I am new here and I am hoping to get some advice/support. My significant other and I have been together for almost 12 years and we have lived together for just as long. He is 10 years older than me. We have always had a rock solid relationship....up until about 4 months ago. One night at the end of October, he suddenly didn't come home from work. He gets out of work at 11:15 at night and he ALWAYS would call me the minute he got out of work and would tell me that he was on his way home...ALWAYS. This night, no phone call. I tried calling his cell phone, but no answer. I tried texting him, but no reply. I was really panicking. I had no idea where he was and why he wasn't answering my calls or texts. This was completely unlike him at all. I tried calling and texting him a few more times, but no answer. I was on the phone with my mother totally freaking out because i was so sick with worry. Finally, around 2:30 in the morning, I got a text from him that said "I'm out having a few drinks with some coworkers. I'll be home after. Leave me alone." First off, he NEVER drinks. In the almost 12 years we have been together, I've probably seen him drink alcohol maybe once or twice a year, and it's only beer, so I immediately knew something wasn't right. He finally came home around 8 or 8:30 in the morning and he looked awful, almost like he was hungover or just really exhausted. He then said that he was going back out to go target shooting with some of his friends, got his gun, and left. Keep in mind, he had to work that day and had zero sleep and didn't even change clothes or shower! He just left. I tried texting and calling him a couple of hours or so later, but he ignored me. Later that morning, his best friend/coworker called looking for him and I explained how he didn't come home that night and how he came home just for a few minutes looking completely hungover and said he was going out target shooting and I thought that meant that he was with him, but his friend said that he hadn't seen him and even he said how out of character this was for him. He told me that he would look for him at work and make sure that he called me ASAP. About 10 minutes later, his friend called back and said that he had seen him at work and that he looked really rough and told me that he had asked him to call me at home, but he never called. Once again, he didn't come home that night either. By now, I was in a total state of panic. We never even had so much as a tiny argument to trigger this. Everything had been completely normal, or at least so I thought. He wouldn't answer any of my phone calls or text messages. He didn't come home for days. Finally, he stopped by home a few days later after he got out of work to get some things. He told me that he just needed some space, but wouldn't really go into details about what was bothering him and why he suddenly stopped coming home. He was very standoffish and would barely even hug me. As the days went by, he started being very nasty to me over text messages and calling me names and just being mean to me in general. I was begging him to come home or to at least talk to me, but all he did was fight with me and try to blame me for the way he was feeling. It's like someone had flipped a switch in him and turned him into a monster. He had NEVER acted this way toward me before and had never left home like this. One thing that I do know is that his job is extremely stressful and has only gotten worse lately. He works as a nurse at a psychiatric hospital. I was thinking that had something to do with the way he was acting, but I also thought there had to be more to it. One day, he did come home to pack up a bunch of his stuff and was very rotten to me. Several days later, I noticed that he had deleted me from his Facebook and changed his relationship status from engaged to single. This KILLED me. He couldn't even talk to me in person and this whole thing happened out of the blue. We had been together for over 11 years and had NEVER gone through anything like this before!!! I was so crushed, confused, and shocked. Thankfully I have many friends and family who were here for me and helped me so much. What made this even worse is that he had taken our only vehicle, a brand new truck that we had just bought a few months previously, so I was stuck at home with literally no transportation. If I needed anything, I would have to call my parents who live 10 minutes away. Luckily I work from home full-time, but I couldn't go to the store or run any other errands that I needed to run because he had our only vehicle and wasn't willing to let me use it for some reason, even though it's financed and registered under both of our names. A few weeks later, I finally was able to buy my own SUV to solve my transportation problem.
He didn't come home for over a month. I later found out that he was renting a room from a coworker. During that time, he either would not talk to me at all, would be really mean to me, or would be nice to be while at the same time feeling very sorry for himself and almost seemed to be trying to make me feel sorry for him. A lot of my friends and family told me to never take him back if he tries to come back, but that's easier said than done since we have been together for over a decade and have a huge history together.
One night in early December, he finally came home out of the blue. He was extremely depressed and said that he was going through a rough time and just needed some space for a while, but that didn't explain why he had been so mean to me and called me so many names when he left. I still love him so much, so I took him back and let him come home. The next day, he moved all of his stuff back here. It is now March and he has been home for 3 months. It has been a huge emotional roller coaster. Some days or weeks he will be fine and acting normal and then at other times he will be almost explosive, very irritable, agitated, and depressed and will be rude to me again and basically blame me for everything when I know that I have done nothing wrong. There have even been several nights when he would stay out all night, not come home, and ignore my phone calls and texts, just like he did when he left last fall, only he will only be gone for a day or two and then come home. These past couple of weeks have been especially rough. He keeps having panic/anxiety attacks, is very jumpy and goes off on me very easily, and is BEYOND depressed. He went to the doctor a little over a week ago and they sent him to see a counselor and have him out of work for a couple of weeks because his anxiety and depression levels are so high. Just this past Sunday, he went out to do some grocery shopping and was gone for 5 hours and came home in tears. He said that he had such a bad panic attack while he was driving that he had to pull over because he could barely see the road and was short of breath. He hugged me and was crying like I've never seen him cry before. He finally started to open up to be a little bit and said that he's dealing with a lot of emotions that he has had bottled up for about 20 years and he doesn't know how to handle them. He won't tell me everything, but I do know that one main thing that is bothering him is that his mother passed away almost 4 years ago, basically right in front of us while we were at her house visiting her. She had a massive heart attack and collapsed in the bathroom while he and I were outside, so it took us a while to get to her (we are both EMTs), but she was without oxygen for too long and passed away in the hospital about a week later after the decision was made to take her off life support. He largely blames himself for not being able to save her and he is having a very hard time with this. It was almost 4 years ago, but he said that he is just now starting to grieve her death.
Things got so bad that I basically made him go back to the doctor yesterday and I went with him. He was very jumpy and irritable at the doctor's office and would pretty much flip out and yell at me every time I tried say something. The doctor gave him a prescription for amitriptyline because he hasn't been sleeping and has been so depressed and anxious. He took it one time last night and this morning said he's never taking it again because the side effects were so bad. He is taking his depression out on me and it's hurting me so, so much. He keeps saying that he is tired of his life and hates everything. Since he has been out of work, he has spent most of the time sleeping or sitting at his computer. I have NEVER seen him like this before. He is usually such a fun, happy, outgoing person, but these past few months it's like I don't even know him anymore. What can I do to help him? I have told him how much he is hurting me by constantly yelling at me and placing blame on me, but he just gets even more mad when I say this. I can't even say how many nights I have spent sitting here crying because I feel so hurt and helpless. All I want to do is be able to help him and be there for him, but he just keeps pushing me away and isolating himself. He told me yesterday that he just wants to be let alone.
We are not religious people at all, but I was given the name of a local pastor/chaplain here in our town and I contacted him and he emailed me today and said that he is more than happy to meet with either him alone and/or both of us together to see if he can help in any way. I forwarded the email to my hubby and he said that he would be willing to meet with him tomorrow, so maybe this is a good sign. He won't talk to me about all of the things that are bothering him, but maybe he will open up to this chaplain some and get some help.
Does anyone have any advice for me? Should I just give him his space and leave him alone like he said he wanted? I have told him over and over again that I am here for him and I love him so much and that I want to help him in any way that I can. I have told him that we will get through this together, but he still shuts me out, yells at me, and blames me. I am emotionally drained. What should I do??? I miss the old him so, so much and it kills me seeing him like this. I am willing to do whatever it takes to see him through this. My friends and family tell me that I have put up with way too much from him over these past 4 months, but I still love him so much and care about him more than anything and I want to be there for him and help him get back to the happy, fun person he always used to be. I'm desperate for advice. Do I just give him his space? Will he eventually snap out of this? Please help!!! I am so tired of crying almost every single day! I have never felt this helpless in my entire life!!