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Unread 03-08-2013, 01:17 AM   #1
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Default How can I help my gf?

Hello all. Sorry in advance if this post is particularly long.

I am in a relationship with a woman I love very much. We have been together for over 2 years and before we met I knew that she had had bouts with depression and severe self-esteem issues (we met online and it took her 10 months to agree to meet me.. even then she was convinced that I'd "take one look at her and throw up and leave"). The fact is that she's really attractive to me. She is not skinny and her weight is her biggest issue but she isn't obese or anything and I like girls who have a little extra padding.

Anyway. For the first 2 years of our relationship she had basically nothing going on because she had dropped out of college before we met and she couldn't get the financial aid to go back until now. She could only find 1 job and it wasn't a good match for her (it's those people who stand on street corners yelling at people to sign up for helping starving kids or something and she's too shy for that) and I remember her calling me and crying that she couldn't do it and I told her that it wasn't a big deal if she lost the job etc, which she did but she recovered from it pretty well.

After 2 years of being stagnant she finally started back to school - in an advanced, fast track program that is a lot of hard work. She hasn't been coping with the stress well. And I've noticed before that whenever there is a stress in her life she's just really bad at dealing with it. Well midterms were bad enough.. but then she found out that her family were being evicted and had to find a new place to live (to make a long story short, they were paying someone else who then paid the landlord and that person decided to start stealing their money instead of paying the landlord). She kind of lost it, she sobbed and sobbed and seemed inconsolable. And then they found a new place and I had to cancel my trip to go see her (we are in a LDR sadly) because she ended up having to move, and instead of seeing my gf and hugging and kissing her I ended up not talking to her at all this week because she jut kind of completely shut down.

For some background, her parents are immigrants and her dad has been a controlling asshole her whole life. He once punched her in the face and kicked her out when she was a teenager. He tried to leave her off a tax forum once thinking that he'd get more money and she was terrified she'd get in trouble with the government. He's ruined her mom's credit and he got rid of the only real source of happiness she ever had in that house - her dog. She loved her dog to death, and I think she was a good coping mechanism for her. She took the dog out every morning and would jut walk and play with her all the time. Well, one day the dog barked and her dad forced her to take it to the pound (she ended up taking her to the humane society) and that was the first time I had ever seen her completely shut down. She did nothing but sleep and stay in her bed and cry for days. Her father has stated that he will murder any child of his who were a homosexual and she's dating me (a chick). She can't come out to her parents (especially when she's had a bf in the past so her mom would think it was a phase) but her sister knows and is supportive.

Back to now: I think that her main problem is that she just cannot handle stress. She gets overwhelmed and she can't cope. This causes her to be depressed, and when she is depressed she doesn't want to talk to anyone. She's pushed me away and everything I had to say was shut down ("It's gonna be ok baby" "no its not") and I haven't talked to her for a few days (every time I tried I would be told to leave her alone). I didn't know what to do so I just asked her to text me when she was feeling better and I cut off my phone so I wouldn't be tempted to check it every 2 minutes to see if she had texted. 12 hours after that text she sent "I still don't feel better" and 20 or so hours after that she sent "I wrote you an email goodnight."

The email consisted of her saying that she knew she wasn't treating me well and that she was sorry but she wants to push me away so I don't "have to deal with the mess that is her" because she is a "disgusting whirlpool that is only dragging me down." She said that she just feels hollow and empty and that she knows I'll suggest therapy but she doesn't think it would fix the 'underlying problems' that it's hard for her to feel satisfaction with herself ever. She is a perfectionist and gets mad at a low A in school. She hates herself and she doesn't think she is enough for me (she is more than enough). She thinks it would be easier for everyone if she didn't exist. She doesn't know what she wants in her future anymore. She's overwhelmed and doesn't know how to deal with it. Here are the 2 most disconcerting paragraphs:

"I feel like sometimes I hold back when it comes to what I'm thinking. I don't know why. I guess because I've been so used to doing it in the past I do it without thinking. I don't really know what to tell you other than I don't feel good. And you'll tell me to go to therapy etc to get meds, but that doesn't fix the underlying issues in my life. I don't know what it is, but it's hard to feel any satisfaction. I just feel so hollow. I feel like I have to act a certain way in order to keep things 'normal' because I'm afraid of what will happen if I don't. I just feel so sorry. For myself. And for you. I've thought about how it probably would've been the best to leave you out of my life. Not to have you get involved with the mess that I am because it isn't fair to you. It isn't fair that you have to deal with someone who acts the way I do. Who is unable to do the things that you want when you need them. I'm never going to be okay because I'm never going to be okay with being me. Sometimes I think about how maybe one day I will, but medication isn't going to fix that. Maybe it will help me feel a little less hollow, but it won't make me like myself. That's the biggest problem. If I can't even like myself how am I going to let you love me the way you do? It isn't fair.

I can't pinpoint what exactly is wrong with me. I just know that I shouldn't be feeling this way. I'm 22 and I keep wishing that my life would just end because it would be easier that way. That isn't normal and it isn't okay. To feel as though this life is meaningless isn't okay. I'm striving towards a future that I don't even know that I want. I don't know what I want anymore. I don't know how to feel. I don't even know what I feel. I can't even cry even though I feel like maybe I should. I'm completely devoid of sadness, I'm just this person who feels as though they're wasting away. I am wasting away. And I've taken you along on this ride and it isn't fair."

I replied and basically begged her to give therapy a try. She lives in Toronto which is expensive as hell and she has no money or insurance and HATES it when I spend money on her but I need to convince her to let me. I found someone who gives students discounts for $75/session. She takes a 'holistic approach' - do you guys think that's ********? I really don't know. I don't know how much therapy could help my gf but I know it couldn't hurt. I know she needs it.

I guess my questions are this: does anyone have any suggestions for how I can convince my gf to go to therapy? Does anyone know of a good therapist in Toronto (east side of town would be best) who isn't crazy expensive? Does anyone have any other suggestions as to what I can say or do? Do you guys think she can be helped? (I know that is hard to answer without knowing her.. but I really just need some hope). I am really worried about her... the only time she's been this low is before we met when she found out she was pregnant and actually considered suicide. She ended up getting an abortion and her family luckily never found out. I don't know how to help and I'm just so worried. I love her so much and I will do anything to help.

Thank you all for listening
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Unread 03-08-2013, 10:49 AM   #2
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Default Re: How can I help my gf?

Thank you for posting, HeavyRain. In addition to possible depression and anxiety (we can't diagnose) I suspect deeply rooted cultural and family dynamics are at work in your friend, and it will be exceptionally difficult for her to accept therapy. "Exceptionally difficult" does not mean impossible. Therapy for her should be sensitive to those cultural and family influences and not impose upon her a one-size-fits-all psychological template.

I feel compelled to ask: Were the fact of therapy or certain details of your friend's history to get back to her family, would that put her at risk of becoming the target of an honour action?
My dog mastered the "fetch" command. He would communicate he wanted something, and I would fetch it.
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Unread 03-08-2013, 09:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: How can I help my gf?

Its very difficult to know someone you love is in great pain and there is little you can do for them. Regardless of the fact that your gf tells you that she wants you to stay away because she isn't worthy or has nothing to give the relationship, this is the time she needs you the most. She is probably praying that you don't take her advice.

Is there any way of getting her to move out of her house? It sounds like her father is causing more damage acting the way he is. I'm really not familiar with the health care and disability issues in Toronto, but if she is eligible for help, perhaps that would help her get out. Sharing an apartment with her may be an option depending on how you feel about that. There is no reason why her father needs to know that she is gay if you did co-habitate. Its not that uncommon for people to have room mates to share expenses.

Rohag had a good point about being sensitive to cultural and family issues. A good therapist should be aware of that. The fact that she is so young is in her favor. She hasn't been building up emotional baggage for years and years. I don't know how far away she is from you, but perhaps you could go with her to her first therapy session, either part of the session, (depending on her needs and the therapist's rule), or as moral support to drive in with her and wait in the waiting room while she is in her session.

You obviously love her and your concerns are not unfounded based on what you have told us. She is lucky to have someone who is willing to stand by her. Try not to take her pulling away personally. Depression can make people isolate themselves and turn inward. Be her anchor and see if you can get her to go to a therapist.

If there is a mental health office in the area, you or she may want to make some calls and see what is available as far as therpists. Sometimes a therapist may lower her rates to accomidate patients who don't have much money. It sounds like she can't do this on her own and really needs a therapist. Its too bad her father took her dog from her. Animals can be a great source of comfort as well as being a companion. They are good at getting you moving, and a dog could keep her walking outside.

Whatever the outcome, you are truly a friend, not just a gf, but someone who will love her regardless of how she is feeling. Don't give up on her.

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