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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Quiettall Delusions of Grandeur
  • replies: 24

Hi. I have an older brother who has been working on an educational project for more than 26 years. In that time, he constantly brags that it is the best project out, that it will be accredited nationally, and according to him, that will force all Sta... View more

Hi. I have an older brother who has been working on an educational project for more than 26 years. In that time, he constantly brags that it is the best project out, that it will be accredited nationally, and according to him, that will force all State agencies to use it to educate teens in their driving skills. He has lost respect and all support from the other siblings (I come from a large family) who are sick and tired of his ranting and raving and demanding that they believe that one day he will make millions of dollars from this course being implemented. He went quiet for 10 years and only a week before Christmas, surfaced again with the same story. I have persisted in trying to support him and somehow bring him to see reality, and guide him in his quest to re-establish relationships with his siblings. Unfortunately the feedback I have from the other siblings is that I should give up as he has not learnt or progressed with his quest, nor with his grip or lack of grip on reality. What I find sad is he is 65, has a wife who has just discovered she has serious health issues, and yet he persists with the same story and behaviour. Two of my other older brothers have tried gently to tell him, he should be pleased to have developed the project and got it accredited (if in fact he has) and now move on to support his wife, his elderly mother in law, and focus more on rebuilding positive relationships with his family while he has the chance. I have taken to monitoring the phone and only accepting one call a week, as he rings every other day where he repeats the same story over and over. I am not sure what else I can do, as he wont here anything about seeing a counsellor, and denies he has a problem. Any suggestions? I dont want to abandon him like the rest of my siblings, but it is getting increasingly hard to do anything else with this issue

jimby1 Hi There - Father with Concerns Around Daughters Health
  • replies: 1

Hi, let me introduce myself. My Nick name is jimby1. One of my daughters aged 41 has been suffering depression and anxiety for a number of years now. To date, she considers that the "System" has let her down. In the past she has had some significant ... View more

Hi, let me introduce myself. My Nick name is jimby1. One of my daughters aged 41 has been suffering depression and anxiety for a number of years now. To date, she considers that the "System" has let her down. In the past she has had some significant "wins", however over the past 12 months she has been in and out of hospital, with no "wins" what so ever. I am hoping to get some substantial benefit and feedback from these forums. Thank you for caring.

Elizabeth CP How to support married son with severe depression when his wife seems to make situation worse
  • replies: 16

MY DIL rang today to report that my son has left work due to MI. She is going away for 12 days & needs us to watch out for my son & to step in to prevent DHS removing their children if he gets worse. My son has a history of depression. I spent a lot ... View more

MY DIL rang today to report that my son has left work due to MI. She is going away for 12 days & needs us to watch out for my son & to step in to prevent DHS removing their children if he gets worse. My son has a history of depression. I spent a lot of time supporting him when he was single & eventually got him back on track. Not working has made his MI worse. Working really helps him manage his depression. My DIL has no financial sense & this has led to them getting into debt, being forced to move house & being unable to afford essentials such as rent. Financial stress has had a bad impact on my son's MI. They need to move in a couple of weeks & I believe they are currently in severe financial difficulties. His wife refuses to listen to advice & likes to control everything. She is constantly bossing my son around & puts him down continually. Because of his MI he doesn't have the strength to stand up to her & gives in to her demands She is leaving for a 12 day cruise even though they can't afford it. My son is expected to be available to look after their children so is unable to work. I'm unsure how to support him at this time. Im worried about tipping myself over the edge trying to cope. I also care for my husband who is blind & has a degenerative condition.

bubbly_ Female supportive partner of anxiety sufferer seeks online help and advice!
  • replies: 4

Hey everyone, i'm new to this online forum thing but thought i'd give this a go as i'm finding to hard to talk to my partner and love of my love (aka anxiety sufferer) regarding any of this. We are middle aged (eeek), although only been together for ... View more

Hey everyone, i'm new to this online forum thing but thought i'd give this a go as i'm finding to hard to talk to my partner and love of my love (aka anxiety sufferer) regarding any of this. We are middle aged (eeek), although only been together for 2 years. Currently live as de facto with my 3 children from a previous marriage. Although no relationship is perfect, (and lets face it, I'm perfectly aware this isnt a forum for couple's counselling) there are many issues that are related to his anxiety and mild depression (diagnosed prior to us getting together), that he's just not dealing with. I am finding it so difficult to discuss these issues with him, any potential treatment he may need or want, how it affects me, our relationship, my kids, us as a family, all of it. He just shuts down and wont talk. I have let him know so many times that i'm there for him if he wants to talk and that help and support is there if he needs it. He is always so sensitive about the smallest of issues, (in particular with regarding to step parenting at the moment) which drive me crazy and send him into his depression I just dont know what to do if anything. Do I just sit back and wait for him to snap out of it, and come back around like he usually does? He is on some medication for anxiety which his doctor told him to just keep taking and dont worry about dealing with treating the anxiety at all. Personally I think that just seems ridiculous, but who am I? I dont know how else to support someone with anxiety. If anyone has any thoughts, comments or feedback on this, I'd be eternally grateful. Thanks so much.

OwenPage Helping my Brother who has started acting on visions
  • replies: 4

Hello, I am looking for some guidance to help my brother who has slowly been thinking he is being followed by 'dark spirits'. Over the past 10 years he has been involved with faith healing, then conspiracy theories and now thinks that dark beings or ... View more

Hello, I am looking for some guidance to help my brother who has slowly been thinking he is being followed by 'dark spirits'. Over the past 10 years he has been involved with faith healing, then conspiracy theories and now thinks that dark beings or beast people are in the bush and out to get him. This has put a lot of stress on my parents, who live on a region property and he thinks that the beast people are going to attack them. They are getting frustrated with his attempts to scare them, which are becoming more extreme, and he is frustrated that they don't believe him. He is so convinced that the beast people are coming that he has set up cameras and has started to 'patrol' the property with a cricket bat. I was wondering firstly who I should contact for advice, a psychologist or counselor? Then how do we engage him about his condition. I have tried hearing him out just to keep him engaged with family, but a he cites 'internet evidence' for his beliefs which make it hard to rationalise reality with him. He has also been smoking pot which I definitely think has contributed. I've always thought he has suffered from anxiety, and perhaps this is being manifested with these beast people. But I am not in a position to assess this, plus how do I start that conversation with him? Thanks for any advice.

automatic PTSD and PND
  • replies: 2

8 years ago my daughter gave birth to a son. What should have been a joyful occasion was destroyed by a terrible birth. She suffered mentally and physically and ended up in a mother baby unit. I believe she has never completely addressed the event. N... View more

8 years ago my daughter gave birth to a son. What should have been a joyful occasion was destroyed by a terrible birth. She suffered mentally and physically and ended up in a mother baby unit. I believe she has never completely addressed the event. Neither she nor her husband were able to bond with the boy for quite awhile so we had him and his sister often. Things got better and all seemed well however she started drinking heavily and now it affecting he relationship with her husband. He was at the point of leaving and taking the kids but I hope I have made him see some sense. It is killing me seeing them go through this and as they live in the country and I work I cannot just drop everything and drive 4 hours to help. Recently My husband and I went down to help but my daughter says everything is fine and to butt out. I have told my son in law that we are here to support him and the family but that walking out is a no win situation for all of us. He has gone from lashing out at me to being more understanding this morning and is willing to get help. I know my daughter has to want to get help but would like to have that info ready for when she does.

Mrs_K Family members who won't get help
  • replies: 7

How do you deal with family members who won't get help? I'm having trouble even bringing up the subject with my mother, who I believe has been chronically depressed for over 10 years now. She has been through menopause, which she blames for everythin... View more

How do you deal with family members who won't get help? I'm having trouble even bringing up the subject with my mother, who I believe has been chronically depressed for over 10 years now. She has been through menopause, which she blames for everything. She is always miserable, and criticising people, nothing is ever good enough, she mopes around the house, she slams doors, she mumbles and swears at the tv, she complains her siblings don't care about her aging mother and don't do anything to help (which is not true). Literally everything, she will find a way to complain about. She complains, she complains, she complains. She's very much stuck in victim hood. I don't know how to broach the subject. I've been treated for depression and anxiety all of my adult life. Something needs to change. I can not stand seeing her like this. I know she will deny there is a problem, make excuses about not being able to afford medication or a psychologist. Probably start another rant. Any suggestiong on how to handle this? Thankyou.

Deborahb Help me help my husband
  • replies: 7

Hello I hope I don’t ramble too much and wonder if you fine folk have some advice for me and my family. My husband has suffered from depression since his teenage years and is now 48. He’s been on medication for ten years but recently has become reall... View more

Hello I hope I don’t ramble too much and wonder if you fine folk have some advice for me and my family. My husband has suffered from depression since his teenage years and is now 48. He’s been on medication for ten years but recently has become really depressed and suffering from depression. I have not helped this as 20 months ago we sold everything to move to Australia and try to make a new start. This was always my dream and not his but he supported me in it. It’s not working out for him here, he cannot get a job and his self worth is very low. He has never been able to hold down a full time job for a sustained period of time and leave all the administration of running the house to me. He does take the children to school and cook so I appreciate this. Anyway we will go back to the U.K. but he is so low that I’m not sure how to help him. I love him dearly but his mood (although cannot be helped) is so low. Any advice would be helpful

ElleR Despite my knowledge of and experience with depression I don't know how to help my husband.
  • replies: 9

My husband and I are in our late 30s and have a 5 year old daughter. As background, i was diagnosed with postnatal depression when our daughter was 10 weeks old. A 2.5 year battle followed. Thankfully I'm now well. A year ago my husband was, finally,... View more

My husband and I are in our late 30s and have a 5 year old daughter. As background, i was diagnosed with postnatal depression when our daughter was 10 weeks old. A 2.5 year battle followed. Thankfully I'm now well. A year ago my husband was, finally, diagnosed with depression. I know it's common if one partner suffers a mental health issue then the other can be more susceptible. I say finally diagnosed as, even with all our knowledge from my experience, it took a long time to convince my husband to go to the GP. His first anti-depressant, didn't work. It took another few months to get him to go to a psychiatrist. He doesn't like her but is on a new medication. I'm trying to get him to transfer to my psychiatrist, who is happy to see him separately to me. My issue is that I'm pretty sick and tired of him. It sounds awful to say this, especially since I know what he is going through and that he can't just snap out of it, but I hate being around him. He lost the major client in our business and lied about it to me. All the while spending money. I didn't find out until I sent the client their monthly invoice. It has left us in financial stress. He is now only handling two clients and bringing in minimal money. I'm working 60 hours a week to make up the short fall. Plus i'm doing all cooking, cleaning, parenting. Most days I have to drag him out of bed. I know these are all part of depression - I had it myself not too long ago but I still did all the parenting, cooking, cleaning and some work while I was sick. He asks how he can help but then is upset when I tell him what to do. Often he still doesn't do it. Says I'm nagging. I can see things getting worse too as his dad has stage 4 cancer. He will not discuss this with me and is just sweeping it under the carpet. I fear when his dad dies (in 6-12 months time) he will really hit rock bottom. I want him to see a psychologist too but so far he won't. Even with all the knowledge he has about depression too, given my experiences, he won't get more help. I really hate him being at home with me. He tries to compliment me saying 'you're doing everything so well' but to me it's just insipid. It means nothing and I honestly don't want him to touch me. I'm too busy to care about that. And to be honest it feels like he's saying that just to get out of lifting a finger. How do I get him to get help? And how do I stop myself from hating him so much? I am going to see a psychologist myself in 2 weeks time.

Tommorri How to help my partner when she pushes me away.
  • replies: 4

Hi everyone, I have never reached out like this before but I really need help. My partner of 4 years has recently told me she wants space and it was devastating to hear it' been 2 weeks and I have moved out to give her space. A bit of a back story we... View more

Hi everyone, I have never reached out like this before but I really need help. My partner of 4 years has recently told me she wants space and it was devastating to hear it' been 2 weeks and I have moved out to give her space. A bit of a back story we had are a gorgeous little boy a year ago and the months after her father passed away. I always though she was such a strong woman for how she coped with it but now it's hit her bad with depression. AT the start she said she resented me and now she tells me she finds it easier to push me away instead of dealing with her depression. She still says she loves me but says it' hard to tell me because its hard. I want to be there for her and always tell her that I love her and I'm here every step of the way to help her through this hard time but she it so closed of to me. What can I do to help? Keep reassring her that I'm there or step back more I don' know! All I want is to see her happy again but she won' let me in. She says she doesn't know how to be happy anymore and I try to get her out to do things but still tells me it' easier to sit at home and do nothing. I' sure you have all heard this before but all I want is to be there for her and see her smile again!