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LARISSA238's Photo LARISSA238 Posts: 9,405
5/21/17 1:27 A

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I would second the NAMI and DBSA recommendations. and
are their websites. NAMI has family and friend groups where you can learn more, and DBSA is a good thing for her when she is ready to get help. I haven't done NAMI, but I know many people who like it. I'm trying to get on the Board for my local DBSA chapter, so of course I'm going to say that it's good.

If she is going through a lot of depression and anxiety, then there has been a lot of good advice here. I also know it's really hard to get out of bed when you are depressed and just do anything... I just sleep for 12-16 hours a night, then take a lot of naps in the little time between that. I don't know if you know where she lives and if she wants you to come over, but maybe offer to cook a meal for her, or bring her food? If you do this, when you get there it's really important to not judge! She may not have showered, brushed her teeth or cleaned in a bit. It's really hard to do even the most basic things when you are in deep depression. If she's having anxiety, she might not be able to do things like go grocery shopping for food.

Another thing that I would do is just offer to listen if she is willing to talk. Listen with empathy, not sympathy. It's a hard thing to be empathetic if you don't know what she is going through, but if you don't know what to say to something she is sharing, then say something like "Thanks for sharing that with me" because nobody has all the answers all the time. Avoid saying things like "At least..." or "It could be worse" or "Think of all the good things in your life". Those kinds of things can be triggers. The depressed person knows that they have good things in their life, but they can't appreciate them like they normally do.

It's not her fault. Depression is a chemical issue, and you can't think that it's a choice. Who would want to choose to be this way? I can tell you it SUCKS! If she is on medication, encourage her to take it. If she isn't then when you think she is able to handle it (maybe not now since her mood is down) then ask her about going to a psychiatrist and/or a therapist. There are different kinds of therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (also called CBT) is one of the best.

Listen to her. She is going through a lot, and it's hard for someone who does not struggle with depression to understand. If you think she is a danger to herself then CALL 911 ON HER!!! I can't stress that enough. It's not a betrayal of your trust with her to call her if you think she is in SERIOUS danger. If she talks about dying, that's one thing. You know she could be a danger when she says something like "I want to die. I have X to kill myself with. I want to do Y to end my life" Talking about suicide won't encourage her to kill herself. It shows that you care enough to talk about the hard stuff. Just don't call the cops on her if you don't think she's serious. If you don't know where she lives but haven't heard from her and you are REALLY concerned with her safety, you can call your local 211 number (or look up online, or police non-emergency number) to do a wellness check. Sometimes all you need is her name and phone number.

I know this is a lot, and maybe a bit later than you would have hoped, but I hope it helps! Feel free to message me to talk, and read the posts around here to get to know more about what it's like to be bipolar- both mania and depression. *hugs*

~Rissa, AKA Diane

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5/16/17 3:36 P

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She does care, it's just difficult for her to see anything beyond the black hole of depression she is in right now. Seriously, when I'm in that state, it's like trying to climb a mountain to even move to go to the bathroom let alone brush teeth, shower or even get out of my night clothes.

You want to help, to make things better and to fix things so she will feel better....that's not going to happen. What you can do is be supportive and encourage her....ask her if she can do one thing for herself today, just one little thing. It might be as simple as opening the curtains to let in some sunshine or sitting on the porch for a few minutes (who cares if she's in her jammies), maybe get up long enough to make a cup of tea/coffee.
Trust me when she says that basic self care like brushing her teeth is to much for her to IS!
Send her a text and tell her you love her, but don't be hurt if she doesn't respond. Keep trying. She might get pissed off at you for "bugging" her or putting pressure on her. Be honest and say that you don't know what depression feels like but you will be right by her side no matter what. Curl up next to her in bed and hold her or just be in bed with her and expect nothing but being physically near her.
It's frustrating as hell for you. I watch my husband struggle when I'm depressed. If she's not taking her meds that's #1 most important thing to get her to do. If you have a counselor or pastor, go talk to them about your feelings. There's been times that my hubs has called crisis hotline just to talk to someone for his own support.

While you can't fix it for her, you can find ways to help you cope with her depression.

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5/16/17 12:18 P

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Reply is a good website to go to for information and articles.
If there is a NAMI meeting in the area, go to that. Otherwise, check out their website for support.
You may feel exasperated because you can't change the situation, and whatever you do doesn't seem to help. Patience, and persistence is key. She needs to get help--not just medication, but behavior or other therapy. Check with NAMI or the area hospital for support groups. DBSA is another good one.
Small goals are best. Even the teeny things you don't think of....celebrate the small victories. Did she brush her teeth today? Did she journal? Shower? Take a walk? Just get out the door? What are things she likes to do that is healthy?
When I am deeply depressed, it seems like I'm heavy, that everything takes too much effort to do. It's not that I'm sad, though sometimes I am, but sometimes I just have a lack of emotion. It isn't personal towards anyone. It's chemical. It's an uphill battle that sometimes takes all you have, but it does get better. This too shall pass. Nothing is forever when it comes to mood.
Good luck! Sparkmail me if you want to talk confidentially.

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5/16/17 12:00 P

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Hi, I'm looking for help and support on how to help and support my girlfriend who has bipolar and is currently going through a very depressed and anxious time. I haven't seen her in weeks, she is now telling me she is too anxious to drive all she is doing is sleeping or feeling anxious and "doesn't know what to do with herself" (I don't understand what that means). I'm on edge, and getting bitchy and feeling like she doesn't care anymore. I feel like as much as I am trying to be supportive, I think I am making it worse for her. Any Help, advise, things to read, websites, anything would be appreciated.

If this is an inappropriate forum for this question I apologize.

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