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Stress And Loss Of Feeling Or Emotional Deadness

Question:

Hi.

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for 4 months and the past few weeks she has been really stressed. The combination of being a single mother of 3 and her new job as well as her ex creating drama and stress, she has had a couple rough weeks. In turn, she has become emotionally withdrawn from me in our relationship. She has said she is emotionally dead and unsure what she is going through. She has lost most of her appetite and is tired even when she gets sleep. Is this something you have dealt with and is there anything I should do differently?

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Answer:

While it is not possible to diagnose someone over the internet it is true that some of the symptoms you mention are characteristic of depression. For instance, her tiredness, inability to sleep and withdrawal from you and possibly from others, as well, are all typical of depression. In addition, she is under enormous stress and that certainly could worsen her depressed feelings.

There are a couple of things both of you need to know. First is that, she needs a complete physical exam. Her tiredness could be symptomatic of some form of illness. Given her stress level, that would make sense. If the exam proves negative, meaning that she is in good health, it would be a good idea for her to see a good psychotherapist who could help her reduce depression and better manage her stress. If necessary, and this is only a “maybe,” anti depressant medication might be a possibility if nothing else works.

You ask about whether you can do anything differently? That is a difficult question to answer because I do not know how you do things with her. Speaking in very general terms, someone who is under lots of stress and who feels depressed, may find a relationship very burdensome. I do not mean that you are a burden. I only mean that she may feel that way if she thinks she has to take care of you. If she thinks that way, she may also feel that she has no energy for that. If this is true, and you can find out by discussing it with her, you can help lighten her burden by helping her do things. For example, helping with shopping, management with the kids, cleaning the house, etc. You need to find out from her just what she would like you to do.

Good luck to both of you.

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