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Readers Respond: How to Help Depressed Friends

Responses: 49

By

Updated September 28, 2011

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

powerless

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

behavior issues

Just returned from a family reunion and my cousin seems to be getting much worse. Constant angst, sleeping or just in bed, constant need for attention therefore no real conversation, substance abuse -- I see which way I need to go for her. Unconditional love and an understanding of how to talk to her about this.
—Guest teri

Loved One Depressed

I really appreciate reading the advice. I think it is very valuable both as some one who has dealt with chronic depression herself and as the person dealing with the depression of one of the most important people in my life. It is hard not to take it personally when someone you love is seemingly rejecting you, but getting support for yourself and providing unconditional love are key. I had not thought before about taking a break from the situation, but that is exactly what I am going to do this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. Thank-you for excellent information and understanding.
—Guest P3

gf of a depressed one

i am goin thru exactly the same with my bf. i feel he is pushin e away all the time and that i am not good enough. he tells me he knows i love him but he has lost alot of his emotions. hes snappy and i can never do or say anything right. the smallest thing gets all out of hand!! i tell him im there for him, love n care about him n he says he knows, i just want to help but hes bn like this now for 2 and half years and he cant get really angry and scream and get insultin but then on gd days hes like the 'old him' that he used to be. hes lost interest in everythin we used to do. im really tryn and im always honest with him n will not just tell him what he wants to hear. hes always been let down in his life and we have bn together for 17 yrs and even tho i feel like walkin away i cant, i made a promise that i will always b there for him n i am that one person in his life who actually means it, i just dont know what to do next apart from still hang in n b there and take his anger etc
—Guest dawny

My mum is suffering from depression

She has all my life but it's only just being diagnosed, I know at times it will be hard to love her unconditionally but I guess I will have to
—Guest Clive

Girlfriend of a depressed one

I don't know when it all started, it feels as if it was always like that. Silence, disengagement, intolerance and anger. Eth's always my fault.Most of the times, I try to handle how I feel and remind myself that he is ill, it's the illness talking, not him. He won't see a doctor, he is denying that he may be depressed, he won't even talk about counselling.We are almost like two strangers sharing a flat and sometimes a bed. I'm wondering, how long will it last? Am I doing him any good, should I leave him alone, am I an obstacle for a potential recovery,am I just another everyday struggle for him? For how long will I have to feel lonely,unwanted,unloved and for how long will I have to carry all the home responsibilities on my own?Anybody who has a word to offer, please do so, I feel frustrated and selfish but most of all, I love this guy to bits and I'd give everything to see him smiling again,sleeping regularly and loving life as he used to. This whole thing makes me wanna scream!
—Guest Malhutit

when your significant other is depressed

I know exactly how you feel "Put on hold indefinately". You almost describe the situation I am going trough with my boyfriend. He does the same thing and I feel very helpless. He is a single dad and we are able to spend just one weekend out of the month alone (we aren't living together either). When he goes through a depressive phase, he lashes out, is insulting to the point of being very hurtful. If I try to help him, I don't do it right, am useless or don't understand. If I give him space, I don't care enough, I am cold, I am not loving. Whatever I do,seems wrong. Im not only walking on egg-shells, it feels like I am walking on glass. He is on mediaction, but does receive any therapeutic support, which I think would be helpful for him. But I don't even dare to suggest it, because I do not want to feel his "wrath". I have to put my own feelings on hold. We just came out of a huge fight today, and I feel like I am loosing my standing in this relationship. I don't know what to do.
—Guest I don't know anymore

Helping the Depressed Person

I am a chronic depression sufferer. I isolate myself when I am doing poorly. I need time and a lot of it to ride the under current of depression. And, I must do this alone. Sometimes I can't function at all. I know this confuses people, because then I can be outgoing on a good day or days(a month or two if lucky). I purposely am not in a relationship due to Depression. So for me I prefer that someone acknowledges that I indeed have an illness and it is acting up to put it mildly. Then I prefer to be alone. I have hope I will recover to some degree when in an episode and hopefully my friends will be there for me. It is an awful disease and it is extremely difficult to be in a relationship with someone with major depression at times. It is also difficult for the depressed having the pressure of dealing with a relationship and battling depression at the same time. I say give the person a lot of space and time, but let them know from time to time you care and are there if they need you.
—Guest Brad

being there means everything

I am a mom who as suffered from depression for years. Let me say before you get diagnosed you feel totally crazy. I was or still am one of those friends that if im feeling a mood comming on I disassociate with everyone. We are not trying to hurt you, we want to not spread our misery on you. Medication does help but you got to know you have to accept you have to work on yourself too. Like the saying goes someone cant make you happy you have to be happy for yourself. My 25 year old daughter just came to me about feeling blue. She has all the symptoms I had. She is feeling like she's not good enough to keep a guy, not pretty enough -she's gorgous-. not skinny enough, she is a size 3 and just lost 45 pounds in the last year. I was blind but now I see this thing can be passed down and now I have to not blame myself for her depression now, just be there for her and let her know i love her, and Im not going anywhere. Be there for your friends they really dont mean to be selfish there sad.
—Guest kimmy42025
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