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Friend with severe depression - what do I do?

(5 Posts)
Mammina Thu 16-Oct-08 16:20:15

Long story I'm afraid. A very good friend of mine has been suffering from severe depression and anxiety for coming up to 2 years (caused by a series of traumas). She has days/weeks when she seems a lot better but then she'll plummet down again - she is in a down phase at the moment. She has taken an overdose once which was horrendous. I just don't know what I can/should do to help. The problem is I live far away from her, so only see her once every couple of months or so (but we do often talk on the phone).
The problem is she has said she wishes someone e.g. her sibling would 'adopt' her - i.e. she would like someone to say 'come and live with us for a year', and I think when she says this she is hinting that I should offer. I just don't know what to do - as much as I want to help her I think it would be really detrimental to my DC and mine & DH's relationship. She came on holiday with us and I more or less had to devote all my time to her and leave DH to tend to DC, and I was completely stressed out the whole time. Also practically we live in a small flat so she would have to live in the lounge plus we are TTC and trying to sell the flat. Is it really terrible not to do this for her? I would never be able to forgive myself if anything happened to her. Is there anything else I can do to help? I am reading a book on depression at the moment to try and understand it more so I may get some tips from there. I just feel that I am unqualified to know what the 'right' approach is with her - I listen a lot, try to be supportive, positive and understanding, but we always have exactly the same conversations and just go round and round in circles.
Sorry to ramble but am at a loss as to what to do next.

izzy40 Thu 16-Oct-08 16:45:32


It is really hard on the people who aren't depressed to know what to do for the best. especially when loved ones are involved. I go through phases of depression, PMT, anxiety etc. whatever you want to call it. Only I could make the decision to make myself better, it's really hard to take that first step because you are in denial that anything is wrong. Only your friend can make that decision when ready. You can't take responsibility for them and please don;t beat yourself up over having them to live with you, that is unreasonable and won't help them get better, just more reliant on you for support. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, I know that sounds harsh but you aren't a medical professional as you say and it may be that it makes things worse not better.

I have only just started taking Fluoxetine for my symptoms and I'm hoping they help. I've suffered on and off for 4 long years and my dh has been through so much with me and now I've realised I do need help and it's not a weakness or a failing I just wasn't coping very well and asked for help.

Sorry to ramble, you can be there for your friend but you can't make the decision for her to get better, she has to want that for herself.

Probably hasn't helped much but hopefully you can talk to her about getting the help she so clearly needs.

Good luck!

Mammina Thu 16-Oct-08 17:01:30

Izzy thanks for replying, and sorry to hear that you are suffering too, but glad you are having some help.
My friend does want to get better, she has been diagnosed as bi-polar, has had a period in hospital, sees a psychiatrist, has been on several medications, currently stopped taking them, which to start with seemed to help but she's been spiraling downwards again.
I know what you mean about her being more reliant for support - she has such low self esteem anyway and says she's a failure and can't fend for herself and deep down I know that if she did move in she would feel that she was having to be looked after. She just seems to find the negative in every situation, it's such a horrible illness.

izzy40 Thu 16-Oct-08 18:22:26

It really is a horrible illness and I think you are obviously a really good friend otherwise you wouldn't be so worried for her. Bi-polar is awful and very scary for anyone who has it but having said that you cannot risk your health and happiness to fight something you have no control over. She is very lucky to have you as a friend.


Mammina Fri 17-Oct-08 16:22:08

thanks izzy xxx

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