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Support Circles on Sundays

Hey everyone,

We're going to be running support circles once a month on a Sunday! At the moment they run on Tuesdays, but for one of those Tuesdays, each month they will be running on a Sunday instead.

This next Sunday support circle will be on 26 November. If you'd like to come along, (sign up by completing the form here )
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Chatwee Update

Update - There's been some technical difficulties launching Chatwee onto our website so we will not be moving to Chatwee on Thursday.

As soon as we fix this issue, we'll announce another date for launching. We're really sorry for the delay in Chatwee, thanks so much for your patience.
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Post of The Month (September)

Maisy is our Post of The Month winner voted by the community for the following post:

"Hey Shaunie,

​I care. I really relate to what you have been experiencing with the house falling apart, and things not getting fixed due to general shame of the state of the house and not knowing where to begin fixing things or who to contact (you don't want to come across rogue tradesmen). Not even having adequate heating and hot water. And clutter. Everywhere. It's horrible to live in such circumstances, I know. It's hard as well when you see everyone else living a 'normal' life and yet being unable to talk about your situation."
(Click for full post )
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My situation

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  • My situation

    Ok, so my situation is a tricky one; its very complex, and maybe unique. I don't know if I'll be able to get any advice, or if anyone has ever been in a situation like this before, but I thought maybe writing everything down will make things clearer.

    Starting from the beginning. I'm 21, recently left university and have been with my girlfriend for 3 years. We've lived together for as long as we've known each other (we were flatmates in first year.) Before that, I'd been in a 4 year relationship with another girl (so since I was 14.)

    I think I've had depression, or some form of it, since starting uni. The mixture of splitting with my first girlfriend and starting uni etc. I think brought it on. But overall things with my current girlfriend were going really well.

    Then we left uni and things started to go downhill. She became more depressed, and neither of us seemed to be able to agree on what we wanted in life. She wanted to be free, to do whatever she wanted, live wherever she wanted and not commit to any career or location for the next few years. I'm not saying she didn't want to commit to me, but just have the freedom of choice in general. I, on the other hand, wanted to get on with finding what it was that I wanted to do. I handed an application into my local police force, but to her, that tied her down to a location, and made her feel trapped, like she couldn't just up and go somewhere because I had a job. As naive and as unrealistic as that came across to me at first, I kind of understand now. Having just finished uni and at the age of 21, I understand that the world is ours to do whatever we want, it was just that what we wanted wasn't necessarily the same. Anyway, cue conversations about compromise and long distance stuff etc.

    So thats problem number one.

    Problem number two was my parents. Now my parents are very protective of me, to the point where they can be quite controlling. They want whats best for me, but don't always make me feel like I have a choice. Add on the fact that I don't think my mum in particular approves of my girlfriend and you've got a recipe for problems. I had, and still have, conversations with my girlfriend about "sticking up for myself" and "defending her against my parents." A 'her vs them' situation with me in the middle. They don't approve of me doing what she wants to do, such as moving somewhere else, or me just working for a year whilst she does a masters degree. They want me to know what I want to do and, in their own way, stick up for myself against my girlfriend, because they think she's controlling me too.
    What I think feels a little irrelevant at the moment, as no matter how hard I try to tell both my parents and my girlfriend how I feel, they both think that I'm being influenced by the other, or that I'm just doing what the other is telling me to do. As of now this problem isn't resolved.

    Problem number three is the doozy. Maybe around a month ago, maybe slightly less, I had one of my depressed moments. They come and go, where I feel down. If they get worse I tend to feel really numb, where I really don't care about anything. I have no emotion at all. Now this time, it carried on. Whereas before, these moments lasted anywhere from half an hour to maybe a day or so, this carried on for a couple of weeks. I stopped thinking this was depression and started to try and find the source of my unhappiness. I thought maybe it was my relationship. In my numbness I looked at her and felt nothing, I didn't feel any love or happiness. So I thought the problem was that I was unhappy with my relationship, that it wasn't working. That combined with the problems outlined above made me start to distance myself from her. I was confused, as I wasn't in any state of mind to make decisions about my relationship, or future career, or anything.

    Simultaneously, a girl from work started messaging me, just to see if I was ok at first. The more we chatted, the more she complimented me and made me feel good, the closer we got. Whilst me and my girlfriend were still together, me and the girl from work would sext each other, sexual messages describing what we liked, and she would tell me that i was sexy or that I looked good etc.

    After everything, and in the middle of an argument, I broke up with my girlfriend of 3 years with a text.

    The next day I kissed the girl from work. It was her first kiss.

    A couple of days later, I met up with my girlfriend face to face, so that I could end it properly. I outlined the problems that I thought were the reason for my unhappiness, that I thought were worth ending this relationship. These problems became conditions for getting back together, and after she'd promised to change them (and id promised to change her problems) we decided to give it another go. Ultimately, it was what I wanted, but I was confused, as I had convinced myself that I wanted to end the relationship, but suddenly found myself wanting to try and fix it.

    I messaged the girl from work to say that we could only be friends, that nothing would ever happen again. A few days later, me and my girlfriend decided to resume original plans to move in together.

    Meanwhile, I was still messaging the girl from work. I genuinely did only want to be friends and in my head I thought that was all I was doing, but looking back, when faced with comments like "I don't have a good body" I found myself replying with "no no you're beautiful" etc. These comments really did just come from a friendly place, but I can understand how they might have looked to someone else, including her.

    A few days after deciding to resume plans to move in with my girlfriend, she saw the messages from the girl from work on my phone briefly. I eventually told her what had happened, after lying originally to her face.

    We spent the night arguing, crying, talking. I rang the girl from work and told her we couldn't be friends any more.

    But I also spent the night making multiple attempts on my life with a razor blade, being stopped only by my girlfriend catching me and forcibly removing the blade from my hands.

    That was the first time I ever tried to kill myself, although I'd thought about it a few times before. The next day, we talked, she kissed me, I was confused and she decided that she was going to try to forgive me. She also persuaded me to tell my parents about everything, including my depression and attempt on my life.

    That night I spoke to my parents, and to the Samaritans (which really, really helped) and by saturday I felt a bit better. On sunday I worked with the girl, and things were awkward but I didn't care about upsetting her or ignoring her. I hated her for what she, and I, had done to my girlfriend. Things will be difficult, as I was recently promoted to be her manager, but I feel more positive now about being able to bare it a bit.

    Four days later and here I am. Im trying to balance my own mental health against making this relationship work, which at the moment is difficult. My girlfriend, understandably, needs to ask questions and be angry or upset at me, and go through the multiple phases of emotion that those who have been cheated on go through, but I, whilst dealing with depression, am struggling to hear these things, and answer the questions.

    Im going to try and get counselling for my depression, but with irregular working hours and a rota only released half a week in advance, its going to be difficult.

    Telling my parents about the depression has only made their protectiveness worse.

    I feel absolutely horrible, and so guilty, which means I'm beating myself up which is making my depression worse. I honestly do regret everything, and this has in its own way made me realise just how incredible my girlfriend is, and how little she deserved to be treated by the scumbag that is me. All of her friends said how unlike me it was to cheat, how Im a really nice guy, and that is what I think persuaded my girlfriend to stay with me. But I don't think I am a nice guy, not anymore.

    One thing is for certain, I am never going to cheat again. I am going to get a handle on my depression. I am never going to let my girlfriend feel this shit again, and more selfishly, myself feel this shit again.

    Now comes the long and hard process of helping my girlfriend believe that.

  • #2
    Hey @12matthewclough

    ​First of all I want to say thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It takes a lot to admit to our deepest thoughts and feelings and it's great to hear that you are in the process of improving your mental health. It takes a lot of strength to contact people like the Samaritans or counsellors but both can really help you through this time in your life and give you the support that you need. At times like these it's good to find different coping mechanisms depending on what we like. Some of us walk, go out in nature or exercise to clear our heads. Others paint, colour, create art or listen to music! What works for you? What do you love doing?
    There is so much advice here on The Mix, here's just one link about depression with many other following on at the bottom:
    http://www.themix.org.uk/mental-heal...sion-5617.html

    ​I can also understand your feelings about your parents. Honestly, mine are exactly the same. But try to remember that this is out of the love and worry they will always have for you. If they have noticed that you haven't been 100% happy in the past, they will try anything they can to make it better. And sometimes, this can come in between relationships and invade our life but a lot of the time it is the only thing they can think of doing. That being said, am I correct in thinking that they will fully support you whilst you recover from what has happened and move forward in improving your mental health? If so, maybe it is a good idea to sit down and have a conversation with them about boundaries and what you want from them. I'm sure they will respect your wishes and will do what they can to help.

    I can understand how the situation could have worsened your depression but try not to be so hard on yourself. From an outsiders perspective, you have described a very difficult time with your girlfriend and whilst you had broken up, the one person that was there seems to have been this other girl. I can understand how your feelings have gotten caught up here. When we feel low and depressed it can make such a big impact when somebody shows us affection or lifts our self-confidence which may have happened to you. Technically (and I don't want to do a Ross and Rachel from friends here) but you were broken up, were you not? Yes it may have only been a day but again, this adds confusion and emotions into the mix. So to some extent, it is easy to see how the situation escalated with this other girl.

    ​It's good to hear that you came clean in the end and it sounds like your girlfriend is certainly willing to move on from it. It's understandable that she may have her worries, and one of the only things that can be done here is to let time heal that. Over time you can both move forward from this and work towards an even stronger relationship than before. I can imagine that it is hard at the moment as wounds are fresh and there are a lot of emotions involved. Since you said this may be difficult for your mental health, perhaps you could both write down your thoughts, feelings. questions, what you want and work through it using that method? I'm sure that writing your experience down here has helped you sort through your feelings and this can help with others too. Then, by writing a letter of some sort, it can take out the anger or crying and be a much better conversation. Once that is all out in the open, things may settle down and you can focus on yourselves and your own mental health.

    ​Similarly, this could be done with your parents too if you feel that you want to set some boundaries and explain to them how you are feeling. This can even be a tool to sort through what's on your mind.

    ​Here is a great link from The Mix about how to move on from cheating and how to sort out anything that you may be feeling:
    http://www.themix.org.uk/sex-and-rel...97.html​

    Though it may be a hard road, it sounds like you and your girlfriend are both committed to each other and after everything, you both want to be in the relationship. That's the first step and the first thing to decide. That's one of the biggest things that partner's will ask themselves 'do they still want to be with me?' All you can do is reassure each other that this is what you want and the choice that you have made. You have chosen each other.

    Then comes accepting what has happened and moving on from there. You can't change what has happened but you can change how you think about it. Worrying and being guilty won't change it, so try to remember that when you are feeling that way. All you can do is explain how you felt at the time and what happened which will then help her understand. She's said she will try to forgive you, but she may need help doing this too.

    ​Do you think she would benefit from some counselling or help with her how she is dealing with things also?

    ​Perhaps you could both go individually to work on yourselves and then heal together?

    ​I hope some of this helps and I wish you all the best with yourself and your relationship.

    I'm sending you some positive vibes!

    -PositiveAura

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    • #3
      Hey 12matthewclough

      ​I think it's really brave to share your experience as in depth as you have, and I think you've done so well to come on her for advice. Sorry for your struggles, they really sound dreadful for you.

      ​I'm not an expert. Just another person struggling with their own issues, so be objective with anything I have to say about your story.

      ​I feel like you focus a lot on what other people want from you and expect from you, you don't tend to stop and genuinely think about what you want for you. It's nice, for the people around you, you seem very thoughtful. But it doesn't seem to me like it's nice for you.

      ​In regards to problem one. You need to do what ultimately makes you happy. Remember that as hard as it may be for you and your girlfriend to face, you're two different people, with two different dreams and expectations for your lives, and their your lives. She should do what she wants to do, and you should do what you want to do - if you manage to compromise then that's perfect, if not, it's going to feel horrible for you both and maybe it will for a while but it might help you realise how you really feel about each other and whether one day you could eventually work things out or be happy with your separate lives. Either way, both your separate happiness are important, even if it doesn't seem that way in the beginning. That is only my opinion. I'm not here to tell you what to do, just to give you a different perspective.

      ​Problem two sounds difficult, obviously your parents mean a lot to you, but you mean a lot to them to, they love you, you're their son, they may not like your girlfriend but tell them how their disapproving of her so openly makes you feel, tell them what your decisions your making but make it clear that allow you want a close and open relationship with them that overall you are in the drivers seat of your own life and decisions, let them know that you value their opinions however you need the freedom to make your choices and live your own life and as much as their opinions are valued there are some instances where it would be best to sort of agree to disagree, for instance of your girlfriend, they openly don't like her you can't change their opinions, but you love her and that is your opinion and you choose to be with her so they will need to accept that. That kind of conversation doesn't need to be confrontational either, there's always a gentle way to just make them aware of how their feelings impact you. I feel like they'll understand completely.

      ​Problem three - the doozy. Firstly, I feel a support group, like a face to face mental health support group would be so valuable to you. There are plenty across the country if you look it up. Just a place of likeminded people all struggling with their mental health sharing their experiences, having the space to talk, or even just to listen to others' challenges and know they are not alone. Because depression, feeling numb, like your energy is gone, like there's no worth to anything anymore and life isn't worth living, these are feelings so many people go through - you are not alone. And you are so brave to call the Samaritans and challenge your thoughts and fight against them because plenty of people don't, because it's overwhelming, so well done, and we are all so glad you're still here. Don't forget that. Put your mental health first. Now the kiss. Stop being so hard on yourself, everyone makes mistakes and everyone can give in to temptation when it makes you feel good. The good thing is you told her the truth. One mistake does not define what kind of person you are - it's what you do after the mistake does. I think just now you need to focus on you, some counselling can allow you to book weekly (I work shifts and sometimes don't know my rota) and if you need to change slot just call them and tell them you need to change your availability they are very understanding of this. Look after yourself. Nurture yourself and be kind to yourself. It was suggested to myself a while ago to make a list of things I like and that I like about myself, like getting to know myself, even the small things, and it actually made some difference, I take the time to do some of the small things I realised I really enjoy, and appreciate parts of myself I used to just take for granted. But every part of you is unique and special and important. As for your girlfriend, I think it would be useful for her to seek some professional help even just to get through her current feelings about the events that passed recently. But please think more about yourself. It isn't selfish. It's necessary.

      ​I don't know if any of this will help you. I hope you get on ok and please post a wee update just to let us know how its going.

      Wishing you all the best in your future.

      ​Who's That Girl x

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