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Friend suffering from depression - what can/should I do?

(2 Posts)
hatesponge Sun 13-Sep-09 11:31:27

I have a lovely friend. I don't know her terribly well yet, but she is someone who I felt I would in time become very close friends with, iyswim.

She told me in one of our first conversations that she has a number of years previously suffered from quite serious mental health problems, and I think was hospitalised for a short time due to concerns she would hurt herself/others . Following that she did make a good recovery, went back to work etc, & seemed to have been 'coping' ok for the last few years.

Earlier this year she was off work for 3-4 months, I found out this was because she was really struggling with depression again and had been signed off.

I have seen her a few times since then, she was previously very vivacious & outgoing, but now is very quiet and subdued - I know she is on quite strong meds so am guessing this could be the reason for it. She is having ongoing counselling etc and I think is getting lots of support from family, but I know she doesn't have that many close friends nearby.

I have invited her a couple of times to come out one evening with a group of us (who she knows) to the pub etc but she has politely declined. In thinking about this, it's occurred to me that she might not be able to drink on meds, & also that a full on night out might be a bit much - I actually feel a bit blush for having invited her now.

I know almost nothing about depression, and I don't want to do or say the wrong thing, I also want to be supportive but without being overly intrusive - I still don't know her THAT well, & I'm worried about upsetting her.

I was going to offer maybe to go for a coffee or lunch just the two of us - whenever she feels like it.

Is this the right thing to do? Is there anything else I can or should be doing? i don't want to be ott, but again I don't want her to think I don't care, or that I don't want to be her friend (I know other people have withdrawn from her a bit since all this happened). Any words of advice gratefully appreciated.

FlamingoBingo Sun 13-Sep-09 11:37:18

Read Living With A Black Dog

You sound like a lovely friend. The Black Dog book explains what to say and what not to say. Practical help was what was most helpful to me. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to ask for help when you're in the middle of a meltdown, even if you've been offered it very strongly by very lovely friends and family. Helping her to stay busy may help.

Ask her!

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