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Trying to help someone who won't help themselves.

(8 Posts)
TheWitTank Wed 28-Jan-15 20:53:33

I have a close friend who is clearly depressed and has been for over a year. It's getting worse, and I have been desperately trying to help him, but he just won't/can't help himself. It's at a stage where it's actually frustrating talking to him-he is constantly upset and talking about how bad things are, but won't go to the doctors or take any advice-its always 'yes but....' or 'I can't because....'. I don't know what to do anymore; I feel terrible saying this but it makes me angry/frustrated/down myself talking to him now. It's like banging my head against a brick wall and is mentally draining. I love him, but I'm finding I'm dreading talking to him. Where do I go from here? AIBU to back off for a while? I would never abandon him but I just can't help it seems. I feel such a bitch writing this, but after another evening of going round in circles for hours I'm stuck.

MrsTawdry Wed 28-Jan-15 20:56:23

Would he come out for a walk with you? Walking daily helped me to recover. If you could manage to get him out...and into somewhere green on a daily basis that would be very useful.

betweenmarchandmay Wed 28-Jan-15 20:56:33

I don't think you're a bitch at all. It must be very frustrating.

From the other side as it were, it can be that feeling depressed becomes normal, after a fashion and you can't conceive of a way out. People giving me advice just tends to make me panicky and defensive, especially if they do it in a 'brisk' way (not saying you have! flowers)

HearMyRoar Wed 28-Jan-15 20:58:49

In the nicest possible way you are not helping him by pushing when he isn't ready.

Also you need to remember that your are not responsible for his mental health. Trying to be will only end in you getting seriously hurt.

Back away for a bit and give yourself a break. You may find that if you give him some space he will find his own way to the help he needs.

AdoraBell Wed 28-Jan-15 21:05:43

As MrsTawdry says, going out really helps. It's not a silver bullet but being outside can make a huge difference.

It is wearing dealing with this. Even being there for him to moan to is better for him than having no one, so please try to keep supporting him.

Is there somewhere you could arrange to meet, a coffee shop in town, a park? Park would be best but if that's not possible then almost anywhere away from home is good.

TheWitTank Wed 28-Jan-15 21:15:36

Thank you so much for your help everyone, brilliant advice. I do try not to nag on at him, but he says things like 'I really need to see a doctor' - then I will say 'okay, then let's get an appointment booked, that's a great idea' and then it will be 'I can't because...'. It must be terrible for him, and I will always listen, but I'm exhausted by it to be honest. I hope I'm not pushy, but I agree that maybe stepping back and not 'advising' might be more constructive to him finding his own way to help himself. It's so sad, depression is just awful. I hope all those on here suffering manage to find a way through it soon. Thank you again.

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 28-Jan-15 21:31:33

Ooh I feel for you, OP! I would be really tempted to actually pick up the phone and make the appointment for him while he's sitting there. Then say, "right, you're all booked in, I'll pick you up at ....o'clock."

I have actually been on anti-depressants myself. Realised I needed a GP appointment quite urgently, made the appointment and asked DH to come with me. I should have done it sooner. No-one else in my life had asked me I I thought I might be depressed - don't think they realised. As soon as I realised what it was I decided it needed sorting, and pronto.

If your friend KNOWS he is depressed and you know, and you've discussed it with him openly and agrees he needs to see someone then I really would be tempted to try and help him through his "but" moments by just bustling through making the arrangements for him. It's that first step that some people find so hard especially men I think as they don't like to talk about their feelings.

Yes, I would be tempted To be quite "bossy" and firm with him. If he cancels the appointment then a) more fool him and b) you know you did all you could.

I know people will disagree with me on this but why should OP have to sit there and listen to him going on about how bad he feels and give him advice which he doesn't act on and for no good reason?

If someone had a physical illness and banged on and on about it yet didn't seen a doctor then you'd tell them to shut up in the end or see a doc to get it sorted!!!!

CurlyhairedAssassin Wed 28-Jan-15 21:38:33

By the way, I am MORE than happy for depressed friends to sit having a good old moan about their feelings for as long as they need, as long as they're doing something about it, and I would help any friend with helping them to help themselves eg going to doc with them etc.

But the OP says her friend is getting worse - how bad does it have to get before she does feel able to pick up the Phone on his behalf? At the point where he gets sectioned because he has gone WAY past the stage of going with him to a first GP appointment?

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