Supporting family and friends

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Carmela Are you supporting a depressed partner? My tips from 18 years of experience
  • replies: 41

This list has been compiled from experiences supporting my husband with depression. There is no one size fits all, so please take what you are comfortable with based on your circumstances and resources. 1. Reach out to family and/or friends to feel s... View more

This list has been compiled from experiences supporting my husband with depression. There is no one size fits all, so please take what you are comfortable with based on your circumstances and resources. 1. Reach out to family and/or friends to feel supported - this also covers support groups - online or face to face. Don't let stigma stop you from reaching out. 2. Relationship boundaries - identify what is acceptable and not. My general platform is that physical abuse is unacceptable as well as regular demeaning/berating comments. Communicate this openly so everyone understands. 3. Coping tools - this could be exercise, meditation, reading a book, meeting friends, etc. They are important for your mental health. 4. Knowledge is power - research to understand about depression. The more you know, the better care you can provide. 5. Remember your partner in the good times - this is their true selves, not the darkness. 6. Listen and show receptivity - without judgement or anger. If communicate becomes strained, the timeout can provide clarity. Encourage communication gently and try not to push. 7. Seek counselling - sharing your feelings can provide an opportunity to off load the heavy stuff and identify resilience and coping strategies. 8. Work as a team - don't let mental illness be in the driver's seat. Offer to go to the Dr's and support them. Understand medication and side effects. Be understanding that some days are harder than others. 9. Words are powerful - remember what you say cannot be taken back. 10. Carer Self-esteem and self-worth - if you compromise these for the sake of supporting your partner, you are likely to live with resentment towards your partner and the circumstances you find yourself in. 11. Don't forget the children - challenging circumstances at home can affect them mentally and emotionally. Speak about mental illness (COPMI.com.au - has some great resources) and be a strong foundation toward maintaining normality in their daily activities. 12. Intimacy - there are many variables here, so from my experience - keep communication open and make couple time to connect. When my husband was depressed, daily hugs or holding hands wherever possible worked for us. Some carers I have spoken with said their partner would demand intimacy. My personal position is that intimacy is about love without demands or attachments relating to expectation. Demands only deplete the goodness in the connection and sharing a a loving experience. [Moderator's note: this thread is for sharing tips on what has worked for you in supported a loved one with a mental health condition. In order to help us keep this thread focused on solutions, please start a new thread if you are seeking support from the community around how to best support your loved one.]

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Guest_52999535 My own mental health vs supporting my husband
  • replies: 2

Hello, I feel stuck.My husband is going through some stressful times, quitting his job/finding a new one.He puts alot of pressure on himself, always. Has very high expectations for everyone around him also. In this includes both myself and my son. I ... View more

Hello, I feel stuck.My husband is going through some stressful times, quitting his job/finding a new one.He puts alot of pressure on himself, always. Has very high expectations for everyone around him also. In this includes both myself and my son. I understand my husband level of life is high, hes very tidy, ocd, etc.etc. He is also very commenty. By this i mean, if he doesnt like something he will bluntly say it, when i flag that hurt my feelings, he just says im sensitive. I have to drill it into him no, im not sensitive, what youre saying isnt right. Its not "okay". This also comes into play with our son, hes very harsh (i feel) to him also, but i do know about that dad/son relationship doesnt need to be like the mum/son.Whats made me bothered, is a few nights ago, i discussed with my husband how sometimes his words i can see get to our son, even if he doesnt mean it, it sounds bad. He agreeed, however the same night my husband clearly was overthinking things.. our son came to say goodnight to his dad, and hesitated if he could come hug him.. to me, thats wrong. regardless if youre mum, he hugs you more etc. My husband got angry and said just because im not like you stop making things up in your head.which i saw a gaslighting... i got upset and said i open up to you, and you accuse me of making things up in my head. I left the room, and my husband hasnt spoken to me since. almost 2 full days... im so disappointed in him. there are a number of times he acts or does things and i NEVER ignore him, ever.regardless of how mad you have gotten, id never make it uncomfortable.Yes, he is going through it rough, and sometimes the partners cop the tough end, but man.. this one is rough.

panda5 Im scared my dad might hurt himself
  • replies: 2

My dad has been depressed fir as long as i can remember but he seriously injured himself a couple of months ago forcing him out of work. it feels like his depression has skyrocketed to the point im scared he might seriously harm himself if he doesnt ... View more

My dad has been depressed fir as long as i can remember but he seriously injured himself a couple of months ago forcing him out of work. it feels like his depression has skyrocketed to the point im scared he might seriously harm himself if he doesnt get help soon. he is 60 years old but im only 19 and have my own mental health struggles so i dint feel equipped to help him. because he is so stuck in his old ways he just refuses to get professional help beyond the antidepressants he had been on for years and years. ive been having nightmares and i really just dont know how to make it all ok beyond calling the police and having him committed to a mental hospital. i think im just looking for any advice or reassurance or anything on how i can support him without it all getting unfolded on me cause i know i wont be able to handle it on top of uni and everything

Ceecee How can I help?
  • replies: 1

Hello, this is my first post. My husband and I have been together 13 years and we have 3 beautiful children.He struggles with his mental health daily and since the beginning I have taken the household load, I do all the chores and he does the dishes ... View more

Hello, this is my first post. My husband and I have been together 13 years and we have 3 beautiful children.He struggles with his mental health daily and since the beginning I have taken the household load, I do all the chores and he does the dishes 1-2 times a week. I deal with all the financial stuff and organize everything for the kids. I do part time work and he is full time. We've had a hard time connecting lately due to a few different things but he told me he doesn't feel supported. My problem is that I'm burnt out, I already do 95% of the load. How can I support him more? I know I can be abrasive and unaffectionate but that's because by the time he finally gets home I'm at my overload point with 3 young kids and the chaos that comes with it. I get sensory overload. I also can't tell him how I'm feeling because I'm worried that'll be the last straw for his mental health and he won't cope. He also said that me working is hard on his mental health because I'm not here. Am I not meant to have a life? I don't go out socially and work is my only mental reprieve.. we do not have any other family for support. I also have an autoimmune disease which is worse when stressed. This stuff is hard. I never realized how hard having a partner with mental illness could be. I have 0 support for myself.. I feel selfish for needing support because I know he isn't capable of giving it. We are in the process of getting him help but these things always take time. Dosage adjustments etc. he's never happy, yet he has so much to be grateful for. That's a hard pill to swallow. I want to be more supportive, how can I achieve this? What can I do that I'm not already doing?

MumOfYoungAdult How do I help my young adult son?
  • replies: 6

Thank you for listening. I’m the mother of a yound adult son who is ‘stuck in a rut’. This process started back in lockdown (2-3 years ago) . He has since cut himself off from friends (except for 2 that keep persisting with him), stays up very late b... View more

Thank you for listening. I’m the mother of a yound adult son who is ‘stuck in a rut’. This process started back in lockdown (2-3 years ago) . He has since cut himself off from friends (except for 2 that keep persisting with him), stays up very late because has trouble falling asleep, wakes up in the afternoon, stays in his room most of the day, is irritable and defensive, and in his own words ‘has no joy in his life’. He is surrounded by supportive family and extended family members who love him unconditionally. Unfortunately, he refuses to seek professional help or see a GP. He’s a very intelligent person with so much potential, and is a thoughtful empathetic person who has lost the belief in himself and seems overwhelmed with fear (?) and hopelessness. It breaks my heart to see him like this. How can we help our beautiful son to move forward? Every conversation we have with him is futile…

Antonio Vouchers
  • replies: 1

MiMy so n wants 2 live with me his 15 next month I'm unemployed u can I get food vouchers or support 4 me and my son 4 now

MiMy so n wants 2 live with me his 15 next month I'm unemployed u can I get food vouchers or support 4 me and my son 4 now

Guest_11525639 Long distance partner pushing me away
  • replies: 1

Hello,I've been in a relationship with a woman living interstate for several years. We broke up pre-Covid and got back together post- Covid. I love her very much. Her teen daughter is currently hospitalised for mental health reasons. I want to suppor... View more

Hello,I've been in a relationship with a woman living interstate for several years. We broke up pre-Covid and got back together post- Covid. I love her very much. Her teen daughter is currently hospitalised for mental health reasons. I want to support the interstate partner but she pushes me away. I want to visit her to check in on her, as her own mental health isn't great. She says she thinks about 'giving up on life'. I was so worried about her- eventually she confirmed that doesn't mean the same as ending her life. She won't agree to me visiting her, yet I long to give her a hug and make sure she is ok. She says it's not personal but she still has time for 2 other friends, one of whom she had an affair with in the last 6 mths. I thought we dealt with that and got past it. I understand she is going through a lot and she doesn't know what the future holds for her daughter.I don't know what to do anymore, I've tried to be supportive on her terms but it hurts she wouldn't allow me to go visit this w/e yet despite saying it isn't personal and she has pushed everyone away, yet she is still seeing a couple of her friends regularly and attending a party this w/e.

QldMum Need Support from my Husband
  • replies: 3

Hi, this is my first post. I'd like to know how others deal with their emotional problems without the support of their partner. I know partners must get tired of their partner's problems but mostly I would just like a hug and a bit of love if I have ... View more

Hi, this is my first post. I'd like to know how others deal with their emotional problems without the support of their partner. I know partners must get tired of their partner's problems but mostly I would just like a hug and a bit of love if I have a bad experience. I don't have close friends or other family who can do this either.

Simona My son has ODD - anyone else relate? how do you manage?
  • replies: 11

As I have previously posted before; I have 3 children (8,10,16) . My 10 year old has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder although I can't help but suspect that he has some other mood disorder going on because of his sudden mood swings. ... View more

As I have previously posted before; I have 3 children (8,10,16) . My 10 year old has been diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder although I can't help but suspect that he has some other mood disorder going on because of his sudden mood swings. Currently we are in the process of organizing another psychologist and it has been a frustratingly slow process hampered by the fact we reside in a very rural region. I just need to know if there is anyone out there who can relate to my disposition. Dealing with my son has taken an epic toll on us as a family unit. My partner has more or less bailed out of any family activities because he can't handle the stress. My 8 year old is often the forgotten one in all of this because she is such a quiet polite little girl and hence very independent. My 16 year old shuts his door and puts on his headphones. Master 10 is a force to be reckoned with and he is almost tall as me. God knows I love him so but I sometimes feel like I don't even know this person. One minute he is polite and loving and the next BAM - the polar opposite. Sadistic - to his little sister. Manipulative/lying. Aggressive. At times shows no remorse or empathy. Or he will say sorry but he will smirk at the same time like he's just toying with you. Challenges everyone and has very poor impulse control. Enjoys intimidating the family dog so that she virtually crawls very low to the ground when he calls her. Poor Miss Bandicoot Paws - she really is a living breathing barometer of his mood swings and hides under my desk here. I feel like such a bad mother sometimes but I'm trying my best. I don't have any vices. I don't drink, smoke, take drugs - not even panadol. I have no crutches. I'm more or less scrapping by. I don't know what else to do. Yes i could get on some anti anxiety meds but i need to be 100% on the ball to be an effective parent. And i don't understand him at all. Lately he is obsessed with pranking everyone so we are all on edge. His pranks are not funny. He doesn't see this and laughs like a maniac. And seriously - he has this laugh that sounds totally unhinged. When we hear it - partner and I brace ourselves because we know "he's 'lost' it again.

Mas123567 Paranoid Schizophrenia
  • replies: 7

Hey Everyone, looking for someone to talk to. I believe my partner is struggling with paranoid schizophrenia ... he has been hearing things for a number of months now and believes we are being secretly recorded in our home by our family (whom he is e... View more

Hey Everyone, looking for someone to talk to. I believe my partner is struggling with paranoid schizophrenia ... he has been hearing things for a number of months now and believes we are being secretly recorded in our home by our family (whom he is estranged from now). I love him dearly but I am at a point where it is really impacting on my own mental health and I do not know how to deal with him as I am constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing as I know it’s not his fault and he is unwell. He has started to have angry outbursts that can sometimes last for hours (I’m not afraid and I know he won’t harm me, but hearing him shout distresses me). He went to a psychiatrist today and he told me he said he has psychosis ... but I think it is something other than this because surely if it is psychosis it wouldn’t have gone on for so long. For some background he is a recovering heroin addict (clean for 2 years), but he does take stimulants about once a month. I’m really struggling, I love him but I need someone to look after me too.. all my family live in the UK and I relocated to a regional area to be able to be closer to him.

witsend does anyone else get anxious/angry/depressed after dark
  • replies: 1

My partner goes into a downward spiral as soon as the sun goes down. He gets anxious, then angry, and suddenly has to go to bed, usually before we eat. This might be at 6.30 or 7 at night, then he sleeps fitfully and is never wide awake till after 8 ... View more

My partner goes into a downward spiral as soon as the sun goes down. He gets anxious, then angry, and suddenly has to go to bed, usually before we eat. This might be at 6.30 or 7 at night, then he sleeps fitfully and is never wide awake till after 8 or 9am. I have to creep around like a mouse or I get shouted at. This has been going on for over a year. During this time I persuaded him to cut down severely on alcohol as it had been affecting his mood at night for several decades, but the anxiety and the need to go to bed is a new thing.During the day he's fine, and he's also ok when we go out or have friends around - but I have stopped inviting people round after 6pm to avoid unpleasant scenes.Is this common? He often completely forgets what happened the night before, especially our conversations. Also, when he's alone, he sometimes gets hallucinations - hears noises or voices in the house. When he tells me about them I don't make a big deal out of it - but I'm sure this is a serious problem that needs to be diagnosed. I just know I'm not the person who can tell him what's happening. If I can read about parallel experiences I might get a better understanding of what's going on.