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need you to advise re my friend.

(42 Posts)
Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 19:44:52

DH and me have known this friend for years and years. We hadnt heard from him in months so i text him.
When he replied he said that he had been very unwell and had been hospitalised with depression and had tried to commit suicide.
I was not shocked by this but heartbroken that he had felt so very low and alone at this time and we were not there for him.
Any way he is recieving appropriate care, help and support from the professionals and i have persuaded him to visit us a couple of times.
He just cries and cries, tells me of his symptoms and the big black hole that he is in. I just dont know what to say to him.
Ive told him this, i have told him how much he means to us, i have told him that we dont care if he wants to come and just cry. He must come and cry,(as long as he doesnt try to eat my cakes) I have just piled positive upon positive to him. Try to look ahead to the future.
By the time he leaves he is definitely in a better mental state,the next time he comes its the same. I dont care about this, i dont care if he comes for the next 10 years saying the same thing, as long as he comes.
Ive googled the title "depression" and not got too many practical suggestions. There are allot of you who post on this thread, how can i help him,what can we do for him.
To add, he lights up a room when he walks in, he really does, i cant tell you what a wonderful person he is.

tillykins Mon 27-Dec-04 19:51:56

I'm sorry this has happened to your friend Donbean but glad he has you and your husband there for him. I may be contradicted any moment now, but I think you are doing everything that you can do for him - he is getting the professional care he needs, thank goodness - and all you can do is be there and make sure he knows it. And if he doesn't contact you, be aware that you might need to foist yourself on to him
And I think you should treat him normally, don't not tell him things about your life incase they upset him and so on (not that I think your life is terrible)
It sounds like you are being wonderful friends, depression is a terrible illness not only for those who suffer from it but for those who love them too
take care

DelGirlsRingAreYouListening Mon 27-Dec-04 19:54:23

well said tilly, think you've hit the nail on the head imo

OhComeLetUsADiorHim Mon 27-Dec-04 19:56:11

Donbean - what a caring friend you must be.

One pointer, a depressed person does not respond to the 'look on the bright side' type of comment. There is no bright side, and usually no future to think of. All you can do is be there for him, as you have been, and let him cry on your shoulder.

When I am depressed, all I want to do is be listened to, and I can appreciate how hard it is for someone who is emotionally involved not to try and give advice. My dh does the same, because it is natural to want to try and solve the person's problems. It must be so frustrating for someone to see a person they care for feeling so bad, and not be able to do anything to help.

You sound lovely. The only advice I can give you is to not try to find answers where there are none, and just to be there for him.

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:05:05

I understand what you are saying and im aware that "looking on the bright side" comments are not helpful, i try to highlight the fact that this time 2 weeks ago he couldnt and hadnt left the house for 2 months, and he has found the courage from some where to come to us.
You are completely correct in what you all say about so so wanting to DO something. God i wish i had a magic wand and could make it all end for him.To make him him again. He keeps saying that he just cant make his brain "click" into place. What do you think he means by this?

Christmassbee Mon 27-Dec-04 20:09:20

Message withdrawn

OhComeLetUsADiorHim Mon 27-Dec-04 20:11:01

He probably means that he realises his brain is 'not quite right', and that he wishes he could just feel happy again by himself. From my own experience, depression felt like a black lump in my stomach area, which was stopping any feelings from escaping out of me. So, I was unable to clear the sadness from inside me as it was trapped. It just felt lodged there, making me feel total despair, without being able to do anything about it.

One positive thing you can do is to get him out of the house, for walks etc, without telling him why. Exercise does make the body produce the endorphins needed to create that 'happy' mood in the brain. I always feel better after exercise of some sort, although I never appreciate my dh suggesting it.

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:17:45

He does, he tells me that either today was bad and yesterday was good,and tells me what he managed to do...or as i tell him "what he achieved!" Having never suffered from depression myself its difficult to comprehend.
As i understand it, he has lost the ability to cope with even making a cup of tea, he is forgetful,exhausted and has terrible dreams. His sleeping pattern is disturbed and he feels sad constantly,"big black hole". He is a tortured soul at present, but is a shining light to every one who knows him. He has told only us about this.

OhComeLetUsADiorHim Mon 27-Dec-04 20:21:32

The poor man

As a depressed person myself, I know how to put a face on things. Most people I know (other SAHMs for example) say that they see me as a happy person, and bubbly. When I get closer to them, as I have to a couple, I then feel that I can be more myself. However, I try not to say too much about the depression, as I am very aware that people feel it is a bit of a burden.

You have obviously got his trust, which you obviously deserve. I can't say anything else to advise you, because you seem to be doing it all already!

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:22:32

I am scared for him when he is alone, what will he be thinking, what if he does something,

SmokedSamN Mon 27-Dec-04 20:23:44

Donbeam, don't have much time to post but I've read the other thread and when you say that he's receiving appropriate care, I hope it includes CBT(cognitive behavioural therapy). I would just like to say that when I was depressed, CBT worked really well for me - it's a very structured approach to dealing with depression (and anxiety, and panic attacks) and although I tried medication, and counselling, this was the one thing that really made me get out of the black hole and feel like I could deal with my situation.

What is more, I now know how to recognise the signs that I might be getting depressed again, and I know that I have the tools to deal with it.

I know that different approaches work for different people, but I think CBT is a really good approach - and rather than leaving you dependent on something (drugs or another person) to keep feeling better, it ultimately gives you back the control of your own life.

I can remember finding some good sites when I first started looking into CBT, but I can't remember them offhand. If I get the chance this evening, I'll dig around and post again.

Anyway, he might already be getting this help, and I also wanted to say that it is really good for him to have you as friends to just let him be himself - whether he wants to cry or whether he's feeling more positive. Please do keep up the regular contact with him. When I was really bad one of the few things I would get out of the house for was a regular lunch 'date' with a very good friend of mine - and getting out of the house was a difficult thing for me at that point. also, if he's feeling really low it's quite likely he won't want to contact you because he won't want to bother you, just like Christmasbee said. If you call him regularly you might manage to prevent it getting to the point where he spends another 2 months in the house.

You and your dh sound like such wonderful people to be around for your friend like this. I'll try to post again later

JudgeFlounce Mon 27-Dec-04 20:25:31

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OhComeLetUsADiorHim Mon 27-Dec-04 20:28:18

Ultimately, you are not responsible for him. If he wants to do something to himself, he will. It would be devastating for you, but he probably would not believe that. When I was that low, I really believed that everyone around me would be better off if I was not around, even ds.

My sister was recently so low that my mum and I were worried she might do something awful to herself. She didn't, but it was very frustrating not to be able to watch her 24/7. I am not sure what to say to you about this, and maybe someone else will have some better advice.

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:30:41

Thanks for that smokedsamn, your experience is invaluable to me, thankyou. He is recieving Cognitive therapy but i wonder if it is very early days with it at this point. He has been attending for about a month i think. How long befor it begins to make sense?
I text him every other day or so, telling him that when he feels up to it to come, i leave it at that because although i am frightened of him bieng alone i also feel that he needs his space and time to get going (if you will) he doesnt feel human till late afternoon.
He is on maximum dose medication and is on a waiting list for therapy? not sure what that entails.
I think its just a game of patience now, waiting for things to take effect.

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:33:47

We are not wonderful people for bieng around him you know, its just a privelidge to have known him for the past 17 years(.and forever more we hope).x

JudgeFlounce Mon 27-Dec-04 20:34:04

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OhComeLetUsADiorHim Mon 27-Dec-04 20:37:26

Maybe not, but you have no idea how good it feels for a depressed person to be able to talk to someone who really cares for them. You must be a bit special...there aren't that many unselfish people around, I can tell you. One of my friends lets me talk about my peoblems, but just recently I have realised that it is just gossip fodder for her. She is always telling me stories about her other friends' misfortunes, and I just know that she must be telling them about mine! Since I have stopped telling her personal things she has cooled off a lot.

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:42:21

Yes, you see it is early days isnt it. That is so very reassuring to me.
As a rule, he is usually a well motivated bright person. He is one of those people that you meet and feel you have known them for ever. he has many problems with family and his self worth all of which he has revealed peacemeal over the last maybe 10 years to us. He is a private person when it comes to any thing personal.(which is why i feel im letting him down a bit here by talking about him) He apears on the outside to have every thing going for him, we know that things run very deeply with him.
You know when you think that you know some one and really your freindship actually only scratches the surface, well that is how he has made me feel on so very many occasions with him.

JudgeFlounce Mon 27-Dec-04 20:44:42

Message deleted

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 20:50:21

Thanks, i dont know if i will tell him ive been speaking about him though, its tricky.
(It sounds like ive got a secret crush on him the way im going on about how lovely he is!!!)
Do you know, he is the most gorgeous looking guy i have ever met in the flesh and he literally has women (and men, much to his amusement) falling at his feet in droves. He is witty,funny bright, has disgustingly disgusting humour and has always had these demons, why do you think they have come to a head now? (ive asked him this and he says its a combination of factors)
He is resilient and confident so why has he fallen and fallen so very very hard?

OhComeLetUsADiorHim Mon 27-Dec-04 20:54:23

Sometimes it just becomes too much to put a face on the feelings. Does he have a partner? (Not touting for a new one BTW, just asking )

JudgeFlounce Mon 27-Dec-04 20:58:03

Message deleted

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 21:02:00

he does have a girlfriend yes.
We dont know her though he has been with her for about 6 years! He doesnt bring her to social stuff etc, not sure why.
Ive just clicked onto W&R ta, yes it is helpful as it gives a list of cognetive therapists in the area for consultations etc, he may be interested if i suggest further help. Tell your DH ta very much x
So, practically speaking, you all think we are on the right lines in our support for him.
You all think that professionally he is recieving the right help and medication.
You cant think of any thing else that we can be doing for him at the moment or in the near future.
Those of you who have experienced this, feel that he will be ok and that he will fight his way out of his black hole.

Donbean Mon 27-Dec-04 21:03:05

Piers he is MUCH better looking...

JudgeFlounce Mon 27-Dec-04 21:06:08

Message deleted

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