My plan to support my male friend through this depression. Please advise, critique, add or correct.

Posted , 4 users are following.

I am a female. I have a male friend who has recently (3 weeks ago) moved into a bout of depression. He has been diagnosed, is on anitdepressants and stress seems to be the trigger this time around. 

I leave him alone initially until he surfaces (very shortly) and then I do a visit. He controls the conversations and I listen.  I prepare food (he lives alone) as well on occasion. He will not ask or respond to texts requesting his input on food preferences, so I just do that anyway.  I'll plan keep doing that when he surfaces.  He doesn't want to discuss in detail the stressors, but I get the single sentence here and there that tells me what's going on. Again, I just acknowledging the issue and listen.  Without medication he wouldn't talk at all so I know he's taking the meds accordingly. 

I care for his wellbeing the same if he's in a depressive state or not.  While he is in this place, I do my own thing, maintain my health and outlook and let him know that I am always a text away. He texts occasionally, never asking for anything, but I can tell when it's time to connect face to face and he always shows up. 

Anything else I can do to support? 

2 likes, 16 replies

Report / Delete

16 Replies

  • Posted

    You are a very good friend, and he is lucky to have you! You are absolutely right with the listening, but don't be afraid to probe for more information every now and again. Be careful not to push too hard, but do try to keep him talking. 

    It may also be worth trying to find other ways for him to express himself. For example, I started writing a blog about mental health, I explained in detail things from my perspective and it has grown in a very successful blog with a book deal on the table and mentions in magazines. Most importantly, though, writing allowed me to sort through everything I was feeling and put it onto paper. I also write poems. One of the best things I did writing wise was writing three letters. One to my younger self, one to me now, and one to my future self. Suggesting dong things like this will really help him understand the way he is feeling and get to grips with it.

    For the moment, you doing food for him is awesome, but don't let him come to rely on it. The plan, of course, is to get him looking after himself properly, including cooking. So when you feel he is ready, why not ask him to cook you something for a change?

    The most important thing you can do is to keep reminding him that you are there for him and that he is loved.

    When you feel he is ready, it might be worth trying to get him out of his home for a bit. Whether you go for a jog, a coffee, a meal, paintballing or whatever, do something to engage his interest and get him out and about. And, with his permisson, let his other close friends and family know what is going on so they can work out how they can best support him too. xx 

    Well done hun.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks. Congratulation on all your Blog successes.  I'll mention alternative ways to express. He's a really great person but can't see that at all during these dark times.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Also when you talk to him, acknowledge what he has said as you have been doing, but also validate the way he has been feeling about it, let him know, by agreeing with him, that his reaction is perfectly normal and to be expected. xx
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hello

    You need to give time for the medications to work, up to three weeks before the early contraindications ease. 

    You also need to get Him to talk and find out what the problems are. Generally thier could be more than one problem He will have and He will possibly feel overwelmed.

    The best way to deal with this in the first instance be firm but kind and give support that you are doing now. Try getting him to go for walks with you as the problem is He will withdraw more and more.

    Find out when He last talked to His GP and if over three week mak that appointment. If you feel comfortable go in with Him. It sounds like some CBT may b a good idea. This will bring in an outside source that will be able to give support.

    BOB

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Hello Brena,

    I can comment from the depressive's point of view. What you are doing and the advice offered by Angel and Borderreiver seem excellent. 

    May I add some things NOT to do - you do not seem to be doing them but depression can become very irritating and stressful to the carer. Don't complain that he is silent or grumpy. That drives the depression deeper. The most dangerous thing my wife, unwittingly, said was "Don't you dare top yourself." I did not say anything and possibly did not appear to react but it drove me to the brink when I was not all that far from it anyway.

    On a more positive note, I devised a scoring system for my mood was driven moment by moment by stress. I did not have any highs. I explained my scoring system to my wife. I told her the score at which I should phone my Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN) and the scores at which I should not be left alone. After that she asked me my score from time to time through the day. We both found it a very easy and effective way for me to communicate my mood.

    Carers generally are under as much and often more pressure than those they care for. It is important to look after your own health and moods so that you remain fit to care for your friend. This is of FIRST importance.

    With my best wishes

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hello I agree

      My wife has been with me to see my trick cyclist this morning and I feel He must have felt a littl bit overwhelmed having the two of us together. I do feel however partners need a third party to be there to help when times can be overheated

      BOB

       

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      georgeGG,  Thank you for the scoring idea.  I would not have thought of that.  One thought on that...I would presume I would have to just take the reply as true and assess accordingly. Have you ever provided a false score to continue to be alone a little longer?  He is at 4 weeks now of isolation except for work.  I would like to check in very soon. 
      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hiya, I am not sure how George will answer this, but I have found I lie to the people that don't listen to me and I am honest with those who do. For example, I am always honest with my parents about how I am feeling. But I do lie to my best friend about how bad things are because when I told her a few times that I wanted to be alone she showed up every time, because she already thought I was worse than I was saying I am was lol. So I had to lie to make it seem like I was better than I was just so that the level I am at  and the level she thinks I am at are the same rofl.

      I should caveat that with the fact that there was one time I lied to my parents, and that was the closest I cam to succeeding at a suicide attempt (I was only found by chance and they had to shock my heart 3 times). 

      Most of the time he is likely to be honest with you.... but unfortunately the times he isn't are when you need to be most worried. But the more contact you have with him, the more you will be able to pick up on if his mood gets significantly worse (or if it gets significantly better without reason too, as that can mean that they have decided to go ahead with a suicide attempt and are feeling better because that struggle isn't weighing on their minds). 

      Here is what it is important to know though: Most depressed people don't kill themselves. And most suicides could not be prevented by the actions of a single person... especially not if that action is not seeing them lie about the answer to a question, not visiting them on a certain day, not showing up once when you said you would etc). The best way to look at it is this... if it was an everyday problem, even if that problem was an every day sort of argument, then it did not cause their suicide. If you had spoken to them not long before they did kill themselves, then nothing you could have said would have changed it. I do know one thing about suicidal people... they are determined. And they are sure. 

      As for the extended period of islotation... I wouldn't be overly concerned just yet. Especially if he is taking his tablets. Things should start improving soon. And the fact that he went and got help is a good sign. xxx

      Try sending a message or giving him a call and see what happens. If he is still responding that is a good sign. And as a general rule of thumb I don't tend to find 1 message a day to be too overwhelming or annoying. I would find repeated messages annoying though, even if I had ignored the ones sent before.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I use a scoring system, taught by the pain clinic so health profssionals can actually work out the depth of pain.

      Generally it goes from 1 to 10 where 1 is huncky dorie to ten climbing the walls and leaving deap sratch marks as you fall back, Severe Pain.

      If you use the system explain it to your G, He can then assess your mood more easy, Yes it is a very good  idea as long as you explain in a matter of fact way

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hello Angel

      I saw my trick cycist yesterday and will be getting visited by a CPN sometime next week. They know my extensive struggle regards depression for a long time and they are concerned I will try and take my life again

      The whole appointment evolved if I would take a little, blue tablet to end my life, little blue tablets desribe the 25mg dose of Amytryptalene so I suppose He was making a point in some way regarding the urgency of taking my life. Last night I began to wonder what would have happened if I had called His bluff.

      Reactive depression is a funny one really, mood changes are fast and unpredictable in my case although my Short Term Memory disability does help when I start to thing of my mortaity

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Brenda, that is an important question. I once said I was 5 when actually it was six. At six I should have phoned my CPN as I had agreed with her but my wife was home all day and so I felt secure. So I told my wife five to avoid an argument. I could only get away with a small inaccuracy for my wife was constantly assessing my mood. I do not think I could have hidden nine and ten from her; at those scores she was not to leave me alone for a moment and to get a friend visit to support her plus phone for professional help.

      The scoring system was a great help to me as well.

      I would add that I myself dominated The Beast until eight. At nine and ten I was at risk particularly after I had worked out my plan in detail. I was so embarassed when my psychiatrist asked me what the plan was. I gulped, then told him for I had determined to be open even if it seemed to me very melodramatic. He then gave me a prescription before I left him.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Hi Angel, no one but my wife and medical staff knew I was ill with depression.  Some friends knew I had been treated for prostate cancer and was not very well. So I do not think there is a parallel.

      I would say that honesty and openness need to be cultivated. I felt so pathetic admitting to my mood and to the danger. More attention generally is needed. I would agree it is difficult all round.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I admit this illness now, I expect cluck, clucks and the looks of disbelief 

      Some people I meet do try and use my depression against me I feel.

      We get on with life and pass along our shaking course, we have have inhertide

       

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Speaking for myself, I view those who bear the weight of the Beast day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, as equals to those of us who are free from it's grasp.  For all the help you all have provided to me in this thread, please know this: In all sincerity, I thank you for being open and honest. I appreciate your input from a side I cannot see.  I hope to see more <3

      You may come across people whom you give you looks of disbelief or use the disease against you. But I truly feel that those of us who can't know or empathise what your internal world is like DO care and want to be the kind of support you need.  We just don't know how till we ask and listen.  Even speaking now I am using the 'We vs.You' description.  I shouldn't... we are all in this together. Good days or bad.  As long as we continue to get through the days however each person needs to.   

      I was involved in the Deaf Community for years. Same issues applied in that group.  If someone approached a hearing individual for help, say with directions, the hearing persons face can contort with a look of annoyance or frustration because they couldn't understand the need and the hearing impaired person received that as "They don't want to deal with me because I am different".  Each one couldn't work inside another's world. The hearing persons face contorted as they struggled to try and understand the question given in a language they didn't understand, then frustration because they couldn't commuicate back the answer to help.  Both parties ended the exchange in frustration and did not meet the needs of the other.  As humans we are hardwired (most of us) to identify when there is a need from another and to find a way to do something about it....cause we are all equally human.  

      I wish you all one decent day this coming week, possibly two. 

      Let's not push it wink   

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you Brenda for that kndly and thoughtful summary. 

      I was interested that you drew a parallel with deafness/hearing impairedness. I have been using hearing aids for about 25 years. I am also distressed by loud noises. The same sort of difficuly in understanding does indeed apply to those disabilities as to mental ailments. Worse, the two interact agrevating the overall disability and making understanding by others even more difficult. Medical people do not seem to be able to relate depression and hearing loss but consider each in isolation.

      Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      brenda george

      In my past I have found in my case problems always arise in the GP surgery when to different conditions merge and a link needs to be drawn between the two of then, that happened to me and it took them several Specialists and Private medicine to work out the problems I was suffering from.

      All I can suggest is stick to your guns and eventually the penny will drop hopefully

      Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up