Dealing with Depression/Is it true depression?



  I'm in a 5 month relationship with a 32yr old male, who has been through some really tough patches in life.

At 26 he was diagnosed with stage I Lymphoma. He has been through the toughest chemo routine to aggressively reduce the cancer. Through this process he has had ups and downs, major downs, and after 6 years he seems to be hung up in a depressive loop.

He has been clinically diagnosed with depression after getting the all clear of cancer (age 27). He was given hand fulls of medication, but it didnt really help. He turned to drugs and alcohol. After a steep decline he hit rock bottom and decided to start fresh.

I met him 12 months after he decided to better his life (at age 31). He weaned off of all medications, he still takes the occasional adevan, or other prescription night aid. His drinking habit is still unhealthy and he smokes weed on occasion (Which i do not like).

He started a new job in November of 2013, he was very positive about it, quite positive about life actually. But he chooses to drink on a week night and doesnt limit himself. He ends up with a hang over, and misses days of work sleeping in bed. Once he feels sick or upset you cant get him out of bed, he just sleeps for 72 hours straight.

This is the cycle. For a couple of weeks he will be great, but a little too intense with work and end up with insomnia. He will then blow off some steam by drinking with some friends and then sleep for 72 hours, missing three days of work. During these 72 hours he says he feels 'blah', he doesnt want to get up, not even talk to me. He isolates himself, doesnt pick up the phone, doesnt answer texts, or emails.

My question: Is this true depression? Or is this self pity, self inflicting? What can I do to help? Is it selfish of me to think I can't handle this in my life?

He acknowledges that drinking should stop, he should see someone for the sleeping habit...but it stops there.

NOTE: There is depression in the family, his father is clinically depressed.

Hi Kerry,

I thought I answered and sent you my response.

Is it true depression?   Yes - partially.  Most alcoholics suffer with depression.  Depression can also be genetic.  Sometimes depression can be all genetic.

However, it sounds like your boy friend is an alcoholic who needs help.

You cannot be the one to help him.  He needs to do it himself.  All you can do is suggest he get help.  You did not cause his drinking problem, you cannot cure it for him, and you cannot control it for him.

In order to understand alcoholism and what you can do to help yourself, start to attend Al-Anon meetings.  They are wonderful meetings that are for friends and families of alcoholics.
Look up Al-Anon on the internet, check out what meetings are in your area.  Go to 6 different meetings and pick out one you like.  You do not have to talk at meetings and they cost nothing. They do pass a basket.  Most people put $1.00 in, or some pocket change.

Hope this information helps you.


Dealing with Depression

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Patricia A. Schafer, Ph.D.


I received my Ph.D. from Kent State,in Ohio in Counseling.I specialize in various forms of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and forms of addictions such as substance abuse,eating disorders and gambling. My licenses are: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor -Supervisor(LPCC-S) and Licensed Professional Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) My experience includes counseling substance abusers, families of alcoholics/drug addictions, and codependency issues. I also specialize in social phobia; stress; anxieties; women`s issues; grief and adjustments to life changes. Some therapeutic techniques used are: CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviorial Therapy)REBT (Rational Emotive), SFT (Solution Focused) and 12-Step, etc. If you live in the Cleveland area, you can contact me at my office for an appointment at: 440-349-4521. I accept insurance and EAP programs.


Twelve years experience as a professional clinical counselor; 30 years member of Al-Anon.


Experiences of prejudice among individuals in African American and Caucasian Interracial Marriages: A Q-methodological Study (Doctoral Dissertation - December 2008; Wilsnack and Beckman's book: Alcohol Problems in Women (1984). Alcohol use and marital violence: Female and Male Differences in reactions to alcohol(pages 260-279.

Ph.D. in Counseling - Kent State MS in Counseling - John Carroll University BS in Psychology - University of Pittsburgh

Awards and Honors
Previous president of NCOCA (North Central Ohio Counseling Association); previous president of Chi Sigma Iota. Two years VISTA volunteer on Navajo reservation in Inscription House and Shonto.

Past/Present Clients

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