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lawlipop's avatar

Trying to give advice to a friend suffering from depression?

Asked by lawlipop (433points) April 20th, 2010

There’s this girl who’s a friend of my friends. She’s extremely depressed, and asking for advice, but no one can give it to her.

From what I know, she used to cut herself and she’s attempted suicide. Apparently, her mom told her she was going to send her off to live with her dad in Persia, because she couldn’t handle her anymore. She barely ever eats, and she rarely sleeps.

She has visited a counselor, but claims it didn’t help. What her problem is is that she keeps everything inside. She needs to learn how to vent, but I don’t know how to get her to do that.

Does anyone have experience with this, or can just any advice at all? Much appreciated.

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15 Answers

Trillian's avatar

You can’t help her other than to try to get her to a professional. Unfortunately, this is exactly what depressed people seem to have a tough time doing. She needs professional counseling and possibly medication to even out a chemical imbalance in her brain. If you can get her to seek help, you’ll have done the best possible thing for her.

Rebelwoman's avatar

Honestly… You can’t help her. She needs to find her way. I know it’s tough to give advice like that, but I’ve been there. One day she will snap and she’ll learn to vent. It took alot to get me to snap and break down. Her wall is so high, and I can see how a Shrink can’t help. They never helped me either.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Give her the number of a 1–800 help line. If you google it there are lots. That way if she is at her wits end she will at least have something, someone, to talk to. Many people think it’s silly at first but at least it’s an option. Send it in an email so it’s less likely she will throw it away ;).

Cutting is a very serious issue and is difficult to resolve. Often it results from serious abuse of some sort. She likely needs to return to counseling. Just because she had a previous bad experience doesn’t mean the entire field is bunk. She needs to just keep tyring to find the counselor that works for her.

In terms of venting. Maybe you can sign up for an art class together. Or if she is more physical swimming or kickboxing or something. That may help.

anartist's avatar

If her dad is strict Muslim and in Iran/Persia—she could be in a far worse situation there. She ought to take a good look at how that would change her life if she can’t reach out for help here.
From what you say, she is asking for advice. It seems she is trying.

mcbealer's avatar

used to cut herself, operative word: used (to)

Although there isn’t one magic remedy to bring her out of the abyss she feels she is in, you are a great friend for continuing to try to reach out to her. Don’t give up. Remind her any chance you get that life is worth living. You never know. Something you do or say today may make the difference many days or months down the road.

If at all possible encourage her to do volunteer work with a favorite organization she would connect with. This may or may not involve young kids or animals.

Also, does she have any artistic talents? It is proven that pursuing an art form whether it be drawing, painting, music, pottery, etc. can help a person regroup and find their center again. Perhaps you could join her in a favorite hobby?

No matter what, remember that her getting better will be a process. No overnight miracles when it comes to mental health. Even if she gets treatment and goes on meds, there will be good days and bad days. Reassure her that you will be there for her regardless.

A good movie worth checking out, possibly with your friend is Life as a House

lawlipop's avatar

@RedPowerLady @mcbealer For you two who recommended hobbies and talents, let me just say that this girl is a genius. She has a 5.0 GPA. But the thing is, all she does is school work, ever. Knowing her, I don’t know if she’d be willing to sacrifice her time for any extracurriculars. It’d probably be good for her, but I don’t know how to encourage her into it.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@lawlipop Well doesn’t hurt to try.

mcbealer's avatar

help her discover something that inspires her other than schoolwork

Sophief's avatar

Be there for her. I suffer from Depression and self harm, meds and therapists don’t help me. Just be there for her if and when she needs her. Don’t tell her to get a grip or that things will get better, it is the most frustrating thing she will hear.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Perhaps the two of you could explore the website Allaboutdepression together. Just because her limited experience with counselling was not helpful does not mean that she might not derive benefit from trying to see someone else. Like any profession, no person is the right one for everybody seeking help. I have considerable knowledge about depression. On my profile page is a link you may find useful if you have further questions for me.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@lawlipop, chronic overachievers are prone to stress. Her focus on studying and her GPA at the cost of being balanced is most likely leading to her depression. While having a 5.0 is admirable, so is having a balanced life.

People who have 5.0 gpas and only study are not genuises. They are exceedingly hard workers. If they were truly a genius, they would have a 4.5 and a full, balancing life. The hyperfocus on academics most likely is the result of a control issue; it’s one part of her life that she can control.

She really does need to see a counselor, but perhaps to learn how to balance and gain control of her life in a healthy way.

stratman37's avatar

A burden shared is half the burden, a joy shared is twice the joy.

Let her know that it may be a CHEMICAL imbalance that she’s suffering from and she’s not alone. Millions are going through the same thing and are helped with medication. Aerobic exercise also helps to generate seretonin, aleviating the symptoms.

I agree with what everyone else has said about you just being there for her. It may be that she doesn’t open up right away, but she’ll appreciate it in the long run.

lakersfuture's avatar

I think that a large part of her problem could actually be the situation with her parents. Some kids for some reason or another always think it is their own fault for what their parents decided to do. Is she on any medication at all… My sister was manic depressive and bi-polar and she was the same way. The doctors gave her medication and before she took it we made sure that it wasn’t something that she could O.D. on. Many people also feel depressed because, even though they have some people around, they feel alone and unloved. My sister O.D. twice and within the short period of time I had the oppritunity to get to know her… she pushed me away because she knew I cared and she was afraid of hurting me so she distanced herself.

It is very important that she knows that she can trust somebody no matter what.

Also the best tip I can give you is someone who is depressed doesn’t want to be told what to do (at least my sister didn’t). Let her do the talking and only give advice when she asks whats your advice, and if you are unsure wait till she asks you…

Hope this helps a little bit…

ajewel's avatar

my advice to you is to be available to her when ever she needs you. I’m sure you have tried everything you could to get her professional help, she will go on her time, when she hits her rock bottom. Your job as her friend is to be there for her and try your best to keep her safe so she will make it to that point. If at any time the relationship becomes detrimental to your well being it is important for you to know it“s o.k. for you to walk away. You mustn’t disregard your own mental health in the process of helping another. With that being said you should definitely do as much research as possible about her condition, you’ll be much more help to her with a little understanding, and you will also be able to better recognize an emergency situation. You’d be surprised how good it will make her feel when she realizes that you can sympathize with her, maybe she will feel safe enough to open up to you, really it’s all about trust. Good luck

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