Q: From a Wisconsin teen: i have an online relationship.. he has a lot of medical issues. we’ve known each other for two years. He currently lives in another state because of financial reasons as he’s going to school and i’m in another state, where my family lives and where i am going to school.. i just got back from vacation with him about a week ago. since i got back he has confessed to me that he has deep suicidal thoughts, which have been going on for months and he has just now let me know. i’ve discussed this with his doctor and we’re both keeping an eye on him. His sister whom he was very close with commited suicide. he’s been diagnosed with depression but only takes medication when necessary since he’s on a lot already. he’s frustrated because the medication seems to do “nothing” and makes him feel crazy even though he has admitted that when he doesnt take it it’s really bad. due to the medical issues his insurance wont grant him nationwide otherwise he would just move here. i’m more than willing to move out there but his goal is to move out here and i dont want to take that away from him even though it might be necessary if his condition doesn’t improve. his medical issues are ongoing, and it’s really getting him down, as it would anyone. every night i try to push what he’s feeling out.. not enough to agitate him.. but he refuses to talk to anyone but me about this..so i try to get as much out of him as possible. by no means will i leave him in the dust as some people have suggested.. we are in this together and i have every intention of helping him through this hard time. however, i am at my wits end of what to do.. everyday he thinks about it.. luckily he tells me and we get him thinking about something else. he took it upon himself to fill in the prescription medication so he realizes this is a huge issue. however, when i mention therapy he won’t go and claims that “he isn’t crazy” i really need some advice… thank you all for any that you can give..
Your boyfriend’s problems are much too big for you to handle on your own. You have enormous heart but you don’t have the experience to give him all the help he needs. I’m glad you talked with his doctor. I hope you’ve also talked with his family. The more people on his team, the better. His mom should talk to his doctor about what signs to watch for that should trigger getting him to a hospital for an evaluation. Since you are at a distance from him, you need to have a system in place for alerting his family if you think he is going to hurt himself. When someone’s life is at stake, the rules of confidentiality simply don’t apply.
Right now, it sounds like he has you doing more work than he is. He isn’t taking his medication regularly. He isn’t enlisting a therapist to help him. He puts you in the scary position of being the only one he’ll confide in. Although you are doing everything you can to help, you may inadvertently be getting in the way of him getting needed treatment. He thinks talking to you is all he needs so he isn’t motivated to get professional help.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that you desert him. I am suggesting that you spend less time trying to draw him out and focus instead on encouraging him to do the things he needs to do to get better. That means taking his medications, talking to a therapist, learning more about his illness, and doing everything he can to try to make a little progress every day instead of handing you all his pain. Seeing a therapist is nothing to be ashamed of and doesn’t mean he is “crazy.” Seeing a therapist is like going to a dentist when you’ve got a toothache. He wouldn’t try to fix tooth pain on his own. Why should emotional pain be any different?
It would probably be a good idea for you to be talking with a therapist too. You deserve to have the support and some ongoing advice. I certainly hope he doesn’t follow through on his threat to commit suicide but if he does, you’re going to need someone to help you deal with the loss and not blame yourself. You’re doing everything and more that a girlfriend can do.
I wish you well.