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Old 12-28-2000, 12:19 PM   #1
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deidlers HB User
how do i love my depressed friend?

i've got a dear friend who has been diagnosed with major depression. she's entitled to deal with her disease in the ways she sees fit; however, her most recent endeavor has been a stubborn do-it-yourself-without-therapy-or-meds approach. consequently, in the last year, she's become quite ill, with negativity engulfing her every thought. she suffers hugely, and she knows it. yet she won't seek treatment because she "doesn't want to have to depend on meds."
understandable: i have panic disorder, and am currently experiencing a desire to get rid of my paxil.
the insidiousness of her disease prevents her from "hearing" anything helpful. she's so brilliant, that anything remotely kind or loving or helpful that's said to her, she dismantles and spits back at you, followed by a long diatribe of why what you suggest won't work.
i'm only human. i get frustrated. and my frustration only confirms her worst fears: everyone gets frustrated with her, and eventually leaves.
i can't do this dance of pain with her anymore. but i will be loyal to her and stick by her side.
she's so terribly ill right now. and after months of eggshell walking and handholding i finally TOLD her to get some help. i tried to explain that her thinking is no longer rational, that intervention is required at this time, that it's become severe. this was in a spirited attempt at a wake-up call.
she yelled at me and told me i didn't understand. (she protects her disease like a chest of gold)
how do i love her? should i give her tough love and draw a line in the sand? (if you don't get help, then i can't watch anymore?)
i don't want her depression to win by abandoning her. i refuse. i love her, she's my buddy.
please, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
love to all,
deidlers


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Old 12-28-2000, 02:22 PM   #2
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Catriona HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

Deidlers--

I cannot tell you what to do. But don't give her the "Get help or I am gone" routine. If what you said is right about other people getting sick of it and leaving, you threatening that is not going to help. If she hasnt already acted on others leaving, she wont with you.

If I were in her position, I would want you to be there for me. A constant reminder that the world isnt all that bad, that there are people that care.

Just keep telling her to get help. When she is ready she will listen to what you have to say, but you wont be able to force it on her. Just be a good friend, not a bully.

Good luck and keep in touch
Catriona

 
Old 12-28-2000, 02:26 PM   #3
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deidlers HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

thanks for that. while i would never want to bully her, on the other hand i don't know whether i'm enabling her.
but what you suggested about gentle persistance, and gentle reminders that it can be okay, that's nice.
gentle can be my keyword.
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Old 12-28-2000, 04:12 PM   #4
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Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

Deidlers--

I would hazard a guess that with you just being there, you are helping her. I know that when I am at my worst, the only thing that really helps me at all is the fact that I know that there is someone else there to compfort me, or just that there is someone there. I need to know that someone cares. If you can do that for her, you are helping more than you know.

Catriona

 
Old 12-28-2000, 06:02 PM   #5
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TrickyDick HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

Hey Deidlers,

I am not sure of your relationship with this lady, but it sounds like its a deep one for you at least. Its difficult to deal with someone who is ill. Denial and anger are the first weapons the person who is ill uses. Sometimes it is like you said the self pity is something they protect and don't want to let go. Professional help is called for just like for an addiction, obsession or any other mental illness. Depression is a mental illness. She may also have other problems. But without professional care they will only get worse.
I was in a simular situation and a lady friend made an appointment (after explaining to the doctor what was going on) she then came by, told me we were going out (did'nt say where or why) made me shave,shower and dressed me. She drove me to the doctors office. I did'nt want to get out. She said "your going to see him. If you don't I will set here untill you do. If you get out and walk off I will follow you down the street honking my horn every step of the way".
Rather than cause a scene, I went.
Not to say you are to do this but this is what a "Friend" did for me. She also made sure that I kept my apts by taking me there herself. Good luck with a bad situation.

 
Old 12-28-2000, 08:14 PM   #6
 
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Eron HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

I have nothing new to add or say except that I would have to agree with Catriona. Giving her an ultimatum like that would do nothing. Staying by her side through all of this is probably the best thing for her. And what Tricky Dick mentioned sounds like a possible idea. Stick with it and I am sure it will pay off in the end.

-eron

 
Old 12-28-2000, 08:16 PM   #7
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kyle4267 HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

I agree with the rest of us. The best thing you can do is continue to be there for her and try try again to get her to go to the doc. It helped me tremedously. And this board helped me just as much. She has a wonderful friend such as yourself and keep up the fight with her. I'm sure she would be alot worse off if it wasn't for you. Tell her the meds will help tremendously. You are a wonderful person for being so dedicated to her. Hang in there, you are doing the right thing.
as ever
Kyle

 
Old 12-29-2000, 08:47 AM   #8
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deidlers HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

i am so touched by the lovely words from you all, and by the sincere interest you've shown.
there is love in this world.
we're all very lucky.

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Old 12-29-2000, 08:50 PM   #9
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Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

I have been in this situation once. She was a good friend of mine and we had a great friendship. In the year or two that followed, she became very depressed and made herself very ill in the process. I didn't know what to do or how to handle this. I tried to be her friend and get together, but, she was dragging me down with her. Eventually, we went in separate directions because we grew apart. I heard from her only once in a a great while and it sounded like she partially pulled herself out of the funk. However, I have felt bad about not being able to help her. I am not expert at this sort of thing and at a certain point in our friendship... I realized she was dragging me down with her and I felt the need to save myself. I hope this doesn't sound cruel, but, I didn't know what I could do for her. It's a very difficult situation to be in, very difficult. Good luck.

 
Old 12-31-2000, 09:01 AM   #10
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deidlers HB User
Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

kathryn:
thanks for your words of understanding. you're correct, it is a very difficult situation. over the holidays i visited with an old college buddy (she was in town) and BOY! we laughed and giggled! and it helped me realize that visiting with my depressed friend is very trying. because of the deep discussions about her pain that she and i inevitably have when we get together, i had forgotten that socializing can be a positive experience, with laughter and levity.
at this point, what i've resolved to do to help myself is to make an effort to expand my network of girlfriends. i need some friends to hang out with in addition to her. that way, when she and i do visit, i'll be fresh, glad to see her, with lots of funny stories to tell.
i think that'll be good for both of us.
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Old 12-31-2000, 10:14 AM   #11
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Re: how do i love my depressed friend?

Diedlers, that is an excellent idea. Not limiting your friendship to one person will keep you fresh and able to discuss or touch on topics other than the depressing ones that touch her so badly.

I still need to expand my friendships... that is a great resolution for me.

Kathryn

 
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