Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I am very sorry to know about this sad and frustrating situation. Your story shows how challenging your circumstances have been for both of you from the beginning to the present.
You did live together and from experience know your relationship worked but was not possible to stay together not because of lack of mutual affection and caring but because of the conflicts between him and your son, issue that does not exist any more.
You were able to stay in the relationship regardless the physical distance and the painful experience around conflicts with your son, and that shows once more you truly cared about each other and wanted to work on deepening your love; and it seems your decision to live together now that circumstances have changed was based on the same affection and longings you have had since the time you started your relationship.
Now, you said after 2 weeks into your move he is showing this apprehension about your presence there, something that seems to be totally new from him and in your relationship, what could make it really shocking for anybody in your shoes, after leaving your home and life behind to be there because of how much he wanted this to happen.
There seems to be a mismatch between this present behavior and the ones he showed for the past three years in your relationship, but you also said that you found out he has been undergoing mental health problems, serious enough to justify psychiatric drugs and hospitalization, apparently all or mostly related to the loss of his only son in such a tragic way.
A traumatic event like that could easily cause or trigger depressive, anxiety or any other mental health disorder, and if the person's "support system" and necessary professional help have not been good enough to help him cope and get into his rehabilitation process, then his mood, mental health, functioning and relationships could deteriorate, and the changes you just reported be part of those consequences.
His words show he is depressed and perhaps feels hopeless and even guilty around different things. Unresolved grief could be devastating for anybody, even more if for some reason the person blames himself for situations related to his loss. He states not being able to love other people because he does not love himself, and that says a lot about his sadness and the way he thinks and feels about him.
The best way to support a person in a situation like this is to effectively commit to offer assertive and empathetic support, the one so necessary for him to allow his rehabilitation process to develop, heal from the loss and work on his personal issues undermining his ability to take good care of himself and to participate of the relationship in healthier and more fulfilling ways.
When people get this depressed, they could easily self-sabotage and sabotage relationships, thus only those who truly care and have enough insight about the dilemmas and pain they suffer could offer necessary support, so important for them to allow themselves the chance to heal do necessary work to change and grow from painful life issues.
My invitation is for you to continue to show how much you truly care and are willing to be there to support him as much as necessary and possible. Part of your work should be focused on helping him understand how essential it is to get and keep the necessary "psychological - psychotherapeutic"support he needs.
Psychiatric medication could help sometimes with some symptoms but they cannot replace necessary therapeutic work the person needs to work on in order to rehabilitate from grief, depression or any other mental health problem.
He needs regular individual psychotherapy, ideally also group psychotherapy addressing the core issues affecting him. If he has been using medication, he needs to keep in touch with psychiatrist in order to discuss about it, if he continues with it, change it or what would be the best approach for him around psychiatric treatement. My suggestion is always to carefully assess the pros and cons of psychiatric drugs in order to make a sound decision around using or stopping them, but psychological treatment is always a must for the rehabilitation process.
Show unconditional and consistent healthy affection, understanding, gentleness, compassion and support; in this way he would have the best help to allow his own healing and the necessary work to start. In this way your relationship and other core areas of his life would be positively impacted. This is the best you could do in my opinion, and obviously this would also depends on how much he allows you to play this role. You can offer the best you can, but he's the one who decides how much and well he allows you to play this role in his life.
Does it make sense?
Your acknowledging and confirmation of my frustrations, helps...we all need to be heard.
Yes, expressing our feelings, specially the painful and negative ones is a core need we all have, and many people just do not know how to release them in healthy ways, what uses to lead to depression, anxiety, anger and relationships problems and even to medical issues. Anything could get deeply undermined by the lack of coping with what we feel and experience in life, this is why it's so important to have a supportive and empathetic hand close to us, helping us to be this patient and gentle with ourselves, and to be open to allow others who could help, to support us.
His relationship with his son has been estranged. A messy divorce 13 years ago left him on his own, in America, really not being the dad he should be. Thinking, I believe, that he would have the chance one day. Now his son is gone. No second chances. The medication started long before this tragic event. I only want to see some joy in his eyes again. Your input touched me...I wasnt sure how cyber-pshych would work. Thank you for your input.
Then it is accurate to say that he has been grieving the loss of his relationship with his son for several years because of the sad circumstances they had to live, and that the tragedy taking his physical life away, and with it the hopes for healing their relationship, just overwhelmingly impacted him mind and heart, taking away his chances for such a necessary healing and mutual fulfillment he hoped to happen for so long.
Thank you for your trust and courage to share this painful situation. Please consider individual counseling as an ideal source of support for you to better cope with this challenging situation while taking good care of yourself and supporting him as much as possible. Thank you.
It breaks my heart. And I wonder if I am strong enough to see him through this. I hope so and plan on it! He is an amazing man. Thank you for your support.
Taking good care of yourself is the first right, need and responsibility you have; and it is from there that you could truly support other people you care about. You know what and how much you could afford in different circumstances, be totally truthful with yourself about it, and honest and open towards him, this way you would be doing your best to take good care of yourself and to support him. Some people in your shoes find they can cope with it for a while or for long, while others can't. Only you know how you feel and what you can afford. My suggestion is for you to focus on what depends on you, being responsible, caring and proactive, and hope for him to do the same. This way, you would be doing the best anybody could do to support another person while taking healthy and good care of yourself. I hope you well in this tough but necessary and worthy process. Thanks.
I want him to know he is worthy of love. and I consider him my family.