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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gilmoregirl Husband crying alot, what can I do?
  • replies: 4

Hi, I'm new here and just finding my feet. After over a decade of handling his depression, my husband has had a very major crash. It seemed things were going along not too bad, he had some issues with his new job he had been at for about 6 mths but n... View more

Hi, I'm new here and just finding my feet. After over a decade of handling his depression, my husband has had a very major crash. It seemed things were going along not too bad, he had some issues with his new job he had been at for about 6 mths but nothing he said he couldn't handle. Then a couple of months ago he had a few nights where he wasn't sleeping, and this ended in him having a panic attack. He ended up at the hospital where they gave him medication to sleep. He then saw a doctor who prescribed Olanzapine to help calm him and help him sleep, he has now been on those for 6 weeks or so but they don't seem to be helping him much now. This week he has crashed very badly, with a couple of visits to the hospital and multiple talks with the mental health team. He had a visit with a psychologist which seemed to go well and he seemed much calmer but the very next day and since he can't seem to function without crying. I am at a lost as to what to do and feel so helpless. Has anyone else had a similar experience? How did you deal with it?

RimzM ghosting
  • replies: 1

ghosting is for kids! I lashed out at these 2 girls that ghosted me last year. I know them from social media. autistics are prone to ghosting! they have no idea I'm autistic though!

ghosting is for kids! I lashed out at these 2 girls that ghosted me last year. I know them from social media. autistics are prone to ghosting! they have no idea I'm autistic though!

Violet12 I'm really exhausted psychologically and emotionally. I think I'm setting a deadline in my head for things to get better, or I'll have to leave.
  • replies: 10

Sometimes I think I'm codependent. How do we tell the line between caring/supporting codependence, absorbing their emotions, and letting it totally affect us? I'd really like to hear others' thoughts on that. So I'm here I suppose for a venting sesh.... View more

Sometimes I think I'm codependent. How do we tell the line between caring/supporting codependence, absorbing their emotions, and letting it totally affect us? I'd really like to hear others' thoughts on that. So I'm here I suppose for a venting sesh. My partner is on a waitlist to see a psychiatrist early next year for an assessment to see whether he has ADHD. All signs indicate that he does. I am praying that we can afford that appointment when it comes, which is really iffy, and that we can then also get medication - and, that the medication makes serious improvements. Because... I'm so tired. I'm so over this. I love him. I do not blame him. He did not ask to be this way. But I also did not sign up for this. I think that if the medication doesn't work out, and if he then doesn't actively try in therapy, I might have to leave for my own sake. The emotional rollercoaster, his inability to self-soothe, just everything... It sometimes feels like there's not enough oxygen in this relationship for me. It feels like our relationship has become one where I anticipate and manage and react to his moods, and he feels guilty and hates himself for it but nothing ever changes. Every day since the pandemic last year that kicked this into another level, I feel like I wake up and my day depends on his mood. Will I get to get some work done, maybe think about myself for a few hours, get some housework done? Depends if he has an emotional outburst or not and tells me he hates himself and wishes he had the guts to end his life. It's at least 3 out of 7 days a week lately. I can't do it. I'll wait to see if the medication helps but if it doesn't I'm going to have to leave. How I'll do that knowing he'll be suicidal, I have no idea. But I can't give up my life to sit next to him on the floor.

JustWantToHelp Help in getting depressed adult child to open up
  • replies: 6

Hi all, Hoping to get some advice here. I have an adult child in their early 20s who has been suffering from severe depression for about 18 months. They went to therapy for a little while, but stopped after a handful of sessions as they felt there wa... View more

Hi all, Hoping to get some advice here. I have an adult child in their early 20s who has been suffering from severe depression for about 18 months. They went to therapy for a little while, but stopped after a handful of sessions as they felt there was no benefit. They were also prescribed medication, which did prove helpful to some degree, however, they now appear to have stopped taking that too. I asked them why they stopped and they said that they forget. When I remind them, they just say they've taken it, but I can see they haven't, and now they have hidden the medication or thrown it away. While they go to work (part time) and mostly go to their uni classes, outside of that, they spend all their time locked away in their room. They won't engage with me at all. Even a simple conversation about their day is met with a one word response as they head straight to their room. They typically come up to eat late at night when everyone else has gone to bed. Similarly, when they leave for work in the morning, they don't even make eye contact as they pass and often don't even say goodbye, they just walk out the door. They don't eat with the rest of the family, nor do they accept any invitation to do anything with us. I tried talking with them last night, but they refused to sit down to discuss anything. I had to speak to them from across the room while they stood at the top of the stairs. They wouldn't engage in any conversation whatsoever, so I simply asked them to let me know how I could help them and that I love them and their mental health is my top proirity. Shortly after, they went out to the pub. I sent a long text asking if I've done something/haven't done something that has made them completely withdraw from me. They can't even have a simple, general conversation with me any more. Their reply was simply 'I want to be left alone'. I don't think they're mad at me as we're going overseas together later in the year (which was their idea). It seems obvious to me that they REALLY need to start back on their medication and give therapy another try, but I just don't know how to reach them and have those sorts of discussions if they refuse to engage with me at all. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Bunny6 Bunny
  • replies: 1

Hi guys, My brother used to be highly successful in his job (he is a mechanic). He has been married three times. The last marriage has broken him. He used to 'commute' from Malaysia to WA. His Indonesian wife did nothing (and I mean NOTHING). My brot... View more

Hi guys, My brother used to be highly successful in his job (he is a mechanic). He has been married three times. The last marriage has broken him. He used to 'commute' from Malaysia to WA. His Indonesian wife did nothing (and I mean NOTHING). My brother had to come home after 3 weeks working to have to clean the house as his wife did nothing. She did, however, spend all his money. He is now trying to re-build his life after three years (and doing an awesome job), but he is still becoming drunk. I know that I cannot intervene personally, but, gosh, there are much better ways to live than getting drunk all the time! I don't understand why he 'needs' to drink to excess, but I DO get that he is hurting! I wish I could ease his pain (whatever it is) so he can actually live a wonderful life.... PS. I have progressive MS, so am not especially mobile. Any suggestions are very welcome. PPS. I like a glass or two of white wine, but I have never been drunk. No idea what to do ....

SsyL Need desperate help for reclusive young lady
  • replies: 17

Subject: My aunty's daughter, early 20s, Sydney Problem: recluse, non-social, no work or study, odd quirks and behaviours Possible cause: incident of bullying/betrayal from friend during schooling that wasn't addressed, compounded by being an adopted... View more

Subject: My aunty's daughter, early 20s, Sydney Problem: recluse, non-social, no work or study, odd quirks and behaviours Possible cause: incident of bullying/betrayal from friend during schooling that wasn't addressed, compounded by being an adopted child and a migrant as well as moving between countries. Background: Aunty married later in life, no kids of her own. Adopted daughter from within the family in Malaysia, brought her here. Spent some formative years over there before returning to Aus. Incident with friend occurred mid-high school, details unclear. Stopped school, sought initial counselling with psychologist. Issues may be worse due to realisation of adoption and not getting along with step father. I'm seeking advice on what to do in this situation. How to address the issue/s affecting my niece, help here come out of the home and do normal activities and look after herself. Ultimately the hope is for her to be a functional member of society and have a job and be independent. My aunty is running out of ideas, strength and time as she's getting old. She is also not very cluey about such matters and by this stage is in denial believing it will fix itself. I'm limited by what I can do, as I'm not personally close to my niece (she responds better to females) although she attends family events. Also, as not being her immediate family I'm not privy to any details. Having said that, we both are restricted to information as there is confidentially between Dr and patient as she was over 18 during treatment which makes it very hard. Even if we don't know the details of what is discuss, no advice is given on what to do to help in the home environment. After some time of attending session with no to little progress, they let it slide. She has tried psychology, Headspace etc to no avail. To start again, the advice is that she needs a mental health plan. But she won't leave the house so how to get her to a clinic? Don't know if a home visit is possible but not sure how she'll respond. I've called all manner of organisation, hotline, support but have not practical solutions. Is there anyone who is in a similar situation with family member who is reclusive? What did you do? It might help if she has someone like her to talk to and relate to. Despite no progress for many years, she still has youth on her side and I believe there is still time to do something. She is an smart girl who is very lost. My aunty won't be around forever and I don't want her to be alone.

Milly75 Alcoholism
  • replies: 2

I have been living with an alcoholic for 15 years. I work fulltime & pay all expenses for the household. My partner does not work & sells anything of worth to pay for alcohol. He has no access to my money or credit cards, nor do I enable him. He cons... View more

I have been living with an alcoholic for 15 years. I work fulltime & pay all expenses for the household. My partner does not work & sells anything of worth to pay for alcohol. He has no access to my money or credit cards, nor do I enable him. He constantly reaches out to his mum for $ and she gives in every time. I have spoken with her, pleading for her to stop giving him money as he is an alcoholic, yet it falls on deaf ears. He will take her last $20 without hesitation. I have overcome many challenges in my life, from sexual abuse as a young child, drug dependency as an adult and several suicide attempts. I have been clean 17 years now from both amphetamines and alcohol. I am in a job that I love, have a fantastic relationship with my son ( which took many years to rebuild) and adore my 3 grandchildren who's lives I am apart of. My partner does not come to family get togethers nor spend any time with my son, grandchildren or parents, choosing to stay home and drink. In the past 7 years we have become 2 people who share a house and separate beds. I cannot understand what is stopping me from leaving him, after overcoming such huge obstacles in my life, why am I finding this so hard.

Coastie7395 Partner of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
  • replies: 1

My partner was recently diagnosed with BPD as well as anxiety, depression and PTSD. I have read a lot of information on the internet and am trying to be supportive in the best ways I can. Yesterday he told me that he didn't want to be in a relationsh... View more

My partner was recently diagnosed with BPD as well as anxiety, depression and PTSD. I have read a lot of information on the internet and am trying to be supportive in the best ways I can. Yesterday he told me that he didn't want to be in a relationship, that I didn't understand him and that I continued to make things worse. He has been off his anxiety/depression meds for a few days and I'm sure this is contributing to his downturn in mood. I don't want to abandon him, I do love him, but I have got to the point where I'm not sure I can keep fighting for our relationship when he seems intent on finding everything wrong with us and blowing any tiny thing into an issue of epic proportions. When he's having his bad days I am constantly questioning my self worth. I've been trying to learn how to effectively communicate with someone with his condition but most of the time he is closed off to conversation and expects me to be able to read his mind to know what he wants. He often will use the silent treatment and today has even blocked me so we can't communicate until he's ready. I'm happy to give him space if he could communicate that to me but either he can't or I don't understand the cues for when he wants space. Any advice on the best way for us to move forward would be greatly appreciated.

worriedparent2023 Supporting my son through a rough time
  • replies: 2

Hi All,I guess I am just posting here to get some advise, find people that are in the same boat, and see what has worked for others as I am struggling. My son recently split with his girlfriend of 8 months, initially he was ok but now not so much. He... View more

Hi All,I guess I am just posting here to get some advise, find people that are in the same boat, and see what has worked for others as I am struggling. My son recently split with his girlfriend of 8 months, initially he was ok but now not so much. He lives alone and this bothers me endlessly. However, he assures me he is good there and enjoys it. He is down and he is miserable, he feels very lonely as he does not have a friendship group. He feels like his whole world has fallen apart and it is breaking me. I hug him, I tell him I love him and I support him in everyway I can but I am not sure I am helping him. Last week I was receiving messages from him telling me he is done, he cannot do it anymore and he is sorry. His sister also received a message that said 'look after mum and dad for me' this had all of us leaving work and driving everywhere looking for him. He was working and he was ok, upset but ok. Its like he says these things but never actually means it, it is just a cry for help. I know that this will pass as it is the same thing he did when he broke up with his last girlfriend, but it is wearing thin and taking its toll on all of us. I am exhausted and constantly worried. I get to a point that I put my phone on silent, just so i can clear my own head, and function in some capacity.How do I make him see that his world is not over, he has a lot to be thankful for and that he will be ok? Thank you in advance

JE111 Being a bad mum and being judged
  • replies: 5

My son has crippling anxiety. He is 18 in two weeks and doesn't leave the house. He is on medicinal cannabis prescribed by a doctor and on a disability support pension. He also uses tobacco in a bong with the camnabis. I'm reducing his tobacco so he ... View more

My son has crippling anxiety. He is 18 in two weeks and doesn't leave the house. He is on medicinal cannabis prescribed by a doctor and on a disability support pension. He also uses tobacco in a bong with the camnabis. I'm reducing his tobacco so he can reduce the addition to the cannabis. He sees a psychologist who tells me he needs to get off the cannabis as it's causing anxiety. He on is some THC and some cannabinoid cannabis. I'm working with the psychologist to encourage my son to go out. So far that's involved a bike ride and a visit to the shops. I feel like an utter failure. I try to encourage him to go out and he always says he has stomach ache and can't go. I've been to the GP and naturpaths to try and fix his gut issues. Nothing works. I feel like I'm on a very bad merry go round that simply never gets better. I woke up in the night having panic attacks about him never having a girlfriend. His has been going on for 4yrs now. The couple of psychologists I've seen judge me. They tell me I must stop this or that and don't seem to understand what it's like to live this life. My son has made 4 previous suicide attempts and is in a better place at the moment but always says he wants to kill himself when things are not going completely his way. How far do I push things? What are the answers I give when he repeatedly says he feels unwell and can't leave the house? Which psychologist can I go to who won't judge me and make me feel like the worst mum on the planet?