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How to help someone with depression

(23 Posts)
Hollie787 Sat 23-Jun-18 01:11:46

I would be very grateful for your advice and wisdom. If this needs to be moved to mental health then that's fine.

Thank you flowers

elephantscanring Sat 23-Jun-18 01:14:28

Encourage them to go to their GP and deal with it, whether by medication or counselling/talking therapy. Good luck.

Hollie787 Sat 23-Jun-18 01:24:10

Hi thank you, the problem is the person is denying that they're depressed, saying they're fine and refusing to talk about it at all...but I know they're struggling. I can't force them to say how low they feel :/

Sorry to be vague I just worry about saying too much.

elephantscanring Sat 23-Jun-18 01:27:12

What is your relationship with them? How is it affecting you? Are they a danger to you or to themselves?

GardenGeek Sat 23-Jun-18 01:40:24

Are they first time depressed? and how long has it been? Are they eating?

DeckSofa Sat 23-Jun-18 01:48:35

Have a read of the MIND website for some helpful info and advice.

TuTru Sat 23-Jun-18 01:59:28

Just remind them that you are still there for them if they ever want to say something or dunno who to turn to. No matter what they say or how they feel.
Try not to offer solutions to their specific issues, instead help them to find their own answers xx

Raven88 Sat 23-Jun-18 02:08:27

Just be there. You telling them they are depressed may make them feel that they don't have control or there being treated like someone who is not valid. Create an open dialogue about struggling. Maybe ask for advice about someone you know is struggling with something.

An idea is to leave a note basically saying that you are concerned about them and you want to help any way you can and if they want to talk you are here for them.

It took me 10 years to admit I needed help and I had went through two breakdowns and each time I ran from my problems. I hid everything I was feeling.

My DH saved me because he didn't force me to talk he just listened, on my bad days he was there and when I started treatment he encouraged me to get well, he didn't judge me for taking my meds.

smurfy2015 Sun 24-Jun-18 01:24:00

flowers OP be there for them and get support for yourself as well.

Maybe say you are worried about them because you care, I have attached a sheet of questions and prompts which has helped me many times. (have a look)

Hollie787 Sun 24-Jun-18 15:35:47

Thanks for the replies, so sorry I'm only just responding, it's been a difficult few days.

He's my child, a teenager. I'm so worried about him but he doesn't want to accept any help at all.

He isn't eating too well and his sleep is all over the place, no structure at all. Is it normal with depression to be tired even if doing nothing at all?

Also, some days he seems ok and chatty and I think then that I'm overreacting and that it's just his personality. He refuses to talk to me in detail about what's going on for him so I'm always guessing and overthinking.

Thanks Smurfy for that sheet, it's very helpful.

GardenGeek Mon 25-Jun-18 00:00:29

Ahh the teenage years! I have to admit I think I laid on the sofa once for 7 months solid in heartbreak, and if I was to add all my lie ins and laziness it must actually equal years. I think I was depressed all that time and only just really dealing with it recently, and now I am late 20s - so over a decade like raven. I did alright though academically, socially and job wise. I would say was lazier than my peers but bar the 7 month sofa stint only slightly lazier. I wouldnt say more depressed though, even though was quite depressed. I think lots of kids are depressed, confused and anxious 16+ and it alleviates slightly in 18 - early 20s but then gets even worse until 30 I think haha.

I am not trying to minimise his depression; more so say I think its underestimated how widespread it is, and even without depression this is a tricky period in life. You and him are not alone basically! grin

I recently had my turn around from CBT which your GP can get for you or MIND. It is incredibly powerful and I think changed my life grin

Even though not depressed anymore I am still lazy and stay up late, and struggle to maintain a sleeping pattern if void of responsibility or a need to get up. Some people are just night people and I think teens more so. My most productive and clearest hours are at night and I have learnt I am fine with that. One of my most intelligent friends sleeps the oddest hours and just cycles round spending 15 hours a day awake so you never know what time to call grin But it works for him and he loves it. So I would void the sleep timing worry and try not to pressure him about it unless its annoying and inconveniencing you. I wrote a job application last week 2am to 6.30am haha so good things do happen at night grin

I would focus on watching his eating for warning signs the most, and lack of social interaction or interest in doing things he likes - like gaming or watching TV. If he goes off all 3 of those then it is major alarm bells.

I would just try to instil confidence in him, be stable and here for him so he feels secure, let him know he can tell you anything, and facilitate for him rather than probing. So rather than 'why haven't you got a job yet', more like do you want me to buy you some nice shoes for when you get an interview, or I can print your CV at work so you can hand it out. Just more positive framing and offering rather than pressuring. So you are offering to lead rather than pushing IYSWIM.

smurfy2015 Tue 26-Jun-18 19:06:11

This is my story, it is how i got to where I am now

I was taken out of school at the end of 4th year as was too ill due to depression and now know it as psychosis, this was back in 1991 so things were quite different then as no social media or internet.

It was the psychiatrist who advised on total withdrawal from school as I was getting far too many questions on the days I was able to go which were few and was known as the "weird kid".

My hair was wild as I couldn't be bothered with it, I barely brushed my teeth, I spoke to few even the friends who I had been with since I started primary, I propped my head on my arm in classes or just put my head on my folded arms and tried to shut everything out, I kept my arms and legs covered (wearing leggings under my skirt even in summer and heavy school jumper),

I would change for p,e into a similar outfit in the toile(we didn't have a kit as such unless you were playing for the school which I did for my first 2 years, which was a school sports top and fleece and shorts and protective socks with the crest on the side) as I was into contact sports the fleece and shorts were provided to us by school, the socks we had to sort ourselves as well as football boots and helmet in my case which I used for 2 different sports and the tops were taken from the school supplies, which were washed every single time and always smelled fresh.)

in 3rd / 4th year I refused to go swimming, (opting for study period instead where I had to sit outside the staff room) i stopped my sports. I lost interest in everything, I pulled away from friends as they asked "too many questions".

The school got the school psychologist to see me, she recommended a psychiatrist and liaised with gp to sort referral and my mum was brought in, she knew things were bad but not fully bad it was.

I was given indefinite absence under recommendation of psych I was spending all day now in bed and then not returning as too stressful, I would get up around 11pm and maybe make a slice of toast and that was my eating as eating was something that was keeping me alive and I didn't want to be, I also drank very little fluids for same reason

My mum was on meds for many years, I found where her old ones where and I took my first of many ODs the first 6 were in short succession so the psych admitted me, there was no CAMHs or anything in that time but she felt an acute ward would scare me so I was moved to a dementia ward in the middle of the night (yes really, I was 15).

I was mainly under the care of a different psych in hospital and she realised the deep depression but also lack of food/drink as was trying to kill body as the food was so gross I kept refusing it so I ended up with an NG tube for 10 days, when I started eating although the food was gross my mum who visited daily brought me whatever I wanted to eat and I was given it to encourage eating.

I didn't realize it at the time as saw myself as fat but I was around 6.5 stone mark. I was also started on different meds which had the effects of giving me an appetite. I refused to wash and I recall 2 of the staff coming in and getting me out of bed and into the bathroom where I fought them as they got me ready for the bath that was waiting. I did what I needed to get out of there but I was to return to that hospital within the year another 7 times.

In that year and every time till she died that my depression was on the downward spiral, i would take refuge in my mums if possible and i had to follow her "rules" which were to eat with her before 6pm, even only a sandwich and drink, full change of clothes every day mostly pjs, a shower every 3rd day or every day in summer, change of bed every 2nd day, had to spend 3 hours in company so she would invite friends or family to house and i had to stay up in either kitchen or living room, i could lie on couch or recliner and from Easter to end of Sept if not raining one of those hours at least had to be outside for fresh air, I was allowed to keep bedroom curtains closed but window had to be open at least an hour a day but she would usually open it while i slept and it could be open all day.

Then I moved house because I thought if I moved everything would be ok, (i was 17) I started in a house share with my best friend and muddled along for a while, doing the bare minimum but I barely left my room and she kept in close contact with my mum whose heart I was breaking, then in Feb 1993 a bomb went off in the town in NI and I was worse than ever, I was admitted to a different hospital and returned home 7 months later.

We had sorted some medication, started treating psychosis and the mania in short bursts which was now showing in opposite extremes to the deep depression.

Long story short, it wasn't the end I was 17 at this point. I turned 18 during my admission. I also spent my 21st and my 30th birthdays in hospital. I spent the next number of years (till I was 25) on a near constant revolving door cycle of admissions to the psych ward and after suicide attempts to local general hospital.

It took ECT when I was 21/22 to break thro the depression for me, the other years was dealing with the effects and knock-ons from psychosis and mania.

In conversation with my mum when I was 25 she was so relieved to see me improving as the original psych the one who put me on the dementia ward had given her predicted outcomes for me and that was that I would never live independently and would be best in intensive supportive living and a community workshop during the day.

That made me see red, my bestie was about to move to a different area to be with her now husband and I decided to take on a flat in the city nearest where I lived then.

Me, living independently on my own, I did show them, within 2 months of taking the flat on my own I had secured a part-time job as office clerk / medical typist in local hospital, I started driving lessons, I joined a couple of things and made friends and although i was happy, i still had a few weeks here or there in hospital but no long stays like years earlier where my average stay was 6 months. I stopped counting how many psych admissions to the 2nd hospital after they totalled 30. With my driving licence under my belt, i applied for a job further way but working with people with severe and enduring mental ill health and addictions and did that for 6 years before i had to be medically retired due to 4 different neurological conditions 2 of which are refractory and also had to give up driving as well.

Over those few years that followed I decided that i needed to show my mum she didnt need to worry about me in the event of her becoming deathly ill. This was something which when i was told she had a very short time left i handled brilliantly to say myself as i helped her organise her funeral, sort out her will, say her goodbyes to everyone she needed to and most importantly not worry about me at that point in her life.

When we were making her funeral wishes list, she turned to me and said I know you are holding everythign together and dealing with all this but one thing worries me I havent seen you cry, i know you are obviously upset but you need to let it out. I know you can get thru then she noticed i was chewing inner lip furiously trying to be strong.

Ive had ups and downs in the 10.5 years since she passed. She was a major help to me as Im sure you are to your teen. Be supportive no matter what, nothing can shock you (thats the impression to give), your love is unconditional and something is up and you want to help fight it. If he recognises something is different to how he used to be, if a young teen, give it a name.

My depression was mainly called "Daisy", it was easier to want rid of Daisy as she was being mean to me.

Push for help and never turn down a referral as who knows where it will lead, explain the way you have here but also add that he is denial

I also went to a self help support group to try and help myself during a slightly better spell, one of my best decisions ever, The group took me under their wing and established fim long lasting friendships, 3 of those women i am still in touch with most weeks 27 years later,

It must be so hard as a parent, make sure you have support for youself as well. flowers

Hollie787 Wed 27-Jun-18 21:46:30

GardenGeek and Smurfy - gosh I am so humbled reading your stories. Thank you truly for sharing that, I imagine it must be difficult to talk about and I just want to say I have so much admiration for you both.

Garden I am trying to get him into CAMHS and already have an appointment but it's too far away so am on a cancellation list and hoping they call me any day with an urgent app. I think CBT would help him, it's just getting him to agree to it and I know that CAMHS can't force a child to engage, or at least that's what I've been told.

You've given me loads of good advice and tips - thank you I will take this on board smile

Smurfy your story has really touched me, you've been through so much and you're amazing quite frankly. So strong to have survived all of that and still be here today, I bet your mum would be incredibly proud. When people dismiss mental health issues as not that important they should read experiences like yours and see just how deadly depression can be. I want to wish you every success for the future and am in awe of you.

That's a good idea giving the depression a name, I never even thought of that. It helps I imagine to separate it from yourself, to know that it doesn't have to define you.
I'm trying hard to get support for myself but it's not easy, I'm neglecting myself quite a lot lately in every way as he is all I think about.

smurfy2015 Thu 28-Jun-18 11:20:12

@Hollie787 flowers You need to take time for yourself and even 5-10 mins a day if you can and are interested in following a mindfulness exercises, I recommend The Honest Guys on Youtube, Spotify etc and cover your eyes even a washcloth with 2 wrung ones one on each eye to add a slight weight to ground you, count your breaths and its a cliche but very true remember you cant pour from an empty cup.

I forgot to mention above while working as a support worker, I also did a part-time HND and got my distinction, (at one point lecturers thought I was coming to say I needed to leave, they were totally unaware of my illness except for course head who was on maternity), I missed 6 weeks, I came back, I passed it off as a virus (as I didn't want any in my opinion sympathy marks) which was easy as I looked like death warmed up, I had been doing a medication change and had lost 3 stones (so over .5 stone a week or over 7lb a week) my mum was very proud to see me graduate, as that was "community workshop" not that there was anything wrong with community workshops for those who need them.

Not sure on this so maybe @hatgirl can help, can OP ask for a carers assessment as this is causing extra strain above and beyond being a parent?

Also OP would recommend Carers UK forum as some brilliant advice over there from experienced family carers brew and cake for you

GardenGeek Sat 30-Jun-18 04:08:54

smurfy you are incredible!

No worries OP, it is good to talk about it. Puts it into perspective.

I feel I am at the beginning of my journey I feel in terms of understanding whats going on; as although have cured my depression currently, I have started to look at my addiction issues (smoking) and these I believe to be from anxiety. But on deeper reflection last few days I think a deep underlying anxious energy tendency that I have had my whole life I think.

So I did a big 5 test and got a score of 2 for Emotional Stability (from 1-99) haha, so thats shit. Its called Neurotiscism the section as well ahh! But it does explain a lot. I was surprised I was so shit, but not surprised really it was bad. Some I am exploring this weird deep internal drive now and trying to find deeper meaning and take recognition more of what I am controlling. I mention this because I was reading about personalities and apparently those high in creativity and low in emotional stability are most likely to be just fucked. So the fact I am biologically predispositioned to be in a hell hole according to some clinicians, and I have managed relatively, I would say there is hope no matter what the predisposition or diagnosis. Ha I am surprised I have done so well actually reading some of the stuff I have these past few days!

Which is why I would say maybe dont try to do this yourself. There really is an art to it, and you have to be able to know what you are doing and be good at it. As in a little bit of consciousness is just crushing and very anxiety inducing - (ie. I have emotional stability of 2 ha! Great!) - , but you cant go back, so you have to work forward and confront things which only really professionals know how to do. Exploring this myself I feel a little dangerous but I have a close friend who knows quite a bit about the subject and guides me away from bad thought tracks.

DP has a counsellor who asked him to name his depression too. But again this was many sessions before they did that, and I think they personified or abstracted it in a way before doing that.

Basically I would just focus on being a good mother which I am sure you are grin - so stability - not many changes in your behaviour, and try to get the CAHMS assessment because they will work all this out, as none of it really makes sense without that personality setting. I found music really helped, even if angry or depressed music, I can channel my energy in a real acknowledgment but not consolidation. So maybe even encourage it and ask what a song is or something so he feels comfortable playing it maybe. But overall just be positive, this will be a journey and thats part of embracing the CBT, that life is up and down, it cycles. But there is hope and there is light grin brew

smurfy2015 Sat 30-Jun-18 11:04:16

We are all survivors in different ways as everybody has challenges and Im damn stubborn as a mule to boot.

Despite my best attempts over time, its hard to kill a bad thing as the saying goes. So I have some purpose even if im not sure of what it is most of the time lol

My first diagnosis started out as severe clinical depression, then with psychosis was added, manic depression then became my diagnosis with psychotic episodes, then changed again to Schizo Affective Disorder and finally the current psych changed it after I disagreed with him on different levels and I dont agree with the diagnosis but its my current one which is EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder aka Borderline Personality Disorder).

The diagnosis changed over the years as consultants came and went and another saying Drs differ and these have and different diagnosis all round.

Music helped me too. Also being encouraged to go into the fields (i lived rurally) and scream if needed, i know that isnt an option for everyone.

GardenGeek Sat 30-Jun-18 15:09:28

Despite my best attempts over time, its hard to kill a bad thing as the saying goes.

Exactly smurfy because they are incredibly strong, but thats our problem with them otherwise they wouldn't be 'bad'!

All of these traits have purpose, they are not always negative. Our greatest weaknesses are our greatest strengths too. So for example I am emotionally unstable but that makes me extremely dynamic, which if channelled and controlled correctly could be my greatest asset - perhaps it has been at times. Its happening really because I care and I feel - which aren't bad, I would even consider desirable qualities actually.

So I am imagining this as my new found super power: a great asset but very dangerous if not trained and is used recklessly haha grin

smurfy2015 Sat 30-Jun-18 17:19:20

I care and I feel deeply about a lot of things that are inconsequential to others. I would hate to make anyone feel bad. When I'm able to channel energies and interests into something I give it my all.

GardenGeek Sat 30-Jun-18 17:51:19

Haha so your making me think I have Borderline Personality Disorder smurfy, as we converse quite similarly as in relating it to our own perspectives and some would think oversharing - so I did a test and it said '23' which was low in likely. And reading about BPD, yes I do feel my anxiety comes from need 'rather than emptiness' (but I suppose they are the same) and search for meaning and purpose in life. It feels a very primal instinct, and that when not fulfilled I can just start to go downhill and with my high emotional dynamics that can be awful. Although what triggered my depression I would say was a sudden emptiness in one section of my life.

So yeah making a lot of sense of all this, enjoying the exploration of self discovery, and have been endeavouring to add meaning and value to my life and have been feeling a lot better since doing so. Long may that continue.

Thanks smurfy

GardenGeek Sat 30-Jun-18 17:57:30

Although what triggered my recent peaking and bringing to the the boil depression I would say was a sudden emptiness in one section of my life. IYSWIM.

Not the ongoing one, I think that may be down to this underlying thing which may be BPD tendencies thinking now, or something. It is a constant journey haha grin brew

smurfy2015 Sun 01-Jul-18 09:25:16

@GardenGeek Deffo a constant journey, I disagreed with the diagnosis so was sent to see the PD team for a full assessment and came out with the diagnosis. So think of it this way, 2 people marking every single thing you say/do/have done against the PD criteria, there was no way I wasn't coming out of that room without a diagnosis lol.

I acquired 2 primary and 2 secondary PD diagnosis that day.

@Hollie787 its still called "Daisy" with me, I picked that name, it was what my brother wanted to call when I was born because we had a cow called Daisy at the time and the name sounded nice.

dangermouseisace Sun 01-Jul-18 10:13:58

I’ve had depression on and off since a teen. It’s great that you have noticed and want to help.

I’ve always found others persistence annoying at the time, but appreciated it when out to the other side.

I always find it useful when it’s pointed out that how things are is not normal, and that things can and will get better if I accept some help. The trouble is when depressed it seems like NOTHING will help, anyone who suggests otherwise just doesn’t know what they are on about, that other people might get better but I’m the exception. And this is common depressed thinking. On my crisis plan I set up a thing of how I’d like people to point out worries and suggested that people focus on observable characteristics so...”I’ve noticed you aren’t eating/are not sleeping/have stopped doing (insert activity here) and that could suggest you’re getting unwell”. Noticing physical things seems less of a judgement than “you seem depressed” which always makes me think I’m making other people miserable so I should hide. There are loads of lists of symptoms online.

Also stressing the fact that your son is not alone- you’re there for him, there are others who can help too. That he deserves to feel better, and that this is entirely possible, but in order to do that he needs to let others in.

He might be embarrassed to tell you how he is feeling. Would he talk to the GP etc on his own?

GardenGeek Sun 01-Jul-18 13:54:14

Yes that is what I thought on reading it. I thought well obviously people are depressed if they feel they are 'lacking' something (emptiness) haha. I am like is that really a mental disorder?! So then I am reading along and I get to the end after agreeing with loads and it says those who have BPD will not want to get treatment because they dont think they need it.

Then I am like well I am damned if I do want the treatment because that means I dont have BPD (so pointless treating it) or am damned if I dont want the treatment because that means I do have BPD haha. But what if I genuinely think I dont have BPD, like you? Is every single person who doesn't think they have it have it. How is that even possible grin

Thats a circle square circle for sure grin

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