I need your help GT! I literally have no clue what to do.
My roommate is a bit hard to live with, and I am soooo far from perfect that I don’t always handle things like I should. She has never lived on her own before (we are 23; I am about to finish college and she is applying currently) and just moved in at the start of August, so things are still transitioning for her and whatever. She has had anxiety and depression for many years, and was doing really great until we moved in together and since then she has more or less crashed. Once she adjusts to living on her own she’ll pick back up hopefully, but in the meantime she is killing me. She stopped working. She spends all her time at home watching tv and doing crafts, essentially (on the days she doesn’t spend in bed crying anyway). I have spent a lot of time doing things to support her moods, get her out of the house, encourage her to go through with this college application process when she wanted to give up, etc.
And I am tired. Emotionally, I am stretched to my limit. I started feeling anxious and depressed last week (like her I have a history of it) so I signed up for sessions at my university’s counseling center and that’s been helpful, but I am still not doing so great. I have to do a senior capstone project this semester. I am working part time (at my wonderful nannying job) and hunting for an internship. And during all of this, I can’t keep myself together if I have to keep her together too.
Today I told her I was feeling down and what was her response? To say, “I have been feeling really anxious and depressed this week.” SHE JUST MADE IT ALL ABOUT HER AGAIN! Like, I have been trying to be there for her with her depression this whole goddamn time, so I am PRETTY SURE I already noticed that she’s depressed!
Tonight she went out (THANK GOD) to see her family, and before she left she said she knows her mood is affected by other people so she is sorry if her being down is why I am down. I didn’t know what to say to that. So she’s making me depressed—there’s nothing I could say about that that isn’t hurtful. Then she said that she knows she can be hard to live with, but she’s “trying.” I told her how it made me feel when she made my sad feelings all about her earlier today and she just defended her intentions. I was like, “I know you didn’t mean it like that, but that’s still how it made me feel.” She just got so sad that I ended up apologizing and telling her I wasn’t upset with her so she would just leave and go hang out with her family. She told me not to apologize and I think she was probably right but I couldn’t stop myself.
I feel like it is really hard to come to her with any kind of criticism or request that she do things differently, because she gets really sad and kind of defensive—not angry defensive, sad defensive.
Uggghhhhhh I just don’t know how to explain myself! On the one hand, I don’t think she has been supportive towards me or considerate of me. Like she just assumes I will help her out with stuff because it never occurs to her that my own work could be causing me stress already. On the other hand, I don’t know if I really want her to support me more with my problems, or just rely on me for support less for hers. I like doing stuff alone. And I told her I need my own space sometimes and she said, “so do you want me to leave the apartment sometimes?” And even though that would be ideal, I told her no because I don’t want her to have to leave just for me—I want her to leave because she has a job and commitments that naturally take her from home.
But I have this problem where even when people offer to do the thing I was hoping they would do, I end up saying “oh no, you don’t have to do that,” before I can stop myself.
God I feel like such a hideous ball of dysfunction. I know she can’t help being depressed or anxious. But I feel like the way she treats me with respect to all this is something she could change, I don’t know how to articulate what I want from her.
Thank you in advance to anyone who even bothers to read all this, much less post a reply! I truly love all of you!
Edit to add: I know it’s not my job to fix her depression, and she doesn’t treat me like a therapist. It’s more that even cohabiting with someone who is depressed, and who acts like it, is hard for me. It’s just hard to live with someone who is giving off all those negative emotions! It’s practically contagious!