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.]

All discussions

icarus666 helping adult son suffering OCD
  • replies: 11

Hi, My wife and i are out our wits end in coping with our son who suffers with OCD.Its been going on now for around 18 months and is showing no signs of easing. At the very beginning he was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with OCD and anxiety. He ... View more

Hi, My wife and i are out our wits end in coping with our son who suffers with OCD.Its been going on now for around 18 months and is showing no signs of easing. At the very beginning he was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with OCD and anxiety. He will phone 30 or 40 times a day, crying, saying he cant cope with the thoughts. He cant seem to get any help from medical professionals and has had multiple visits to different hopitals. He moved out of his own home based on medical advice, but nothing changed, and he still has the same fears of hurting those he loves. We dont really know where to go, or who to turn to to try to get him further help We have spoken to both his psychologist and the hospitals at different times and the say it is all up to him, but he tells us he tries to use the strategies offered, but the thoughts overpower it, and he just goes to the hospital again. recently is was so bad he actually ran out of petrol left his car on the side of the road and walked to a hospital. To date he has never hurt anyone or acted on his thoughts, which seems to be why the hospitals just turn him away. What can we do as parents, to try to help him understand that all these professionals cant be wrong, and he is not a danger to anyone. Thanks

romantic_thi3f My friend is finally out of a mental health clinic, and she barely remembers anything.
  • replies: 7

Hi, One of my closest friends has Bipolar and I've known her for years and years. For the first time, it got really bad and she was so manic she was hallucinating things. She told me people were watching her from the air vent in the bathroom, and the... View more

Hi, One of my closest friends has Bipolar and I've known her for years and years. For the first time, it got really bad and she was so manic she was hallucinating things. She told me people were watching her from the air vent in the bathroom, and the nurses were drugging her through her meals, and there were private rooms she wasn't allowed to see. I'm grateful that she wasn't scared, but it was the hardest thing to watch. At the time, I was kinda struggling a little bit, but I'd visit her on weekends and sit with her. Every time I went she'd share the same things and asked the same questions that she did the time before. Even if there was a part of her that was here, there was so much of her that wasn't. She ended up staying there for a while. Now, she's out, and she's asking the same questions, but remembering the answers. She doesn't remember much and I know she doesn't really remember me coming along. It's almost like it's 'normal' and 'all good now' but for me, she has no idea how hard it's been. I did try talking to her about it, but she (understandably) doesn't really get it. Is there anyone else that's kind of experienced anything like this? Thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

gloria10 Concerned that neighbour is drinking a lot
  • replies: 6

Hi, I used to get a long with an elderly neighbour well. Over the last 6 months he has become more aggressive, snide with any remarks towards me and he is drinking a lot during the week at night (I can hear the sound of bottles and he is outside at n... View more

Hi, I used to get a long with an elderly neighbour well. Over the last 6 months he has become more aggressive, snide with any remarks towards me and he is drinking a lot during the week at night (I can hear the sound of bottles and he is outside at night). I've also noticed slurred speach. I am trying to avoid him more as his mood gets to me, I don't appreciate when he has a go either. Is this change in personality common with alcoholics? My neighbour has also made a comment.

HojuCakes Any advice? Supporting suicidal partner.
  • replies: 10

My boyfriend experiences intense feelings of hopelessness and talks about ‘giving up’ often. He has seen a psychologist and is on medication but these feelings still come up. He has expressed feeling suicidal and won’t go back to see a therapist as h... View more

My boyfriend experiences intense feelings of hopelessness and talks about ‘giving up’ often. He has seen a psychologist and is on medication but these feelings still come up. He has expressed feeling suicidal and won’t go back to see a therapist as he feels he doesn’t have time. I have experience with depression myself but what works for me doesn’t work for him. Other than begging him to not hurt himself, and to go see a therapist again, what can I do? How do I know if he is actually going to hurt himself or just saying these things out of pain and frustration?

Lioness_Nebula My partner with depression has started drinking
  • replies: 3

Hi everyone. I am struggling atm with my partner who a week ago told me his depression is troubling him. We've been together two years and live together, he is ex defence, and this is his first flare up since We've been together. He used to go to cou... View more

Hi everyone. I am struggling atm with my partner who a week ago told me his depression is troubling him. We've been together two years and live together, he is ex defence, and this is his first flare up since We've been together. He used to go to counciling and was on medication for a time but hasn't felt the need for these. The same day he admitted his depression is affecting him he also confided in a close friend of his. They advised him to grab a bottle and gin and they two could have a drinking session playing computer games. I have no idea how to approach the topic this friend gave him horribly irresponsible advice as they are very close and I don't know how to sound like I'm not attacking her for her poor support of him. He finds is hard to talk about his depression which he's admitted to me but won't really say more than that. I ask him how he's feeling and he says fine and that's it. I can tell he isn't fine though. Since his first drinking session he usually has at least one drink a night, (he never previously drank) has been dishonest to me about drinking, and got more excited when I suggested we have a few drinks together tonight than at anything we've said or done all week. I'm worried the long weekend is now just an excuse to drink. I don't know how to get him to realize his drinking, while not excessive, seems to be a self medication for his depression. I can hardly sleep at night and it's starting to affect my own mental health too. If anyone has any advice I'd appreciate it

TiredGirlfriend Depressed, alcoholic self harming boyfriend. Need support
  • replies: 3

Hello I have been with my boyfriend on and off for10 years. We were together for 8 and broke up for a bit because he was dealing with mental health issues and pushed me away. We got back together and have been together around 1.5 years again and we m... View more

Hello I have been with my boyfriend on and off for10 years. We were together for 8 and broke up for a bit because he was dealing with mental health issues and pushed me away. We got back together and have been together around 1.5 years again and we moved in about 4 months ago. He always had a drinking problem since his dad died quite young. He never dealt with his emotions and drank and smoked a lot of marijuana. since we got back together, the drinking was less but still an issue. I didn't realise how much until we moved in together recently. Since then we have had multiple fights about his drinking which blow up and he yells and throws things and I yell back. 2 weeks ago I woke up to him on the phone to triple 0. He had injured himself. He kept saying it was an accident. The police arrived and he immediately became aggressive and disrespectful to the police. He had been drinking and while waiting for the paramedics, the police had to push him to the ground and handcuff him. I have never gone through something like this so was in shock. I know he was putting on a tough guy act for the police because once the paramedics arrived he burst into tears. I also had to clean up the blood. He went to hospital and he had to have surgery. He was kept in hospital all day on mental health watch, he and I both spoke to the mental health team and I told them everything. I wanted him to stay in hospital to get the help he needed but they decided he was safe to go home. He has spoken to a psychiatrist in the past but it only ever lasts a couple of sessions so I was really hoping this incident would push him and the hospital to get help but they let him go. Fast forward 2 weeks to today, he took his own cast off and refused to go to the hospital for his follow up appointment. Blew up at me over a video game we were playing. And has been drinking all night again. Things had been good since the hospital visit until tonight. I'm at my end, he won't listen to me, he won't get help, he won't stop drinking and his anger scares me. I'm ashamed to tell my friends and family what's really happening because most of the time he is a really nice, charming guy. His mum is no help and just tells him what he wants to hear and he has isolated himself from most of his friends. I just don't know what to do anymore and want to leave but I am scared he will hurt himself again.

Charleigh Adult Daughter won’t see a GP for Mental Health Issues
  • replies: 6

My daughter is 23yrs old and will not see a GP for mental health issues. My husband and I have noticed severe mood swings and very low feelings and hopelessness. She has been to several professionals in the past when she was younger however it stoppe... View more

My daughter is 23yrs old and will not see a GP for mental health issues. My husband and I have noticed severe mood swings and very low feelings and hopelessness. She has been to several professionals in the past when she was younger however it stopped as she didn’t feel the need to continue and was taking medication for BPD and ADHD for a few months when she was younger, a visit to the psychiatrist when she was 17 and she told them medications weren’t working and they told her to come back when she is an adult so she could get properly diagnosed. It’s so painful to see her go through so much emotional pain and we are so concerned for her well being and safety as in the past she has self harmed and we are trying to do everything we can to prevent her from hurting herself. She is living with her partner and he is going through depression and tries his best to support her however it has been escalating to a point when she has anger outbursts and starts to break stuff around her and screaming hysterically, she opened up to me and told me this and I was very proud of her because it must have been hard telling me this and she said she cant go on like this and is scared but she doesn’t want to be on medication and see heaps of doctors. I stayed strong and thanked her for opening up to me and told her when she felt that anger coming up in her to call me and she said I don’t want to talk about it, so I said now that you told me you don’t want to talk about it I understand and want you to call me or text me to come pick you up and we can go get a coffee and just go for a drive with me asking no questions. She was comfortable with that and called me 4 days ago to be picked up, we drove and spent 7 hours togather. I didn’t mind dropping her home at 1am in the morning because I could see she was worked up and for her to call me was a very brave step for her and I will continue to support her in every way I can ti help her from doing harm to herself and others around her. I have my boundaries and have taken steps to self care for myself so I can be there my daughter but now I am stuck and don’t know how to bring up the conversation with her about taking steps to book in to see a doctor

Lozzie_K Tips on how to handle a sensitive, reactive husband please
  • replies: 8

My husband is irritable, distracted, flat, distant and reactive, and has been this way for quite a few months. He has previously experienced bouts of depression but insists that he isn’t depressed this time around and that it’s simply because we’ve m... View more

My husband is irritable, distracted, flat, distant and reactive, and has been this way for quite a few months. He has previously experienced bouts of depression but insists that he isn’t depressed this time around and that it’s simply because we’ve moved to a new town to be closer to family and he’s adjusting. I’ve been with him for over 20 years, through the highs and the lows and I love him dearly but MAN, am I sick of him being so reactive all the time. He shuts down or gets angry over the smallest things. I could ask him casually to help me with the laundry or to help support me when one of our kids is being a terror and he takes it as this personal attack, when I’m being very thoughtful, light and intentional with my words and tone. We’re a team. I just want to work together. It makes me cautious to even speak up over the smallest things sometimes. I’m a super relaxed person and I miss just having a casual chat, or a D+M and it not going pear shaped. I’ve asked him questions when life is calm, openly from a place of learning and curiosity, on how I can better phrase things or communicate but he shuts down, doesn’t want to discuss it. I want to learn and grow through this, but his reactivity remains stagnant and if he’s changing its slooooooow. Any tips specifically on how to deal with sensitivity? Thanks

Louise29 Ice and paranoia. My heart is broken.
  • replies: 7

Hi All, This is not an easy topic to talk about. I have just had a look and read some past forum threads about this very topic. I guess I am looking for reassurance, something, anything in fact to confirm my understanding as to the nature of ice depe... View more

Hi All, This is not an easy topic to talk about. I have just had a look and read some past forum threads about this very topic. I guess I am looking for reassurance, something, anything in fact to confirm my understanding as to the nature of ice dependency. My partner (or ex) of ten years began using the drug almost three years ago. We were living apart at the time, however would see each other every ten weeks or so. Things started to spiral out of control during the first year of the pandemic. When we were able to see each other, I did notice some odd behaviour on one occasion. This was some paranoia that people were parked outside and watching through the window. I thought it was odd at first, but left soon after and didn’t think of it again. This was until things spiralled out of control. About 9 months ago, the accusations started of me disrespecting him and allegations of infidelity. I was devastated but knew in myself that there was no evidence or proof of this ever occurring. First the accusations were made about mutual friends, then his friends, then names of people I do not know whether they even exist. Following that it was accusations of me not being at work but having gone abroad on weekend getaways with alleged flings. The constant need to be reassured (by him) and for me to reassure him (for myself) has been an endless cycle with very little relief. I have been accused of changing my ears in order to have sound devices hidden in them, of having false numbers saved in my phone, unknown numbers are believed to be ‘flings’ phoning to make fun of my partner and the fact we are ‘tricking him’, listening devices under the bed, in corners of the ceiling, buzzing devices actually inserted inside of myself and the constant need for reassurance that I did not have devices inside of me. A few times I have had to leave the home and after he had dropped me off with family members, he has accused me of not actually being there. This is but a few of the paranoid beliefs that have escalated. At times I have been frightened, and right now we are not living anywhere near each other.

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.]