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Partner with Depression

I don't really know where to begin with this. I have a personality disorder that makes it hard for me to connect with people on an emotional level sometimes. And I feel like it's affecting my relationship negatively.

My partner has bipolar depression and for the last several months, things have been fine between us. Recently, work has gotten a bit crazy and my partner has had to spend sometimes up to 16 hours on shift at the hospital -- a nurse in the ICU unit. And it's really starting to take a toll.

We don't talk very often because when there isn't work to be done, there's sleep to be had. And by the time morning rolls around again, it's time for another shift.

My partner recently opened up to me and explained that every little thing I do without them hurts. They feel isolated and alone. They feel like they don't have anyone to talk to and that I'm replacing them by making plans with other people.

I've tried my hardest to explain that nothing and no one in the world could replace them. They have my whole heart. But it isn't comforting to them.

I don't know how to help. They already asked to have their shifts changed / workload lessened, but the request was denied. And they're struggling so hard just to make it through every day.

I don't know what to do or suggest. I already offered to call them every single break they have. I told them they can wake me up at night if I fall asleep before they're home. But neither of these options makes them feel any better.

I keep trying to lay around sweet notes and offer contact whenever it's possible, but none of that seems to be helping either.

They told me they don't want to exist anymore.

I don't know what to do. What can I do to help change their situation?


Well-Known Member
Sorry to hear that this is happening

There is limit to what you can do, because your partner has to decide for themselves what to do.

Does the hospital know that your partner is feeling suicidal? They shouldn't be demanding 16 hour shifts from someone experiencing that.

So I guess one option is to encourage your partner to have another conversation with the hospital that involves describing what they are experiencing. It's not always a good idea to divulge a disability to an employer though.

Your partner could also just quit, which of course also has consequences, but pushing themselves till they drop seems like a worse alternative.

All US states, and many countries, have vocational assistance for people with disabilities provided by the government. They could help your partner find a job that is a better match for their disability.

I think disability law (at least in the US) requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, and reducing shift hours might be part of that.

I also recommend acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine for pretty much all conditions that conventional medicine can't treat or can't treat well
I really appreciate the advice. I needed another set of eyes that didn't have my limitations. Thank you so much. I'll see what I can do and find out with this information.
Are you getting help for your personality disorder? This may well affect intimacy, so it may be a good start to try to work on you, to be able to be there for your partner.

Please encourage your partner to get help. Often people in caring roles can 'forget' to get treatment for themselves and push themselves too far.

Is it possible for him/her to take a medical leave of absence? Sometimes even just a break works well to help recharge, and get time to reassess.

On another level, it seems to be a scheduling conflict that is also straining the relationship. You do seem to be caring and trying. Maybe you can try at times 'being' awake when they come in (if your schedule allows?), rather than saying to wake you. Or having something ready for them when they get in: tea, a bath, a meal? Surprise delivery of a basket/flowers/lunch at work.
You both can't be sleep deprived, so there is that reality. And it is actually important and healthy for you to also have a life. Are you out when he/she is at work?

May I ask how long your partner has been dealing with this?

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