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Readers Respond: How to Help Depressed Friends

Responses: 57


Updated September 28, 2011


I have had depression in my life , all of my years on this earth.I have seen those that suffer with it and i too have had different bouts with it as well.I know that there is a God because i am still here to type this message out. He is my strength and my savior and he has protected me through all of this in my life.My marriage is on the brink and i have been patient and loving but can't make that other person care. I only see a way out now that is not how i use to feel . I need to heal from this abuse emotional , spirtual . I am going for help
—Guest cassy

I still don't know what to do

My mom has severe bipolar depression and I have been dealing with it for all 18 years of my life. I can't remember a time when my mom was happy and not sleeping all the time or lashing out. After reading the article and all these comments, it is good to know I'm not alone but I still don't know what to do. I understand it is not their fault but my mom has tried everything including electric shock therapy and nothing has helped. How long are you supposed to just take all the pain and be there for them? The only advice this article offers is to give the depressed loved one support, but after eighteen years of giving it and sacrificing a lot, including my childhood, how can I keep helping her? The good days slowly decrease and it is like she isn't there anymore. Everybody's sympathy goes out to the person with the the depression but I think the real victims here are the healthy people who have to give their lives up for this disease and suffer with them.
—Guest megan

From a previously depressed person

as someone who has experienced repeated "episodes" of severe depression and attempted suicide I think I've acquired some insight. first off know that depression is a consuming emptiness, it's a visceral nothingness. Life is utterly meaningless to the depressed. first wrap your mind around that. what makes you happy does not register to them. what calms you does not calm them. read the word misery in the dictionary and think about it, really think about it. nothingness and misery. why do I say this? because the first step to combatting your enemy is to know it. so what do you do? 1. insist on professional help. 2. give the person too much attention. constantly. it makes them feel like their worth something. 3. this one is tough...find beauty in darkness. the depressed person will be dark. if you try to feed them light they will spit it out. if you can show them beauty in the darkness you have acquired a great power in the fight against depression. depression is not a disney movie.

Supporting him, supporting myself

It is extremely difficult to have a spouse with major depressive disorder. Medications that don't work, the constant sadness, anger, lashing out. It is at times like climbing the same mountain over and over again. I have learned that I have to step back and take care of myself too. Not just our kids, him and our house, but me too. A quick walk, cup of tea when the house is dark and quiet, working a few minutes every so often on a favorite project; these things have given me a chance to breath and tell myself to keep going. You really love your spouse/friend and feel so helpless. Nothing you do is enough, and the depressed person never thinks what you are doing is helping. They say horrible things to you and then expect you to keep going. Hang in there. We have to do our best.
—Guest at a loss

i am at a lose on what to do

i tell him he is loved every day i try hard to make life better for him i reminde that his kids love him dearly but nothing seems to be helping he gets better every now and then but like the flip of a light swich he can go from happy to sad and nothing in life has rely changed i just wish i could feel a bit more help full with what he is going through i have been depressed but i just snaped out of it one day and i rely dont know what helped me please if any one knows what to do please tell me thanks
—Guest jamie

Husband depressed

I think my husband is depressed. 3 months ago he started to lose his appetite, he wasn't interested in sex at least one year prior; it was only me that initiated anything. He was snappy to me and the kids 10 months at the time and 4.5 years. I wasn't feeling loved and finally asked him whether he still loved me. He said he didn't know how he felt. He also said that he didn't actually want another baby; but he does love both the kids. I gave him some space, a week. He saw a counsellor, so did I. He didn't like it. After his space he said we needed to have our own friends, have time together. We have hardly had any time together. When I get sad he gets angry. I need him to cuddle me more, he feels uncomfortable to. He tells me he does love me, but I deserve to be loved more. He says that I do so much for him and he doesn't appreciate me. He says he doesn't have a problem with me, it's him. He says he hates himself. He says he is negative all the time & is sick of arguing with himself.
—Guest Sam555

My Husband Doesn't "Get It"

I suffered multiple times with post-partum depression. I resent this illness so much. I'm just finding out my young children have had permanent damage as a result of my PPD. My husband never understood it. He sure gives me a hard time about my treatment: from going to Mental Health Programs to me having to take medication behind his back because he thinks it's just a feel-happy-never-deal-with-root-issues pill. Easy for him to say, he never read this article. In fact, he probably doesn't know hardly anything about my illness. He just sees it as something I can think my way out of. Can you believe this? He actually says if I do MORE WORK around the house I'll feel better about myself. I told him he's probably the main reason why I'm on Zoloft! So there. And this is all Depression's fault. I hate it. :-(
—Guest Resenting Depression

BF is depressed

So I've read alot of the responses and am in a similar position. We don't live together. I understand it's a disease, and he's seeing a counselor and taking meds, but is having an 'episode' that has been a few weeks now. My question is, is it better to step back and let him come to me, or go to his place to see him? I've texted him/called etc to let him know I'm here and he knows I care, but I obviously want to see him and physically be there for him. Any advice? This is my first dealing with a depressed individual and I really care about him so want to do the right thing. Help!
—Guest what to do?

Just trat them nice

one thing i know is that depressed persons look at you closely to see if what you say is what you mean. Look at the person and give a smile. Even if you don't get a smile back still wear a one. Remember they are already feeling sad the least they need around them is a sad person. Give a hug often . Give a person a caring touch. Try to discover their love language. When my friend was going through depression, i touched her sort of massaging her shoulders while asking her what i can do for her at the same time and she simply said that '' just give me more of that touch. It feels so nice" Don't look for big things do for them. All they need if your presence. Create time to just be next to a depressed love one it will make a difference. Another time i asked her what i could do for her and she simple said come and be next to me as i sleep. When i did that she actually slept. Dont wait for a depressed person to ask you for what to eat they have no preferance just make a good choice .
—Guest Joy

Not coping very well

I live with my partner who suffer from a heart attack two years ago. Prior to this leading up to turning 50 things started to go down hill. He does not respond to children youngest being 18. Tried to talk with him to no avail. Trying to seek help for him and getting him to the doctor is a hard task. How do you help someone who digs their toes in. He is becoming very anti social has been lying and does not think he has a problem. I and currently seeking help to try and understand him. My partner is a very loving person before all this happened. He takes off without saying where he is going. He starts stuff and never finishes them and when he decide to finish it he then rambles on something else. It's become very noticeable and we have lost many friends over it as he is so applaudable. He is now starting to lie and coping with a love one is very trying. I will support him which I have said many times. I also wonder if this all goes back to his childhood which was awful. Please advise
—Guest Debbie

It Hurts

To see a friend who is going through a hard time can really hurt. You feel you need to help. In my experience there is always a reason but you don't always see it. Don't try to give advice to your friend, you don't necessarily understand. Just be there. There isn't much you can really do unless you are licensed to. Just let them know that you are there for them. Give them a hug or a shoulder to cry on.
—Guest who hurts with their best friend

Be strong

I just realized that I have been suffering from depression for a long time on and off. I always thought that it was situational -- b/c of this or that. This time I realize that I feel sad just b/c. I have tried to "shake" the feeling away but it won't go away. I have started taking medication (3 wks) and I have had some relief from the anxiety that I feel, but I still don't feel myself. I have two kids whom I need to care for on a daily basis. I have a loving but extremely busy husband. I feel alone a lot of the times. I am seeing a therapist, but I don't really feel like things are improving. This is such a difficult illness to handle...the shame, the frustration, guilt. Sometimes I wonder if I just left, if it would be better for my family. If anyone knows, how do you help yourself get better? I get out of bed every morning and get myself ready and get the kids off to school. I tend to the house and do groceries, make meals, do laundry, etc, but the joy is missing. Help
—Guest so alone

To help your mom with Depression

My mom has it and i l am still in high school, but what i have learned if anything is that the most important thing for her or anyone is support. Just sitting down and talking too them and lising too them and how they feel makes a huge impact (you could even talk about there day). (i think of it as venting, without judging). And sometimes suprising her witht exstra things that seem imposibal too her but soo simple for you that only take 5 or 10 minn of your time. Trust me it really helps :)
—Guest Teen

to helper's of depertion

You are not alone. i would like to add that the child protection states simply ; if you can't handle it, get someone who can. you should not take it all on your self or make big promises you can't keep. It is importance to remember you are there to help not to be superman fix everything and point them in the right way witch many be to show them some can help. there is no shame in saying "i don't know" because a guess could be worse I say this because I could not handle any one how is souisidle but I could be more effective in doing a small part ad stepping aside. Renumber; on both side you are not alone and together we can make it though. ps this advisee is to remind you that you have to look after your self before you can be strong, to take on others. I agree with the time out becues you desevie it most. (again I am no expert)
—Guest munns.s


I am in a relationship with the most wonderful man when he has good days. He is aware that he may be suffering from depression, but at the same time defensive if i try to talk to him about it. I feel as though I am beat up alot of the times. I am constantly walking on eggshells and not sure how he is going to be from one day to the next. I did not realizr until reading some of these reponses that sharing these feelings with an untreated person can add to their feelings of guilt, hopelessness and low self worth. He did tell me one time when I was able to get him to open up that he felt as though everyone was giving up on him. We have an appointment to see a doctor soon, so I hope that medication combined with therapy for the both of us can help us learn how to be supportive of one another. I believe that it is not just the sufferer who needs to change, but I need to learn how to detach with love and take care of myself as well.
—Guest Denise

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How to Help Depressed Friends

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