Inside Depression
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01-09-2014, 11:03 AM
Inside Depression
I have a friend who claims to be depressed.* Bad job, asshole family, health issues, etc. I keep her horse for her, and she is always saying how much she looooves this horse, he's her one and only, etc. She rarely comes to see him. As an elderly gent, he needs much more attention than he's getting - to the point I worry about his health.

Before I mouth off and say something I would regret, I'd like to hear from some who have battled depression. What helped you? What kind of words made it better or worse? Was there anything that could help? What did you wish people would stop doing to/for you? What's the last thing you wanted to hear (again)?

How did you want to be treated by your friends? How did they fail? How did they succeed?


* I think she's on anti-depressants, but only from her PHP, not a shrink. This may be a self-diagnosis.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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01-09-2014, 07:13 PM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2014 07:08 AM by CiderThinker.)
RE: Inside Depression
Things not to say?

Don't go for the "it could be worse" response - i.e. don't mention all the starving children in Africa or similar worse situation - if you're truly depressed that only makes you feel worse and more guilty because in some senses we know that depression is inherently ridiculous.

In terms of things you could do, make and keep contact - try phoning if face-to-face contact is not practical - if it is practical then try and do that. Maybe suggest that she come over to see her horse - if you can offer transport then that may be a good idea if possible. Above all just be there and keep extending the olive branch - you will not get a positive response all of the time - but sometimes you will and it you will be valued. Helping the horse may be a good thing, it's hard for us as depressives when in a bad space to look after ourselves physically as well as mentally, but it's easier to help others...

One other thing to not say.

"I know what you're going through". You don't. Even I as a fellow depressive don't 'know' exactly what she's going through although I may be able to empathise with aspects of her state. Depression is deeply personal so to say you know exactly what someone is going through is to cheapen and devalue their depression - which feeds back into the guilt.

Make sure you look after yourself - you can be of no help to someone if you overstretch yourself - set limits for yourself - you do not have to tell her what those are though...

Hope all of that makes sense - if not drop me a line and I shall clarify.


"Name me a moral statement made or moral action performed that could not have been made or done, by a non-believer..." - Christopher Hitchens



My youtube musings: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFoxbz...UVi1pf4B5g
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01-09-2014, 08:01 PM (This post was last modified: 01-09-2014 08:11 PM by JDog554.)
RE: Inside Depression
Depression is difficult in the way that it affects everyone differently. I still battle depression a lot, I've been diagnosed by professionals and my Mother suffers from it. What may work for me may not work for your friend and vice versa. For me personally though, I like silence and being alone. I also like having positive people around me and I like to eat a lot when I'm depressed. A lot of what Cider says is true as well.

Edit: I completely butchered the English language in this post

"If you keep trying to better yourself that's enough for me. We don't decide which hand we are dealt in life, but we make the decision to play it or fold it" - Nishi Karano Kaze
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01-09-2014, 08:06 PM
RE: Inside Depression
Depression is difficult. It's hard to know. For me for mild depression, I exercise and do yoga. It helps a lot.

When I suffered bad depression therapy helped.

I've never gone the antidepressant route myself.

Your a good friend for wanting to help. Heart


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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01-09-2014, 08:06 PM
RE: Inside Depression
I can't think of any words to make it better. If only it were that simple. <sigh>

Interaction is good. Call to say hello. Act normal when around this person. Sometimes normal helps. Also sometimes just being quiet helps. Let then know they aren't forgotten and maybe offer an ear or a shoulder.

It's nice that you are concerned enough to want to help.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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02-09-2014, 01:53 AM (This post was last modified: 02-09-2014 02:00 AM by HU.Junyuan.)
RE: Inside Depression
From Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar's Positive Psychology class:

[1] Exercise at least 3 times a week, aerobic, around 40 minutes each time. Heart rate should be 65%-70% of the maximum that is 220 - age.

[2] 8 hours of sleep a day.

[3] Medication. Or at least take 3 deep breaths when feeling bad.

[4] 5-minute take off, let the action make the difference: instead of planning to work out when feeling less depressed, work out now for at least 5 minutes please. And then these things will work their magic. Additionally, move the muscles around the mouth to form a smile from time to time, equivalent to the effect of a stack of chocolate.

[5] Hugs. Lots of hugs. 12 is good, 100 even better, at least 5 a day.

After having all these above, then I would say that certain medicine ought to have effect. Consult a professional about that.

Research focused on psychosis compared to that on happiness is 21:1. We paid too much attentioin to the negative side. So while asking what the problems are is important, please ALSO ask "is there anything that eventually works out ?"

Want something? Then do something.
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02-09-2014, 07:00 AM
RE: Inside Depression
Thank you all for the suggestions. She lives an hour away, so visiting isn't really possible (I'm stuck here with the horses). I do listen to her as much as possible when she does visit and try to say cheerful things. We do FB and chat on the phone occasionally. I don't think I ever said the bad stuff, but I shall studiously avoid saying the old platitudes.

I admit, though, sometimes it's hard to go through the same old same old, over and over. I get the feeling that I'm the only one she dumps on. Not sure if that's good or bad.

The suggestion of tending more to her horse may be a good one. I don't have a lot of time (working 2 jobs + minding the farm) but I'll try to do something for him.

Anyone else with an opinion, I'm all ears. If I understand better, I can deal with her in a better manner.

Thanks, everyone.

We have enough youth. How about looking for the Fountain of Smart?
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02-09-2014, 07:09 AM
RE: Inside Depression
Depression ( and all the issues you mentioned) just become overwhelming and you feel exhausted physically and mentally drained 24/7.

What to say?
I know things have been hard for you lately- I've added some extra time/work on your horse- hopefully it helps lighten your load. Hopefully when you come he will be easier for you and your time here will be happier.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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03-09-2014, 05:02 AM
RE: Inside Depression
I have a problem with this, too. I wonder how to react to depressed people and I think I too often come off as insensitive. It's something I'm working on. The suggestions here have been helpful and I also found some useful information in one of the recent TTA podcasts, Skepticism and Mental Health. It helped me realize I'd been saying the wrong things, unfortunately (basically the stuff CiderThinker was talking about). The biggest thing for me was I hadn't realized so much guilt came with depression. I haven't really felt depressed in my life, beyond what seems to be normal teenage angst, but I have definitely felt guilty so that gives me a little something to relate to. I encourage you to just keep contact and be a friend. I wish your friend well, too.

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
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03-09-2014, 06:50 AM
RE: Inside Depression
Glad to be of some help. I feel that since I've outlined a couple of big no-nos I might suggest a couple of 'do's'...

These are just ideas and obviously may not be applicable in every situation - I'm only an expert by experience rather than having any kind of psych training - professionals are should always be your starting point.

Only say these things if you actually mean them


* Tell them that you won't abandon them - so much shame and guilt is attached to the black dog that it seems reasonable to the depressed that nobody wants anything to do with them. You can tell them this is not the case and you can also show them - be it email, phone or face-to-face conversation. A certain degree of nagging is OK.

* Tell them you love them. Actual physical contact is good for you - so hugs are a big plus where appropriate!

* While I've already suggested that saying that you know how they feel is inadvisable, you can say that you understand that they are in pain. Because depression itself is not readily visible it can be a fear for many people that they are not taken seriously. You can alter that perception.

Hope those help...


"Name me a moral statement made or moral action performed that could not have been made or done, by a non-believer..." - Christopher Hitchens



My youtube musings: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFoxbz...UVi1pf4B5g
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