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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MishnLinc Husband has depression and left home to get himself right
  • replies: 42

I don't know where to start with this all but 2 weeks ago my husband told me he needed a break from our marriage and originally moved into the spare room. It was so hard on me as we have a 2 year old and it was confusing for him why Dadda was sleepin... View more

I don't know where to start with this all but 2 weeks ago my husband told me he needed a break from our marriage and originally moved into the spare room. It was so hard on me as we have a 2 year old and it was confusing for him why Dadda was sleeping in the spare room. He eventually told me that he as been suffering in a black fog for the past 3 months and that he doesn't know anything anymore, including us. He even told me he had dark thoughts while I was away but thankfully it scared him and he has since gone to the GP. He is on Anti depressants and booked into see a Pysch. In the meantime he is talking to a counsellor online I think. A little bit of background, my hubby was adopted and always held a hatred for his birth mother, he has had low self esteem and never feels good enough. We have been together 9 years and married for 6 years. His adoptive mother is interesting as well and never really handled things right with the adoption. Anyway, recently (October) she told my husband that she knows his birth name and has some documents from his adoption. This has sent him into a tale spin, I noticed him changing from there. He says he no longer knows who he is or what his life is. We recently sold a house and purchased Land to build. This has added to his stress....I told him that I would support him through this but he has decided that he needs to go and left, ironically to his mothers. I am heartbroken, I don't know what to do and how to support him. He sends me messages that he wants to build the house and that we are just taking a break while he sorts himself out. Then will say that he wants to build the house so I and my son have a roof over our head. I told him that I can't afford to live in it on my own. He came over on Saturday for 3 hours and when he left I was a mess. He was dark and moody but walked around the house like he still lived here, it was very weird. He says he doesn't know how he feels. I am confused as well, we ended up fighting and I feel he wants me to say its over. I have no idea if he will come back or not. I wanted to do this together but he has left. How do I deal with this? Do I disconnect and let him work it out, or try and support him?

Cupid Husband with depression but diverts blame
  • replies: 5

My husband has all the traits for depression, he is on anti depressants but has said he wants to end our marriage and be alone, he is making me feel so ill, worthless and distraught, he refuses counselling and says he still has a bit of love for me b... View more

My husband has all the traits for depression, he is on anti depressants but has said he wants to end our marriage and be alone, he is making me feel so ill, worthless and distraught, he refuses counselling and says he still has a bit of love for me but not enough to move forward. He refuses to answer any Questions, He blames me for everything, he can’t take any form of criticism himself. He is playing on his x box between 3-8 hours a day and drinking over 100 cans of Coke Zero each week. I don’t want our marriage to end, however, if I try to talk and suggest help he shuts me down saying it’s final.. what can I do? Friends and family tell me he’s the bully not me.

laureah21 Emotional trauma helping my partner through
  • replies: 2

Hi everyone, Two weeks ago our young dog died suddenly of cancer. We took him to the vet thinking he had a sore leg and next thing he died in surgery to remove a burst tumour. The last two weeks our other young dog who had given blood for his brother... View more

Hi everyone, Two weeks ago our young dog died suddenly of cancer. We took him to the vet thinking he had a sore leg and next thing he died in surgery to remove a burst tumour. The last two weeks our other young dog who had given blood for his brother stopped eating properly. We thought he was grieving his friend as the events coincided. His lethergy and refusal to eat got bad after two weeks of decline we took him to the vet. He has cancer. Lymphoma stage three yesterday we had to decide chemo or pallative care for him. Hardest decision. i have gone numb and seemed to have shifted into get things done mode. I havent cried yet really. Just butterflies in my tummy. i feel a need to protect my husband who is not coping. He takes antidepressants already, but yesterday he told me he was in the supermarket and just stopped. He felt like he wasn't real and nothing around him was and forgot where he was for a moment. He wont stop crying which i think is good and normal but i was a bit concerned about this other event. He cant make any decisions so i have sort of taken over id like to know what this is other episode was and if there is anything i can do to help him. I think my grief will come when its over in the mean time i need to help him. thanks

No_one_on_earth Anyone have any advice on telling someone they most likely have BDP and encouraging them to get treatment
  • replies: 14

Hello, I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences of revealing to someone that they have had BPD and how it went. Any advice about wanting to tell someone that they really could benefit by getting some treatment for BPD such as DBT would be mo... View more

Hello, I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences of revealing to someone that they have had BPD and how it went. Any advice about wanting to tell someone that they really could benefit by getting some treatment for BPD such as DBT would be most welcome. This person actually made me aware of the personality disorder and they stated to me that they could have it. They are trying to give advice to a friend of theirs who has a daughter who has BPD (I cant remember if they were diagnosed officially sorry) They have some Narcissistic personality disorder traits which apparently is common. So I think there might be a good start maybe. Not counting on anything though as they go up and down.

LivLiv BPD?
  • replies: 16

My 20 yo daughter has suffered with anxiety/depression since high school and I feel that she isn't getting the right kind of help. She told me a year or so ago that she was convinced that she had BPD. She started seeing a psychologist (who she said s... View more

My 20 yo daughter has suffered with anxiety/depression since high school and I feel that she isn't getting the right kind of help. She told me a year or so ago that she was convinced that she had BPD. She started seeing a psychologist (who she said she didn't like and that she couldn't talk to) through her GP and pushed to see a psychiatrist so that she could get a diagnosis. She got an appointment and was told she had traits of BPD. She was super angry about this and insisted to me that it was full BPD and pushed to join a group to get treatment. I feel that she has convinced herself that she has this condition and knows how to answer questions accordingly. She now uses the condition as an excuse for her behaviour and constantly tells me that I don't understand and that I need to learn more about her condition and cut her some slack. She constantly blames me if we argue and I feel like I'm constantly walking on eggshells. She has seen various psychologists and never seems to be happy with them. She has just started seeing a new psychiatrist and I feel like the treatment she is receiving is counter productive. She is becoming increasingly self obsessed and selfish, and constantly tells me that nothing is her fault and she 'has a mental health condition' and that I 'should be more supportive'. I have tried so so hard over the last few years and this has nearly broken me. I feel like my daughter has anger issues and that the direction that she is going in is completely wrong. I wish I could talk to her current psychiatrist ask him to start from scratch and fully assess her from scratch but I know I cant. I'm so frustrated and I just don't know how to help her move forward and stop making excuses for her behaviour. I want to support her in the best way that I can but we just seem to be stuck in this rut where I think she is using her 'BPD' as an excuse for anger and attitude and she thinks that I'm ignorant and need to be educated on BPD and what she is going through. Can anyone relate? I really need to know if I'm dealing with this the right way or not. Thanks x

Sensational Partner memory issues and speech forgetfulness what is the cause ?
  • replies: 1

My partner he is almost 49. Many years ago is when I first noticed strange things. Example like about 6 years ago or so he left the glass sliding door open on our Lizard enclosure. Miraculously none got out and no cats got in there. Another time he d... View more

My partner he is almost 49. Many years ago is when I first noticed strange things. Example like about 6 years ago or so he left the glass sliding door open on our Lizard enclosure. Miraculously none got out and no cats got in there. Another time he did it again and it was left open all night. Thankfully they were fine. That Christmas Eve when we were wrapping presents he asked me how do we spell our sons name... I was like are you joking ? He said no he is just tired and cannot think straight. Since then he often does strange things like he could at times walk out the front door and walk straight back in and says he forgot to put his shoes on, early morning getting ready for work. At times he will leave his coffee left in the coffee machine or a drink on the bench he forgot to take. He has misplaced his mobile phone a few times, even lost a work PDA that costed us around $800 or so (that was about 4 years ago) When talking he forgets peoples names, other day we were talking about wood... and the local place he goes to at times he forgot what it was called and when I said oh I think it is Home Timber Hardware, he clicks his fingers and says "that's the one, thank you" That and so many other things is exactly like my father, who had serious dementia and is now passed away. There is so many damn instances with my partner that seem so very similar to my father, in stages of my father's dementia. MY partner says there is nothing wrong with him, his brain or memory. He did eventually go see a GP He did a small test then and there and he had blood tests lot's of various ones also a Brain scan which costed us few hundreds. All were fine. The Doctor said everything seems fine and that a brain scan does not always show any signs of dementiaRight so here we are and he is not any better and some what a little worse in some ways then before. He often does struggle to think of words when talking whether it is someones name or a place or even the name of his power tools he uses often.... this is far from normal. I believe sometimes he is not even aware of lapsed time, that he could be outside for a good 8 hours on a weekend and not really notice he was. He always is very tired, he looks buggered, something does not seem right, look right. Some days I think I imagine it, then other days I am certain something is very off. Only previous known medical issues is, pollops (not sure on that spelling) in the nose and 2 years ago diagnosed with barrett's esophagusWhat do I do ?

RachelW Husband is depressed and had ended our marriage
  • replies: 15

Hi all my husband of almost 11 years has been suffering with depression and anxiety for the last year. I wasn’t fully aware of how bad it had got and now he has hit rock bottom. Back story - we recently signed up to build our 1st family home. literal... View more

Hi all my husband of almost 11 years has been suffering with depression and anxiety for the last year. I wasn’t fully aware of how bad it had got and now he has hit rock bottom. Back story - we recently signed up to build our 1st family home. literally from the moment we signed we have had nothing but issues , and increases in the price. I think that this has been the main trigger for my husbands depression , with the pressure he is under to support his family as well as come up with almost $30k extra for this house before it’s complete . I don’t work , I wanted to work but with 3 of our kids being under school age , it would mean having to pay 3 day care fees and with him being fifo and earning too much we don’t get much CCS from Centrelink so he said it was pointless, I now no that I need to be working to help him by taking some of this financial burden from him. I feel terrible that it has got this bad. This all came out last week when he told me he know longer loved me and didn’t want to be with me anymore. I am absolutely devastated. he has also said that he has no love for himself and also our kids which killed him to admit and he hates himself even more for this . I have told him it’s not him, it’s the depression. I have told him that I am going to support him and I am going to get him better . I have told him that I will not give up on him or us. He wants me to help him and he has told me that he wants to love me but he feels dead inside , feels worthless and he just can’t see a way back from his depression. I am struggling everyday with my feelings, terrified that even if he is able to get out of this dark place , there will still be no love for me there and I will have to go through this heart ache again. I tell him every day I love him and he says he likes to know that I haven’t given up on him. He can’t say it back though as he doesn’t want to lie to me He feels he may have BPD , so I have said I will get him an app with his GP. He is on medication, which has just been increased . I just want him to get better and back to how he was last year before this house ruined his head . I have contacted Centrelink and filed as a single parent which is killing me to say, now I need to find a job so I can help with paying this money that is weighing him down , in hope that he may start to feel the pressure on him lift . I know it’s going to be a long journey . Any advise welcome x Rachel x

Violet12 Hey everyone. Feeling burned out. Beyond burned out. Just venting I guess.
  • replies: 5

My partner has been struggling pretty much since 2020 – the usual suspects, anxiety at first, then depression, then very bad depression, then substance use issues. He was recently diagnosed with adhd, which makes a lot of sense, and is a good thing b... View more

My partner has been struggling pretty much since 2020 – the usual suspects, anxiety at first, then depression, then very bad depression, then substance use issues. He was recently diagnosed with adhd, which makes a lot of sense, and is a good thing because it means he can get medication that could be life-changing. I really hope it is, and I know he really, really hopes it is. I don’t even know how to start to talk about how I’m feeling. I feel stressed. I feel overwhelmed. I feel emotionally tapped out. I feel bad to admit that I am relieved when he leaves the house, and bummed out when he comes home. The unpredictability of his moods has left me feeling like I can’t relax, can hardly think about anything else. It feels a bit like what I read in this book once, that a partner said about their mentally ill spouse – when they’re in the room, there’s no oxygen left for me. I just… feel so totally burned out. I’ve tried to tell them. But it’s not easy to do – or hear. They’ve described themselves as being in survival mode, just trying to make it through the day, and feeling as though they’re in the lowest point of their lives. They see light at the end of the tunnel with the prospect of medication – the gravity of everything being put on medication working is a thought a bit too terrifying for me to consider fully. Today I told them I'm overwhelmed, I feel tapped out. I think they took it as I’m just tired today. What I didn’t tell them, and probably never could, is that I'm barely able to hear them talk about themselves anymore. It’s all day. Every day. Every hour. I feel like a round-the-clock coach or therapist. There are no breaks. There are sometimes break-throughs, and these initially sparked so much relief and hope in me. But I’ve been on the rollercoaster so long now, that I just feel exhausted all of the time. It's this, every day, on rotation, like a stuck record playing happy, sad, angry, hopeful, and hopeless songs at total random: “I hate my life, I don’t want to be alive.” “I’m going to do great things one day.” “I don’t care about anything, I don’t like anything, everything is boring and I just want to be put to sleep.” “I’m feeling pretty good right now.” “Why me?” “I appreciate everything you do for me, and I’m sorry.” His words have gravity, even when they don't – every interaction is filled with so much weight, and I want to cry at the pressure.

AvailableDisplayname I think my wife is experiencing psychosis
  • replies: 23

Hi all I am on my phone so apologies if this doesn't read well. I am typing this while trying not to raise the suspicion of my wife who is becoming extremely paranoid. She has never had mental health issues before but over the past month she has been... View more

Hi all I am on my phone so apologies if this doesn't read well. I am typing this while trying not to raise the suspicion of my wife who is becoming extremely paranoid. She has never had mental health issues before but over the past month she has been getting increasingly delusional and paranoid. At this stage she is unable to relax and spends all day wrapped up in various causes of concern, none of which have any proof. This began with falsely accusing me of infidelity, but has gotten worse. To be specific, at this stage: - she thinks her phone has been hacked and is being monitored - she thinks hidden cameras are filming her - she thinks I've been communicating "private information" about our lives with others, and that it's gone viral on the internet This is getting worse. I took her to the GP who asked for a blood test to rule out any dietary causes (she hasn't been eating much). I am convinced this is something much more sinister and that she needs to be medicated immediately. We got the blood test and need to follow up with the GP, but he's not available again until next week. Am i just stressing out wanting to move fast on this or is my intuition valid? Can we afford to wait until Monday to have the doctor look at her blood test? I have no idea what to do and the longer this goes on i am scared of her getting worse.

Butterfly22 Advice please. Husband is depressed, alcoholic. Refuses to get help.
  • replies: 2

Hi. Warning long post. First timer here and talking about this outside of my head. My husband has been a ‘good’ drinker most of his life but last few years it’s become his ‘go to’ for the good, bad and ugly. He turns into a different person which mak... View more

Hi. Warning long post. First timer here and talking about this outside of my head. My husband has been a ‘good’ drinker most of his life but last few years it’s become his ‘go to’ for the good, bad and ugly. He turns into a different person which makes me really angry and frustrated. Also over the last few years, he (and we) have had a really hard time with loss, hardship and general ‘everyday life’ frustration. We have 3 kids which also plays into the mix. Throw Covid into that as well. Recently he’s had some health issues which we are currently sorting out but this obviously all contributes to each other. He has had the occasional suicidal comment which is when I realised I (he) really should’ve done something a long time ago. It’s not only affecting me but the kids and our marriage. He is great in the mornings and during the day, but it start when he is home at night, it all goes downhill. He knows he needs to get help but won’t actually do anything or talk to anyone. How do I get him to at least talk to a professional? Thanks for reading.