“I was with my ex about 3 months, he had told me about his bipolar depression in the beginning of the relationship but I never really thought anything would happen. About 2 months ago, completely out of nowhere he called it off saying he wasn’t feeling well and needed space. Even though I was shocked I told him I would stay by his side no matter what. Now 2 months later we barely talk, whenever the topic of the relationship or depression comes up he gets very defensive and angry. It almost seems like he hates me. All I want to do is be by his side and help him but he wont talk to me about anything. He is being so confusing and it is getting very frustrating. I really don’t know what to do anymore, I love him so much but it’s now taking a toll on my mind. I have given him lots of space and time but nothing has changed. He was very concerned during the relationship that this might happen and he made me promise him I wouldn’t run away when things got bad. I have kept that promise but it seems like it doesn’t mean anything to him anymore. I just need some advice on what to do here, should I just give up or just wait it out?”
This is a very hard question to answer. Is he seeking professional help? Is he doing what is necessary to improve? The answers to these questions are important, but you really have no control over those things.
I admire your tenacity and I feel your pain. I also admire the fact that he told you from the very beginning about his depression. He is obviously a kind and thoughtful man. I’m quite certain that he does not hate you. But I think your key words are: “it’s now taking a toll on my mind.”
Your priority should be your mental well-being. My advice is to back off from this man, from your friendship, and from the hope of a renewed romantic relationship. Depression has a way of being “contagious.” You are no good to him if you are needy, uncertain, depressed, and hurt. This will only give him more guilt, anxiety, anger, and depression. Remember: when men are depressed it often manifests as anger. You cannot really “help” him more than you already have. You’ve proven your loyalty even in the face of the reality of his illness. You’ve already done all that you can do. Tell him that you’re not “running away,” but in fact need your own space. If you like, be honest with him and tell him what you’ve told me. Then resist the urge to contact him, respond civilly when he contacts you, and go on with your life under the assumption and the acceptance that he is no longer a part of it. I know that perhaps this is not the answer you were looking for, but I think you know in your heart that it’s your only recourse.