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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3000 Centrelink Disability Support Pension for Mental Illness
  • replies: 15

Hey guys My wife has had SEVERE depression, anxiety and panic attacks for nearly 17 years. The depression is up and down at times but in relation to the anxiety/panic she has been virtually housebound for the past 9 years, unable to leave the house w... View more

Hey guys My wife has had SEVERE depression, anxiety and panic attacks for nearly 17 years. The depression is up and down at times but in relation to the anxiety/panic she has been virtually housebound for the past 9 years, unable to leave the house without me in the car with her and unable to go any further than a few blocks from home. She cannot go any further than immediate walking distance to the car and we cannot turn the car off due to fear of not being able to immediately get home to her safe zone without experiencing a severe, debilitating panic attack and we're back to her not leaving the bedroom again. She has taken numerous medications, seen counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, hypnotherapy and doctors over this time and has not been able to beat it. Introduction over, she is obviously unable to work and cannot fully care for our kids alone so I am forced to be only able to get casual/part-time work while on Newstart allowance (required to be still applying for full-time work) and cannot earn more than $680 per fortnight or I will lose my entire Centrelink payment. Even though there is an extensive catalogue of proof of many years of her condition Centrelink will not approve her for a Disability Support Pension as it is "only mental illness" not an "actual disability" and the only assistance they can offer is $80 per fortnight carer's allowance. Does anyone have any experience in a similar situation or have any advice they can offer ?

Not_Batman Struggling with childs diagnosis
  • replies: 4

Hello everyone. I've had a lot of anxiety and depression over the years, and for the most part can keep on top of it, and manage to get through the episodes (despite the mental pain), but there are always times when everything just compounds. To star... View more

Hello everyone. I've had a lot of anxiety and depression over the years, and for the most part can keep on top of it, and manage to get through the episodes (despite the mental pain), but there are always times when everything just compounds. To start this year off, i had an extended break before returning to work so i could do some renovations, but because a lot of companies were closed over christmas, i couldnt get the bits i needed, so the renovation is currently paused at 90%. i didnt think it was such a big deal at the time. Going back to work, there were a couple of bigger projects lumped on to me...my team is only very small, so i cant exactly share it all around. I had been thinking about these and how i was going to do it all...I know that I cant!! The straw that broke the camels back, is my biggest fear. Last week my child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. out of nowhere. We were all totally calm during the tests, hospital stay, education, and so on, but once the reality set in that he'd be testing, injecting, counting carbs (rinse & repeat) for the rest of his life, it hit us hard. Now i worry about him almost every second of the day. how will he be at school, or out playing. For anyone with a similar situation, how do you manage the juggling act with an elephant in the room, and have time to do it all, while keeping focused, supporting the family, without falling in a hole. Not_Batman

Lillianne shattered dreams
  • replies: 18

My husband for over 30 years has relapsed (again) after time away from alcohol-fuelled depression. He was doing so well after rehabilitation and I really hoped he'd succeed this time. I'm afraid I got extremely angry with him - called him terrible na... View more

My husband for over 30 years has relapsed (again) after time away from alcohol-fuelled depression. He was doing so well after rehabilitation and I really hoped he'd succeed this time. I'm afraid I got extremely angry with him - called him terrible names, threw a pillow at him - I'm just so frustrated by this setback, I just wanted to 'kick him into action', and when this all fell on sleepy ears, I called in a health professional to try to talk him into going back to rehab. Now he won't speak to me, says I am unsupportive and he wants a divorce. He has threatened this before, but maybe this time for real ... So many dreams ahead of us feel shattered. So much history and tangled lives to unpick. Anyway, I'm anxious right now and feel like I've mishandled the situation. Don't know what to do, just don't know what to do.

Aknitter My son: Is he or is he not a narcissist and how should I react?
  • replies: 4

I'm feeling anxious as I write this as I contemplate whether my son could possibly commit an act that will be dangerous. My young adult son is a deep thinker who has been ruminating on the ills of modern societal systems. He is anti-technology and ag... View more

I'm feeling anxious as I write this as I contemplate whether my son could possibly commit an act that will be dangerous. My young adult son is a deep thinker who has been ruminating on the ills of modern societal systems. He is anti-technology and against "the system". He feels the changes that are happening in terms of artificial intelligence, automation, loss of individual freedoms and privacy are detrimental and feels that it is "his duty" to do something (possibly drastic) to rectify the situation. He doesn't have a history of violence, but is such a self-motivated person that I fear he might act on some of these thoughts. He seems to have the grandiose ideas of a narcissist but I really don't know. I am veryconcerned for his mental health but he says he is ok, and I know it's extremely unlikely he would seek counselling anyway. I don't want to close the channels of communication during this stressful time in his life or make him feel like a monster for thinking revolutionary thoughts, but I don't know where the appropriate boundary lies. Thanks for reading this far and for the opportunity to get some of these thoughts out of my head.

Apple23 How to support myself while caring for a spouse with anxiety or depression
  • replies: 5

Okay so I’ve never really talked to anyone about this because I don’t want to share it with my family & friends as they also know my husband and it’s unfair to him. But my husband suffers from bad anxiety and lately, depression. We’ve been married fo... View more

Okay so I’ve never really talked to anyone about this because I don’t want to share it with my family & friends as they also know my husband and it’s unfair to him. But my husband suffers from bad anxiety and lately, depression. We’ve been married for three years, together for seven, he’s been through bad patches before but always worked through it, sometimes with the help of therapy other times without it. He has been on medication for it when he was about 15,16 but he got himself off it at around 18 and seemed to be doing really well. But then about 6 months after our wedding, he started going down hill again. We’d have talks about it and he would say he was aware of it, apologise and say he would try to do better. And then slowly, those conversations stopped happening. The pandemic didn’t help. He got worse despite me trying to support him as much as possible. The middle of last year, I brought up getting therapy again. Originally he was open to it, but after looking into it he came up with a few excuses and never looked into it again. The problem is, I don’t have anyone to support me. And I’m feeling really emotional exhausted & broken lately. My husband has his good moments and I love him dearly, but he also deals with things by getting anger and probably has like a rage for like ten times a day. I’m really not exaggerating either, like today he spilt a bottle of water and proceeded to swear his head off, getting so mad that I worry about his blood pressure when all he had to do is wipe it up. I know it’s not his fault. I know it’s hard for him. But lately I feel like I’m looking after a bratty, angry child & that’s just not a healthy relationship. Like I said, I don’t want to talk to our family & friends about it, they all know him and it wouldn’t be fair to share this with them. But I also need some help. How do I cope with this? I feel bad for not just being able to give him support but this relationship is taking so much from me and I don’t know what to do anymore. I know it’s not his fault. But he doesn’t seem to be interested at all in getting help for it and I just don’t know what to do. I’m really lost, and I feel very alone & broken. No matter what I do, things don’t change. Has anyone got any advice for me? And please, no hate on my husband. I love him and he is a great guy. It’s not his fault that he is suffering from these conditions. Also a small note- I have had depression & anxiety in the past so I understand what it’s like.

beyondblue_Online_Communi New to the supporting family and friends forum? Here's 3 tips to get you started
  • replies: 27

New to the supporting family and friends forum? Please read our trio of tips to help you get the best out of your experience here. Tip 1 Before posting, start by reading some of the existing threads. You may find a number of community members' experi... View more

New to the supporting family and friends forum? Please read our trio of tips to help you get the best out of your experience here. Tip 1 Before posting, start by reading some of the existing threads. You may find a number of community members' experiences you can relate to. Reading about others' circumstances with supporting loved ones with mental illness might give you more insight into helping or understanding your loved one. Tip 2 Supporting someone with a mental illness can be quite challenging, and carers, family, and friends often need support as well. By posting your experience on another community member's thread it gives you a chance to connect with others whom have a shared experience. Tip 3 Check out the resources in the Supporting Someone on this website for further advice on how to help and support loved ones with a mental illness. Browse the resources available and share with the community what advice was useful for you.

digit_ Help! Partner with depression
  • replies: 3

Hi everyone. Myself: I have depression, anxiety, panic disorder, CPTSD. I’m trialing a new medication. I was on my last medication for 7 years, I had been on another for a year and now trying the new one, need one that fits me best. Previously have h... View more

Hi everyone. Myself: I have depression, anxiety, panic disorder, CPTSD. I’m trialing a new medication. I was on my last medication for 7 years, I had been on another for a year and now trying the new one, need one that fits me best. Previously have had talk therapy, thinking of starting up again. have a partner who has depression and anxiety. He supports me utterly when I’m suffering which is 99.9% of the time, my anxiety is severe. However I find it hard to support him when he’s feeling down or anxious because of the way he behaves, his anxiety comes out in anger, yelling, throwing things (this is never at me) this is a trigger for me due to trauma with yelling etc. so it’s hard for me not to react and yell at him and let him know I’m having a panic attack because of his outbursts. He then tells me It’s only ok when I’m anxious and not when he is and I try to explain I do care but it’s hard when it triggers me this way… how do I support him with that situation? He also had depression and is really negative and retreats when he’s depressed and the whole vibe in the house is awful, dark, he doesn’t wanna chat, he is negative about every single aspect, and when I try to offer a solution or support he knocks it down with more negativity so also very stuck there. I know I want to support him, like he supports me but I really don’t know how, I just feel stuck and like I have to deal with it, and allow his negativity to affect me( it really does ) but then again he’s suffering so it’s affecting us both. I am fearful the way he is will lead to the end of our relationship one day. Note: he has never done therapy, or tried medication or anything to help his mental illnesses really. please no hate. I’m just asking for help to learn to support him better.

Ramblify Encounter with Dangerous Person
  • replies: 2

Hi, Im not sure this is the right place to post for support. I think I've encountered someone who Is a manipulator and it has left me very traumatised. Before people start pulling out the mental health stigmatisim on me please understand I dont belie... View more

Hi, Im not sure this is the right place to post for support. I think I've encountered someone who Is a manipulator and it has left me very traumatised. Before people start pulling out the mental health stigmatisim on me please understand I dont believe all people with mental health issues or depression are 'bad' people. I ran as quick as I could from my job. This person even though I wasn't hired in the role to be their subordinate, took it on themselves to position me in such a way, that they we giving me directions on exactly how they wanted things done (my role was a support role), but they were getting me to do all the hard work. It happened in a fairly sneaky way. They also cut all group connections and ties so I could only deal directly with them. I felt manipulated and trapped. I didn't stay there long and when I notified this person that my replacement would be coming they weren't happy. I dont think this person should be allowed to work with anyone. I feel theyre a dangerous person.

Ems1234 Partner is having trouble opening up
  • replies: 2

I need advice on what to do... I myself have depression and I am trying to help my partner who is shutting down and going into a space that isn't healthy for him or me. He is blocking me out and refusing to talk to me as he doesn't know how to put hi... View more

I need advice on what to do... I myself have depression and I am trying to help my partner who is shutting down and going into a space that isn't healthy for him or me. He is blocking me out and refusing to talk to me as he doesn't know how to put his thoughts and feelings into words, he keeps overthinking so much to the point I have no idea what is going through his head. I want to help him but I don't know how when I ask him what he needs from me to help but he keeps telling me he doesn't know, and it's starting to really hurt me and affect me mentally as I was having a hard time with him wanting to be alone and not wanting to see me. He's starting to block me out and not talk to me, I think he needs to talk to a professional but how do I talk to him about this. I am feeling rejected and like its my fault when I know its not- Help!

___Gekota I think my best friend has an ED (TW)
  • replies: 2

Hi, I really need some advice. I think my friend may have an eating disorder. I wouldn’t say that it is too serious Currently but I am afraid if I don’t do something now it may get worse. At school she doesn’t eat, but if a friend offers her like a b... View more

Hi, I really need some advice. I think my friend may have an eating disorder. I wouldn’t say that it is too serious Currently but I am afraid if I don’t do something now it may get worse. At school she doesn’t eat, but if a friend offers her like a bit of a snack she usually says yes. However she has lost a bit of weight that I’ve noticed, she is still definitely at a healthy weight but I am concerned. I myself have an eating disorder and have been currently really struggling with it (I’m sort of in the process of getting help, but I don’t want this too be about my struggles), so as much as I want to help her before it gets worse I have been afraid as I don’t want my eating issues to be brought up. In the past I had another friend with an Ed and quite a young age who was also my best friend like this person is and she had been through a lot and we’re not really in touch anymore and I was like 9 at the time and didn’t really understand and I did nothing and let her get worse. I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. I told myself if i ever saw another friend or person struggling I would do something and not wait till things get bad. But I really don’t know what to do. I don’t know how I can help this person who I care so much about without her bringing up my eating disorder. I don’t want her to get to my position with food but I feel so guilty. I don’t know if it is my fault but I just feel as though my issues with food influenced her, i don’t ever talk about food but I’m afraid I’m the reason she may have an ed. I’ve read so many things on how to support a friend or loved one but they never mention what to do when you also in a really bad mental health place. what should I do? Please I’m really scared.