Advice with Annelies: girlfriend’s depression

This series will answer people’s questions or worries, either that have been asked to me or I wanted to give my opinion on. Of course, these are just suggestions, and if the problem is severe, you should seek professional help or advice. This addition’s topic of Advice with Annelies: girlfriend’s depression.

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend's depression

This is a long one and there is a lot to approach, but you can read the whole question (from reddit) below.

My girlfriend is depressed because of her parents. from Advice

Oh gosh, where to start? First of all, can I just say how great you’re doing at looking out for your girlfriend and that I’m so glad she can confide in you- especially when she doesn’t seem to have anyone else. It’s often easier to keep such thoughts to yourself, but you’re clearly a massive support for her.

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend's depression

“…she was unable to graduate on time this year because of her depression, which only made her parents angrier. Now she’s being pressured to find a full-time job when she is trying to improve her mental health first.”

It’s such an awful situation when parents don’t understand the severity of a mental health illness and acting in anger or disappointment definitely doesn’t help. As with the job, however, mental health does need to come first, and in the grand scheme of things, taking a year out will not hinder her future in any way, so I think that was the right move.

Regarding the job, is this a “to keep you occupied” reason or a “you need to earn some money reason?” If it’s the former, there are lots of other things she can do to keep her busy, especially as it may mean keeping her cognitively challenged and giving her goals and aims for the day. If it is the latter, then maybe it’d be a good compromise with the parents, to try and ease into part-time first and then full time later on. Alternatively, if there is angst about going into the world of work, perhaps, to help you both, you could research different methods of earning money. Depending on your location, there are many possible ideas such as participating in surveys, mystery shopping or ebay reselling etc.

“Long story short, I feel helpless. I don’t know what to do, if there’s anything I can do, to help her in this situation. I simply want to take her away from them but can’t afford to.”

By what you said, it definitely sounds like she could have depression, but taking medication should also be taken alongside therapy if this is possible. It is unfair for you to take the burden, speaking to a professional may really help her; especially concerning coping methods for being at home etc. In terms of what you should do next, it is difficult because I don’t know how much power you have/your age/your living situation.

If you live at home, is there a way for her to stay if she pays rent (maybe you could go halves?) or could you maybe rent out a very small place together? In the ideal situation, you would perhaps move in with each other so she can get away from the environment that is potentially the cause or trigger of her depression. However, I realise that this may not be possible, and visiting may not be often if you don’t drive etc. I’ve left some ideas on how to help in the next section.

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend's depression

“Are there any suggestions of what I could do to help other than being a shoulder to cry on? Should I confront her parents or just stay out of it?”

Personally, I would try and encourage her to seek professional help. If she has difficulty trusting adults as a result of her parents’ opinions and reactions to her mental health, try and reassure her that not everyone is like this and that they could genuinely help her. Another thing that could help, is with her mental and physical wellbeing. Especially if she can spend days in bed, try and encourage her to maybe take a walk occasionally and make sure she is eating correctly etc. Not only is it important for her to maintain her physical health, but exercise can also help give her a goal for the day and keep her busy, especially if she is not working.

I would not confront her parents about it, especially if they realise that she is in bed due to depression etc. but doesn’t take it seriously. She is still at home, and if unless you’re sure of how they’d react, you don’t know if it could potentially make the home environment even more awkward or tense for her.

I really hope this has helped and I wish you all the best! Hopefully, their understanding betters soon and that circumstances change for you both for the better!

The Frugal Frenchie

Can you love others before loving yourself?

A tweet caught my attention the other day. At first, it seemed innocent, but upon further thought, I realised that this statement could actually be debated. As a result, here’s my response to this post and my answer to the question “Can you love others before loving yourself?”

Can you love others before loving yourself?

In my opinion, this statement, idea, principle… whatever you want to call it, could be taken one of two ways.

I think it’s possible to agree with this tweet if the “love yourself” part is expanded upon a little more. If “love yourself” means understanding what you deserve and understanding your worth, then I would agree with this 100%.

Can you love others before loving yourself?

I may be incorrect in saying so, as I’m just having the head of a psychology student on, but I think this is what many victims of domestic abuse struggle with. Whether you watch Dr. Phil or documentaries about the subject, you’ll often hear domestic victims becoming so manipulated that they thought it was normal, or that they deserved that treatment, or that their life was of no importance compared to their partners’. These victims had lost the love for themselves. They may have constantly been criticised about their appearance or beaten up for the slightest “mistake.” Do they really know how to love another when their idea of a healthy relationship and love is so skewed?

It takes an understanding of your self-worth to realise that that treatment isn’t what you deserve, you are better than that and how they are treating you. You deserve much much more. Is this maybe what the writer of the tweet had in mind initially?

After real consideration, however, I did see the negative implications of this tweet and that actually it may come across very offensive for many people.

“Love yourself” appeared very direct and with a literal meaning. I then thought that maybe it was talking about self-confidence, high self-esteem, loving your body and other things along those lines. Now I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t completely sure of what link this had with the capability of loving others? Surely loving yourself and loving others isn’t correlated or either mutually exclusive? It’s completely “person dependent.”

Can you love others before loving yourself?

Some people may have issues with their bodies or feel very uncomfortable in their own skin. That doesn’t mean that they can’t love their family? Or love their pets? Or love their partners? There’s no link! There are people with eating disorders that may be unable to be satisfied with their bodies, or unable to eat healthily, but that doesn’t mean they can’t feel the warmth or comfort from being in others’ company or caring for other people?

Similarly, this can apply to any other mental illness. Those with PTSD or depression or bipolar disorder… doesn’t mean there’s nobody they can love? If we go by the statistic that 1 in 4 (or some people say 1 in 3) people will have a mental health illness at some point in their lives, then that’s a lot of single people out there! It’s actually quite an absurd thought! If anything, those who don’t love themselves may love others more simply because of the joy they bring them and how good they make them feel!

What is your interpretation of this tweet? What would your answer to this question be? Let me know in the comments below, it’s an interesting topic!

The Frugal Frenchie x

 

How to survive long distance relationships

Trying to survive long distance relationships can be difficult. If you don’t have the means or time to see each other often, it can really form a strain. My boyfriend and I have had our share of experiences with this and my ex actually lived in France, so I’m hoping these little tips that helped me, can be useful for you too.

Social media

Nowadays, everyone is on social media but there are some particular features that can really help in a relationship. Skype or Facebook calls, in particular, are great, as it allows you to make voice or video calls for free. It’s easy to just chat online, but face to face adds that more personal touch and when you’re feeling down, hearing your partner’s voice can be exactly what you need!

Love letters

Although technology does us a million favours from easing uni research to allowing us to email people from around the world, it has slightly ruined the romance between communication. If you have a penpal, you may understand the excitement of waiting for a letter or the even bigger surprise and receiving an unexpected one! Letters can be a great way to make your partner’s day, especially if there’s a time difference and it means you can’t often communicate “live.”

Talk of the future

I remember when my boyfriend and I were feeling particularly down and in need of company, talking of the future would often cheer us up. Just speaking of plans for next you see each other, or where you would love to go on holiday together etc. If you’re older, then maybe fantasise about where you’d want to get married etc. it really does add that buzz and romance to a relationship.

Learn about each other’s schedule

This might sound a little possessive, but I think it can mean a lot to the other person. It’s like the parent equivalent of “how did X go,” except you’re flattered they remembered and you want to tell them all about it. It’s often hard to do when you’re not living with each other but that little extra effort sure will be appreciated. It’s a very coupley thing to do and it can make your relationship that much stronger!

Doing similar things

You might be thinking “oh no that’s just as sickly as wearing matching clothes,” but it’s actually quite a fun and an engaging idea for you and your partner. Having something you can relate to or motivate each other over, will add a little variety to the everyday conversations and liven things up a bit! It doesn’t have to be a hobby or skill, it could be a joint project or allocating roles for a certain event you have coming up. Be creative and see what you can come up with!

These are just a few ideas of many. Do you use any other tricks? What did you find helpful? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x