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Helping someone who is depressed

46 replies

Puglove · 13/07/2017 21:46

Posting for traffic.

My DP is depressed. There is good reason, some dreadful things have happened to him in recent months including a horrific bereavement. He's also got to go to court soon (I can't discuss the offence, but there is mitigation. The sentence is normally suspended but there's a small chance of a custodial. According to his brief that's very very unlikely. But it could happen). He's not in great physical health but isn't looking after himself and that could be dangerous in the long term.

He's been keeping on for a while. But in the last few weeks it's become obvious he's struggling. He doesn't have anyone to talk to except me, but even so he says little to me. His flat is a mess, he's not sleeping, he's in pain. He won't go to his GP about how he's feeling emotionally because he isn't registered with one, and round here the whole process of getting registered is so protracted (and appointments so hard to come by) he probably wouldn't get to see a Dr until after the summer.

I don't know what to do. I can't make it better for him. I've tried to persuade him to let me clean his flat but he won't let me, he barely let's me in there. I can't make him go to his GP. I can't control what happens at court but I know if he goes to prison he won't come out. I just don't know what to do. I can't even get him to let me help him tidy.

OP posts:
frazzled3ds · 13/07/2017 21:54

Didn't want to read and run. Perhaps try getting in touch with your local branch of Mind, and asking them for some advice? Ideally a chat with a GP would be good, but perhaps a walk in centre or if things are really hard going A&E.

It is very hard to help someone who is stuck in the depths of depression. Being there to listen if he wants to talk, providing support, sometimes just simply sitting there saying nothing can be a help. Men find it harder to open up over mental health (not that it's easy for anyone), and so it may take some time for him to talk through things.

Meanwhile, make sure you're getting support for you too.

cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 22:03

He clearly needs medical help.
You can talk to your gp about him and about your concerns
He could see a gp on a temp basis
You could call 111
You could call 999 if he is talking about killing himself
You could drive him to a and e and insist he sees the on call mh nurse for assessment
You could speak to his solicitor

You cannot treat his depression unless you have relevant medical training
Your only role here is to help him get to professional help or get professional help to him

cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 22:10
Puglove · 13/07/2017 22:15

I can't get an appointment with my GP for 2-3 weeks. I'm not sure if I could talk to my own GP about him anyway as he's not a patient of my surgery nor could he be as he's outside the catchment area. He can only register with 1 practice near his flat and they're only open when he's at work. He won't take time off as he doesn't get paid.

I don't think he will take his life, unless he goes to prison but there's nothing I can do about that. Taking him to A&E seems drastic as I don't think there's an imminent risk. There are no walk in centers in our area, I found that out a while back when I needed to see a Dr and couldn't get an appointment in my practice for weeks.

I feel like if he'd let me sort his home out that would help. That's pretty silly of me I suppose.

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frazzled3ds · 13/07/2017 22:41

Sorting out his home is something that you see as being helpful to him, and yes it's known that having less junk around helps in a way (can't recall the proper evidence, but personal experience has proven it to me). It may be something that he gets to in time, but perhaps gently enquire what you can do for him instead - rather than being quite direct and saying 'what can I do to help?' maybe try something a little softer like 'what could I do for you today' or encourage him to join you for a walk somewhere - exercise and getting out of the flat can be helpful, even if he doesn't feel like it. It is very hard for you both, it's also not your job to 'fix' him - support, patience, encouragement (gentle) and finding ways to let him know you're there for him will be appreciated, even if he's not saying or showing it. When depression has a person firmly in its grip, they may act out of character, be snappy, withdrawn and difficult - try to remember that that isn't him, it's the illness. Your gp may not be able to help him directly but may be able to ensure you're getting support and provide some advice for you on how to help encourage him to seek medical support for himself.

sadeyedladyofthelowlands63 · 13/07/2017 23:02

It can be very, very difficult to be helpful to someone who is suffering from depression. I can only offer advice that was helpful to me; everyone's situation is different. Be careful about making promises that you may not be able to keep. Make sure that you are looking after yourself - you are no help to anyone if you are falling apart. It is okay to prioritise your own well being.

I have been where you are and it is hard - you have all my sympathy and best wishes for a good outcome.

cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 23:03

This is upsetting you and impacting you so yes speak to your gp
Your gp can also make judgement as to what to do with the information you give about another person.
You could get him to a and e if he is in crisis or call paramedics on 999. You could also ask police to do a welFare check on. him if he isn't answering the door etc

Has he been diagnosed with clinical depression or is that your or his diagnosis ?

He is going to work ?
What do his work colleagues say ?
Is he performing ok at work ?
His work could push him to see a gp if it is impacting his work

But ultimately he is an adult In charge if his own mental and physical health

If he isn't in such a state as to need paramedics then it is down to him,
But get some support for you .
Read depression fallout

Puglove · 13/07/2017 23:24

I've tried to get him out for a walk or some fresh air, he is usually tired or physically in pain so I don't force it, but I do try to gently encourage. I'll try again at the weekend depending on how he is.

His flat isn't cluttered but it's a mess, he hasn't had a proper tidy up or clean in weeks, he mainly comes to me and goes back there just to sleep.

I'll think about an appointment with my GP, it won't be for a few weeks anyway, gps at my practice are fairly dismissive of MH issues (one previously suggested I was trying to invent issues to get myself signed off work!) so I'm not sure of getting sympathy there. Maybe I'm better speaking to mind?

He's not been diagnosed with anything as he hasn't been to a Dr since all this began. Obviously I'm no psychologist but it's clear to me his general mood is exceptionally low. He is very isolated anyway (he doesn't really speak to anyone at work, the nature of his job is very solitary so he'd have to go out of his way to talk to people which he wouldn't do. I don't think any of them would be concerned because they don't know him.

It very much feels it's all down to me. I have no one to talk to, because I can't tell anyone about the court stuff, and the bereavement is very distressing so anyone who hears about that ends up upset and so then I'm having to comfort them too.

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cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 23:41

You need to call Samaritans and talk to someone
You are getting into your own depresssion over his issues
You can always talk to trained people samaritans and talk about him and all that is going in or a counsellor.
You can also see a bereavement counsellor for you confidentially
You can invite him to come
This is impacting you and if you not careful you will get ill yourself

If he is just sleeping at his flat what does it matter how tidy it is ?
If he is getting out of the house to go to work then he is getting fresh air
If he is managing to come to you he is getting out

Is he offloading onto you ?
You can tell him he needs to call cruse or Samaritans as you are not trained to support him
You can tell him you will go with him to see a local gp that he has to take a morning off work

cestlavielife · 13/07/2017 23:46

And yes call mind helpline and call rethink.
You need to talk to someone and you can do so In Confidence to your gp or samaritans etc

Look after yourself.
Remind yourself he is an adult responsible for himself.
Maybe he is just getting thru day to day until the court case so then he knows where he stands .

Don't take it all on yourself

Puglove · 13/07/2017 23:58

Going to work for him just involves going about 6ft from his front door to car and same at other end, then not speaking to anyone for 8-10 hours and either coming to my house or going home. He doesn't come here every night, the ones he doesn't he is home surrounded by rubbish, washing up etc.

I'll talk to someone. I really don't think he'll go to a GP with me or not, he doesn't see the point. Likewise sorting out his health issues (which could end up being really serious) he just doesn't care enough about himself. And there's a limit to what I can do, I can't keep telling him or asking him.

OP posts:
Puglove · 14/07/2017 00:02

I'm not sure how much more I can cope with if I'm honest.

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BagelGoesWalking · 14/07/2017 00:04

Has he ever had bereavement counselling? Would he consider calling Cruse?

Lizibet · 14/07/2017 01:20

Depression is difficult and things that help for one person don't always work for others. That being said:
Definitely find out about local mental health charities and resources and encourage him to get in touch with them.
If he wont let you help him tidy are there other he'll let you help?
For example, will he let you help him with grocery shopping? either by going with him or him giving you money to buy things for him when you're doing your own shop.
Could he bring his clothes, sheets etc for you to wash?
A bit of a routine outside of work, eat, sleep, repeat can be helpful as well. Maybe maybe try setting days for meeting up for coffee or going out for a meal two or three times a week if that's possible.
Also it sounds very cliched but make sure to remind him that you appreciate him and why.

I'm very sorry that things have been so difficult for you both but he's very lucky to have someone like you looking out for him Flowers

Puglove · 14/07/2017 07:33

He's had no counselling, I'm not sure if he would be willing to seek any out, it wouldn't change what's happened so I think he'd be a bit 'whats the point'

We already have a kind of routine of when we see each other, and he eats most meals at my house (on the days I don't see him he'll have a tin of soup, or beans or similar). I've offered to change bed for him, he refuses. But says his flat is awful, how he doesn't like being there, but refuses to let me help. His birthday is next month but he's said I'm not to buy him anything, he won't be celebrating and just plans to ignore it :(

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paradoxicalInterruption · 14/07/2017 07:49

This may sound harsh, but a lot of this is his problem not yours. You really have to look after yourself.

My Dh is severely depressed, he had to leave his job, I'm supporting him, but it's really really hard.

And that's with full support of his family, friends and he's seeing a GP, taking regular exercise, eating well, gone teetotal (alcohol not a problem with him but he feels better with none at all) and doing meditation.

He's on strong medication but I can see he's getting better.

The point I'm trying to make is that even with him doing all the right things it's really hard and we've been together years.

If he wasn't trying to help himself I don't think I'd still be here, it would be too hard.

Your life can't be great while you are supporting him like this, he has to help himself. You have options.

cestlavielife · 14/07/2017 08:02

You need to step back
Try one more time to get him to seek help
Then set your boundaries
Stop being his daily carer unless he takes steps to seek help himself
He will drag you down with him

As paradox said with help it won't be easy either but at least you would see a diagnosis for him and support.
Reactive depression to e.g. a bereavement can respond well to help but sometimes an ultimatum is needed to push them to help.

Tough love and an ultimatum to him to see a gp call cruse and take some action on his health.
Then stop seeing him every day and build a life for yourself as well on other days.

He is choosing to live like this.

He is an adult
He is not your child

Or...he is very ill and can't decide for himself so drag him to a and e.

Go talk to someone yourself
Don't take it all on.

Lallypopstick · 14/07/2017 08:40

If you google NTW self help guides, there is one on depression and one on supporting a partner with depression. Giving him something to read might help him recognise that things aren't quite right for him.

I wonder if a lot of it is situational, made worse by the court case and the uncertainty around the outcome.

Puglove · 14/07/2017 09:00

The bereavement plus the court case, especially the possibility of a custodial which would mean him losing home, job, probably career and having nothing really to live for, is too much for him. One or other might be able to cope with.

I feel utterly unsupported. My manager and 2 colleagues are aware of the bereavement but they found it too upsetting so its not been mentioned since. They are chasing me to complete this and that task (my job is quite pressured) but I really can't be bothered, it all seems so futile and I have so little head space for anything.

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cestlavielife · 14/07/2017 09:03

Focus on your needs
Get support for you
Change gp if you need to
Call Samaritans talk it thru

cestlavielife · 14/07/2017 09:07

Is there a hr dept at work?

You can't change the outcome of court case
In prison dp will have access to mh services
You can't take it all on
You can look after your needs and point your dp to sources of help
It is what it is.
Get support for yourself.

paradoxicalInterruption · 14/07/2017 09:36

There's well documented path that people living with or supporting depresses people can become depressed themselves. Get help for yourself and support.

You can't take it all on - you'll be no help to him at all if you become ill. You can't lose your job because of this - I think you need to concentrate on yourself for a bit.

The court case etc will happen - you can't alter that.

Puglove · 14/07/2017 10:28

Our HR is a girl in her early 20s. She is very inexperienced (I've had to give her advice in the past as she wasn't sure how to proceed with an issue) so I am not sure if she would be much help. We do have access to one of those employee advicelines which might be more use.

I an pretty fed up with my job, my manager tells me stuff like how 'we' need to keep an eye on one colleague with some physical issues (nowhere near as bad as my partners problems) and make allowances for another colleague who is always taking time off as they have young DC. I feel I get no consideration, I am the bottom of the pile.

If DP goes to prison, he'll kill himself. He says he'd have nothing to live for so why continue? He has contemplated suicide several times over the years (before I met him) but says there is little to pull him back now, if prison is the outcome.

I know I can't control that, but hearing the person you love saying stuff like that is just horrible.

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cestlavielife · 14/07/2017 15:06

Yes I 've heard it said and it s sad...but at one point I just began planing his funeral that place the music fact my exp is still around 10.years later

He had a serious blip or crisis in 2010 I left his friends and gp to deal...he got help meds etc.

If he has documented suicide attempts previously then that should be on his medical notes for prison so he should be on suicide watch

If he won't get help you cannot do anything to stop him killing himself if he wants to.

If he is suicidal right now you can rightly call in medical help.
If it s just moaning to you then give him Samaritans number and leave him to deal with his thoughts

cestlavielife · 14/07/2017 15:08

How long might the prison sentence be?
Even if many years he can use that time to educate and improve himself.
His choice.

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