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

Lesa My partner threatens suicide but refuses to get help
  • replies: 4

My partners depression got really bad when we had our daughter who is now 16 months. He says I dont have time for him now we have a child and says that now he has given me a baby he may as well just die. He has suffered alot of hardship in his life a... View more

My partners depression got really bad when we had our daughter who is now 16 months. He says I dont have time for him now we have a child and says that now he has given me a baby he may as well just die. He has suffered alot of hardship in his life and his business has been struggling since Covid which has put us in a very difficult financial position so he feels lots pf shame and guilt. He takes anti depressants and medication for ADHD but his Psychartrist is so busy he isn't managing the situation and i dont know what to do. He threatens suicide often and tells me that he has nothing to live for. I don't know what to do, I walk on eggshells because he is so sensitive he creates things to be angry at me about. Sometimes I feel like he hates me and tries to drive me away so he has an excuse to end his life. I don't know what to do or who to turn too. The doctors and Psychatrists can only help if rhe person is willing to help themselves.

Logan_III Wife suffering from persecutory delusions, can they eventually forgive the wrongly accused?
  • replies: 3

My wife of nearly 20 years has always suffered from depression but the past 4 years have been the hardest on me due to the amplification of her hypervigilance/judgemental-ness/persecutory beliefs based on past unresolved trauma. She has seen a psychi... View more

My wife of nearly 20 years has always suffered from depression but the past 4 years have been the hardest on me due to the amplification of her hypervigilance/judgemental-ness/persecutory beliefs based on past unresolved trauma. She has seen a psychiatrist for many years but they never seem to delve into the cause and over the past 4 years her paranoia regarding people close to me has escalated.I have had to part way for numerous friends, minimal contact with my family and I am now more isolated than ever. I have given up sports that I enjoyed due to the clubs being part of the conspiracy. These people are accused of sharing emails or texts, hacking accounts, passing on information to media outlets and general gaslighting in an effort to get her to return to a past workplace (one source of her past trauma).Like many people suffering the above, jumping to conclusions with minimal evidence, not believing her Dr and being angry at needing medication (antidepressant and a mild antipsychotic) when she believes it's all these people who need to stop and apologise.Can someone who believes in these things so strongly ever get to a point where they realise that these people have not done what her mind has convinced her of or is it 'locked in'.I guess I am at a point where I am assessing our future as a family unit. We have children and it is really starting to impact them and my lust for life is also at an all-time low.I read all the help guides regarding caring for someone suffering from this, but I fear catching up with people (who have not been accused) as I may lose them too.It's not a great way to live and if things are set in her mind, even if she gets things under control, I miss all my friends and catching up with family regularly without the crippling anxiety it brings me.Thanks

Maxey Upset and confused
  • replies: 26

My partner is suffering with depression. We’ve had all the discussions around his guilt of feeling like a burden, not coping with responsibilities and not having any happiness in any area of his life. I’m committed to helping him through this and hav... View more

My partner is suffering with depression. We’ve had all the discussions around his guilt of feeling like a burden, not coping with responsibilities and not having any happiness in any area of his life. I’m committed to helping him through this and have discussed the support I might need from my family and friends as I understand the toll it will take on us. With respect please don’t tell me to pack up and leave him. I’m just looking for some strength and to hear experiences on how to get through the roller coaster of emotions I deal with daily.

Violet12 Feeling like an animal with my foot caught in a bear trap, but it's him.
  • replies: 6

I am worried I'm going to blink and another 10 years will have gone past and there's my 30s gone. I keep waiting for him to go through some kind of evolution, to have like a life changing moment or a sudden realisation, and for him to start standing ... View more

I am worried I'm going to blink and another 10 years will have gone past and there's my 30s gone. I keep waiting for him to go through some kind of evolution, to have like a life changing moment or a sudden realisation, and for him to start standing on his own 2 feet. He leans on me, and that's ok, but lately (and if I'm being honest, for years now), it's too much. I can feel myself cracking under the pressure. He acknowledged that there's no space for me in the relationship to have my feelings, because he takes it all up. I didn't tell him this, but he's right. And I have no idea what to do about it. I'm holding onto the same life raft I've held onto before, which is that we get him back in therapy and he starts leaning on them and not me and makes progress. But it's the 4th time around, at least, and I'm just so traumatised to be honest with you. I can't keep doing this. I can't leave. I feel completely trapped, afraid and anxious and tired and resentful and full of dread. I can't even enjoy "good days" anymore like I used to, because I used to mistake those for signs of change, and now I feel like I've lost that hope. It's like I'm starting to believe him when he says there's no hope. Bad days can spring out of nowhere. He can be laughing and talkative and engaged, then later say it was all fake and an act. I don't care how this makes me seem, but I wish he'd fake it all the time. I do. Because I just can't handle being emotionally hostage like this. I have no idea what to do to get out of this feeling.

Destroyer_of_sadness How can I be there for him?
  • replies: 1

Hi everyone,This is my first post here because I want to seek some advice about my boyfriend. We have a very loving relationship of almost 4 years and he is the sweetest most genuine person I have ever met. He is so good to me. A few days ago we were... View more

Hi everyone,This is my first post here because I want to seek some advice about my boyfriend. We have a very loving relationship of almost 4 years and he is the sweetest most genuine person I have ever met. He is so good to me. A few days ago we were out and he wanted to have a serious talk with me. He told me everything had become too much (there were many external factors and his job has been terribly straining on his mental wellbeing) and felt like he wasn't being a good partner to me as a result so he ultimately decided to break up with me. It terrified me because not only was I losing him but he was pushing everyone away and isolating himself when he was feeling on the verge of giving up everything. The thought of him dealing with these dark feelings all by himself scared me.. I didn't want him to go through it alone. I think I am the only person he has opened up to about how he has been feeling. We talked it through and he took me back because he said giving up on our relationship would be a mistake. He is someone who needs a lot of space and time to himself so I have been trying my best to give him all of the time he needs. While he rests I have been trying to process everything we talked about and what happened and writing down everything I can. As someone who also has depression (but have been able to maintain it well after many years of therapy and medication), I am trying to create a stable starting foundation for him to begin seeking help. His full-time work won't allow him the time to see a therapist so I found a place that can see him after hours or the weekend. I think the one thing we struggled with was boundaries (personal space, he needs certain amounts of time to recharge from his stresses) because he felt as though he wasn't open enough about it with me. I told him that we can talk about it together whenever he is ready. Am I doing the right kind of things or is there anything I need to consider or do better? I really want to help him win this battle he has been struggling with for so long and I want to do anything I can to be as supportive as I can as his partner. thank you for reading my massive post! ^-^;

Monny Cyclic major depressive disorder
  • replies: 10

Hi, I'm writing on my sons behalf to see if there is anyone else out there with the same symptons and cycle as my 17year old son who was diagnosed with major depression nearly 2 years ago and psychiatrist thinks it could be bipolar 2. He has tried 5 ... View more

Hi, I'm writing on my sons behalf to see if there is anyone else out there with the same symptons and cycle as my 17year old son who was diagnosed with major depression nearly 2 years ago and psychiatrist thinks it could be bipolar 2. He has tried 5 antidepressants with no change just more frequent episodes and with bad side effects so stopped. His psychiatrist thinks the cycle is strange because my boy has around 1 to 2 weeks of being perfectly fine then within a day will have 1 to 2 weeks with deep depression, no energy, no motivation, no self worth, social isolation.Then goes back to normal again. Is there anyone else with the same cycle? I would really appreciate any answers. Also has anyone tried transcranial stimulation? My son is on the waiting list for that treatment.

BluPanda Trying to Help My Partner
  • replies: 1

Hi All. I am a 47yr old woman in Brisbane who is struggling to support my 45yr old Male partner who is currently in crisis and I wondered if anyone had any advice. he is terrified and refusing to let me take him to a doctor even though I have assured... View more

Hi All. I am a 47yr old woman in Brisbane who is struggling to support my 45yr old Male partner who is currently in crisis and I wondered if anyone had any advice. he is terrified and refusing to let me take him to a doctor even though I have assured him I will be there to support him the whole time. He has been on medication in the past but it made him intensely suicidal and so he is terrified the same thing will happen. In addition he is also really scared that if he opens up to the doctor they are going to lock him away in a psych ward and I have been unable to talk him round. I am very concerned for his well-being as currently he is not going to work, has withdrawn from all external contact with anyone except me or his parents who love overseas and he won’t disclose to them what is happening. he has gone AWOL from his job as well and refusing to answer calls and messages from his boss. I really don’t know where to go from here. I have been in treatment for depression myself on and off for the past 20 years and am currently on meds and so have tried to reassure him that they are safe but I can’t get him to agree to see a Dr. I would really appreciate any supportive ideas or advice anyone has to give Thank you

Hopeful91 How to re-enter society?
  • replies: 1

Hi, I’m 32 and have a lot of medical issues as well as severe depression and anxiety. I have become more and more of a recluse as my chronic fatigue worsened and I was sleeping 15+ hrs daily. Due to my chronic health I had to move back into my parent... View more

Hi, I’m 32 and have a lot of medical issues as well as severe depression and anxiety. I have become more and more of a recluse as my chronic fatigue worsened and I was sleeping 15+ hrs daily. Due to my chronic health I had to move back into my parents home. I see my family daily but I don’t have any other social contact like going grocery shopping or a workplace etc. I find it very stressful to leave home and haven’t driven in 6+ months. The only time I do go out is to doctors appointments. I’m struggling to try and break this pattern and wondered if anyone had any suggestions? I find it challenging mentally but also physically as I deal with chronic pain and struggle to sit for long periods. I’m allergic to all grass and can’t be in the sun either. The chronic fatigue makes it hard to do chores like laundry so I find I spend most of my time in bed sleeping. My depression is also very bad so I’ve no motivation to listen to music, watch tv or play games. I just sleep or rest. I used to be a bright individual. I had a career and was totally independent and now I’m trying to survive off a pension. I feel ashamed. I’m terrified of seeing people who knew me before I got sick. I’ve set myself some goals: I’d like to volunteer one afternoon a week and to attend church weekly and try work up from there as my health allows. Any tips for the reclusiveness or even managing chronic fatigue would be greatly appreciated

Violet12 What's the general consensus on ultimatums?
  • replies: 3

Im in the pre-consideration phase. I might consider an ultimatum, but I don't know enough... feel like I've heard support for them, and then heard they're never ok. Context:My partner of 10 years, whom I live with:Has depression, anxiety, adhd, autis... View more

Im in the pre-consideration phase. I might consider an ultimatum, but I don't know enough... feel like I've heard support for them, and then heard they're never ok. Context:My partner of 10 years, whom I live with:Has depression, anxiety, adhd, autism, substance abuse (cannabis).The weed is not the whole problem, obviously, but his guilt about it and the way he says it affects his sleep and motivation and freedom (ie can't focus after midday due to cravings, can't drive after, etc) makes me think getting sober could be a domino into some positive changes.There's a local rehab service which has free counselling and a live-in 3-week detox program. He's edged around it a few times, but not decidedly said he's going to do it.I think I'm getting to a point where either he changes something or I'm going to completely lose it and numb out. I've had depression and anxiety in the past, and I can feel lately the stress getting me close to that edge. I feel like a human pair of crutches, and I'm worn out.Thing is, I have this intense fear that if he goes there it'll somehow make him worse. Like he'll have a breakdown of worse. Im also worried he'd resent me. Im worried it wouldn't work. Im worried it will work but won't fix anything else. Im worried without weed his anxiety will come back full on again. Etc...I just don't know. Do i push him to do this rehab, in hopes it'll make his life better and then my life better. Or do I let him have his own journey and just set boundaries around how much he leans on me emotionally, and deal with the rest.

concernedwife123 Struggling to support my husband
  • replies: 3

Hello everyone, My husband was diagnosed nearly 10 years ago with anxiety, depression, childhood trauma and PTSD. I supported him and helped him get back on track within 8 months while parenting our 2 children so they were not aware to what was going... View more

Hello everyone, My husband was diagnosed nearly 10 years ago with anxiety, depression, childhood trauma and PTSD. I supported him and helped him get back on track within 8 months while parenting our 2 children so they were not aware to what was going on as my husband didn’t want them to know and he was coping very very well and all medications were working etc. fast forward to now with an extra child in the mix and he is on a downward spiral again, while this time really struggling myself to support him. little to why I think he is having a bad time, he was made redundant from his absolute favourite job that helped him stay focused reason being the company was going offshore, he then got another job and 3 months later again redundant because the business went into liquidation, we then lost our son through miscarriage, and he was recently diagnosed with autism (high functioning) through all of this I have put all my feelings and emotions aside to support him and make sure he is coping fine. however he has now taken to alcohol at least 3-5 times per week to get that “effect” that masks everything. I am absolutely struggling with this, he knows I absolutely hate alcohol unless it’s for special occasions. The amount of money he spends on it is absolutely ridiculous, not to mention most of time when he goes out to the beach just to clear his mind I end up finding out he has brought alcohol and is essentially self medicating, to the point I sometimes don’t know how he has managed to drive home, nor can he remember what he has said or done. I am absolutely petrified he is going to do something he shouldn’t. I’ve reached out to his gp and care team but have been told they can’t help unless he wants to be helped. I honestly want to be there for my husband but I am honestly struggling with this, I have 3 kids one of which is a toddler to care for too with 2 high schoolers having bullying issues at school. not to mention just finding out I am pregnant with possible twins. Does anyone have some advice on how I can cope with this a little better? And be able to show him that what he is doing is not good for his mental health but also that of his families? like I mentioned above I am petrified this will turn into destructive behaviour. thanks for reading