Resources for Family Members

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skeye
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 10/23/2010 8:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all,

I was just wondering if anyone knew of some good resources that I could pass along to some family members who don't understand what true depression is.

I've suffered with severe depression for many years now, but recently I've deteriorated even further, such that I am barely functioning & have almost been hospitalized on several recent occasions. I'm 22 and live with my parents (just graduated college, and am home working for a year before going to grad school). My father understands what I am going through, as he is a MD (general practitioner), but my mother really does not understand, despite my & my father's attempts to explain.

She tries to be supportive, but her idea of support is to say things like "buck up," and "the first hundred years are the hardest," and "you've got to help yourself," which really don't help me at all. If anything they make me feel much worse, because I am trying the hardest I can & doing all that I can to help myself, but yet it's not enough. It's not as if I want to feel this way. I have a great relationship with my mom, but her lack of understanding is really putting a strain on our relationship.

I've also been recently diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and probably bipolar II, so this has all really been taking a toll on my mother. I really just want to help her to understand, for both of us.

I did bring my parents with my to my pdoc appointment this week & my psychiatrist (who is fantastic) did recommend one book for my mom to read, but I'm just looking for some other sources for her. I do think that talking with my doc helped a little, and that reading this book will help too, but I really just want her to be able to understand and also to realize that none of this is her fault, it's just the way I am.

Thanks. PS, the book my pdoc recommended is "Darkness Visible" by William Styron.

Skeye

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 10/23/2010 9:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Skeye,
Wish I could help. The only thing that made the slightest different was bringing my parents to my psychiatrist. The books, websites & literature only made things worse on me. It irritated me to no end that my dad would memorize the literature on "what to say to someone who's depressed" & would quote it back to me verbatim whenever I would say anything other than that I was happy & gainfully employed (well, even then not always). If you're okay with that, then I would suggest the NIMH site.

After receiving a list of resources that my counselor & I put together, my mom decided to do her own google search & found something that apparently seemed to suggest that talking about things made the depression worse so she felt that I was doing the wrong thing going to counseling or talking to friends/family or anything else. She hung up on me whenever I would say anything that she deemed to be "talking about depression". I think family just don't get it unless they've been through depression themselves. Many of us have gone through this & I'm just not sure there's an answer. But I hope & pray for your sake that maybe someone new will come along with some ideas that have been successful for them.

I know many of us would love to know what to say/share with family members to get them to understand what it is we go through. For me, the key has been forming strong friendships with people who did understand depression or who were my "depression-free zone" buddies for when I just wanted to get out and pretend everything was normal. And of course, HW is a great place for finding people who truly KNOW what depression is like & can offer great support & encouragement.

take care,
frances

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/24/2010 1:07 AM (GMT -6)   
There are simple lists on the internet, what to say, what not to say. They are good. Too bad your mom had to hit one that said that talking about it is bad, maybe she either misunderstood or mis-construed it so that she would have a reason not to discuss it.
She would probably freak at this, but there are Dummies books regarding mental health, probably depression too.
Never heard of that book, but there is a good one on Bipolar by Julie A. Fast, and several here have mentioned it as being good. Maybe Amazon search, "support for xxx."
Sandy
BP II
Severe depression

Respect baby steps. Most work gets done an inch at a time. Just break ground.

Some get annoyed that people are so odd; lucky folks know that's the fun part.

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/24/2010 1:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Did the search, what not to say to a depressed person, there are alot.
A good one, maybe you can print it up and give it to her, or leave it somewhere, like the kitchen table where she will be able to read it in private:
http://www.healthyplace.com/bipolar-disorder/depression-and-bipolar/things-to-say-to-someone-who-is-d
Just a thought, you could say those things on the good to say list, to yourself.
Its good your dad understands.
Are you doing the other basics ?, part I curtailing caffeine, sugar, alcohol, eating something solid 3x/day, water; part II, hygiene and dressing everyday, go for a little walk and get fresh air and sun, sun very helpful, even daylight on the skin helps; part III, meditation, affirmations, deep breathing, some kind of stress relief?
You indicate you've been at this awhile, and I don't mean to sound like you are a newbie, but find myself that when I am in the middst of a mood, I neglect these things. I'm 60 now, oh crap, make that 61.
Also, sleep, ? go to bed the same time and get up the same time.
Sandy
BP II
Severe depression

Respect baby steps. Most work gets done an inch at a time. Just break ground.

Some get annoyed that people are so odd; lucky folks know that's the fun part.

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/24/2010 2:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Checked that book, "Darkness Visible" by William Styron, on Amazon. Five stars, been around for years, a "classic" ? There is even a study guide you can get for it.
I like Amazon, you can buy used, and get 2 day free shipping. Excellent return policy, 30 days, no questions. Just keep the packaging and its easy to return, tell the PO its a book, and it will only be a couple dollars to at least have checked something out, even if it doesn't turn out to be what you need.
Sandy
BP II
Severe depression

Respect baby steps. Most work gets done an inch at a time. Just break ground.

Some get annoyed that people are so odd; lucky folks know that's the fun part.

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 10/24/2010 4:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Sandy,
Did any of those sites help your family to understand what you were going through or help them learn to treat you better when you are in the throes of depression?

If so, I'd be interested to know what ones specifically worked for you. I've mostly given up trying to get them to understand but still have to face them at Christmas and Thanksgiving so if there is something that actually works, I'd love to try it. :) Those obnoxious trite little comments like "I can't imagine how hard this must be for you" or "I read that it helps to exercise" (that one was my favorite since I was on medical bed rest at the time! but of course my dad accepted my pain condition even less than he did my depression) or "I'm sure it must be really hard to try but you just need to try to do a little" or "Going to work seems to be helpful to you" (which no one else agreed with; he just liked that I wasn't able to talk to him for 9 hours straight) or "Let's go for a walk together" (which sucked b/c I was supposed to pretend that everything was just magically better even though I was in screaming physical pain & just wanted to be left alone).

They made things a million times worse on me & the lists I gave them just made things worse. I'm learning now to do what I want to do with my life. To live within my real limits. To acknowledge that I do have physical pain from disintegrated discs, fractured vertebrae, nerve problems & a neurological condition. And to find friends who are supportive. I spend as little time as possible with my folks now. No birthdays. No Easter. No Mother's or Father's Day. Just Christmas & Thanksgiving and one day each at that. And I'm much better off for it. My counselors have all told me that they probably won't ever understand my pain or depression. But I guess a piece of me always holds onto a tiny thread of hope. So if there's something in particular that's worked for you with your family, would you post the link so we could all benefit?

thanks!!!
frances

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/24/2010 9:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Frances !
To make things more accurate, my family was never a support, and their constant criticism, lame advice, and/or total attitude of ignoring the obvious sucked.
My current (#3) husband has been a pillar of strength, did go to the doc with me to make sure I was "telling" the whole story, but understands now and doesn't put the pressure/guilts on me to do things he wants to. He likes to go to big doings, in our clubhouse they have a cheap meal but its very crowded, people aren't that friendly, very old, crappy meal, why? Now he agrees.

Getting together with his family twice a year was also too much, as its an all day thing, very crowded at his brothers house. We are out of state now, so that issue is resolved. There has not been a reason to present him with the "list" but I wouldn't hesitate to do so if it was otherwise.
My son knows, but not much, as I wanted to let him know that he seemed to be behaving a little overboard on things, hence Bipolar? tell your doc about your mom, they told him he might have ADD, gave him meds but he didn't like the "feeling". I think/hope he is a go-getter, and does just naturally eat very healthy, exercises frequently, has a vast social life, and is happy.
But the rub comes in because he doesn't want his wife to know about "me", and she can be a nasty little ***** so its easy for me to keep my distance there. She was upset because my aunts supposedly had Alzheimers, guess no one in her family has been senile, just alcoholic dry drunks now. Ai yi yi
My daughter does understand, she's the one who wanted power of attny to hospitalize me, but now gets it that I wasn't that bad. People want you to be 100 %, and it just isn't going to happen, there's no cure. They think that miracles can be performed in the hospital, not knowing that improvement is the most realistic goal. And saves your life.

Some people just will never understand, especially disease in a young person. Its a little better now that there's so much info available on mental issues, but some still keep their blinders on. I'm kind of new to the internet, and when I saw these lists had an ah ha moment. Actually msgd my ex with some since my daughter has big anxiety/panic problems, and when she's scared stiff goes to his house. He claims he has already done research on this, good, the goal is don't put your big foot in your mouth like you always did with me.

For Skeye and the young ones like him, that are still close/reliant on their families, I would not hesitate to give them a "list", leave it somewhere they can't miss it. I do believe that people really don't know what to say, so babble out some trite thing, and I would feel, OK, just keep your brilliant ideas to yourself. But some, like Skeye and Swimmer 89, do have a support system, and it can be strengthened with the proper knowledge. Books written for family are great, but they do have to be read. a t is a short idea of what the score is without being lengthy, for non-readers or those not too interested really.

In your case, there's one about "what if you knew someone allergic to cats." It goes thru a conversation something like, how do you know you are, no you aren't, do this, do that, its all in your head, etc. And if you wouldn't say that to someone with allergies, why would you say it to anyone else suffering from an unseen source. Like depression, BP, or fibromyalgia.

So sorry you haven't got much support, and when they start throwing stones it really hurts. I think it is a very wise idea to cut down on holidays/celebrations that are going to take a tolll on you. And holidays etc. aren't like the ones people on TV have, at least I never knew anyone who really got anything but exhausted by the holidays, and glad when they're over. We have eliminated gift-giving between ourselves, and only do so with my daughter since she is alone and realy likes to have a gift to open. She gets money from the rest of the family, poor thing, ha ha, and doesn't care what I stick in the bag for her. Our first year here I got a nice pre-lit Christmas tree, bought hot cocoa mix and Christmas cookies, and when she came over she didn't want to trim it or have cocoa/cookies. Since then the decorated tree stands in our storage area, and we just drag it in for Christmas the week of, then day after it goes back out. This year I am going to put a sign on it "free" and place it at the curb its kind of a bitter taste for me. The mall, early in the day is a nice place to visit and see the decorations and hear the music,smell the cinna-bons. That's plenty.
Don't know what happened to me since the Halloween bug bit me hard this year, but am returning my stuff to the store tomorrow, and not going to the party. 7:30 is too late for me, ha ha. I don't even know these people, bah humbug.
If you find a list you really like of "what to say/or not" you could print it up, fold it nice, then give it to the most annoying person during the holiday upon departure.
I hate it too when people think that, in 1 minute of thought, they will devise a treatment plan of things you couldn't possibly have heard before.

Hope it helps.

Thinking of you, dear, and all the help you've been to me.
Sandy
BP II
Severe depression

Respect baby steps. Most work gets done an inch at a time. Just break ground.

Some get annoyed that people are so odd; lucky folks know that's the fun part.

Post Edited (Trying to Understand) : 10/24/2010 8:21:46 PM (GMT-6)


skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 10/26/2010 10:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Frances & Sandy,

Thanks for the info, I appreciate it. I just downloaded the book my pdoc recommended to my Kindle for my mom to read. Maybe I'll read it when she is done.

hugs,
Skeye
chronic retrobulbar eye pain, Asperger's syndrome, probable bipolar II

recently implanted with a neurostimulator with leads on the supraobrital & infraorbital (ophthalmic) branches of the trigeminal nerve, resulting in a 50% decrease in pain (yippee!)

Trying to Understand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 776
   Posted 10/26/2010 10:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey, there are some books listed on the "resources" heading of the forum, both depression and bipolar. for family I mean
Sandy
BP II
Severe depression

It's what you learn after you think you know it all - from my rusty AA toolbox.

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 10/26/2010 10:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh great! I didn't realize that. Thanks!

Skeye
chronic retrobulbar eye pain, Asperger's syndrome, probable bipolar II

recently implanted with a neurostimulator with leads on the supraobrital & infraorbital (ophthalmic) branches of the trigeminal nerve, resulting in a 50% decrease in pain (yippee!)
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