Increasing Self-Esteem/How do I help my fiance??
Okay, I'm 22, and I am a dance teacher. My fiance, Robert, is 25. He is from Sweden and he moved here with his parents when he was 18. We met at college and immediately hit it off and started dating. We moved in together when I was 20 and we got engaged 3 months ago, and I'm so excited to marry my best friend. He is sweet and kind and he makes me laugh, but he has some problems with anxiety and depression. He's a graphic designer, so he works from home. Sometimes he is just fine, and he likes to go out and be social, but he'll have these days where he doesn't want to leave home because he is so depressed and anxious. It usually lasts about a week where he'll sort of hibernate and won't go anywhere. I know that a lot of his anxiety stems from how he talks. He has a thick Swedish accent and is very self conscious about it. He's easy to understand; he just says a few words wrong or forgets a word sometimes. In private or with friends, he isnít afraid to mess up the pronunciation of a word or say ďwhatís that word again?Ē but in public, he gets nervous. I can see the gears turning in his head every time he has to talk to a stranger, trying to think out the words and how to say them, and I can tell he's nervous. He says that heís afraid that people will think that heís stupid. Itís sad to me, because I love how he talks; I love that about him. It doesn't make him sound stupid at all, but he's so worried all the time. I donít know how to help him get over this. What can I do? Or how can he help himself?
You mentioned that his isolation comes and goes. I canít help but wonder if he is one who holds back his emotions or hides how he really feels. Additionally, the fact that these emotions come and go suggests that perhaps there are individual incidents that trigger the emotions. Therefore, his dialect MAY OR MAY NOT be the root cause of depression because #1- he can improve the way that he talks and #2- he consistently talks the same which doesnít necessarily explain that fact that the depression comes and goes. In any case, give him space but also calmly and carefully dig for more information so that you can serve as his cheerleader, confidant, his peace, motivator, encourager, counselor, or whatever he needs for you to be. Listen to what he says but also to what he does not say through his actions and body language. If he is the type of man who needs to think things through, allow him the space to do so but let him know that you are available when he needs you. But, also encourage him to take breaks and get out of the house during the day. Comnecting with people in the community and/or with nature is a great way to take a mental break from being in the house all day everyday.
Also, never make assumptions about the source of the anxiety because it could come from any source including what someone said to him during the day, the fact that he hasnít had enough rest, financial concerns, not meeting life goals, he may have been given more responsibilities at work, etc.. If you focus on the wrong source, you will miss the solution to the problem.
Being a great listener is a great gift to give a best friend. Again, listen to what he says and to what he doesnít say (nonverbal clues), give him space but be there to support him and, also be eager and ready to work through the solution together.
Iím sure that he knows that you love him. But, patience with self and with others is an independently learned skill. Continuing to be a best friend who loves, listens, and supports him is again the best gift that you can give to you husband. I hope this helps!