How do you help a friend who is depressed?

United States
July 27, 2007 1:42am CST
My friend I have known for a long time and he and I just retired..all he talks about his doom and gloom and he is only 48,,male,,married five years to a nice Thai lady, no kids in a new house and his bills are all paid..but he crys all the time about taxes and how he can't afford to live in Michigan and his parents are almost invalid..and he want to move south but he can't cause of his parents.. My parents are gone ..a long time ago..and his parents are just getting old and it is normal symptons that they are experienceing...but he thinks he has the weight of the world on him..I tried to help him but he just goes on and on..like a broken record..so i am about to just tell him that he has to deal with it as it is part of life and their are resources that could help him..he only has one brother and an older brother who is putting the burden on HIM.so any ideas?
3 people like this
16 responses
@naadia (830)
• India
27 Jul 07
sorry to hear that!yes sometime i tried to help my friends!The question is what is making her depressed, is it a lost love, maybe she misses her family,...Only then can you start with solutions after identifying the problem.when i got depressed my friend always stand with my side and help me with some nice advise and other help!
• United States
28 Jul 07
you have hit on something i almost forgot..he had a women he lived with and loved with for eight years..maybe he has not gotten over her..as she married someone else..and has kids by that man..but he got a mail order bride and married her..not much love in this marriage that i can see..but some many marriages are started without love..but last as they don't want to be alone..and are not thrilled with their mate..but continue to live their lives in quiet desperation...
• United States
28 Jul 07
you have hit on something i almost forgot..he had a women he lived with and loved with for eight years..maybe he has not gotten over her..as she married someone else..and has kids by that man..but he got a mail order bride and married her..not much love in this marriage that i can see..but some many marriages are started without love..but last as they don't want to be alone..and are not thrilled with their mate..but continue to live their lives in quiet desperation...
@tuffy999 (794)
• Philippines
27 Jul 07
maybe he's bored that's why he feels sorry for himself and worries about everything. try to convince him to take a vacation with his wife, so he can be recharged.
2 people like this
• Philippines
27 Jul 07
I do not know if all people are the same with me but to tell you frankly, whenever I am depressed, the first thing that I look for is a person to talk to. SOmeone who would listen. Because of this, I was thinking that the best way to help a friend who is depressed is to be there beside here so she can have a shoulder to lean on.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jul 07
yes, but sometimes it is good to just plant a seed in the person's head ..as there depression is sometimes making them reject any positive influence you are trying to tell them..it is also refered to as reverse psychology...it sometimes works..but you have to be careful as then you are playing mind games..but the main thing is to be there for them..
• Philippines
3 Aug 07
This is the first time I had seen this post that you made about your dream. I will work on it in a few days. I think it would be better if you sent this to me through private Messaging. I would have read it quickly.
@nangel78 (1458)
• United States
27 Jul 07
This is tough because everyone is different and he has to be willing to make a change. From personal experience, I started therapy and taking a different medication now. So far this is helping. Yet I had to take the necessary steps to start getting better. I no longer want to be depressed. Next up I plan to join a gym soon and get out with my friends more. I have a wonderful supportive husband who has been there for me. Make sure he realizes he has a good support network. It might take something big to happen to knock it into him that things are not so bad. That is what did it for me. I am now getting away from negative influences in my life too.
• United States
28 Jul 07
my friend has been like this for a long time..i think he will have to just learn to grow up a little bit..as he is retired..and has no vices..maybe he likes to over eat..and he can be mean at times..he is not perfect..but who is? I think some people have to realize their limitations...as life can often let us down..but we have to go on and on..no matter how bored we get with the irrating things in life..thanky
@sbeauty (5870)
• United States
27 Jul 07
Convince him to go to a doctor. He needs to be on anti-depressants. There's no way I could manage my depression without medication, and I think he would find that it would help him immensely, too. There is no longer social stigma attached to having depression. Everyone knows it's a medical condition, not that you're crazy. Of course, people with severe depression have no energy, and he won't want to make the effort to go to a doctor. I never wanted to go. I wanted to hole up in my bed and sleep life away. Believe me, if he has major depression, he does have the weight of the world on his shoulders. Everything looks completely black with no light in sight. He feels worthless and hopeless, and he definitely needs professional help.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jul 07
yes, I have also been to two psychologist myself..the first one was the best ..he was from the Philippines and so was his receptionist wife...100% I took some ativan that helped for awhile.. but now I am on a sleep med called Ambien CR and Xanas..once a night..but only as needed..and a light antidepressant in the A.m. maybe tome needs some doctor..and I will have to figure a way to convince him his quality of life would improve once he could battle this depression...it is not easy for me to meddle in a persons life..thanks for the good advice.
@Sunmav (53)
• India
27 Jul 07
see when all the doors are closed pray god and search for the door which one is opened for you .only
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jul 07
I think I got a drift of what you are saying but could you rephrase this answer in different words or a parable/example..how do you close all the doors? and how is the one opened to you? it is a little confusing..thanks for enlightening me
• United States
27 Jul 07
I have suffered from depression for years, and in my own personal experience, having someone to talk to and who would listen to me has at times been a lifesaver. In my experience, one of the worst things a person can tell a depressed person is to "just think about something else." I have had different people tell me this for years, and it doesn't work or help at all. When I am depressed, the only thing I can think about is how completely miserable I am, and it is nearly impossible for me to just think about something else. You may try suggesting that he ask his family doctor about it. I say this because there are physical problems that can cause depression, as well as emotional problems. For example, having hypothyroidism can cause depression. There are other physical probelms that can cause depression. Or it may be that your friend simply needs a hobby or something like that, since he is retired, so he can still have something to do with some of his time. Just a few suggestions from my own experience. I do hope he can get some kind of help that will work for him.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jul 07
tom has just been over a health scare.his prostrate problems and his collin.? well he has problems with going to the bathroom ..sometimes..he needs more fiber or maybe he is just bound? and full of it..but he has seen docotrs and he is cancer free..and his nut bag had problems too..but there was a lump there but the doctor said he is ok..it is not a lack of doctors..he just don't want anyone telling him what to do..he is his own worst enemy as he worries too much about stuff he has no control over..we all have some problems..it is how we cope with them..that matters..i like to exercise and eat right..take vitamins and good foods..and relax a lot...no worries..but that is just me..what do I know/
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jul 07
First of all, you need to get a little tough and use a bit of tough love. Your friend's problem is that he thinks too much about himself and how he feels instead of being grateful for what he has. I would suggest that you tell him how much he has compared to a lot of people and that he needs to start making a list every day of all of his blessings and start being grateful. Another thing is that he needs to focus on making someone else feel better and quit thinking about himself all of the time. Depression comes from selfishness. I know because I battled it for years and what got me out was God showing me that I was way too focused on myself. Once I started making myself acknowledge how much I have and start being thankful for what I have and began to focus on meeting other people's needs, the depression lifted. What gets me is that your friend doesn't sound like he really has anything to be depressed about. I went through years of physical and then psychological abuse. And, in the past 12 years, I've lost a business, been laid off three times, been evicted twice and gone through several times when I didn't have money to buy food for me or my cats. So, as far as I'm concerned, your friend has nothing to complain about. It's not that I don't have compassion for him but he needs to get a real perspective on things and stop focusing on himself so much. My parents are 72 and 69 respectively and I haven't even been able to see them in eight years because I live 1500 miles away and haven't had the funds to go visit. I haven't seen my brother or one of my sisters in that long and I've never even seen one of my nieces and one of my nephews since they were born. Don't misunderstand, I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head and a new job after being out of work for almost a year and I have food and my cats have food and God is blessing me. What your friend needs the most is a personal relationship with God. That would solve all of his problems because once he knows how much God loves him, he can begin to love himself and those around him unselfishly. I can promise you that it will change his life forever.
• United States
28 Jul 07
Too attached to family members. He needs to relax and let things take their course. He doesn't sound depressed, only not satisfied. Try to find solutions for the problem and ask him which solution best suits him and his family. Then make him agree not to discuss the problem anymore once it's solve and find a hobby to do that involves physical activity.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jul 07
Kill umb's! Remember, people who are depressed are burdens on society, and everyone should smile smile smile and be happy! Also remember, any problems that a depressed person feels are psychosomatic, that is to say, it is all in their head! Otherwise it's THEIR FAULT. Always remember to tell depressed people that things are THEIR FAULT, because nothing helps brighten someone's day than GUILT. There's no need for nancy-boys who don't pull their weight and WORK WORK WORK for a living!! Those who don't work, don't eat! Out onto the streets with them all! Also I'm being sarcastic.
• Philippines
27 Jul 07
Your actually doing the right thing ma'am/sir. You, just being there to listen is so perfect that your friend's depression is cut into half when you listen. And i haven't read the previous comments, but as a student nurse and as a person who has being able to encounter psychological cases ( and having the experience of being depressed too.) i suggest that you teach your friend to have a diversional activity, somewhat like playing tennis, listening to music, or gardening and all of that stuff. And most of all try getting his self-esteem up again, depressed people have low self esteem most of the time, and when someone would help them stand up they will be better as ever... And the best medicine for stress? it is God ma'am, turn to him and he shall carry your burdens.
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jul 07
this is very different ..it might be the German shock treatment..Gestalt? well, i think even in your sarcastic remarks there is a grain of truth..the world usually react pretty much as you describe..so your tactics worked..good luckk to you Dr. Shock
@besthope44 (12145)
• India
17 Oct 10
Well, sometimes its unavoidable that we feel depressed for the day..but for the health its not a good side, i believe in Meditation which will balance our mind and helps to be normal at situations
@sharksfin (1095)
• Philippines
4 Aug 07
The only help you can give is to be a shoulder to cry on. Lend your ears. Unless the person asks for an advice, don't share your thoughts. Most probably, what you are about to say have already been thought of. So, just make the person feel that he's not alone.
• Japan
28 Jul 07
I think the best way is to company him and ask him to do something. Never give up and try to ask more people for advice and help. And Never give up studying knowledge and skills. Days will get better. I like your kindness.
@sid556 (31000)
• United States
28 Jul 07
I have never been good at dealing with people like this. I think people like this person,perhaps,would benefit from professional help to maybe get to the root of why they have such a negative outlook. My last boyfriend was forever blaming his bad mood on finances and family and friends that were always walking on him and taking advantage of him. everyone had ulterior motives! I found it so hard to sympathize. He had a brand new truck,his own home,a dog..no kids... a new computer...he worked for himself and had more money than I could dream of. Here I was raising girls in low income housing ...no child support most of the time...a junk vehicle...with a drop of his income and i swear I was much happier and less stressed than he was. I did sympathize in knowing there was something deeper going on within him but I am not a therapist but I am very caring. His negativity was starting to infect my life. I would be in a great mood and then he would come around and I'd be so frustrated and sad myself...negativity does spread. I work to be happy and spread that. IF I am negative...that is what I spread. In the end, I had to break it off. He was a nice person but really...it was a useless battle. My daughter would come home from school wanting to talk about some problem and I was so problemed out , I could not be fair to her. i know this is long...you hit a nerve.
• United States
28 Jul 07
Show them that they have a lot to live for, and show them all of the good things that have happened in their life.
@kitty1234 (1476)
• United States
27 Jul 07
Actually I have two suggestions! 1) show him some articles or news events of people who are really struggling and maybe he will see his problems are just minor compared to them. 2) Suggest he volunteer some time to a hospice or to a children's cause, he may view the world differently when he sees the depth of despair and how others face it with a smile. Those of us who have lost a parent would gladly accept the burden if we could spend just a little while longer with them.