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disgruntled pigskin fan
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Depression runs rampant in my family. I've been lucky enough not to be afflicted, but my brother has dealt with it intermittently for the past couple years. His unfullfilling job and lack of direction in life (quarter life crisis as he calls it) were the main culprits.

A month ago my brother's best friend and roommate of 10 years drown during a fishing/rafting accident. His depression has worsened considerably since the accident, and he can't seem to shake it. My brother's friend was also a good friend of mine, but as much as it pains me to lose him, it hurts even more to see my brother suffer. I just got back from a trip visiting him to try and help him resume his normal routine. I was not successful.:(

I guess I don't know what to say to him. I mostly just quietly listened to him express his feelings and told him how much I care/love him etc. He had no desire to start working out again, eating right etc. At least he has cut back on the booze, but I think he cuts back when I'm around because he doesn't want me to see it.

Any advice on how to help him get over this? I think he'd be happier if he had a job he enjoyed or was in a relationship, but he doesn't seem to have much motivation to pursue either right now. Any and all advice appreciated.
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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he doesn't seem to have much motivation
One of the problems with depression is that it saps any motivation to make things better.

The first thing he should do is get professional help. They can prescribe drugs that may make an immediate difference and will coordinate counseling and other methods of treatment according to what works for him.

I don't know of any self-help plans that work with depression. Books and internet forums may help but only a professional can really determine what he needs to get back to a healthy attitude.
 

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Sorry to hear about this. I'm not sure if any two depressives are quite alike, but for me each of several episodes took time (weeks or months), professional help, and meds to clear up. Rest, exercise, new activities, and listeners can also help. Bipolar disorder is different from depression; you'll want to be sure which one your brother is dealing with.

For me, depression is being disconnected from any meaning in life. I'm not good or bad, and neither is the world. There's just no point to any of it, never was, and never will be. To get out of a depression, meaning has to get jump-started. I don't have a recipe for it, but somehow it does happen bit by bit.

Best wishes to you and your brother. It sounds like he's fortunate to have you.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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I guess I don't know what to say to him. I mostly just quietly listened to him express his feelings and told him how much I care/love him etc.
That was a good move.

I suggest you read this page:

How to Help Someone with Depression: What You Can Do to Support a Friend or Loved One?s Recovery

It includes some things to say, and some things to avoid saying.

It also has advice on "If your loved one resists getting help", and what to do if it is a crisis situation.

I think that link gives some simple language advice that you might be looking for. It fits with what I know of the more technical literature. It's a place to start.
 

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a real member's member
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smoke some good herb and rebuild a vintage bike with campy nuovo record.


View attachment 316439

boom. depression gone (for a little while anyway).
 

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gazing from the shadows
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You really can't help. Anti-depressants can.
You can do things to make it worse.

You can do things that make them more likely to get help.

You can call 911 and say they are suicidal and get them committed for 72 hours.

What you can't do is make them willing to do the work they need to do. But you can help them get there.

BTW, some anti-depressants cause suicidal ideation, especially in misdiagnosed bipolar. Even with correct diagnosis, pills don't always work, not on the first dosage, not on the first med attempted. And pills don't fix decades of habits of thought.
 

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Damn Buckeye, I feel for you.
 

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scruffy nerf herder
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Odd this came up. I'm still pals with a rbr pal from rbr back in the good old days who prior to an ugly albeit brief relationship was one of the most confident dudes, but now struggles daily with it. Sometimes I don't know what to say ... but in some ways I think people somehow LIKE or feel safer being in a depression because it gives them drama or a justification to their lack of anything. One of the smartest most logical people I've ever known doing the stupidest most self defeating things.

It's so weird and maddening. And sad. Really sad. He's betterish...
 

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gazing from the shadows
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... but in some ways I think people somehow LIKE or feel safer being in a depression because it gives them drama or a justification to their lack of anything.
A great example of something you should not say to someone who is depressed.

What you say would not fit with the literature, or what those who have been clinically depressed tend to say once out of depression. What they will say is that at some point they stop trying to fight it. They give in, which is a symptom. Also, severely clinically depressed people don't care about drama, or justifying much of anything. Point of fact, people that bad, you are unlikely to see them unless they are in your family.

No one who has been clinically depressed would ever want to feel that way again if they could avoid it. That is what they say. And since depression hits people who have jobs, and family, and friends, and money... hard to see how that is an excuse for not having anything.

If someone in your life is talking about their depression, and how they felt, and how it affected them... listen. And take it as a compliment that they trust you.

The exception to this rule? People who blame lots of things for their problems, and always have. For them, depression is just another thing to blame. But thats about the person, not the disease.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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That is what they say.
7. Slipping into depression feels like falling down a dark bottomless shaft, wondering if and when your fall will ever be caught. And as you look back to where you fell from--which is where you know you need to get back to--you can see it receding further into the distance, the proverbial light becoming dimmer and dimmer, while the shaft into which you are falling becomes deeper, darker, and all the more enveloping.

11. Standing underneath a floor of glass, screaming and banging on it trying to get the attention of the rest of the world going about their lives without you. The problem is no-one can hear you or even knows you're trapped there.

31. Like mourning the death of someone you once loved--you. When you look in the mirror you see only dead eyes. There is no spark. No joy. No hope. You wonder how you will manage to exist another day.

34. Feeling dark, lonely, scared. Sleep is the only escape from your pain.

40. It's like falling into a well or a deep dark hole and having no ladder to climb to help you get out of it. You get trapped in the darkness feeling cold and numb.

41. It makes me feel like I'm a tiny seed stuck at the bottom of a pot plant--the more I try to grow and break free, the more dirt and soil falls on me, suffocating me and pushing me down.

42. Depression is that nasty voice in my head that says things like "your mother never wanted you and that's why she kicked you out at 15 to sleep on the streets for three months". It shows me the mental picture of the benches I made my bed and the nooks and crannies I tried to hide in for fear of being raped. The voice also reminds me of my daughter dying and thrusting her photo in my face telling me I'm a rubbish mother. Depression for me is a force so powerful that I fear I may never be free of it.

47. It's peaceful water to the outside world, but a raging tsunami below the surface.

48. It's more painful than any physical pain I've ever experienced. And NO-ONE can see it.

49. Depression is hating yourself so much you can't look in the mirror.

50. Depression is waking up wishing you'd died in your sleep.
50 Sufferers Describe Depression For People Who've Never Been Depressed | Huffington Post
 

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disgruntled pigskin fan
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the replies everyone. He is seeing a psychiatrist routinely with mixed feelings, and has been prescribed meds, but he has yet to take them. He's afraid he will become addicted.

As an optometrist, I see more people checking that they have anxiety and depression on their medical history form than any other condition. More than hypertension, diabetes, cancer etc. Even more don't check that they have depression, but are taking antidepressants. It's sad.

On the up side, my brother has been cycling more than he ever has this year, which is to say not very much, but it still helps. Cycling>Prozac.
 

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scruffy nerf herder
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I appreciate your response. I was more alluding to him being his own worst enemy and knowingly doing things in an attempt to revive a bad thing rather than not have it at all. But I get what you are saying.
 

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gazing from the shadows
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I appreciate your response. I was more alluding to him being his own worst enemy and knowingly doing things in an attempt to revive a bad thing rather than not have it at all. But I get what you are saying.
Understood.

The invisibility, the feeling of having to keep it secret and smile, that's what they say. I get students regularly who suffer, but I almost never talk with them about it until they have come off the bottom and gotten help. So the idea of drama struck me as counter to what they go through at their worse. So sorry I took what you said wrong. But hopefully what I posted will help others, who are sure to deal with this in their lives, or deal with it themselves at some point.
 

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Being depressed after a loss like that is not unusual. But the other factors aren't helping in his situation.

I've had to deal with depression, still fight it from time to time. If he's drinking to cope, it might be worth his getting on some meds, since drinking is only going to make everything worse.

Once on meds, he can deal with the other things more easily. I find it helps to mentally sort out the "rational" thoughts from the "irrational." Thoughts like, I really miss my friend- perfectly rational. Thoughts like, the world is better off without me- not rational, gotta figure out WHY I feel that way (hormone fluctuation puts me in dark moods!)

By sorting out the thoughts, it puts a better perspective on things. For me, I feel more in control of a bunch of little thoughts, than one nebulous dark cloud of gloom.

It's also why I listen to so much comedy, lectures and music while at work- these take me to a much better place mentally. Reading on the train makes me not care so much about the stupid commute- today I was so engrossed that I missed my stop :blush2:
 

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Schuylkill Trail Bum
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If depression runs in your family, it's likely a genetically common chemical imbalance, which can be treated effectively with meds.

As for getting addicted to meds, is getting addicted to no longer facing the prospect of routinely falling into deep life-sapping depressions... such a bad thing?

SSRIs and other modern meds for managing brain chemistry imbalances aren't happy pills, painkillers, booze-substitutes, or any other destructively addictive drugs.
 

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Thanks for all the replies everyone. He is seeing a psychiatrist routinely with mixed feelings, and has been prescribed meds, but he has yet to take them. He's afraid he will become addicted.

As an optometrist, I see more people checking that they have anxiety and depression on their medical history form than any other condition. More than hypertension, diabetes, cancer etc. Even more don't check that they have depression, but are taking antidepressants. It's sad.

On the up side, my brother has been cycling more than he ever has this year, which is to say not very much, but it still helps. Cycling>Prozac.
It sounds like he at least acknowledged he has an issue, which is a big plus. When we talk about anti-depressants, its usually something from the SSRI group (Lexapro, Prozac, Celexa). Taking these drugs WILL NOT yield immediate results. typicality you need to take them for several weeks. They are not addictive but stopping them suddenly can cause issues like suicidal thoughts. I would encourage you to get your brother to try but set his expectations that it will take a while
 

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You can call 911 and say they are suicidal and get them committed for 72 hours.

.
Unless the brother is in immediate danger I would never to that. I went through this in a family member. Our mental health system in the US is a mess. If I knew that then, I would have hired a nurse and a bodyguard before having anyone committed
 

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gazing from the shadows
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Unless the brother is in immediate danger I would never to that. I went through this in a family member. Our mental health system in the US is a mess. If I knew that then, I would have hired a nurse and a bodyguard before having anyone committed
As a last resort, it is a last resort. And quality of care varies from place to place, keep that in mind.

But it can be a wake up call for the person in a way that hiring someone for them may not be. And I would rather try that if I thought I needed to, and had tried less drastic options, than not try it and deal with a suicide on my conscience.
 
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