How Can You Help Your Depressed Person?
Sunday, January 12, 2014 at 07:42AM
Jen
Please understand that I am not actually asking anyone to do this and I'm not slapping anyone on the hand. I've been specifically thinking about these things so that I can talk about them. And, I only speak for myself here but I think if you have a friend who's struggling with major depression, you should also be using your intuition and your knowledge of the person to make yo...ur own decisions on what would be appropriate and/or helpful.

I'm going to make this a 'part one' sort of deal because I just don't feel like talking today but I was just reading something on the Oprah website and I figured this was a good place to start because I mostly do not agree with it. The quote and then my reasons....

"Don't let a loved one isolate him or herself, Dr. Saltz says. "Push them. Say, 'I know you don't want to, but I'm not taking no for an answer. We haven't talked in awhile. I'm coming over,'" she says. "They need connection. If you're busy being polite, it won't go well." Face-to-face conversations are ideal, Dr. Saltz says, because depressed people aren't usually very verbal. But if you are in a long-distance situation where you can't be face-to-face with that person, Dr. Saltz says to make regular phone calls. "Be persistent," she says."

oohkay. So, PUSH ME? Be persistent? No, what you are going to do is annoy me and then not only will I not answer or return your calls, I probably won't answer the door if you just show up. Result? You're upset, I'm upset and well.... we've accomplished nothing.

Please don't force me to "go out". Think of it like this - You have the flu. A nasty flu. You're in your jammies, you haven't showered, you feel fucking horrible, you're bitchy and you just want to lay on the couch in your safe place and wait until you feel better. Then I come over and "won't take no for an answer" and drag you to the mall for shopping and coffee. Now you're feeling fucking horrible and you're self-conscious about how horrible you must look, you're surrounded by masses of people who just make you more irritated and I'm pushing you to 'window shop' with me. Dude, do you feel better? Wasn't that fun? Let's do it again next week if you still have the flu.

Personally, I hate hate hate it when the phone rings and suddenly I'm supposed to talk to someone. I actually need to prepare myself to say more than yes or no. So, sure - call me. But maybe call once a week - at the same time - so that maybe after a week or two, I'm thinking ahead and preparing myself (because talking to anyone is hard) and now that I've had some time to work it into my 'schedule' and I'm expecting your call - I will pick up the phone and talk to you.

I'm not being an asshole here - you may think I'm just sitting around and waiting for something to make me feel better (well, I kind of am but you won't be it - that's why I have professional medical help and you should be supportive of seeking that help with your depressed person) but what I'm actually doing is trying to stick to a schedule that allows me to accomplish things - small things and maybe the only thing I'm trying to accomplish is to feed the cats and do the dishes - but you are popping my safe bubble with unexpected demands. The result of me being able to expect a call at a certain day and time - we talk. And this is good for both of us.

I agree that connection is important but MaJen came over last week when Isabeau went missing and I made her a cup of tea and then just stared at her until she left because I was so devastated that I couldn't interact at all.

If you want to see me, let me know what day and time you're coming over and take me for a walk - tell me what you are planning. If I'm prepared and expecting it, I will more than likely be okay with it. But, let's just walk around the neighborhood. Don't expect me to talk and be okay with the silence. Result? I don't have to get 'ready' to go out in public and I don't feel any pressure or expectation of having to dredge up some energy to interact. We spend some time together and this is good for both of us.

I've lived here for 4.5 months and there are bald eagles on the river and possibly a bear that visits every year, right where I live, but I haven't gone to see them. I love eagles, I used to work with bears. Why haven't I gone? Okay, I have a cool neighborhood but I'll bet that you do too and so does your depressed friend - you just haven't seen it.
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