~Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Maxed Out

I haven't written about it, because frankly I don't know how to present it, whether from my point of view (which I have been told over and over that it is WRONG) or from the correct point of view from friends and family (which doesn't make me feel any better) or the secret insecurity I've been harboring the past couple of days.

So I'm writing my thoughts as they come. Welcome to my mumbo-jumbo brain.

Christopher has been depressed. Not in the ways I claim to be circumstantially depressed every now and then, but medically, clinically, brain-not-chemically-firing depressed. We've been locked in a pattern for the past two months where he mentally and emotionally slips away, I'll call him out on it, and then he swears everything is fine and he puts on a show that I'm not even sure he believes. And then the effort he's been making will peter out and it begins again.

My grandmother got really sick in January. My family was speaking of her in weeks and months as opposed to years. Whats-his-face lashed out at me and temporarily halted my world. I wanted to lean on my boyfriend, but he wasn't there. He wasn't answering the phone calls nor making any phone calls. He was sleeping all day and awake all night. We stopped spending the night together because of his sleep schedule. I got angry (typically my first reaction) and called a friend who said, "Oh, he sounds really sick." And she was all concerned over him while here I was, angry because I was feeling abandoned with his incommunication.

So I went over to his apartment and forced a talk on him. He was meek and small and didn't say much and admitted to even less. I asked what kind of girlfriend he needed from me: someone to support him or someone to hold him accountable. He said supportive. We talked about what makes him feel better. He said going to the gym. He signed up for a gym memebrship and I bought him a year's subscription to Men's Health. He did quietly thank me for coming over and squeezed my arm when I was leaving.

The next day he called me and said he's been up since 8 am and has been applying to all sorts of jobs all day. Good, I thought. Situation fixed.

And downhill slope begins again. He wants to see me, but doesn't want to leave his apartment. So if I ever want to spend time with him, I have to go to his place and sit on his couch. I begin to hate his apartment. I detach. He starts getting colds one after another and I'm not surprised because he isn't eating or sleeping regularly. That was the one thing my therapist asked me when I started seeing her. Every meeting: Am I eating and sleeping regularly? "Yes," I said. "Good," she said. "You're fine." By this standard, Christopher is not fine.

After not seeing Christopher for a couple of weeks, I stop by his apartment at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. My plan was to kidnap him and take him out to his favorite place to get some food, sunshine and interaction. He answered the door in his boxers, clearly sleeping. I turn the shower on. He gets back in bed. I tell him the plan. He tells me to turn the shower off because he's too tired to go. I begin to cry and say I need this from him. He says he needs sleep. I dance around the depression word again because he'll never admit to him, but he agrees he's been "mopey" this year. I cry and say he never comes over to my apartment anymore. We used to cook dinner together and watch TV, but he doesn't do that with me anymore. He swears he will this week: Monday or Tuesday. He asks me to leave so he can go back to bed. When I linger, he goes ahead and pretends he's sleeping.

A week goes by. I stopped by with several job leads. Every day he sends me a text saying he's got a cold and can't make it for dinner because he's going to take a sleeping pill to sleep off the cold. I've never heard of nasal drip incapacitating anyone to the extent it's taken hold of him. I'm understanding Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. But on Sunday we had made tentative plans to go out to dinner. 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 rolls by and I haven't heard from him. He doesn't answer the phone and I know he's sleeping. But I'm angry (again my first reaction). He can't make a single effort for me, yet says he wants me in his life. I feel rejected.

I send him a text that states this sleeping excuse is old and his behavior is unacceptable. An hour later I lessen the blow with saying I'm acting this way because I'm tired of having my feelings hurt. I get no response. I go to bed.

Close to midnight I get a text from him that says he really was sleeping and it's not an excuse. I can't read the emotion of the message so I call. He doesn't answer.

A few minutes later I get another text from him. He wants a break because he's not feeling it and he knows I'm not either. I laugh because this is the second time I have been broken up with by text. I hate texting and I was only able to do it again this year. I ask him to define "break." Does he want space or to break up. "Space," he responds "And I told you I didn't want to be serious."

That's my version.

Family and friends tell me that he's so depressed that he is unable to feel at the moment. That I shouldn't take it personally because he would be like this with anyone. It's not my fault and I didn't do anything wrong. They say he was depressed from being unemployed a year before he met me and that being with me gave him a high during which he was able to function. But now the high is wearing off and he's going back to being depressed because it's been an additional 9 months and he is still unemployed. Unemployment has run out and his parents are enabling him by paying his bills. His credit cards are maxed out.

Each one of them expresses concern for him. But me? I'm angry.

And the secret insecurity? Maybe he just doesn't like me.


Jaclyn said...

What does your therapist have to say about this situation? It really does sound like Christopher is depressed, and she may have better coping strategies for dealing with this situation.

Your friends are correct in the sense that you did nothing wrong, and that a depressed person will lash out even at those he loves because their deepest need right now is to be left alone to wallow in their misery.

The fact that his actions are caused by depression doesn't make it any less painful for you to experience. And you, in conjunction with your therapist, need to decide how to proceed. I would also feel sorry for Christopher, but I would say that you need to take care of yourself and your needs first. Your last relationship was an abusive one; it would not be a great idea for you to be someone's caretaker right now. Even if he comes back and begs you to be with him, I would be very concerned to see you fall into a pattern of taking care of men who aren't capable of taking care of themselves. I've done it - and it is an exhausting and thankless job. I needed to take time off of dating to get my head together so that I was ready to engage in healthy relationships.

Sarah said...

Here's the thing: when I met with my therapist last, he was in the phase of making a pretend effort and I never brought it up to her. I will see her in 2 weeks, so you best be believing that this is at the top of my list.

Thank you for your concern and I share it too. Everyone keeps telling me to keep myself busy and I'm a bit like "Duh, I already am." I have my work and my standing coffee date with the girls and my lame-o hobbies. I feel like I am doing an adequate job of taking care of myself this time around. But it always is a conscious thought in the back of my mind to not slip up.

And, believe me, if this doesn't work out, I'm done dating for quite awhile.

Bathwater said...


Jaclyn made a lot of good comments so I won't repeat them. You know I go through what Christopher does all the time and I push people away. Those I don't push away want to push me out a window when I am at my lowest points.

Christopher needs to function for himself, to be in a relationship with you. otherwise I would say find someone else. Depressives are not going to be perfectly normal,if he sleeps on his own time (after the job or job hunting or being with you) so be it occasionally.

I just realized if I totally write Christopher off I do so to myself. :). If you have any question you want to ask someone how knows what it is like to be in his state e-mail me.

AndyPrivate said...

I think there is definitely some middle ground here. Whatever is wrong with him, it definitely sounds serious. But he's not going to change until he wants to, and you shouldn't have to be held hostage emotionally to his very real, very apparent problems.

It's easy for friends and family to show concern for him, because his actions show complete desperation. But they aren't the ones that have to deal with the consequences of his behavior, you are.

I would still send him job leads if you see them, and maybe check in on him every once in a while. But until he wants to actively change you should not be subjected to the complete emotional drain he has become.

Curvy Jones said...

Everyone has already said what I was going to say, so very well. I will, then, just offer my support in line with your other e-friends. I have two ears and two shoulders, ten fingers that are good at typing (or otherwise being distracting with shiny things)-- seriously if you need someone to talk to, you're definitely not alone!

Did you shop? What'dja get?

J said...

Sarah, like Jaclyn said bottom line is that you need to take care of you and your needs. From reading this it is obvious that Christopher isn't giving you what you need. I would have reacted the same way you did...I would have been angry and hurt. And you can bet I would be questioning whether or not he really liked me. Just remember, you have to put yourself and your needs first. Hugs!

AfterGirl said...

I just want to add; do not tip toe around the D word. He is seriously depressed and needs someone from the outside to tell him. Find some test on the internet (some where like webMD or the American Psych Association website) that asks questions about his life and make him take it.

My daughter's boyfriend was depressed and that is what she did and guess what? He finally realized he was depressed and there are meds out there to help you out of the pit!

OK that is my 2 cents. Give yourself a hug and realize that all of life's trials are not our fault. Sh*&%t happens!

Kelly said...

All I can say is that I'm going through the exact. same. thing. Except it's making ME depressed as well. Feeling helpless to them...and wondering over and over...is it really just me? I get it...I really do. I just don't know how to deal with someone that you love sooo much...and how they can't just see what you see...

gekkogirl said...

Taking care of you has to be the priority. I don't want to repeat what the others have already said...

I'm with AfterGirl, don't tiptoe around it. When A was depressed I was too frightened to front it out with him. Letting him know that you know what is *really* going on exposes things for what they are.

And as for him not liking you, I do not think that is the case. I think that at present he is finding it hard to like himself and that is taking over.

Big love xx

Anonymous said...

Maybe be there for him as a friend and really worry about YOURSELF for a change.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to talk to your therapist about why you tend to gravitate towards damaged men. It's probably a good idea that you stop dating for a while and work on yourself.

Hope said...

Sarah you've got some really smart readers so I won't repeat the same sentiments.

Although I do want to make a small clarification to Jaclyn's comment. She said, '..a depressed person will lash out even at those he loves because their deepest need right now is to be left alone to wallow in their misery.'

As a depressed person myself I would like to say, in my opinion, this is wrong. A depressed person's (especially one that is clearly not coping at all) deepest need is for those feelings of misery and pain to stop! Sleeping is one way of doing that. And lashing out at loved one's is a call for help.

I hope that someone does hear his calls.

As for you, you have every right to be angry. You've been let down, treated like crap and are emotionally spent. Your therapist will probably be better at showing you some ways of dealing with this.

Good luck, stay strong and if you need to talk to anyone, I'm an email away.

Sydney said...

I agree with Anon. Having read for a while (though this is my first comment) - you seem to be drawn to men that have issues, whether they are large in the case of your most recent ex, or smaller. If Christopher is clinically depressed, that's something that's not on you - but it's also something that you can't force him to do anything about, even if it's the best thing for him. I also wonder if maybe you rushed into this relationship a bit quickly after the last one? Coming out of that one would have required more recovery time, I think. If you were a girlfriend I had in RL, my main concern is that you are afraid to be without a guy, and that's why you settle for the damaged ones. Meanwhile, in your professional life, you sound rather accomplished and take charge, so I find the conflicts between your personal and professional life interesting. You're way too young to worry about not finding someone.

(Again, apologies if I come across rude, don't mean to, just based upon what I've read here)

Me said...

Any man who breaks up with a girl by text needs to go fuck himself. hard.

2 Drink Girl said...

It is NOT you. It IS him. I'm actually going to write a blog post about this, but in short, let me say this: Being depressed is no excuse for also being an asshole.

Erin said...

I agree with everyone's sentiments. It's NOT you, it's him. I have long been attracted to damaged men, as well. When you are a nurturing person, you want to help others, but eventually you have to learn to help yourself first. It seems as though Christopher is downgrading you to a "friend" right now anyway with his lack of availability (emotionally and physically).

As a previous comment said, you can be friends with him and it would be very nice if you kept sending him job leads, but you can't and shouldn't try to deal with his issues as his girlfriend. It's just going to end up hurting because you can't help but take it personally even though you are doing nothing wrong.

Breeza said...

I don't have anything to add but that I don't think its you at all. Hope you're doing okay. xx

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! First time poster. Was doing a google book search for a Mario Testino photography book called Loves Me Not and found this blog. Have to step out but can't wait to come home and read more.

As for this post, all I can say is that you deserve better. Listen to the people in your life that love you. You are enabling him and he won't get help. THIS WILL NOT CHANGE. He may get a job but this always be his essential nature.

Lifetime of struggle if you hitch your wagon to this train-wreck.

Been there, done that and I have 20 years on you little lady. More from mt later. xo Annie

SuvvyGirl said...

I'm sure this taps into your insecurities that you're not good enough or deserving enough etc. That's probably where the anger is coming from. Not so much anger at Christopher but angry that yet another reltionship and situation is going to hell in a hand basket and you can't do anything about it.

And it really really sucks for you. I am sorry. I've been on my own roller coaster ride the last couple of months and I know it's not any fun. I have hope that things will get better with Christopher if he decides to deal with his depression. And even if he doesn't you are still the stong woman you've always been and you will deal with it and keep moving forward and realize that you've done nothing wrong. It will just take time.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to add that, as the sister of a clinically depressed, bipolar person, depression is NOTHING to play with, and frankly, it's nothing you want to get "stuck" with over the long haul. My sister's husband was unaware of her depression before they got married and has spent the last 15 years in hell.

Run. Run while you can, as fast as you can. It isn't your job to fix Christopher, and if you continue coddling him, you're only enabling him to refuse to get real, clinical help. He must hit rock bottom, and with you there to catch him, he won't.

I'm a recent reader who read back through your entire blog because your story fascinated me. I agree with the other posters who say maybe it's time to take a break from dating for awhile and invest in yourself. It's better to BE single than to WISH you were. Believe me.


Sarah said...

I find it morbidly hilarious that people have read my entire story and think I shouldn't be out in the general population.

Charlotte said...

Just read your post on Curvy Jones' blog and followed you here. I'm so terribly sorry to hear this and can't imagine what you're going through. But I think you are getting some very valid advice here: a bit of separation at this point might do you well. It sounds as though this is beyond your expertise to fix and you have your own career goals and things to follow in the meantime. I wish you all the best of luck and will continue to read your blog.

nic said...

Yuck. That's a big ole mess right there.

The thing about depression is it's incredibly stifling and self-focused. You keep thinking about how bad you feel all the time and the second you think about other people who have it worse off, you feel guilty for feeling bad. And then you feel bad even more.

This may seem harsh, but it sounds like he just did you a favor. He needs to focus on himself and make himself better. It's not your job to do that for him- even if you could. And for what it's worth, doesn't sound like he can take care of his own feelings let alone yours.

Paige Jennifer said...

Yay, another fixer-upper! Ugh. And no, I'm not trying to belittle the relevancy and seriousness of depression. I'm merely responding to the fact that you are, yet again, at the mercy of a partner's dysfunction AND his inability to get help.

(1) You're brave for being honest.

(2) You deserve to be with someone who is healthy.

(3) Men who text a break-up, regardless of mental stability, are pussies.

Dream Girl in the making said...

A few minutes later I get another text from him. He wants a break because he's not feeling it and he knows I'm not either. I laugh because this is the second time I have been broken up with by text. I hate texting and I was only able to do it again this year. I ask him to define "break." Does he want space or to break up. "Space," he responds "And I told you I didn't want to be serious."

<--- me too. How do you react to that? Do you understand? At what point do you think you should just move on? During breaks do you completely cease all communication? I'm in the same place. It's not a fun place.


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