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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Happy_go_lucky New to all of this!
  • replies: 4

Hi there I have never done anything like this, so here goes. My amazing son has come to me and opened up about how he is suffering from depression and anxiety, and to be honest I don't know what to do. He has always been a shy kid growing up, but has... View more

Hi there I have never done anything like this, so here goes. My amazing son has come to me and opened up about how he is suffering from depression and anxiety, and to be honest I don't know what to do. He has always been a shy kid growing up, but has really come out of his shell in the last few years and is one of the most amazing and beautiful people you will ever meet. To be honest he is my step son, not that it makes a shred of difference. He has lived with us for nearly 10 years and has no contact with his mum, (just for back story). In my opinion his issues start from his parents splitting up, compounded by lots of other small issues. A year ago he reached out and said he was feeling over whelmed and depressed and I thought it was just a feeling during a stressful period, but I now realise that was him crying out.. and I feel devestated that I missed the sign and didn't follow it up. A few weeks ago he came to me again, the new year rolled in and he said he didn't want to live with this by himself anymore, he wanted to be open and start dealing with it, so we have been talking a lot, I have been looking up amazing forums and pages/sites like this to try and learn as much as I can so I know how to help him. My amazing sister suffers the same, and although she goes through her own struggle she has been so helpful in keeping me calm and educating me from her perspective. We went to the local gp yesterday and they have prescribed him medication, as well as starting counselling asap, the thing is I'm so new to this, I guess I have always been a bit old fashioned believing that counselling and dealing with issues is more effective then medication. I guess I'm asking about other people's situations. I'm scared to put him on medication, however what is the alternative? I found him sitting under a noose he had hung up in the garage, and can not describe how heart broken and devestated I am. I dont know where to go from here, but know that I need to be strong for him to help him as much as I can. He is the love of my life, the most amazing and generous person, and im so shocked that this has been brewing under the surface for so long. Thank you for listening, and I hope to hear from anyone at all x

Where_to_begin The merry go round for trying to help someone with anxiety
  • replies: 3

Hi All, Please excuse my grammar and spelling but my mind seems to be a mush. I have a 22year old son who is struggling badly with anxiety. For the past three months he has had no job. He had to leave because he doesn't want to be vaccinated. He said... View more

Hi All, Please excuse my grammar and spelling but my mind seems to be a mush. I have a 22year old son who is struggling badly with anxiety. For the past three months he has had no job. He had to leave because he doesn't want to be vaccinated. He said he will apply for 'Remote work from home' positions, which he did for a little while but with each knock back he has had, the more reluctant he is to try again. He has finally applied for jobseeker and was thinking of doing a course but now he isn't so sure. He says what's the point of doing a course if you aren't really interested in the subject. I've tried to encourage him towards something he does like but he can only find a negative outcome. He doesn't want to work. He is happy at home. He said there is no point in working for the next 30 years to be miserable. I've told him over and over again that I don't care what kind of job he has. Full time or part time. Just something. How can I help him to see the positive sides of life,getting a job, having friendship's, relationships? He does exercise in our shed four times a week, which is fantastic but I want him to want more to life. Is that a bad thing? I know it is extremely hard for him. It is also extremely hard for myself and my husband. I'm I expecting to much? I'm I thinking more of my needs than his. Please help.

trayntastic How to help a friend but also set boundaries
  • replies: 3

Hi there, So the backstory for this situation is that I play dungeons and dragons (DND) with some friends that I made online. If you're unfamiliar with DND, it's a game where a group of people collaboratively tell a story together and decide the outc... View more

Hi there, So the backstory for this situation is that I play dungeons and dragons (DND) with some friends that I made online. If you're unfamiliar with DND, it's a game where a group of people collaboratively tell a story together and decide the outcomes of the story by rolling dice. One person (me) takes on the role of the narrator of the story and drives the main plot forward and the other people take on the role of one specific character each (the protagonists of the story). After we had a couple of sessions one person started to no-show with no explanation why. He would confirm he could make it a week in advance and then at the time of the session would just not log in to the video call and wouldn't respond to messages. Then when I would follow up with him in the days after he would profusely apologise and explain that mental health issues prevented him from attending. I've offered him a lot of support. The only thing I've asked is that if he's not feeling up to a session, please just let me know, no matter how late notice. I'd never be upset with him for cancelling if he just told me that he couldn't make it. So that brings us to now, he attended a session 3 weeks back and had a great time. Then he missed the following session with no explanation. I gave him a few days and reached out to him and he told me he had a complete breakdown and checked himself into the mental health unit and only just got out. I'm extremely worried about him hearing that and want to give him all the support possible, but I'm at an impasse. The rest of the group is getting quite frustrated that he is no-showing and, to be frank, I spend many hours a week writing stories for his character that end up getting thrown in the bin because he doesn't show up, which is frustrating for me. So I want to keep offering him support but I want to set a boundary here. The rest of the group is at the end of their rope and have asked that if he no-shows one more time that I remove him from the group and we find someone else to play with. They are somewhat aware of his circumstances but he hasn't disclosed his latest troubles to them and I don't feel it's my place to share something like this with them without his permission. I'm equally frustrated with his no-showing but when he does show he genuinely has a great time and I don't want to take something that he truly enjoys away from him. Does anyone have any advice on how to set a boundary with him, without just abandoning him?

Shanay_v I want to help my mother who struggles with depression and anxiety find a job
  • replies: 2

I know the title sounds kind of weird but hear me out. Long story short, my mother lives quite far from us so that prevents me from being there for her and giving support in certain ways. Her emotional situation as I understand (via my half-brother t... View more

I know the title sounds kind of weird but hear me out. Long story short, my mother lives quite far from us so that prevents me from being there for her and giving support in certain ways. Her emotional situation as I understand (via my half-brother that lives with her) is that she is very depressed and her and my stepdad fight really bad and really often. they have 4 kids, youngest being 9 so for her it is out of the question to leave. The main issue is she has been struggling with depression and anxiety I think her whole adult life, she hasn't had a job since she had me and I'm 25... She also doesn't drive because she doesn't have anyone who can help her learn in the right way (as this also gives her intense anxiety). I would really like to help her find a job, but she is so disadvantaged and fragile. She probably would take anything but also she has been very isolated and I think the easier to get customer service jobs would really overwhelm her and not be great for her mental health. Does anyone have any advice for me on what to do? is there any services that might help her? What jobs might be useful? I also struggle with anxiety and depression and feel so incredibly overwhelmed by this

Nellie22 Supporting son with anxiety and depression
  • replies: 7

Hi everyone lm new to this forum , Our young adult son suffers anxiety and depression which he has had for a while now. He was working full time but not working now , he drinks to calm his nervous system and has now no friends because of his behaviou... View more

Hi everyone lm new to this forum , Our young adult son suffers anxiety and depression which he has had for a while now. He was working full time but not working now , he drinks to calm his nervous system and has now no friends because of his behaviours when drinking. He has no money and if he does he just blows it ,and we find that we are paying for things to try and get him back on track . He doesn’t want to live with us but can’t pay his way for food or rent Independently. He has recently gone on anti depression tablets but will still drink with them which causes problems.He has a girlfriend who has her own mental health issues and we find this very hard because she will buy his alcohol pay his rent and food and basically enables his lifestyle of watching movies.Although she works full time that are both extremely unmotivated and lazy. We have asked her not to pay for everything ,but she still does it.He says he will get work and sort his life but nothing changes. They are living at home at the moment ,but we have said that the girlfriend can’t live here long term. How do we give him the tools to realise the relationship is not helping him to gain confidence and to be independent without pushing him away.

Jamie_Sally Support for parents struggling with their sons situation, What can we do if he won't seek help?
  • replies: 5

Hello , My wife and I are struggling to find help and support to assist ourselves with our sons situation. He is 19 years old and recently was dumped from his girlfriend , he doesn't work due to not having any confidence in his own ability and has be... View more

Hello , My wife and I are struggling to find help and support to assist ourselves with our sons situation. He is 19 years old and recently was dumped from his girlfriend , he doesn't work due to not having any confidence in his own ability and has been suicidal over Christmas and also suffers anxiety. He stays in his room all day long and drinks everyday and has recently also starting using dope and vaping for his anxiety. his room has been transformed into graffiti covered walls of his pain and angry words. We have tried to offer him help and when suicidal he was found by the police and assessed by a psych at the local hospital but refuses to let anyone help him and or talk to anyone. He won't talk to us and it is painful to watch, the situation is affecting us both and we feel like we are helpless and watching our son implode before our eyes. We really are at our wits end and need some help, it seems there is assistance out there for those that seek it but what if they aren't at that stage yet and are crying for help but don't see it's value. We cannot sit by and watch our son do this to himself, Please help us.

archiebald Partner lies about her drinking
  • replies: 1

Hi, I’m new to this and this is the first time I’ve reached out for help as I don’t know what to do. My partner has a drinking problem and I don’t know what else to do. She is such a wonderful person when she’s not drinking, great mum to our small ki... View more

Hi, I’m new to this and this is the first time I’ve reached out for help as I don’t know what to do. My partner has a drinking problem and I don’t know what else to do. She is such a wonderful person when she’s not drinking, great mum to our small kids but is a totally different person when she drinks. She has been hiding her drinking from me, sneaking drinks during the day while looking after our kids and even when I’m home. I find empty bottles of wine all the time, and when I confront her she gets so angry at me, accusing me of spying on her. The arguement always then switches to my spying on her and not her drinking. She can also change from realising she has a problem, to then it’s not illegal so there’s no problem at all. She refuses to see that it’s a problem and I feel i can’t leave her as we have 2 small kids, I feel I could never leave her alone with them. I’m absolutely stuck for ideas, I understand it’s a disease and she needs to be the one to recognise this, but what do I do in the mean time for my own mental health and trying to protect my kids from this. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Just_me99 Carers payment for my partner and I
  • replies: 3

Hi, I am new to the forums as this is my first post. This question is for anyone who knows about Centrelink and how it works. I have asked them this question several times and keep getting conflicting answers. I am currently getting carers payment fo... View more

Hi, I am new to the forums as this is my first post. This question is for anyone who knows about Centrelink and how it works. I have asked them this question several times and keep getting conflicting answers. I am currently getting carers payment for my wife who has PTSD / Depression as well as a pain condition. we have both been trying to get disability for 5 years and they still wont give either of us this. I also suffer PTSD and depression and I have chronic life long back pain. My question is this. Is it possible for her to get a carers payment for me as she is as much a carer for me as I am for her. Basically is it possible for a couple to get carers for each other. I had no problem getting carers payment and I need just as much care as she does. Any thoughts ? Thank you

Cv Helping my dad who won't help himself
  • replies: 3

Hi All, I am new to this but hoping for a little advice. My dad suffered quite a severe stroke several years ago . After my mum and him had a divorce, depression led to drug use, which then also led to a large contributing factor of the cause of the ... View more

Hi All, I am new to this but hoping for a little advice. My dad suffered quite a severe stroke several years ago . After my mum and him had a divorce, depression led to drug use, which then also led to a large contributing factor of the cause of the stroke. After the stroke he had regular physiotherapy and ended up back at a pretty good place with quite good recovery. Fast forward a year, he ended up in a corrective facility and in that 12 months did no physiotherapy, moving around etc and ended up almost at the same place he was first after suffering the stroke. Since his return home, he has been in a depressive state of mind, not doing anything, in bed all day, constantly down and returning to old bad habits. I have tried as hard as possible to help him, offering assistance with organising NDIS, organising him groceries and also Lite n Easy meals he can just heat up, helping him sort his medications, reminding him of medications, coming over and cooking him dinner sometimes, offers to come after work to go for walks and do physio together. And he doesn't want any of it. He doesn't help himself at all. He instead sits in bed all day, sleeps, smokes cigarettes inside, doesn't take his medications correctly, does not do any physio, does not organise or help organise some assistance for him, does not eat all day or otherwise orders takeaway meals regularly after buying good food for him. He says he has a psychologist, however I know he cancels his appointments regularly and has maybe visited her twice this year. He regularly plays a guilt trip on me. I only get calls when he says how horrible he is and wants me to come over and practically work for him. I go to his house to visit and he demands me to make him food, mow the lawns, bring him medication, vacuum, take all of his dirty glasses out of his room with cigarette butts in them, go and get groceries he doesn't even eat. I guess I am just wanting some advice on how to handle a situation like this. I am constantly feeling negative myself now, worrying about him yet knowing he is doing nothing to help himself. I also feel guilty I am not helping him more, however I work full time and do uni full time also. I do not have the energy or time to be his carer, nor do I feel I should be when there is so much support services available to use. Any ways I can offer help and convince him to help himself? Or what should I do?

Where_to_begin How to help adult child with anxiety
  • replies: 5

Hi I'm new here and really not sure where to start. I need help/advice on how to deal with my 22year old son who suffers with anxiety, depression and has thoughts of suicide. He had to leave his job because he chooses not to be vaccinated. He said he... View more

Hi I'm new here and really not sure where to start. I need help/advice on how to deal with my 22year old son who suffers with anxiety, depression and has thoughts of suicide. He had to leave his job because he chooses not to be vaccinated. He said he would find work from home. He has applied for a couple and has been knocked back. He seems reluctant to look any more. I know he is comfortable at home. It is his safe place. He doesn't want to apply for unemployment benefits. He spends a lot of time on his computer and phone. He no longer using social media. Has no contact with friends, only us at home. He has tried phycology. Refuses to try medication. He so clever, gorgeous young man and I feel I am slowly losing him.