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 Post subject: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:27 am 
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I found out tonight that a very good friend of mine attempted suicide a few weeks back. We talk for 2-3 hrs a week, as we live 4 hrs apart, and I had no idea. She didn't tell anyone because she feels "dumb" for doing it and knows it is not the answer. Since I've known her she has dealt with highs and lows and various severity of depression. She has been on meds for awhile but within the past 6 months, has gone off of them. She does not like to be dependent on meds. She is very much a people person and needs people for her mental health.

I am studying counseling but unfortunately am in the beginning of the masters program, so I don't know much yet. Anyway, my question for those of you who have been in a similar situation to me or my friend: What did you find was the best way to help a friend or to be helped? Is calling and visiting enough? Should I do anything more? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:56 am 
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For me calling and visiting is the best thing my friends can do. Sometimes I want to spend all my time with my boyfriend because I feel irrationally scared of something (I'm not sure what), but I don't feel comfortable doing that with a friend. I definitely don't want my friends around me all the time, but the fact that people are in touch or see me regularly is very important. I sometimes find it hard to get in touch with people and make the first move, so if friends are doing that for me and letting me know I'm loved that's great.

You sounds like you're being a great friend to this person and I'm sure you're doing as much as you can to help.


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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 6:02 am 
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I wouldn't know how to help anyone, and I don't know how anyone could have helped me (I don't think they could have). I needs the drugs, being dependent on meds is better than being dead right?

It sounds like you're a good friend and just doing what you are doing is probably good for her. Maybe now she can feel more comfortable talking about her issues with you. But remember you are her friend, not her counsellor.

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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:46 pm 
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Have you encouraged her to keep taking her meds? It's not a good idea for someone who experiences deperssion to discontinue their medication without the advice of a doctor. (Of course, I really shouldn't be talking - I'm bipolar and do this all the time...)

It sounds like you're a really good friend. Be careful not to get TOO involved. There have been times where I have invested so much of my emotional energy in paying attention to a troubled friend that I ended up being completely sapped and stressed out myself!

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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:25 pm 
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I'm bipolar and have a lot of experience with this...my best friend is bipolar, too. Together we are often quite the mess. I'm relatively well on my (many) meds, and I NEVER mess with them unless my doctor says to. I used to a little, but it was too hard to figure out what needed to be tweaked when I was screwing with them, too. Anyway, like Jogglypuff said, you cannot get too involved. There is only so much you can do and it can be emotionally draining to attach yourself to her problems too much. I say that as someone who is one her side of the fence, so I do know what I'm talking about. You should be there for her, let her know you are there, and point her in the direction of her doctor or other health care professionals that she may see. Loved ones and friends are wonderful support and can be very necessary lifelines, but the rest is up to her. Completely. It's difficult to see someone you care about go through mental issues, but really it is very important to realize there is only so much you can do.

For me, there is nothing anyone could have done for me except be there. I need my meds to function. Period. My friends and loved ones have pulled me from the brink of disaster (lethal kind of disaster) more than once, but ultimately it was up to me to seek help. My partner has been my best support--taking me to appointments when I was too sick to care, forcing me to the ER during crisis, and generally taking care of me when I could not care for myself...but that's not a job for a friend--It's sort of a full-time job when someone is sick. I know my friends love me and want to help me, but it just gets to be too much sometimes. And I know that. So I try not to unload on people like I used to.

I didn't want to be dependent on meds, either, but I have my life back now. I love my meds. I will never EVER go off of them. It took me a while to be ok with meds and all that, but man, it is night and day, the difference they make. If not for my meds I would, without a doubt, be dead now. So maybe really encourage her to think of meds not as something to be dependent on, but as something that will give her back to herself.

"Be careful not to get TOO involved. There have been times where I have invested so much of my emotional energy in paying attention to a troubled friend that I ended up being completely sapped and stressed out myself!"

YES.

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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:12 am 
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The only thing that you can really do for your friend is to be there for them, visit with them (in person is the best), don't let them isolate themselves and don't judge them or pressure them. A big problem that I have when I open up to people is I feel like I'm being judged and a lot of people try to pressure me into doing things that I'm not comfortable doing at the time. It may be well intentioned but it's still pressure. Also, try to avoid saying,"I understand".

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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:32 am 
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I was just coming to the PPK to ask a very similar question. And the responses here to sprout's post are so pertinent to my situation (as the friend of someone who is calling for help).

My friend is bipolar and is in a bad mental state right now. Not super bad, but not good. I've been in touch with him the last few hours via facebook (our primary communication method). I'll keep in better touch over the next long while, we communicate 98% via facebook, but I'll try to give him a call too.

Lachesis wrote:
So maybe really encourage her to think of meds not as something to be dependent on, but as something that will give her back to herself.

I'm also going to borrow this sentence for my friend. I know he has been on meds, and then quit taking them a long time ago. I'm not sure if meds will help, but it seems the most sensitive, non-pressure way I can present it as a more long-term life choice to him, if that is something that the doctor that he will hopefully see deems helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: depression and suicide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:34 am 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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Lachesis wrote:
I'm bipolar and have a lot of experience with this...my best friend is bipolar, too. Together we are often quite the mess. I'm relatively well on my (many) meds, and I NEVER mess with them unless my doctor says to. I used to a little, but it was too hard to figure out what needed to be tweaked when I was screwing with them, too. Anyway, like Jogglypuff said, you cannot get too involved. There is only so much you can do and it can be emotionally draining to attach yourself to her problems too much. I say that as someone who is one her side of the fence, so I do know what I'm talking about. You should be there for her, let her know you are there, and point her in the direction of her doctor or other health care professionals that she may see. Loved ones and friends are wonderful support and can be very necessary lifelines, but the rest is up to her. Completely. It's difficult to see someone you care about go through mental issues, but really it is very important to realize there is only so much you can do.

For me, there is nothing anyone could have done for me except be there. I need my meds to function. Period. My friends and loved ones have pulled me from the brink of disaster (lethal kind of disaster) more than once, but ultimately it was up to me to seek help. My partner has been my best support--taking me to appointments when I was too sick to care, forcing me to the ER during crisis, and generally taking care of me when I could not care for myself...but that's not a job for a friend--It's sort of a full-time job when someone is sick. I know my friends love me and want to help me, but it just gets to be too much sometimes. And I know that. So I try not to unload on people like I used to.

I didn't want to be dependent on meds, either, but I have my life back now. I love my meds. I will never EVER go off of them. It took me a while to be ok with meds and all that, but man, it is night and day, the difference they make. If not for my meds I would, without a doubt, be dead now. So maybe really encourage her to think of meds not as something to be dependent on, but as something that will give her back to herself.

"Be careful not to get TOO involved. There have been times where I have invested so much of my emotional energy in paying attention to a troubled friend that I ended up being completely sapped and stressed out myself!"

YES.

This whole post is so powerful. Thank you!


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