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

Isaac220486 Father and husband
  • replies: 2

I'm a husband and a father of a 6 month old. Ever since he was born I've struggled to be able to connect with him or my wife. I don't know how to entertain him for a whole day. But prior to getting married and becoming a father I struggled with depre... View more

I'm a husband and a father of a 6 month old. Ever since he was born I've struggled to be able to connect with him or my wife. I don't know how to entertain him for a whole day. But prior to getting married and becoming a father I struggled with depression. I feel like it's getting worse. I cry a lot and I believe my wife is also suffering from depression. Some things have happened post marriage and it's made it difficult for me to do anything. I struggle to get out of bed. The only thing keeping me going is work. But everything else is a struggle and I don't know what to do anymore. I try and try but nothing is working and I have kind of given up in being a good husband and father. I don't know what to do anymore.Please help me because I don't want to feel like this anymore

Aleja-91 I miss my husband
  • replies: 1

Hi everyone. Just looking to vent over here and maybe find people with similar experiences for some guidance. For the last couple months I've felt completely disconnected from my husband, who used to be the most loving and caring person in the world.... View more

Hi everyone. Just looking to vent over here and maybe find people with similar experiences for some guidance. For the last couple months I've felt completely disconnected from my husband, who used to be the most loving and caring person in the world. He was having a hard time at work, ended up being burnt-out which I assumed was the reason for the disconnection. He wanted to quit which I supported fully and encouraged him to become independent as he is skilled and very talented. I thought this would be a magical fix but it seems there's more .. He told me he is not feeling well and now that I put everything together I think he has signs of either depression or adjustment disorder. I want to be there for him, I want to be understanding and helpful but the truth is, this has been really hard on me too. He has a hard time communicating what he is feeling, so there is a lot of silence.. which is unsettling to me, but I don't want to be pushy either.. so, it's difficult to find that balance. He is not as loving as he used to be, there's no quality time spent together and intimacy in all levels has been severely decreased if not lost. I miss him so much, I miss the relationship and dynamics we had just a few months ago.. there's so much love between us...I also feel insecure because he was lying to me.. For context, he stopped smoking/vaping ages ago which I've always been very proud of because I am a doctor and everyday all I see is really sick dying people, in part as a consequence of smoking. So, I naturally hate it. But a few days ago I found a hidden vape in the house and even though I realise in the grand scheme of things this could be a ''silly'' lie, I still feel so hurt by it? Just keep thinking that he has lied to me consistently for months and that's not who I thought we were. It could just be his coping mechanism for what he is feeling as well... But in the end I'm just having a hard time coping as well, with his new him, new kind of relationship and mostly not knowing what to do or not. Where is the line between being fully supportive but not drowning in your own feelings or insecurities? I feel so rejected by him He says he loves me and I believe him but then why he can't just talk to me or be with me, share with me... We're starting counselling this week and he will start individual therapy but I don't know.. I feel anxious with all the uncertainty. Maybe someone here has some thoughts? Thank you.

Exhausted_mum Supporting husband and I'm exhausted
  • replies: 3

My husband was always so motivated with everything he did. We have both been in the Air Force for 10+ years but a few years ago he got placed in a team that mistreated him and it led to him being burnt out, which then resulted in depression. He has b... View more

My husband was always so motivated with everything he did. We have both been in the Air Force for 10+ years but a few years ago he got placed in a team that mistreated him and it led to him being burnt out, which then resulted in depression. He has been unable to work for 2 years now. We have 2 young daughters, I have no support from him and I am so tired. Even when his going through this he does his best to be a good father but after years of this happening I am sooooooo exhausted and tbh resentful. He was doing really well and it seemed like it was behind us so we tried for another baby. We now have a beautiful 4mo daughter and his barely helped with either of us. It was as if, as soon as she was born he got bad again. I try to remind myself that his not himself but I feel neglected and the things he says hurt so much. He won't let our friends group know about what's going on at home and when I have mentioned it to people they never understand mental health and seem to think his choosing to be like this. I feel so alone. Is there a support group or something for partners of people with depression? I just feel so alone and exhausted. And for those of you with older children. How do you communicate depression with the kids? And how much do you expose them to it? Any advice is appreciated

Siena_Rose Cycle of abuse
  • replies: 2

Would love some advice on how to support a friend who is being abused by his wife. She constantly puts him down, is aggressive towards him and controls every aspect of his life. She throws things at him and is completely unhinged. She is a victim of ... View more

Would love some advice on how to support a friend who is being abused by his wife. She constantly puts him down, is aggressive towards him and controls every aspect of his life. She throws things at him and is completely unhinged. She is a victim of abuse from her teenage years but has now become an abuser. Her violence is known to police and there have been times where she has been removed from the family home by court order to protect the children. There doesn’t seem to be any support for my friend as the father trying to hold it all together. I am worried about his mental health. He has seen a psychologist before but can’t afford it.

Elephant86 Stories of resilance
  • replies: 1

For a long time I had to figure out strategies on how to stay well with my condition so I started reading to educate myself so I could understand what the doctors where telling so I could go on my own healing pathway. 1.The books I started reading wa... View more

For a long time I had to figure out strategies on how to stay well with my condition so I started reading to educate myself so I could understand what the doctors where telling so I could go on my own healing pathway. 1.The books I started reading was Ian gawlwers and indepth guide to meditation that is the first recommendation for books. 2 The book of joy by the dalia lama and desmound Tutu taught me that how I accept my condition but I don't let it defeat me. 3. The art of happiness by the dalia lama I have read many books that have helped me heal for me reading on buddism taught me about accepting my diability for what it was. Also forgiving myself for the destruction of the bipolar. I know at times you question and you ask why me . You should have trust that all will be oright. Even in the darkest of times there is a candle lighting and gaurdian animals like pets keeping us safe. My spirit animal is a white tiger. I beleive it serves and protects me its like harry potters patronous. Magic is real because the love and care you have for others is true magic. The true power is the love and care between human being and the wonderful community network What animals do you love and what animals bring you peace

ddp07 Dealing with my own feelings with a depressed partner.
  • replies: 3

Hi,I have been dating my partner for 3 years. He has had a history of depression. And two years ago, he had another depressive episode, which he is currently still battling. About 3 months into his depression, he went to the GP to seek assistance in ... View more

Hi,I have been dating my partner for 3 years. He has had a history of depression. And two years ago, he had another depressive episode, which he is currently still battling. About 3 months into his depression, he went to the GP to seek assistance in the form of antidepressants. he has a very stressful job as a builder, and one job in particular has caused him extreme stress on top of his depression. I have been patient with him, read (what feels like) every resource online I can get my hands on to educate myself on how best to support him. I’ve tried to pick up more slack around the house and make sure we are eating healthier, as I know good food can help. In the last 9 months, he has started drinking and smoking. Habits he had given up after being diagnosed with heart failure a few years before me met. This is obviously a concern. With heart problems and depression, these things are going to make problems worse. He has also (2weeks ago) decided to stop taking his meds. I have remained understanding and patient. I don’t say anything about how I am feeling about any of this because when I do, I am made to feel like the bad guy. I have been seeing a psych. I’ve been spending time at the gym every day. I’ve been making sure not to take my work home. I’ve been looking after myself. But I am so worried that this is not a healthy way to manage his depression. So much so that I am crying most nights. My anxiety is through the roof, especially those nights when he has been drinking and drives home. After a night of drinking and him driving home, he had told me he would be home around 8pm and to wait to have dinner with him. I waited until 10.30pm and decided to just eat and head to bed. I called him, he didn’t answer. He came home I was so upset but didn’t engage with him. He passed out on the couch, snoring so loud I couldn’t sleep. I was angry. Frustrated. Extremely sad. The morning after he asked me if I was mad at him. I said ‘I’m not happy. I waited for you and you didn’t pick up your phone. I was worried.’. He said he was sorry and didn’t think, it wouldn’t happen again. With guidance from my psych, she said you need to tell him how you feel. Use I statements. I did. I feel exhausted. I feel sad. I said I feel that his drinking is affecting our relationship. His response was ‘You know what I am going through and now you can’t handle your own stuff. You can’t look after someone if you don’t look after yourself. I don’t feel supported I feel alone.’.continued below

TK75 Being diagnosed with Bipolar.
  • replies: 7

Hello, this is very difficult for me to write. In 2012 I had a psychotic episode and was diagnosed with schitzoaffective disorder, a few years after this, complex post traumatic stress disorder, and most recently, bipolar. I have completely wrecked m... View more

Hello, this is very difficult for me to write. In 2012 I had a psychotic episode and was diagnosed with schitzoaffective disorder, a few years after this, complex post traumatic stress disorder, and most recently, bipolar. I have completely wrecked my life, am currently homeless and am living in short term emergency accommodation. I did a lot of crazy things, which happens to me under duress, I gave away most of my belongings when I had to move out of my rental due to the owners wanting to renovate, wasted a lot of money and gave a lot away. My car broke down and I could no longer travel to work. I can see now I had psychosis and was very angry or sad and just unable to cope. My behaviour was that bad I breached avos and was put in jail for 3 months, then not sentenced because of a section 32 mental illness act, the forensic psychologist said I have psychosis and bipolar. I was then taken to a mental health hospital to be assessed, the doctor discharged me, it was so stressful as I was not from the area, was homeless when released and had no ID, community corrections paid for me to go back . I feel so ashamed and embarrassed of the things I've done. 18 months ago I had somewhere to live and a job, now I have no rental, they are all too expensive on jobkeeper, no car and no job. Justice heath has not sent a referral and the report to the local mental health as said, so I called a mental health number for a referral and now have to see a Dr for that. The hospital gave me medications on leaving but no script. I feel so depressed and have the worst anxiety of my life, even over doing simple things. I am finding it incredibly difficult starting over from scratch at 47. I have permanently damaged most relationships. I always denied having a mental health problem but now it is very obvious to me, my erratic behaviour, irrational thoughts, inability to sleep, angry outbursts are just not normal, Im afraid of these things happening again, am just depressed and anxious every day and do not even enjoy the things I used to, I just feel stuck with terrible concentration and an enormous amount of regret.

Louanne4 How to help my daughter with anger & depression
  • replies: 1

I’m at a loss on how to help my 14 year old daughter. We’ve done everything to help her over the last year. She had social issues at school and bullying last year & after she started self harming/suicidal thoughts we ended up moving schools to be wit... View more

I’m at a loss on how to help my 14 year old daughter. We’ve done everything to help her over the last year. She had social issues at school and bullying last year & after she started self harming/suicidal thoughts we ended up moving schools to be with her “best friend” of 8 years. Attendance wasn’t great but at least she was going most of the time. She had a friend groups although there was constant ups & downs. She doesn’t tolerate bullshit & others being two faced, she just can’t ignore it & “fit in. This year it’s gone down hill again & something has triggered her anxiety do term 2 meant 4 days attendance in 5 weeks. At which point she agreed homeschool was what she wanted to do, which she’s been doing now for a few weeks. She does nothing outside the home, no other activities & doesn’t want to do anything. She’s refusing to to talk to anyone as she felt previously it didn’t help.She’s enjoying the relaxed nature of the home schooling but socially she has lost all her friends. Her “best friend” is now not talking to her, yet sending snaps of her & another girl hanging out. I’ve suggested activities she can do to try make new friends but she doesn’t went to do anything. She watches tv shows continuously, I think to take her minds off things. She’s started having panic attacks at bed time & she’s up & down with her moods. Gets so angry in an instant. I’m at a loss & feel so alone. I don’t know what to do to help her??!!

Tryingtosupport28 Trying to support and I’m hurting
  • replies: 1

Hi team, this is my very first post as I found this forum today. My husband suffers from depression and anxiety and has done his whole life, including trying to take his own life when he was younger. I have personally never suffered from mental healt... View more

Hi team, this is my very first post as I found this forum today. My husband suffers from depression and anxiety and has done his whole life, including trying to take his own life when he was younger. I have personally never suffered from mental health, so have been doing a lot of research and learning about it in recent times. His Mum died recently and he is going through some physical health issues of his own, as well as hating his job. When he gets in a state like he is at the moment, he turns inside himself and does not communicate much, which I find difficult. I adore him and do everything to show him, but one thing will set him off and he turns it against me and takes his depression out on me. I am having some day surgery tomorrow and I’m scared, as I’ve never had any surgery before. I feel selfish because I’m resenting him that I can’t share my feelings with him about it, because he’s giving me the cold shoulder about something from 3 days ago. It culminated in an argument this morning and him telling me that no one cares about him. I now sit here terrified and I’m feeling helpless. I have always supported him, but it’s not fair to be the metaphorical punching bag for his illness and feelings. He has sought help last year from a psychologist, but has never shared anything about it with me. I feel lost, helpless and like I’m failing him and our family. I know how he is being towards me is not him and it is his illness, but it still hurts. I have cried so many tears in the last 24hrs and I feel alone. I raised with him this morning that his mental health is not good at the moment, so I’m hopeful he may take this on board and go back to get some help again.

aniruddhpan Me alcoholic
  • replies: 2

I am an alcoholic, been trying to do whatever to get out of it. I even take naltrexone. Work full time 2 jobs but cannot rid of this issue. I have tried counselling but its very difficult to get actual face to face. I suffer from depression and socia... View more

I am an alcoholic, been trying to do whatever to get out of it. I even take naltrexone. Work full time 2 jobs but cannot rid of this issue. I have tried counselling but its very difficult to get actual face to face. I suffer from depression and social anxiety so dont know what will work for me. I waste lot of money in binge drinking. Will not drink for month then book hotel and drink for 3 to 4 days wasting money. So I do 2 jobs so I can still support my family. Can someone please advise what method for quitting worked for them? This shame is killing me. Just hate myself but still go and drink.