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Thread: Should I bother saying anything?

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    #1

    Should I bother saying anything?

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    Hi friends. Once again, here I am with ~issues~.

    The past week has been... weird. DB has had a really hard past few weeks, but it escalated this week. It's made him really depressed and legitimately angry at the world.

    Now he's shutting me out. Like, not in a "I don't want to talk about my feelings" kind of way, but in a "I'm not going to talk to you at all" way. He's aware that he's doing this, too, because he sent me a message saying he doesn't want me to think he's taking his anger out on me, he's just too depressed to find it in him to talk to anyone.

    Look, I get it. I have depression and anxiety. I spent half a year isolating myself because I didn't have the energy to reach out to anyone... it ruined a lot of my relationships, and caused me to fight with my best friends for months. I'll own that. So I told him that I understand that feeling and when he's ready to talk, I'll be there to listen. I've suggested he talk to the chaplain about how he's feeling, and he responded, "That's not happening." He's been taking testosterone boosters to build muscle, and I suggested he come off them because a side effect is worsened depression, but he doesn't want to because it really helps his performance in the gym, and the gym is the only thing that gets him out of bed other than work every day. So there's not much else I can say other than validating his feelings/be a source of normalcy for him.

    He told me he's going to try to make more of an effort to talk to me because how he's feeling isn't my fault so I took him at his word. I've tried to keep our conversations normal since then. I talk about school, sending him a care package, the fact that it snowed here... you know, try to focus on things other than how horrible he's feeling. But he'll get online and ignore my messages. I'm not going to act like it doesn't make me feel shitty since he said he would make an effort to talk to me, but isn't really. But it's not about me right now, it's about him.

    Which is why I'm unsure if I want to say anything to him. I don't want to place extra pressure on him or make him worry about me when he already feels shitty and has a lot going on. And I don't want to be selfish, needy, or petty. But I also don't want to keep things from him, and I don't want resentment to build up because as much as I know objectively that he's not taking things out on me, it can really feel that way.

    Should I gently say something, or should I ride it out? We're past halfway, and I know this is when it gets hard for a lot of servicemembers. The one idea I did have was sending him a playlist of my favorite workout songs, since he mentioned how much he's been using the gym to cope. I've been sending him playlists throughout his deployment, plus a workout playlist acknowledges one of the positive things in his life right now. I just think I need some outside perspective right now.

    TL;DR because this turned into a novel: DB is shutting me out and it's making me feel ignored/forgotten. Do I bring it up or let it blow over?
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    #2
    I definitely suggest saying something. You have to remember that you're in this relationship too - you also need to take care of yourself and if this is taking a toll on you, then it's worth mentioning. If he truly cares about you, he'd also take in consideration your feelings. It sounds like to me you're doing the best you can to be there for him, but he should also make a little effort to make things easier for you too. I'd go with something like, "I can see you're struggling right now, and I'm here for you whenever you're ready to talk. But I also feel really distant from you, and I wanted you to know that I've been feeling ignored." Not to be a total cliche, but definitely use "I" statements and talking about YOUR feelings so that it doesn't sound like you're blaming him for it.

    When DB came back from his first deployment and was preparing for his second one, he was pretty shut out too. And I also felt ignored, forgotten, neglected. He wouldn't talk to me about anything, and our conversations became nothing but me talking at him. I tried really hard to get any response, but I ended up riding it out. I even thought about leaving him because he made me feel so terrible. I really wish I had said something to him about how I felt though because after I just waited it out, I had mentioned how crappy he made me feel and he was actually really receptive to it and apologized. So your DB might not even be aware of what's going on with you unless you tell him, and he may be going through stuff right now, but you're also a priority in his life. Communication, as difficult as it is in the military, is so important!
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    It sounds like he knows he needs to make more of an effort and while he isn't doing it right away sometimes changing existing behavior takes time, but acknowledging your behavior and verbally saying you're going to make an attempt to change it is a huge step in the right direction. People are creatures of habit, I know it sounds cliché but we seriously get in our patterns, if you deal with depression by shutting down and shutting everyone out it can be really really hard to change that pattern and develop different coping mechanisms just because you don't WANT to shut someone out. I honestly would support him but give him some time to follow through on his promise to make more of an effort to communicate with you. Change can take time and depression (especially if augmented by testosterone boosters) is a pretty big thing to tackle differently than you have in the past overnight, changing existing coping skills can take months and years...
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitease View Post
    I definitely suggest saying something. You have to remember that you're in this relationship too - you also need to take care of yourself and if this is taking a toll on you, then it's worth mentioning. If he truly cares about you, he'd also take in consideration your feelings. It sounds like to me you're doing the best you can to be there for him, but he should also make a little effort to make things easier for you too. I'd go with something like, "I can see you're struggling right now, and I'm here for you whenever you're ready to talk. But I also feel really distant from you, and I wanted you to know that I've been feeling ignored." Not to be a total cliche, but definitely use "I" statements and talking about YOUR feelings so that it doesn't sound like you're blaming him for it.

    When DB came back from his first deployment and was preparing for his second one, he was pretty shut out too. And I also felt ignored, forgotten, neglected. He wouldn't talk to me about anything, and our conversations became nothing but me talking at him. I tried really hard to get any response, but I ended up riding it out. I even thought about leaving him because he made me feel so terrible. I really wish I had said something to him about how I felt though because after I just waited it out, I had mentioned how crappy he made me feel and he was actually really receptive to it and apologized. So your DB might not even be aware of what's going on with you unless you tell him, and he may be going through stuff right now, but you're also a priority in his life. Communication, as difficult as it is in the military, is so important!
    Using "I" statements isn't cliche for the exact reasons you gave! I guess I've been having a hard time seeing past the deployment, because if he were home I would have said something 3 days ago, lol. I really am trying my best and honestly have been doing okay for most of it, but this has been really hard on me for whatever reason. Neglected is a good word to describe how I'm feeling.

    I'm going to try to say something, everything I write comes off as sounds selfish imo but it could help. He has to actually open my messages first though... :/

    Quote Originally Posted by AMP1984 View Post
    It sounds like he knows he needs to make more of an effort and while he isn't doing it right away sometimes changing existing behavior takes time, but acknowledging your behavior and verbally saying you're going to make an attempt to change it is a huge step in the right direction. People are creatures of habit, I know it sounds cliché but we seriously get in our patterns, if you deal with depression by shutting down and shutting everyone out it can be really really hard to change that pattern and develop different coping mechanisms just because you don't WANT to shut someone out. I honestly would support him but give him some time to follow through on his promise to make more of an effort to communicate with you. Change can take time and depression (especially if augmented by testosterone boosters) is a pretty big thing to tackle differently than you have in the past overnight, changing existing coping skills can take months and years...
    I know you can't tackle depression overnight. My battle with depression is a daily one. I'm not kidding when I say I truly understand feeling so low you can't get out of bed, let alone talk to anyone else. I didn't get better overnight, and I don't expect him to. But it's really taxing on the people around you, which is something I didn't get until my friends kind of kicked my ass about it. The ones who confronted me about my behavior are the ones I'm actually still friends with.

    If he wasn't overseas, I'd have no problem telling him when he's making me feel shitty. It's only the fact that I don't want him to be worried about whatever's going on over there, his personal life, and then our relationship on top of it all. That's a lot on his plate at one time when he has a mission to focus on.
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    #5
    This is tough.
    It sounds like he might have problems that he needs more help with than you can provide.
    If you feel like they are issues that would end in suicide, I think you would have a duty to speak with someone who could get him help. The repercussions of this are pretty serious and could end in him being discharged.
    But in the end, if he is feeling that low and gets the help he needs, it is worth it.
    That is completely a judgement call on your part.
    I think I'm a bad judge of this, but this is what I would do. If it were dh being depressed to the point I was worried for his safety, I would call the chaplain and ask for help or even advice.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Medic2Doula View Post
    This is tough.
    It sounds like he might have problems that he needs more help with than you can provide.
    If you feel like they are issues that would end in suicide, I think you would have a duty to speak with someone who could get him help. The repercussions of this are pretty serious and could end in him being discharged.
    But in the end, if he is feeling that low and gets the help he needs, it is worth it.
    That is completely a judgement call on your part.
    I think I'm a bad judge of this, but this is what I would do. If it were dh being depressed to the point I was worried for his safety, I would call the chaplain and ask for help or even advice.
    He's not suicidal, thank god, but in the future, how could I get in contact with the chaplain? Is that just dependent on the battalion?

    Also, update: DB messaged me with a huge apology for shutting me out. He explained that he's doing better, and that he was starting to change things to actually try to get better and that he never wanted to make me feel like he was ignoring me. I told him how I'd been feeling and he was really receptive to it and very apologetic, and now we're on the same page with how we both are feeling.

    Knowing that he's actively trying to confront his feelings instead of just being pissed at the world makes me feel a lot better. And we're no longer in feelings limbo with each other!

    Thank you all for the advice and support. It made me feel a lot more sane until I heard from him. Y'all are amazing <3

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