Social Question


When a person you care about, makes a statement that sounds like depression creeping in, do you think that is a cry to "you" for intervention?

Asked by RANGIEBABY (2097points) August 17th, 2010

I often wonder if that person is wanting me to help them, listen to them, advise them, or just what they want. I figure they would not be telling me something that sounds a bit desperate if they weren’t looking for help. It is really hard to know what to do.

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20 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

Could be as simple as someone needing to get something off their chest.

Seaofclouds's avatar

It could be that they just need someone to listen to them. Take some time to listen to them and be a friend to them. If you have some advice for them, you can offer it up to them if you think it will help as well. Mostly, just be there for them right now.

janbb's avatar

Why not ask them what they are looking for from you?

Artistree's avatar

A person I cared about would expect me to tell them that I thought something they said sounded like depression creeping in and that they were asking for my help. And they would know that whatever it was they needed, I would always be there for them.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

When in doubt, just ask them! Show you understand that they may be feeling depressed and ask them how you could help them best?

zophu's avatar

I’ve been desperate all my life, but I know that most people can’t help me. I’ll share depressing thoughts just to share them, get them out so they can be further rationalized. If I want any more help from a person than that, I ask the person. When I was younger though, it was a different story. I didn’t know how to ask for help.

Just do your best to understand what’s going on in the person’s mind, then decide what you should do.

Winters's avatar

Yes, but to obviously right off the bat. Just be there for them with a laugh and a smile, be supportive till their mood cheers up or they finally spill the beans an tell you what’s wrong. I’ve found that with some people, being to aggressive in trying to find out what’s wrong can sometimes have the reverse effect of what you want.

stardust's avatar

The only way to know is to ask. It could be a cry for help, but it could also be a case of the person wanting someone to sit with them and simply listen.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My friends are comfortable to confide in me to where I hope I recognize when they’re in a bad way versus venting or whatever.

CutestManda's avatar

It may just be that they need you to reassure them that you are there no matter what. I find myself doing that occasionally and I don’t even realized I’m doing it. Sometimes ya just need a friend. Do something you know they like….movie, manicure, ice cream etc.. just cheer them up like only a good friend can! =)

BoBo1946's avatar

yes, and it’s bothersome! but, i usually don’t really know what to do or say! Usually, i just go with my instincts! And, try to help.

Aster's avatar

If I spilled my guts to someone and they acted really quiet like, “maybe she just wants someone to listen” I’d be hurt. I mean, if they made no comments at all ? I can’t understand how anyone could need to simply vent. I almost think its a myth that he/she just wants someone to listen.

Vincent_Lloyd's avatar

Hmm….honestly I think yes. Since I mean if they know you pretty well and have a good relationship between you two he/she might come for you to you know, comfort him/her. Or they could be just getting out the thoughts of something that has gone wrong, but still need someone to talk to. Usually I’m the one that listens to the girls when they have issues and I either comfort them or give advise etc…But who knows? They might want to talk to you for some other reason also so I think it’s always a good thing to converse with your friends (I hope I used the word converse right eepp….)

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I usually start by asking generic questions about how the person is feeling. If they seem open to talking, I dig a little deeper. I try to get to the heart of the matter, but only if the person is revealing information that might lead there.

Sometimes, it’s as simple as mentioning that someone appears down in the dumps and asking what’s going on. At other times, it requires a more subtle approach.

Only you know your friends and which approach to take.

anartist's avatar

Sometimes the help is a friendly listening ear. But if it goes on too long it will drain you. In that case, you should recommend other help.

wundayatta's avatar

Here’s the problem I faced when I was depressed. I wanted people to help me. Well, more than that, I wanted them to love me. But there were two things in the way of asking. First, I knew I didn’t deserve anyone’s love because I was a despicable piece of shit (I never told anyone this unless it became absolutely necessary). Second. if I asked for help, then if people gave it, they would be doing it purely out of the obligation (people don’t like saying no), and therefore it wouldn’t be because they loved me. So that kind of help is worthless.

What I wanted was for people to volunteer to love me out of the pure desire they felt for me as a human being. I wanted to know if I was valuable, so I would do things and sit around waiting to see if anyone would notice. They never did, of course, so I felt worse and like I really didn’t matter to anyone or anything. That was terribly painful, and at that time, I wouldn’t have minded much if I had died.

A lot of that is still in me—needing people to approve of me of their own volition; not because I ask. Even saying this, makes it impossible for anyone who reads these words to say anything good to me and have me believe them. I’ll think they are doing it just to be nice.

But you know what? I’m pretty good right now, so nice is good. I’ll take it without question.

It was an upside down world for me. Depression and low self-esteem and the pain and fogginess of my life made me question how anyone could like me. It made me fight everyone who tried to tell me I was any good. And yet, that was what I wanted. I wanted people to tell me, over and over, until I could start to believe it.

I’m lucky. That happened. It wasn’t from the people I thought it would come from—close friends. It came from my wife, which really surprised me since I thought she couldn’t stand me any more. And it came from a lot of people online. People are very, very kind here. Far more kind than I deserve or could have hoped for.

Except at the moment I can say that deserving has nothing to do with it. It happened and I am grateful. Very grateful. I don’t take it for granted, either. I’m not sure that’s a good thing, because I always feel like I’m only as good as my next comment. If I blow it, people will soon forget me.

But that’s the nature of the internet. You can’t really expect people to be interested in you if you aren’t there. There’s a halflife of relationships here—about two months—and then people let you become a much lower priority. I understand, though. I do it, too. It’s hard to sustain anything when you can’t see them and the relationship can’t evolve.

I wanted someone to listen. Someone to hold me. Someone to love me. At the time, sex was how I understood that someone loved me, so that put another barrier between me and feeling better. Being the lover of a married man isn’t an option for most women.

I would never make it clear what I wanted, because that was not how my mind worked. I’d never get what I wanted if I asked for it. It would be a pity thing.

I don’t know if your friend thinks like me. I’ve found when I write these things, that other people with various mental illnesses (especially depression) feel like I am reading their minds. Because of this, I think that our minds are similar—those of us with depression.

It’s hard to be with someone who is depressed. It is hard to support them. Getting them out is good. Getting them to care for themselves is good. Getting them to be with friends is good. They will protest most of this and try to fight it, and there’s only so far you can push it. But it’s worth pushing, I think. I mean, if you’re a real friend, you do what you have to for your friend—even if they fight you about it. And they will fight.

I think the caregiver has to have enough faith for both people. It’s faith that they are doing the right thing in pushing the depressed person. I mean, the depressed person isn’t going to tell you you are right until they’ve started to come out of it. When they are in it, they have to fight, because they are worthless and don’t deserve your help or support. This is a fixed idea, and if you challenge it, it is very difficult to hear. But I want you to keep doing it. I think that other depressed people want that, too. But it’s just a hunch. I can’t speak for all of us, or indeed, anyone but myself.

That’s all I know. I feel bad that you have to face this kind of thing. It is really tough.


@wundayatta I feel so honored that you put yourself out there for this question. After reading what you have said, it appears to me that you really have your finger on the solution that would work for you, but do you know why you got there in the first place? Do you have siblings? I do, and when I was little I felt exactly what you are describing. In fact, I went one step further, and hid from people. When I went into the first day of school, I would find the biggest kid in the class and sit behind them, so the teacher would not see me. I was so shy and timid and didn’t know why. But when I got older like high school, I realized one of my sisters was always mocking me and trying to embarrass me in front of people. Until I felt like I was worthless. Once I realized that, I began to stand up to it and fight my way through my feelings. I didn’t have to allow her to treat me like that, but more to the point, I didn’t have to accept and believe it . That is when recovery started for me. Now I live by, ” I make the rules about what comes into my head and what doesn’t.” And I will not take responsibility for what someone does or says, that is for them to own.
Now I feel free and my own person, and could care less if someone loves me or not. I love me, and others can too if they want to, but don’t need them to. :)

wundayatta's avatar

@RANGIEBABY There are so many reasons why I got there—too many to describe here. But the major reason was a betrayal of my brain chemistry. Some people know that betrayal as bipolar disorder.

And here I go again. My natural instinct is to deny that I put myself out there. I’ll just leave it alone. I have been working hard to get where I am. There’s no need to sabotage myself.


@wundayatta I understand. baby steps is always good. God bless you my friend.

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