in his life. I lifted him up when he was down, that was what he told me. It was hard at the time, but I loved him so much, and would have done anything for him. After 7 months his pain started to go away. But at this time, I understood he was depressed. He hadn’t seen his friends for a very long time, and he was too tired too do anything. He was just laying in bed. I’ve been depressed myself, and could easily put myself in his shoes. I supported him, tried to help him, comfort him- everything I could to make him feel better. He has told me countless times that he has never been as happy with anyone else before, and that he loved me so much. The last week we were together it was like a rollercoaster. He had such moodswings, I didn’t know how to react. The things he said and how he acted made me so sad. He told me was depressed 2 weeks before he broke up with me. It wasn’t hard to tell though, he cried 3 days in a row. I tried everything to help him and to show him that I was there for him, no matter what. I didn’t know how long he had been depressed though, I thought he was just tired of beeing sick. A week after he told me he was depressed, he was so cold and didn’t care if I told him that the things he said or did was hurtful. I couldn’t understand it, and it made me very sad. Out of the blue, two days later, he broke up with me. I’ve been so down lately. I just can’t understand it. It seems like he pushes everyone that cares for him away. When he broke it off he told me that he has the same feelings for me, and that he loves me very much. He just don’t want to see me sad, and he feels like he is the reason why I was so sad. He also said he broke it off because he couldn’t get out of the depression if he was with me. Because of the way he acted and the hurtful things he said to me, made him so guilty. I don’t know that to believe, is it his feelings towards me that has changes or is it the depression? I really want him to get better, and I care so much for him. It is sad to see him like this, and I can’t hardly recognize him anymore. I still love him, but I’m scared he won’t get better for a very long time. He was the man that i wanted to marry! I can hardly talk to my friends about this, it just makes me depressed to say it out loud. And they don’t understand how he could do that to me after being there for him for 7 months. Especially when he says he still loves me. I understand him. I think. But unfortunately I’m a woman, and my thoughts are twirling inside my head. He needs help. I needed to clear my head to somene, and it would mean the world to me if anyone who has experienced something similar would reply.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful website.

  10. Todd says:

    I am here because I am dealing with the issues that many of you are commenting about. I have a girlfriend that seemed to be the greatest thing to happen to me in decades starting almost two years ago, and now there is distance mixed with hanging on. Everything was story book perfect when we first got involved seriously after a two year friendship. I am 57 years old , and have been married twice. I raised three kids by myself for 15 years after the last divorce , to a wife that suffered from extreme anxiety that I did not understand at the time. I kept myself out of the loop to try to be a good dad. I feel I did a really good job over all and when I thought it was time after they came of age I let myself fall in love again with her encouragement. But now I am dealing with a mate that has changed. I have endured anger issues that seem to come out of nowhere from her, followed by sincere apologies. Distance while clinging to me in some ways as well. Things came to a head recently when I myself put a few days of refusing contact , then confronting her about what was going on, which lead to her telling me about her history of depression and recent change of prescription, and telling me we should just take a break. I am devastated as I am not really sure this is what she wants, and with all the things I read on the web , it seems the thing to do is just lay low and be patient. But I have been doing this for almost a year after having nearly the same amount of time in the most wonderful relationship I could hope for.I am so confused about how to make myself mentally prepared to do the right thing, that I have researched by Googling and ended up here. Some of your posts are dated recently, and make sense with good communication, so I am here reaching out as well .

  11. Stephane says:

    It usually starts with nervous energy. She rummages around the house, rearranging the kitchen cupboards, unable to simply sit by me side and relax. This may last a day or two and at this point, I am still able to make her laugh, to get her to stand still and remember to breath. It quickly starts to spiral downward.

    Then comes the anxiety: she worries about the mortgage, about the insurance policy, about her brother or her mother, about a water main break or a sewer backup. There MUST be mold in the walls! Or bedbugs in the couch! She starts to forget about the US in the equation, about me. It’s now about her. She no longer sees me sitting there by her side. She no longer thinks about what we’ll make for supper, about the snow outside that needs to be shovelled, about the house that needs to be upkept. She forget things: wallets and credit cards left at stores or restaurants, keys in the car or door. She loses things and her mind is scattered. She becomes disorganized. If I mention anything about this, I am accused of exaggerating, of making a big deal out of nothing. She may still smile at me once in a while, but the smile rings false. It’s an act, she’s trying to be reassuring: “Look at me, how well I’m doing, how I manage this episode so well. Don’t look to closely, DON’T see my pain and my fear and my anguish. I’m just going to go downstairs and watch TV.” She disappears from my life at this point. No tears, no anger. She sits in front of the TV, the computer, anything, for hours. Hours and hours in front of the television or computer, needing to escape my presence. Laughter is no longer present in our lives, intimacy is no longer a possibility.

    The anger, criticism and verbal abuse come next. I can do nothing right. She lashes out. My clothes upset her, my way of eating is disturbing, the way I present myself in public baffles her (she does not understand my self confidence). If I breathe too loudly I get rebuffed. Her insomnia becomes my fault. My very presence in the house is barely tolerated. Any good mood I may have becomes an assault to her very being, a violation of her right to be miserable.

    She dreams of another life. “If only I could be someone else. I want to quit my job, go back to school, move to another city, adopt a child, have a child of my own”. If I question any of these thoughts, if I try to be rational about these dreams, I am accused of not being supportive, proof in her mind, that this relationship is doomed.

    She dreams of another life, for herself, yes, but for me as well. “I can’t bear to see the pain I am causing you. I just was not made to be in a relationship. Seeing your hurt makes me feel guilty.” After so many years together, it comes down to this… every time.

    What is most difficult, hardest to withstand, is that there is NOTHING I can do about any of this. I am left to watch, as if seeing a dreadfully agonizing movie for the tenth time. I watch, amazed and bewildered again. Every time, I wonder if I will be able to withstand the ravages of THIS episode. Will WE survive this time around. Every time, I feel weaker, more fragile, damaged in some way.

    The sun will be up in an hour. The day promises to be beautiful. A clear winter morning. I will go for a walk in the woods and breathe the cold, crisp air, watch as the chickadees flutter from branch to branch in the bare trees. I will soak all this in while the woman I love so dearly sits in front of a screen, trying not to think of the chaos in her mind.

    • kadiska says:

      Although this is very sad, this is beautiful in that this is the most clearly explained description of depression I have ever read. Thank you.
      I suffer from depression and am now in such a bad one that I am unable to shower or bathe. I can’t talk on the phone. I have not spoken to dear friends, even via text or fb, since May. I have had depression since I was 16, & I am now 52. I live with my fiance, who is a loving a supportive man and I am extraordinarily lucky that he gets it.
      I am glad that your partner is fortunate enough that you get it too.
      Your walk sounds beautiful and restful. You so need to be able to fill yourself with life and love by recharging yourself so that your love for her and your helping in the healing process does not deplete you but rather–like many acts of compassion and charity and love–rewards with a stronger vision and depth of soul. When you care for yourself in nurturing ways and cherish yourself as one who is walking through this valley of darkness with her, you will be strangely less vulnerable to becoming depleted by The Depression. You both must gently keep your souls filled with love for each other, and faith and hope that after EVERY darkness, there is light.
      Feed yourself by being involved with these sites and allowing yourself to still be open to constant possibilities of your future together and focus on even the smallest intimacies you exchange. Even something as small as a private look exchanged is gold. Keep these small joys in the forefront of your mind allow these things to keep you connected to her without losing yourself into slipstream of down.

    • craig says:

      Hi, I see my life in this,so down

    • Therese says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you, for your post. Beautifully stated, in some ways, it reminds me of my relationships with my own daughters. Accusatory anxiety, is not a primary manifestation of my personality, although there have been moments strikingly similar. Sometimes I wonder if my children remember the mother of their youth. Ever present. thoughtful, active, attentive, fun…,most importantly, calm and steadier than most. After my husband of thirty years died, there were discoveries; I lost everything and depression overwhelmed me. Unable to regroup, in time, I became homeless for a little over a year. The sense of betrayal by my husband, his family and mine (family of origin) has had a powerful effect on every aspect of my being and on my adult children.

      I am five years out now and getting better. I don’t know if my girls can tell because any breakdown I have is too much anymore. I understand. I do. I understand because my own mother went through something quite similar. So, I try to not allow my angst or pain run over, onto them. They too have experienced these profound losses. Sometimes hearing criticism where there was none, they have blowback of their own. Fortunately, they have drawn lines which I would like to read you have done as well. Yes, it will sting your mother but berating you will not help her. You deserve better and so does she. So, raise the bar for her if she cannot do it for herself.

      I know I will never be the same, I have no desire to be the same. I lived in a world of denial and have no doubt passed that dysfunction down, well.

      Your letter affirms my goal to remain compassionate in all that I say and do, rather than becoming accusatory or judgemental. When I feel a need to point out a danger which I now see clearly and believe they do not (because our perspectives are fraught with denial); I’ll say: Please, please step aside…a tree is falling. We are all entitled to our mistakes.

      You alluded to your mothers behavior as being cyclical. I’m so sorry for your loss, for the many losses. You have more power than you are allowing yourself to see. Expect more. Draw lines. Big fat bold lines. and continue to reassure her of her own transformative ability. If only in a letter. Let her know you can no longer engage in destructive dialogue, for both of your sakes. She is stronger that you know, she will rise to the occasion, perhaps kicking and screaming but you don’t have to be there, to take it on. Visit her with boundaries. It will be difficult in the beginning but you will see improvement, with time. Later when you both have had time to heal and move forward you may find the boundaries have not impeded your relationship but instead enhanced it.

      As for me…
      I need to switch jobs, which I feel excited and nervous about, like everyone feels, I suspect. I remind myself to keep moving forward and with each step, I recommit. I will arrive, it is possible, it is possible.

      Thank you, again for posting your powerfully poignant experience. I wish you the best of luck. You are a good daughter.

      Kind regards,
      Therese

  12. Jennifer Montgomery says:

    So here’s my story, I hope someone can provide me with some advice. I don’t know where to turn and am getting thoughts from my family that are breaking my heart. Their thoughts may be true but have never experienced depression first hand.

    My partner and I have been in a very loving (or so I thought) relationship for 8 years. We have had our tiffs but nothing I would consider deal breaking whatsoever. Approximately a year ago my partner received a promtion to a very stressful position. Roughly around the same time I noticed a shift in our sex life. We no longer seemed to be having it as much. Disappointing to me but not the end of the world. During that time he stopped working out and carrying as much about his appearance. Not to a point of extreme but fewer haircuts, no workouts that sort of thing. I chaulked it up to his job but tried hard to tell him often that he was still very attractive and appealing to me. I also discovered that he was using pornography. This wasn’t a surprise but little by little it seemed to me to be replacing our intimacy. At one point I discovered he was using pornography for pleasure when I was upstairs. This was very upsetting to me and a big blow to my ego. I told him I felt it was selfish and hurtful and it made me feel not good enough. He proceeded to smash his tablet and throw it out and apologize profusely. I felt we had worked our way through that, we didn’t stop our relations but we werent animals either which I assumed was the normal progression in a long relationship. Recently I was scheduled for a trip out of town and it was cancelled due to weather. I came home unexpectedly and caught him trying to cover up something. He made a stupid excuse and then I realized that he was lying to me and he had been watching porn. Now, I don’t have an issue with porn but considering we spent the whole weekend together without anything between us I was pretty upset. I told him I wouldn’t be lied to anymore and that it was hurting me. He told me he thought he might be addicted. I spoke with a collegue who has a degree in psychology. She made mention to me that he may be suffering from depression as that can be one of the symptoms. My partner has struggled for years with self esteem and issues with people being better than him. I brought it to his attention that maybe his pornography might be from an underlying issue. At that time he told me he had suffered with depression 20 years ago in his 20’s and had been treated for approximately a year with medication and therapy. This was news to me but I didn’t pry. He said to me he wasn’t happy inside and didnt feel himself. I asked him if he wanted to see a doctor and he did so we booked the appointment and went. He was prescibed some form of anti depressant with promise that a mental health worker would be in touch. The doctor asked a few standard questions that was that. He started taking his medication two days later in the morning. Later that day we had a discussion about an upcoming trip for a graduation and his response was he wasnt looking forward to the long drive. When I asked him if he didn’t want to go he said no. When I asked him why his response was he didn’t think he could do this with me anymore. Talk about being blindsided. Aside from the things I mentioned which may be huge and I didn’t recognize them I thought things were okay. There was always I love you, can’t wait for you to be home, can’t wait for time with you this weekend. I asked him about this and he said he wasn’t telling me the truth that he had been feeling this way for a long time. Now maybe I am being stupid or stubborn but having lived with him for years I would put my life on the line to say that he was telling me the truth. I can’t explain all of those things here but I was crushed. I can’t explain to you how I felt about this shocking confession. He cried and hugged me and of course I did the same. I honestly can tell you that the emotions and feeling he displayed to me were real. Am I crazy? I did some research on signs and symptoms of depression and he has many. My good friend says he may not be thinking clearly if he is in a really dark place. After a tearfelt and sleepless night I left with some suitcases my dog and some papers. I travelled to my hometown as I had no where else to go. I left him some information about what I had found out about depression and with that a note saying I loved him and that he needs to keep fighting. If he feels that hopeless he needs to get help. He said he needs time and was crying as I was leaving but didnt stop me. He came to the driveway and told me he made a mistake and I don’t know what that means. I drove two days to get to my family home with no sleep and not able to eat. I plan to be away for two weeks as I have to return to work at somepoint. I told him I wouldn’t pressure him and phone him but give him his space. He sounded awful, sad, hurt. He said he felt awful that he hurt me. Where do I go from here? I eventually have to go back if only to figure out what I’m going to do. I told him I loved him and asked him to speak with someone. I told him that I don’t expect him to call me right away if he needs some time but we will have to speak prior to me returning. Should I fight for him? I am scared to pressure him in anyway but I can’t live with the knots in my stomach and sleeplessness forever. He phone me to check that I made it safely and he said he felt black. My mother says its over and to get out…do I give up….someone please help, my heart is in a million pieces.

    Thank you

    • kadiska says:

      Jennifer, it is over a year later and I wonder how you are doing. Did he ever get help for his depression? I agree with your friend, that a suddenly more intense interest in pornography can be a sign of depression; unable to express his pain and stuck in the twisted darkness of a deep depression, the inability to be intimate any longer (because depression totally messes that up and blocks you) often expresses itself in self-abusive ways. I wonder if he went on to lose everything, including you, because he got no help or it was not enough to help him. I have lost everything through mental illness, and trying to repair the damage–well, some of it is irreparable.
      I hope that you have taken care of yourself and that you now have strength and happiness, whether still with your partner or not. But if his life has been shredded by depression, I hope that, somehow, he hasn’t pushed you away and treated you so illy that you are unable to share at least a friendship. Relationships are such an investment that, many times, I have been able to build good friendships with ex-lovers even if years later. Because together we had shared so much, some of these friendships have been my strongest and healthiest.
      I wish you the best, even if you never receive these thoughts.

  13. ameri says:

    I think I’m so depressed, my husband works long hours and I’m here with our two children all day taking care of them school, homework, diapers, bottles, dinner, discipline, I do it all he comes home and don’t help me enough he do a little but its not enough. Then we I shut down from anger I find myself not want to talk to anybody don’t really wanna b around anyone. We live in a state where I have no friends or family and I just feel like a care giver with no thought of how I might b feeling. We have no child care and can’t afford it so there is nobreak for me just kids and sleep in the house all the time might go to run errands or paying bills but back to the same thing everyday. I know work is work but he get a break from the kids when he goes to work cause atleast he gets to communicate with adults there where I don’t. I feel he stays longer at work so he don’t have to deal with home or he might have someone he’s seeing at work that has always crossed my mind. I feel like I’m about to go crazy or is already there sometimes I wanna leave then I think about wat that will do to my kids , I’ve picked up drinkn everyday to deal but now that doesn’t work I haven’t thought about suicide but I have thought wat if I wasn’t round would if be better for them cause I’m very moody I will start a argument for the smallest thing. Then I feel bad for my feelings cause they didn’t ask for this I really just don’t know how to deal with wat I’m feeling! Help!

    • Kathleen McClure says:

      I sympathize with your situation as it is close to mine 20 years ago. Society does not support ‘single’ mothers (married or not!) If you have been a capable and respected worker it is hard to imagine how exhausting being around children all day can be . Life is truly 24-7 if a partner is literally or figuratively uninvolved. The worst feeling is that you are simply the drudge in the family. Maternal depression is no surprise to me.

      If it’s any comfort mothers who don’t have backup resources like family or close friends are truly heroic– in my view. Your children will grow up and, in my case, mine have a good relationship with me and my former husband.

      I sometimes suffer severe guilt and sadness that I couldn’t be the mother I imagined. Yet when I read your story I remember feeling exactly as you do. Always know you are courageous and not alone . I hope other mothers will tell their stories as a written tapestry to comfort passing strangers–the joys, the pain and the consequences, with love woven through.

  14. Miranda says:

    I wish that somewhere there was a forum for teachers with depression. There has to be millions. I’ve googled a million variations of teacher, depression, suicide…all I get is sites that want to help teachers to help kids. I work 60 hours per week, and it’s not good enough. I don’t have the self-efficacy or self-esteem to listen to the incessant teacher-bashing. All I seem to hear is that math teachers suck, kids hate math because of bad teaching, I feel like my hands are tied. If you were a kid who found math difficult, and you heard that the reasons kids don’t learn is because math teachers couldn’t teach, how hard would you work? That’s taking the locus of control away from the kid. Now they believe that their efforts are not enough to change the situation, so why try? They have learned through the years that it’s always the teachers fault. Our education system (where I teach, and many other districts as well) doesn’t require homework, allows kids to leave tests blank and retake them piece by piece as they can, if they fail at semester, they can still make up the tests the next semester, and if many kids fail, the teacher gets in trouble, so most teachers find a way to pass them without much evidence of mastery. I mean, how many teachers want to end up like me? I try to enforce standards, hold kids accountable, I spend hours trying to make my lessons clear and connect them to life and prior learning, I’m available for help before and after school…but most of the kids do very little. They have learned year after year, that they’ll pass anyway. Not to mention that their learning deficits by high school are huge, because they haven’t been held accountable for mastering more than one concept at a time. They cram, answer a few questions, forget, then cram, and so on. I just can’t keep putting in the time, only to have half my students fail. If I’m such a bad teacher, then why are kids coming to me with A’s from algebra who failed the state tests, and can’t solve a two-step algebraic equation? How is it that the kids in my calculus class got A’s in pre-calculus, but scored below 20% on the test of pre-requisite skills at the beginning of the year? I can’t work in this system that doesn’t teach kids what learning is! How unfair it is to send these kids off year after year, knowing they don’t have a clue how to actually study math? So when I try to hold them to a standard, I’m a bad teacher. This is the second district I’ve worked in. I’m tired of more and more work being piled on teachers. In an average planning period of 55 minutes a day, (because for an hour before school and after I am there to provide extra help to students) I am expected to plan lessons for 3 different courses, make all my copies, create resources and tests, and retests, and re-retests, grade work for 150 students, answer emails, and contact parents of struggling students, keep all my materials organized…I almost never get to collaborate with other teachers, because by the time the kids leave after school, other teachers are coaching, gone home, in meetings, running copies, or wherever isn’t in their rooms. All this…and I feel like a failure every day.

    Like many of you, feel the stress on the way to work. I dread Sunday’s, because I know a week of hopelessness looms. In 2000, and again in 2009, things got so bad I actually had to tell my principal (2 different districts) that I needed time off, and had to get doctor’s notes. The first time, the principal didn’t let me back after a month absence (it was May 1). He said the kids were used to the sub, and it would be unfair to switch. (The aid I had in two of my classes said he was a retired teacher who let the kids sleep, and didn’t give tests – he was also a friend of the principal’s.) They had me tutor at the homeschooling resource center for the last 6 weeks of the year. The next time, my principal was really supportive. I always made up excuses for my department. The second time, I was in the hospital for a week, because I had a plan to commit suicide, but knew I couldn’t carry through with it (my sister already did), so I told my coworkers that expected an explanation that I was anemic and had various symptoms, and needed to go into the hospital for testing. I know at least a couple of them weren’t stupid. It was that second time that I had, for about two years, been cutting and burning my abdomen. (I figured, at first, that after 4 babies worth of stretch marks that it wouldn’t make much difference, and being as depressed as I was, it wasn’t like I had a sex life. For 3 years after that, I didn’t let things get to me…because I was taking bipolar meds. But I hated them, because I had lost my creativity and passion in my teaching. I tried several combinations, but all had some undesired effect, from weight gain to foggy thinking. Try teaching calculus through a foggy mind.

    I know…I’m rambling forever, but I need to get all this out, and you can choose not to read it. I really, really, really need a new career. I can’t do this anymore, and it’s only going to get worse. I see where policies are headed, and I can’t work any more hours than I already do. Teaching consumes my life, and for nothing. The system ties my hands at every point. I can’t change or adapt what I teach based on the kids needs, because I have to be on the same unit schedule as the rest of the department. I even have to give the same simplistic, poorly written tests that are basically written so the kids will pass if they’ve been conscious. I’m 48 years old. I feel like I’m too old for retraining in anything, but I’m not qualified to do anything but teach…and I don’t even to that well. My husband is 55, and we just don’t have time to monkey around financially. But if I do this for 15 – 20 more years, I’ll be dead from stress induced opportunistic disease or suicide. I just can’t go on. I can’t concentrate, I cry a lot, and I’ve started hurting myself again. – This had better be soooo anonymous! I keep thinking that I need a job that I can leave at work after an 8, or even 9 or 10 hour day. I need a job where I’m judged on my own performance, not that of teenagers who don’t really care – and I have too many of them to make a difference and help them to care. I try, I really do. I give it everything, but I can make so little difference, for so few kids. It’s killing me. I feel so trapped. Sorry for the epistle, but I don’t know where to turn..and no, counseling didn’t help, and I feel like all medication did was allow me to work and perpetuate the insanity of the system instead of try to change it. Someone has to try. And meds didn’t change the 60 hour weeks. Why can’t I be ten years younger with time to start over?

    • One too says:

      I was a teacher for close to 30 yrs, and I got depressed and burnt out, too! This is not a helpful comment for you, perhaps, but I just wanted to express my feelings, and let you know that you’re definitely not alone!

  15. Ella says:

    Thank you for your wonderful web site. I have been reading through it and it is giving me some hope to get through the days now, since I struggle with depression on a daily basis, hour to hour, minute by minute. I have been like this since i was about 12 years old (im now 38) and I’ve had many different life circumstances that have affected the progression of depression in my life.

    I have never been diagnosed because i cannot afford to go through the system and pay for the necessary help or medications etc. Lately i contemplate suicide a lot, it’s scary, especially when I know how much there is to live for, but some days are so black that i cannot see anything good in life period. Im so sad knowing that while i want my life to end there are many people out there desperately trying to live. I deal with these negative and guilty feelings all on my own and i’ts debilitating and very difficult because i feel very alone and isolated all the time even though i have a loving,caring and supportive family…still i feel extremly overwhelemed by these sad sad feelings and i don’t share with them…they have their own problems and they don’t need anymore troubles. They know how i feel, but i don’t let them know to what extent i feel these emotions- it would hurt them too much. They would not know what to do and they would just worry for me. I don’t have any friends to turn to either, everyone whom i’ve told about this in the past has turned away from me -like im diseased- so i haven’t talked about my feelings to anyone in years…i just fake it and pretend to be ‘happy-sunshine- 24/7. I find that people love you until they find out that you really need their help… then they leave or give you a few words, change the subject and move on to other things. its very difficult.

    Thank you once again. I wish you all love, peace and courage.

    • One too says:

      You’ve expressed so many of my thoughts exactly! The system’s too expensive, family don’t know what to do, and worry for me. Have no friends. But I can’t fake it. Too hard! I’d be glad to read answers from anyone who has solved this depression problem, and knows what you and I should do to get out of this condition!

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