Confused about a depressed friend

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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 5/21/2007 9:31 PM (GMT -6)   
I just talked to a friend of mine. She is a long time friend ... 30 years or more ... and is bipolar so I thought she would be one I could talk to who would understand. I told her I wanted to try medications or natural remedies to help with this life-long depression because I've had enough. Her manic-depressive disorder has significantly disrupted her life many times. She's spent her whole life jumping from job to job, moving from place to place, going from one relationship to another, always chasing that next adventure that will make her life all better ... for sure this time! I'm not saying this to criticize her. I'm only saying it because I thought she, of all people, would understand what a devestating effect depression can have on one's life. But I was surprised when she responded with a speech about how I just need to change my attitude or change my life and I'll feel better. She believe's depression is just an attitude problem, or an external problem, and if you're not happy you should just drop everything and go do something different with your life that makes you happy (not understanding, apparently, that some people with depression don't have anything that makes them happy), or just will yourself to be happy through positive thinking. At first I was annoyed, then confused, then wondered how she could be in such denial about the reality of depression. For 40+ years she's been uprooting her life over and over to chase that next "fix" and still doesn't see it's never solved the problem. I'm wondering if she thinks admitting that depression could be physiological is admitting she is "defective" or something and it's too embarrassing.  I think she could probably benefit from some medications or supplements but if I try to talk to her about it and she gets so defensive. How do you deal with someone like that?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 3036
   Posted 5/22/2007 7:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Sounds like my ex husband.

My son started showing signs of either ADHD or Bi Polar at 5 years old. My ex and I would fight for hours about me taking him to the doctor. At that time Ritalin was big,and his response was "my son is not going to be on drugs"
Well 6 years later I was rushing him to the hospital because he had taken a baseball bat and told me he wanted to kill me. Thinking that I was a horrible mom,I expected the worse but was willing to take the blame as long as he got help.
They had to strap him down to a bed,and then proceeded to take picture of my back and legs where he had kicked,hit and shoved me against the wall several times in the last few weeks.
THEN and only then did I get help with him.
People go into denial,and they can not accept what they don't understand.

I wish you the best for her,but if she has been living like that for so long I am not sure there is anything that you can say,that she will at least admit to.

Mod- Depression

Chronic Depression, Panic Attacks,Anxiety Attacks,Anorexia
Meds I have taken throughout the years:Wellbutrin,Tranxene,Paxil,Prozac,Valium,
Currently taking none.

"I am woman,hear me roar one day and cry the next!!!"

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 752
   Posted 5/22/2007 8:58 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Sunnivara.

Your friend has been running from her probs for years - one day she will hit a brick wall...and there will be an opportunity for you to help pick up the pieces..meanwhile heal yourself first tongue  then take on the world.


Forum Moderator - Depression
Forum Moderator - Anxiety-Panic Disorders
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. 
May your troubles be less,
and your blessings be more..
And nothing but happiness come thru your door :))

May your day be filled with laughter and love.




Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 5/22/2007 11:28 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Sunnivara,  I am sorry that your friend wasnt able to give you the support you were looking for.  Often times people who have Bipolar Disorder and are left untreated do tend to behave in the manner you have described here.  It sounds just like my aunt who also has bipolar and she cant sit in one place or even have a resonable converstation with anyone.  It is very fustrating!

I would say that you need to do what you feel is right for yourself.  You may get some flack from your doc if you go the natural route...and I dont know if you have anyone to consult re: this but in the end it is your life and decision and if it doesnt work out for you then you can always go back to the typical forms of treatment.  For some people they work really well and I hope you have great success from them if you do decide to go this way.

Co~Mod: Depression
Moderator: Heart & Cardiovascular Disease

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 5/22/2007 2:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I am so sorry your friend replied to you in an unsupportive manner. I understand your feelings and dissappointment in this situation. A very close friend of mine whom I considered my closest confidant shocked me during my last depression spiral and basically told me:
"pick yourself up and get on with life- you are a mom and you need to put your kids first, you're a wife and you are killing your husband by putting more responsibilities on him... you have to stop this way of thinking or people you know are just going to give up... "
This reaction from her left me in a state that words can not describe. Of all people, she knew what kind of guilt I tend to put on myself...She knew how bad I hated falling into that black hole of depression and how badly I wanted to be joyful a person who could live a fullfilling life all the time (if that's possible). She (I thought) knew me better than anyone else... her reaction hurt me badly. I've not heard back from her since this event took place 5 weeks ago. Honestly, I feel I could have recovered  much more quickly from this past spiral. But this took me back a loop... I do understand the need for positive encouragement and how crucial it is for others to not express their negativeness or self-righteosness on you. That is why I enjoy coming to this sight....I find there is understanding, and everyone wants nothing more than for you to be as well as you can be.
Again, my heart goes out to you and I'm sorry for your experience.
Best wishes,
Severe Depression/Social Anxiety/Panic attacks
"Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside"

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 5/22/2007 3:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, it is frustrating. If it were heart disease instead of depression no one would tell me to just get a positive attitude and my heart problems would go away. They'd say, "Oh dear, take care of yourself and take your medications, and if you need help just let me know!"
I understand that people who haven't experienced depression might think it's just a personality problem. But I don't understand why my friend, who knows depression intimately, doesn't see that she keeps repeating the same patterns over and over, and all those "remedies" of changing her life, cleansing diets, thinking positive, or whatever, have never helped her feel better for long. How can she not see that it's just not working, and why would she suggest the same non-solutions to me? It just baffles me.
I'm glad there are forums like this where we can find others who understand. It was a much lonelier world before the internet!

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 213
   Posted 5/23/2007 3:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Sunnivara
Sadly, as the others have said, your friend is in denial, and no matter what you say or do, you will not get her to change unless she wants to, and from her attitude to you, that doesn't sound likely.
Pink, o m g - tonight is eerie - this is the second post where someone else has been writing my life for me lol.
I have just been through the exact same thing with my best friend, not for the first time either - it just does my head in.  Thankfully, my pdoc helped me see that her actions and responses weren't my fault, and that she has her own issues to deal with.  I love my friend a great deal, and I value her enough to try and take the good from the relationship and let the rest go.  I hope you and your friend are able to make amends soon - life is short and that sort of friend is so rare.
Best wishes to all.
They say life is a bowl of cherries........... we just have to learn how to spit out the pips!

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