Monday, 01 August 2011
A close friend of mine was recently diagnosed with depression. I'd always known something wasn't right, though what it was I hadn't a clue. He was moody, unsocial, distant and occasionally thought of suicide. He even attempted it once, fortunately unsuccessfully. He's still struggling with all of those things, except now he's medicated.
But let's face it, being medicated only helps if you take your meds the way you should. Having never dealt with depression myself, makes this whole thing difficult to deal with, puts a strain on our friendship and makes it difficult to understand.
I work in a correctional facility, so I get why the inmates are in a funk. Some of them will spend their entire lives behind bars, others will be put to death and the rest that don't apply to the previous statements are young and ignorant to their situation. But I understand why they are depressed, I would be too if I knew I was gonna rot or die in jail, with no family and no friends.
With my friend's depression I'm in the dark -literally. I never know what to say or not say, if I should ask him how he's feeling or not, how to show him that I'm supportive or make him understand that I do care but I'm not good at showing it. If I try to talk to him about it he clams up or he gets upset with me for asking questions. I don't know how to reach out to him, and it bothers me that I just don't know.
So what is it I'm supposed to do?
He's been going through these spells, when his depression kicks in he wants to kill himself. Lately, the time in between those spells is getting shorter and shorter. I worry that he will take his life. Yesterday he left me a voicemail telling me that he was in love with me and that he couldn't do this anymore. I don't respond to that too well. If there is some phrase, or some politically correct something that I should say it would be great if I knew it.
I will be blunt, I'm not the emotional type per se. I'm rude, blunt, and if you ask me a question I will give you an honest answer, which would most likely be an answer you won't like. I don't sugar-coat anything, and more often then not, some people have said (both behind my back and to my face) that I'm mean, abrasive, and uncaring. Sure I can be those things when I choose to be, but more often than not, I'm genuinely a nice person til you give me reason not to be such.
I worry about him and telling him that only makes him angry. The last time I tried to talk to him about how he was feeling...let's just say I almost lost my head! Lesson learned, I won't be doing that again. I worry about him, I really do, he thinks otherwise and tells me I only say that to make him think I care.
Problem is, for all the caring in the world there is absolutely nothing I could say or do if he does decide to kill himself. I wouldn't be able to get to him fast enough to stop him. What's worse is that is that I would have no option to say good bye, his familia knows nada about me, so I wouldn't get any information about his funeral assuming there was enough of him left to bury.
So, I'm thinking of just walking away. Move on, I still have to live. I'm not gonna beat myself up about his mental status, because that's not my mental status. I can only hope that he chooses to do the same, but in the end I can't help him with it, and I can't do it for him.
Have you experienced depression from the other side? How did you help your friend or do you think there's a limit to how much you can help someone suffering from depression?