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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Worried about best friend with depression...

Topic: Worried about best friend with depression...

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Guest_294
    Guest_294 avatar
    50 posts
    20 May 2018
    Ok so my friend and I met a few months ago and since then he and I have become really close. I already knew he suffered from quite severe depression and social anxiety but as of late, it seems to be getting worse. He is really unmotivated and has been taking a lot of time of uni. I’ve just been talking to him tonight and he was talking about “just wanting to die a little” but then saying “I’ll be fine”. He is seeing a therapist at the moment but I feel like it’s not enough. I know he has been feeling so overwhelmed wth his relationship and upcoming assignments and feels like everything is moving too fast for him to keep up. What can I do to support him???
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10917 posts
    20 May 2018 in reply to Guest_294

    Dear MillsH~

    It is very hard and worrying to care for someone who has depression or a similar illness. For a start it is difficult to work out if the way things are is because of the depression or if in fact the relationship itself is not working out. It is really easy to doubt oneself and think the other person has lost interest.

    When I've been down with depression I've wanted to be alone, had no energy and became very withdrawn, and rather bad tempered and impatient too. I've tended to lose the track and not know if I loved someone, or even if I was still capable of loving anybody. As I improved things got better and my original feelings resurfaced.

    I know you said your friend was seeing a therapist however his current treatment may not be as effective as it should. Talking of dying is a pretty big warning flag after all. Do you think you can encourage him to go back to his doctor and get is regime reviewed. You could offer to go with him, it just depends on how he feels about it.

    If you don't think he would listen to you about seeing his doctor is there someone else he loves or respects who might be able to persuade him? This is probably the single most important thing to do right now. Apart from anything else it sounds as if his studies are suffering badly.

    Letting him know you are there for him is pretty important, and can make a big difference. It can be hard however to know if one is pushing too hard or if one should back off and give him space. Perhaps asking him might be the way to go. If he is like me then he may not be consistent and you may have to simply rely upon your instinct.

    I know from reading your other threads you are not in the best of positions yourself, an all this will add extra pressure - on top of your own studies. Is there anyone to support you , a parent or friend perhaps. Not being alone with these problems is a big thing

    Croix

  3. Guest_294
    Guest_294 avatar
    50 posts
    20 May 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Thank you so much for the reply and the very helpful advice. I am really worried about him - even just today he was taking a really long time to respond (normally responds within 5 minutes) and I got really nervous. I know this is no way for either of us to be going through life at the moment. I will definitely try bringing up the possibility of a different plan with him - he told me today that when he talks about dying its never serious (he is really sick and has been for about a year now, and tells me he's just bored of being so ill all the time). He said that in fact he hopes he never dies. He has these fluctuations in attitude though which is what worries me so I think discussing that with him is a very good idea.

    Thank you also for taking the time to read over my other posts and give insight in that regard as well. My parents agree there - they know this friend and keep telling me that I can't be taking on this kind of thing, where I am not only experiencing my own anxieties and panic but also worrying about him at the same time...

    I'm sure it will all be alright and maybe if he can develop the mental health plan he currently has in place it will help him move forward, and reduce that pressure on me as well (bit of a selfish perspective there but I suppose it is important too...).

    Thanks for the advice,

    Mills

  4. unicornprincess29
    unicornprincess29 avatar
    50 posts
    21 May 2018 in reply to Guest_294

    Hey Mills,

    As Croix mentioned, it can be really hard supporting someone with a mental illness, especially when you have uni stress added on for both of you.

    I know you said that he says that when he talks about dying it isn’t serious, but I would consider it, along with his fluctuations in mood, red flags.

    I agree with everything Croix said, and clearly your friend knows you are there for him and he opens up to you, which is good. It would be important to him to have that bond.

    I wanted to ask whether his family knows about his mental illness? I think that if you are concerned, as well as talking to him about talking to his GP/therapist, it may be worthwhile getting him to talk to his family, or asking him if you could talk to his family about your concerns, with him present as well? Just so he has more support, and it also takes some of the weight off you.

    unicornprincess x

  5. Guest_294
    Guest_294 avatar
    50 posts
    4 June 2018 in reply to unicornprincess29

    So I haven’t posted to this forum in a while but I have updates/information that I need advice on. So this friend, I have discovered just today, is unable to obtain a diagnosis of depression because his symptoms are so fluctuating. He explained that he will go through these intense few days of feeling like everything is going wrong and he feels so hopeless but then after a few days will just go back to feeling amazing and will completely forget what it was like. I told him he needs to see someone professionally and that my help is not enough however he is worried because he is no longer able to access the free sessions on his health insurance and doesn’t want to ask his parents to pay but can’t afford the sessions himself. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Is there somewhere he can go to receive help free of charge?? Much as I am happy to continue to shower him in love and support, my help is no longer enough. it also doesn’t help that his girlfriend is ignoring everything....she tells him she doesn’t have time to put in the effort required to make him feel better. All he wants is to talk to her and she isn’t giving him that chance. It’s just all falling apart a little and I don’t know what to do anymore.

  6. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10917 posts
    4 June 2018 in reply to Guest_294

    Dear MillsH~

    The fact your friend is not being diagnosed with depression may mean he has another form of mental illness and the whole matter should be sorted out. The best type of doctor to do this is a psychiatrist. It is true they are not covered under a mental Health Plan and are often expensive (some do bulk-bill) however there is an annual safety-net.

    I would suggest your friend keeps a daily journal of how he is feeling. This can, for some, have therapeutic effects in its own right, but will in any case provide an accurate record that can help in diagnosis.

    I don't know anywhere he can get medical help free of charge except though professionals who bulk-bill once his annual Health Plan has been used up.

    If your friend has been treated for depression and this is in fact not what he has then of course it may not have been very effective. I think this is something he should discuss with his parents with a view to financing proper diagnosis.

    As for his girlfriend, this does not sound like a happy or caring two way relationship. I cannot see him getting calm and comfort from it, or even bringing much that is positive to the liaison based upon what you say.

    In relation to yourself - is there any chance your parents are at least partly right? Having the additional burden of this friend does create a lot of stress, and by the sound of it you have a rather one-sided relationship with him too, being a support service - or so it seems from your posts. What do you think?

    Croix

  7. Guest_294
    Guest_294 avatar
    50 posts
    4 June 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Thank you for the help and sorry it’s so ongoing. I do think, from what he tells me, it’s possible that he is not suffering from depression. He experiences incredible highs and lows that to me (and I am obviously in no position to diagnose) seem more along the vein of bipolar disorder or something similar. I will suggest he see a psychiatrist because I think it would give everyone peace of mind to be more clear on this.

    On the suggestion of journelling, I will suggest again. He does really want to write it all down but just doesn’t have the motivation in those low points.

    As for myself, I’m doing a lot better at the moment and have been, myself, seeing a psychologist recently. Much as it comes across as such, it is not a one sided friendship here / I know that I can always rely on him and he helps me in ways similar to what I do for him, if less regularly (cause I don’t need that so often). He is an amazing support and a great friend anyway and I honestly just want to see him feeling better.

    Hopefully can get some progress here so thank you again,

    Mills

  8. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10917 posts
    4 June 2018 in reply to Guest_294

    Dear Mills~

    Please don't worry about it being ongoing, there are threads here that have gone on for far longer than this, some over a year or more.

    I'm glad things are more equal, it makes things so much better in the long term if you get real help too. Incidentally I thought along the same lines as you but did not want to suggest any particular illness, I've a completely different sort (PTSD, anxiety, bouts of depression) and have no experience in that area.

    Keeping a journal can be hard when down with no motivation, which ironically is probably when it is of most use. Has your friend thought in terms of a free smartphone app, perhaps Dayloi, MoodPrism or similar? Less effort when things are bad.

    Please understand you are welcome here for as long as you like. We may not always answer quickly, but that's just the way this place works

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  9. Guest_294
    Guest_294 avatar
    50 posts
    23 June 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi all,

    just to update, I’ve really been trying to tackle this situation because I realised I was kidding myself a little. The friendship has not been totally healthy - he was very reliant on me and I wasn’t relying on him; we only spoke when he was sad or anxious and when he was in a good place, I wouldn’t hear from him.

    I decided to take a more proactive approach. So recently we sat down and had a conversation were I basically said I could no longer be the sole source of help for him in this time. I helped him research some options and ended up accompanying him to his first appointment at headspace.

    It has been such a great decision for him - he is seeing a psychologist once a week, he has managed to obtain a diagnosis and is now on antidepressants. All of these things are really helping him to at least start to tackle this.

    For me, it’s meant that he is not coming to me every day crying and anxious which has been such a positive change in our friendship. We have been having more open discussions about life and everything and having positive conversations.

    I know this is not going to change everything and it’s not going to change overnight of course. But already I’m seeing a positive change and i am feeling now very hopeful for the future here.

    I wanted to say thank you for all of your advice and I am so glad to have discovered this community that has provided a real safe space for me.

    Thank you!

    Mills

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10917 posts
    23 June 2018 in reply to Guest_294

    Dear Mills~

    I'm really happy to hear of this positive fresh start, and if we are helping at all -great! It sounds as if it is a better arrangement for the both of you.

    It must have been quite a difficult conversation, saying you were not going to continue to be exactly the same sort of help as in the past, but as you say it had led to better things. I could imagine if things had stayed that way you might well have come to resent your friend for always being the taker.

    Please don't think that one positive event should prevent you from continuing to post here. Apart from anything else we would like to know how you get on

    Croix

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