That's a good question :) I guess I have a few:
1. What is the best way to show him support without either emasculating him or staying away. He told me he really appreciates it when I check up on him, I have been writing 1 to 3 text messages a day to him...all very short but light either reminding him how great he is or just mentioning a light topic or inside joke. However when we spoke last night after 4 days of only text, I had a hard time not asking too much or offering too much. He seemed to get upset because I said "we" and "us" too much and said he felt trapped. This is very strange and really upsetting because up until now he has been very affectionate, has even cried because he misses me, and has told me I am his other half and that he wants to be with me the rest of our lives.
2. Is there anything I could say to him to help protect myself when we do talk on the phone or when I visit him? I already sent an email last night that gently suggested we not talk about our relationship until he was feeling better since that is not the root of his depression and he may hurt me. Should I do more? What if he snaps back or brings up being trapped again? He has been very worried about hurting me by being too depressed or snapping at me, and I've told him I could handle it...which I have until now. But last night, he made me cry because of what he said about being trapped and not wanting to have to choose between me and his career...he's never said anyhting like that before!
3. If he is still severely depressed when I visit him in two weeks, should I cancel my trip or go there anyhow? What if he tells me not to come? I know withdrawing from loved ones is a part of depression, I'm prone to depression myself, but I feel like he's creating a self-fulfilling prophesy that this relationship, like everything else in his life (in his eyes) is crap
I'm afraid that not going would be hurtful to him, even if he told me not to come, but that going if he doesn't want me might make him angry or tactless v. touched.
I'd like to clarify things a bit so you can give me a little clearer advice.
One thing I know absolutely is that he has a severe chemical depression that gets set off situationally at times. He told me when we first met that the skeleton in his closet was his bianual bouts of severe depression and he's always said he'd be devastated to lose me. He'd ask if I was sure I'd want a "loser" like him.
I stayed with him two wonderful weeks (until the 15th of Jan). He got a ridiculous deadline that stressed him out right before I left, and he was tearing up the day before and day of my flight home. I know at least the job thing set him off and it went down the hill from there.
A while back, we talked about what to do when this happened, but obviously not enough. Back then said he'd want me around...but who knows.
Do you really think I should break up with him right now? I honestly don't want to since I love him and I think it could drive him into something suicidal at this point...that's the kind of severe depression he's experienced in bouts since he was in his 20s...and he tried once early on. But I do want to figure out how to survive this depression myself and not get dragged down. I told him last week he could tell me anything that was bothering him, but I wish I hadn't since I know he is loopy right now. I just want to make sure he gets through this, I give him some support, and I don't get walked all over in the process. I don't think I can survive him saying something cruel again...I've never seen anything like that from him before..not even a glimmer.
I appreciate your encouragement to stay off topic in terms of the relationship, but presuming I don't tell him I'm leaving, should I tell him very strongly next time he lashes out and hurting me, or is it better to let him get the thought out and hear from me later like this last time?