Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Feeling Better

I ain't quite feelin' groovy yet, but overally, I'm feeling much less negative. This did not come about because I "thought positive." This came about mainly because 1. I got some medical help for some issues, including allergy medication to help with the previously incessant coughing. 2. I've been out of the house a whole bunch since my parents got back. 3. I haven't been spending so much time alone.

I was slightly annoyed at Kefirot's post on depression, but he clarified in his comments that he recognizes that gratitude is only part of the story. I find it very frustrating when people expect me to "pick myself up by my own bootstraps" from depression. If I could do that with any success, I would have already done it. I have a whole bunch of things that I do to get myself out of bad moods, even really depressed ones. For example, I will often watch television to distract myself from my thoughts. I try to see other people or at least talk to other people on the phone, because they will get my thoughts to go elsewhere. If those things fail, usually a good sleep will shake off some of the mood.

For the past two weeks, none of the above were helping at all. "Fake it 'til you make it" was also not getting me anywhere, because it's hard to fake not having crying fits...

Anyway, there was a point to this. If you know someone who is suffering from depression, there are things you can do:
1. Encourage them to get medical help. If you can take them to the appointment or make the appointment for them, that's very helpful - they may not be able to take those steps themselves.

2. Provide a listening ear. Let them get out the issues without being judgmental - things like "that's rough" or "I'm sure that hurts" or "I once went through something similar. It's really tough" help much more than "well, look on the bright side," because someone who is depressed is consumed by their problem. Don't belittle it. It will just make them angry.

3. After you've listened through everything once, change the subject. They need to feel heard, but obsessing is useless.

4. A good meal - when a person is depressed, they will often either eat junk or not eat enough. A good square meal can really help.

5. Protect yourself - If you're being drawn into the depression, don't let it happen. If the person shouldn't be left alone, turn on the TV or watch a movie - they can't talk to you and draw you in, but they're not alone either.

6. Protect yourself and your friend- If you think there's a real suicide risk, get the person committed to a psych ward. It's not your job to be on suicide watch. Don't take responsibility for more than you should!

I'm not a therapist, so this isn't professional advice - but people who have helped me a lot have generally used these things...

1 comment:

RaggedyMom said...

triLcat, you give a very good primer on being a helpful friend. I look forward to hearing your perspective on motherhood!