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to be sick of all the "tell someone" nonsense following RW's death?

(315 Posts)
cailindana Wed 13-Aug-14 08:44:53

My fb feed is full of trite messages saying "if you're suffering, talk to someone, we care, we will look after you blah blah blah." Bullshit. When I was severely depressed I did tell people - my GP, my parents, my sisters, my friends everyone. For the most part I got indifference, annoyance, "what can I do?" "get over it" "you're worrying mum," etc. It was only because DH is a bloody saint who spent hours and hours with me that I didn't kill myself. If he hadn't been there then I wouldn't be still alive.
I'm sure if I had killed myself, my family would have done the whole "I don't know why she did it, we had no idea," fuckwittery when in fact they would be perfectly aware of why I'd done it, they just wouldn't think it was a good reason and they would blame me for being cowardly.
Equally everyone else I know who is/was severely depressed is pretty open about it, in fact, I find that depressed people mention their condition quite a lot. The response is generally fear, a sense of not knowing what to say or how to respond, indifference or even disgust.

IME people who are in the depths of depression don't tell others because they have already told them in the past and got nowhere. Implying that if you are in that state all you need to do is "reach out" and someone will be there and everything will get better it totally inaccurate, very few people I know have had that experience. Even the very good kind close friends I had when I had PND last year essentially ignored the illness. They were helpful, very very helpful on a practical level (visiting, sorting out the kids etc) but they never asked me how I was or how the medication was working, I always had to bring it up and then they would just nod and mutter something encouraging. I don't blame them at all for that and I am extremely grateful for the ways in which they did help. It was actually on MN that I got the best support. Here, I met people who had gone through the same thing, who acknowledged my awful thoughts and feelings without trying to change my mind (the whole, "Oh it's not that bad!" that only makes depression sufferers feel they must be mental if no one else can see what they see) and gave me reassurance that yes it was shit but it would pass. They were here whenever I needed them, unlike RL friends who are understandably busy with their own lives.

Depression is a complex illness that requires specialist help. Talking does help, definitely, but a depressed person can't save or cure themselves by just being more open and talking more. Having someone listen is a welcome temporary relief but it doesn't treat the illness any more than talking to a cancer patient would treat their illness.

wannabestressfree Wed 13-Aug-14 08:47:19

I think people just need to feel useful when faced with deaths like robin Williams. They want to be able to say something positive.

It's sad whatever.

Ronmione Wed 13-Aug-14 08:48:50

Yanbu what can I do?" "get over it" "you're worrying mum,.

Completely agree with you.

Numanoid Wed 13-Aug-14 08:49:51

I usually find this sort of thing annoying too, but I really don't see the problem. It could give encouragement to people who have been suffering in silence to go and talk to someone. Telling someone is often the first step to seeking help for depression. It might not benefit everyone, but there's nothing wrong with urging people to talk about it.

I haven't seen anything saying that talking and being open can 'cure' depression, but that is unreasonable, YANBU for being annoyed over that.

MamaLazarou Wed 13-Aug-14 08:52:22

YABU, these messages can help people and can help to raise awareness of depressive illness. If just one person is helped by them, isn't it worth clogging up your Facebook newsfeed for a few days?

I am sorry for your troubles, but I have suffered from depression and I 'told someone' (went to the GP) and two years later I am now well again.

cailindana Wed 13-Aug-14 08:53:00

My point is Numanoid, I told a lot of people and none of it was a "first step," I just got rejection after rejection. Even the GP told me to "go for a walk."

CateBlanket Wed 13-Aug-14 08:53:51


CuttedUpPear Wed 13-Aug-14 08:54:14

I agree.

I had a friend posting all over Facebook after someone we worked with committed suicide.
My friend was telling everyone to talk about it if they were feeling low, that things needn't be that way.
This friend is pretty selfish and insensitive.
I can't imagine how talking to him would help at all. It just felt like he wanted to be part of the story.

sebsmummy1 Wed 13-Aug-14 08:54:49

I agree OP.

cailindana Wed 13-Aug-14 08:55:11

I don't mind things that are actually informative about depression, and say how it really is. What I object to is the trite "we will help you" messages. Unless you are actually willing to put in the sometimes monumental effort it takes to help a truly depressed person, don't offer.

ALittleFaith Wed 13-Aug-14 08:56:47

I get what you mean, having suffered with depression myself on and off the last 10 years. I remember trying to tell my Mum how bad it was, I think I used the phrase I think I need professional help and she laughed! hmm but I was able to make her see how bad I was.

What I'm taking from Robin Williams death though is crap attitudes being challenged - people who post about the selfishness of suicide being challenged and the reality of how it feels being explained. I remember when Gary Speed died my friend went on a rant saying how selfish people were if they committed suicide (he supported a friend who's Dad had done this). I called him on it asking if he'd been depressed (no!) and said when my depression was really bad I honestly thought the world would be better off without me. That's the theme I'm seeing now. Hopefully raised awareness will reduce the Pull yourself together type comments. That would help.

HolgerDanske Wed 13-Aug-14 08:58:45

Telling someone makes no difference, in real terms.

So yes, I agree with you.

Numanoid Wed 13-Aug-14 09:00:07

cailindana I know it won't help everyone, and it sounds like you had a horrible time getting someone to listen. And if people don't have someone like your DH to help, I can only imagine it would be a lot worse to deal with. :/
I don't doubt at all that it is often a real struggle to get the help needed. I've seen, through a family member, how difficult it can be to get the NHS to provide any sort of help, and how long it takes. But I still wouldn't say people are being unreasonable for trying to raise awareness, in general.
It might sound silly, but I didn't understand what depression really was until I was about halfway through secondary school, and that was through a speaker coming to the school.

Mrsjayy Wed 13-Aug-14 09:00:24

I am sorry people did not believe you that must have been horrible ,but sometimes like the people in your family don't know what to say there is people who think you should just pull yourself together get a grip go for a walk (horrified a gp said that) but there is many people who will try and understand and help, although I do think people who kill themselves will keep those feelings nobody could have prevented RW death nobody the poor man

Comingfoccacia Wed 13-Aug-14 09:01:24

I got v shirty with a colleague who said RW was a selfish twat who didn't deserve any sympathy! She didn't want to understand how complex mental illness can be and said that there is loads of help is made me really sad.

Comingfoccacia Wed 13-Aug-14 09:01:56

* mental health issues

Numanoid Wed 13-Aug-14 09:02:32

I don't mind things that are actually informative about depression, and say how it really is. What I object to is the trite "we will help you" messages. Unless you are actually willing to put in the sometimes monumental effort it takes to help a truly depressed person, don't offer.

I just saw this ^ Okay, I think I misunderstood, sorry! smile I totally agree with you, I was thinking of posts I've seen shared from charities and support groups, urging people with depression to contact them and/or seek help instead of coping alone.

PausingFlatly Wed 13-Aug-14 09:02:36

It's not long since a MIND campaign on MN about mental health stigma, where a lot of people said exactly what the OP has: they were perfectly willing to talk about their depression, but family reacted really badly and often made things worse.

Ronmione Wed 13-Aug-14 09:02:50

There was a lady on here the other day whose husband had sat in a bath with a knife to his wrists the previous night.

He 'told her' she tried to get help, the gp refused a home visit and the mental health crisis team refused to see him without a gp referal from the gp.

So fb post to 'tell someone are misleading. Depression is long term illness people often get bored with helping after the initial promises to help

Jumblebee Wed 13-Aug-14 09:03:09

I can see what you mean, but you told someone who DID listen, your DP. You said it yourself without him you probably wouldn't be here. Just because 9 out of 10 people didn't listen or downplayed it, there was that 1 person out of 10 who did and that person made the difference.

I think that as tragic as Robin William's death is (I still can't believe it) it has done a lot to highlight just how serious an illness depression is. Not only may these posts encourage people to talk to someone, but they encourage other people to think of depression as a serious illness and not just something that someone can "get over"

funnyossity Wed 13-Aug-14 09:03:49

YANBU. It has struck me that way too.

And yet, we do, I think, speak more openly than 30 years ago and there is always the chance that a sufferer will find an experienced soul to help guide them a little and not just the "get over it response" which does come from a place of ignorance or fear.

Tbh some of my circle think that cancer can be approached with an upbeat attitude and thus "beaten" and solving crippling back pain is simply a matter of "getting on with it". Many times we simply don't know what to say faced with evidence of the arbitrary nature of life.

DurhamDurham Wed 13-Aug-14 09:03:57

When I was going through depression I didn't tell anyone, I felt ashamed and weak. I got so bad I walked to the doctors surgery and just stood there and cried. It was awful, I've since told one or two very close friends but my parents and siblings don't know. I don't even know why it was such a secret, I just felt like I would be judged and I would have hated the pitying looks and pats on the shoulder which surely would have followed.
I'm off medication now and hate the thought that loads of other people must be exactly like me and putting on a brave face so if they can be made to feel that it's ok to tell someone then I think it's worth a few posts on FB. It's a very complex issue but if it even helps one person then it is worthwhile.

Greythorne Wed 13-Aug-14 09:04:39

We'll, my FIL was depressed, we knew, we tried to help. We tried to support him, we did everything we could. He spent some time in a clinic (we are in France) where he took two overdoses. We knew he was Ina very bad state. We supported him, even though we didn't know what to do. He was under a psychologist, he was having counseling, he was in a clinic. He then discharged himself and hanged himself in his garage. I am not sure what more we could do.

It's not easy for the people on the other side of terrible depression either. My dd was 4 months old. My Dh obviously took it very badly. It was a month before our wedding. All our lives were devastated by his loss. His depression and death cast a long shadow over our family for years.

It's trite to say to a depressed person "tell someone" but what else would you suggest people do? For a determined depressed person, how can family help?

I wish I knew, my family has been pole axed by my FIL's suicide.

Mrsjayy Wed 13-Aug-14 09:06:35

I was talking to my dh about this he doesn't understand how anybody could do that of course he thinks it is tragic but he thought people were taking the easy way out I said do you honestly think putting a rope around your neck is easy. People have little aware ness or stick their head in the sand about mental healtn so if a post on facebook raises somebodies awareness just a little that has to be a good thing.

cailindana Wed 13-Aug-14 09:09:25

My central objection is the idea that all a depressed person has to do is tell someone and then a floodgate of help will open. In fact, what is needed is proper specialist help from trained people who actually know what they're talking about be that GPs, psychiatrists, counsellors, people from MIND etc. The fact is, the help that depressed people need is very very patchy and sometimes not available at all.
I got excellent treatment when I had PND but that was only because it was PND and there was a baby in the picture. Once my DD turned one they couldn't get rid of me fast enough and I was "passed over to adult mental health" ie my treatment came to a total and abrupt end.

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