Michael is 23 (24 later this month) years old. He has been diagnosed with depression, and he says he hasn't been well since 1995 (when he was 15 to 16). His entire life has involved many changes — he has moved a lot, he has gone to a lot of schools, his mother has married and had children by several men, and he has always had difficulty keeping friends for very long.
In addition to that, he has serious money troubles. He lost his job some time around December and has had absolutely no luck finding another one. (Mind you, this is by no fault of his — there simply aren't any jobs around. Even my mom, who has had years and years of experience and a college degree, can find nothing.) In February, his car overheated and the engine was ruined, and that makes job-hunting even more difficult. He is currently living with his mother and, last I heard, he has $5 to his name. He is still a freshman in college, but has not had the money to continue classes; it doesn't help that his financial aid was denied due to debt this year. Some of his teeth are starting to hurt, but he can't afford to go to the dentist. His financial problems aren't the cause to his depression, but they certainly must not help, either.
Michael refuses to take any kind of drug. He will not touch anything from alcohol to Advil. For a short amount of time, he was taking an antidepressant as part of a study with Emory University — for money, of course — but then he stopped because he felt he had broken one of his personal goals. He is not currently receiving any kind of therapy. He can't afford it.
Michael and I got together in September. He was very happy for a while, but then things started going downhill for him again. In February, right after he lost his car, we got into a big fight — and the relationship has been bad ever since. He has broken up with me several times (usually only for a day or two). He goes through these periods where he acts like I'm the world, and then he suddenly becomes irritated with everything about me. When I feel attacked, I become very defensive — and this only worsens matters.
In the past month or so, his depression has gotten really bad. He stays up for most of the night, and then sleeps the entire day. He is physically tired most of the time. He can't bring himself to do things he used to do when he was feeling down — taking walks, visiting friends, and so on — and instead sits around his room doing nothing. He has been over-eating, and his weight gain has made him feel even worse about himself. He seems to think he has no real friends, but he does. I'm not the only one who wants to help him. But he dismisses us and longs for friends he used to have, way back in high school.
A couple weeks ago, we mutually decided to break up again, this time for good. We also decided to remain friends. It didn't work out very well; we still had strong feelings for one another, and ended up together again about a week later. But the day before yesterday, I was talking to him online, and we got into yet another fight. He insisted that I don't like him, and he broke up with me again and now, apparently, does not want any more to do with me. He even asked me to remove him from my LJ Friends List. This is very unusual and very frightening.
On one hand, I want to just give up on him; I am extremely stressed and hurt, and I'm not really getting much out of it. On the other hand, I still love him, and I understand that he can't help the way he feels. I want to let him know that I'm still behind him, all the way. But he switches between thinking I'm not enough for him and thinking he doesn't deserve me. I'm worried that he really has cut off communication with me for good — and if that's the case, there is nothing I can do to help him; I have no choice but to sit here and worry.
I am receiving a lot of pressure from the people around me. They think I should stop dealing with Michael. They claim he is bringing me down, that he just needs to get over himself, that I can do so much better, that he has mistreated and misunderstood me, or that he is taking advantage of my sympathy.
A couple weeks ago, when we broke up before, he said that he thought it was better for me that we not be together. He said that he is a failure as a human being, that he is meant to be alone, and that his purpose in life is to show people what not to do. He says that he always hurts people and frightens them away. He said that I was not supposed to last this long, that he had failed my test, and so he had to separate from me away to protect me from himself. I know from what he's told me about his past that he has a tendency to push away his friends, and then regret it and blame himself for years to come. After he has hurt them like that, they usually want nothing more to do with him, even after he tries to make amends.
But right now, he's saying that I have treated him wrong, that I blamed him for actions he could not control, and that I don't understand what depression is. Maybe he is correct, and that is why I am here — to seek help and advice.