puddingcat: (Bucky WTF)
[personal profile] puddingcat
Copypasting from FB because I'm not rewriting all this.

Right. ‪#‎WSPD‬. Deep breath

I'm struggling to think of something to say that isn't "Don't let it get that bad", which is about as helpful as a chocolate teapot (and without the benefit of being chocolate).
By the time it got to the point of A&E, it was too bad for pretty much anything except actual medical intervention to help. I'd lost all ability to believe that people might actually get anything out of being around me (and particularly if I stopped pretending to be someone else), that there really, actually, absolutely no way that anyone would want me for anything ever again (work, relationships, actually close friends), and that there. was. no. hope.

I'm still struggling with all that. A lot of the time I think I'm relying on my therapist's hope, and that the NHS wouldn't have spent ("wasted", says my brain) all those resources on me if it wasn't going to have any effect.

Depression shouts really, really loudly. It has the most logical arguments you've ever heard, and will latch onto possibilities if you do try to reason your way out of it. (Yes, there's a possibility that I'll get better. It's not a certainty. There's a possibility that I won't.)

So. If someone seems to be getting down more than they used to, or smiling less, or withdrawing from social things, or gaining or losing weight, that's the time to step in & reassure them (as directly or indirectly as seems appropriate) that you don't actually wish they'd drop out of your life. Don't tell them that it's hard to be around them (trust me, they know, and almost certainly think it's worse than it is. Telling them will make them think it's even more worse. Even worserer.) Don't tell them what they should be doing; ask if they'd like to do (those same things) with you, because not doing things they should is yet anther way they can fail, or not be good enough.

For someone where I am now (still sleeping ~10 hours a day, still in tears about once a week, still really, really struggling with the concept of inherent worth that's not based on What I Do) - ask how things are going, but only if you're really, really sure you can deal with the answer. Same as above; I'm absolutely convinced that everyone has a tolerance level for how much of Actual Me they can deal with (as opposed to Public Me, for which I deserve an Oscar), and if I inflict too much truth on them they'll run for the hills. If I could be (get) comfortable that being asked how I'm doing isn't just social lubrication but instead genuine interest, then I might just be able to lean on people when I need to.

(Although don't say "Let me know if I can do anything". I've never been able to think of anything, however much I need help. Be specific.)

And if someone really is suicidal, or nearly there, all I can think of is: Try to distract them. Talk bollocks for half an hour. Hug them (with permission). Let them cry on you. Avoid trite platitudes. Say lovely things (I know this usually makes me cry more, or want to run away, but it'll be a voice against the litany of shite coming from their brain.) Speaking personally (which of course is all I can do), hitting this point meant that all actual detailed self-hatred changed into noise and desperation and a screaming nothing in my head; all the things that had been stopping me earlier suddenly didn't matter. I needed someone (and got a lovely paramedic turn up) to be there with me; not to point out any faulty thinking, because none of that mattered any more, but to hold on for me until the desperation passed. He gave me something to do the following day; go to A&E & repeat everything I'd said to him.

I don't know where I'm going with this, so just another couple of things (again, speaking for myself):

- Don't turn up unannounced unless you're very sure you'll be welcome. Dealing with people can take a huge amount of psyching up, but turning you away reinforces the idea that I can't Do Socialising and that I'm driving people away.

- Bear in mind that not falling apart completely can take all my resources at times. Certainly at my worst point, I had no control at all over what I was saying; tact and diplomacy would have required reserves I just didn't have.

- Platitudes suck and give the impression that (a) you aren't listening, and (b) aren't thinking.

Right. I'm done.

Date: 2015-09-10 07:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] motodraconis.livejournal.com
This is a brilliant post. Thank you.

Date: 2015-09-10 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gansje.livejournal.com
New person here...

Beautifully said.

So you know, I've been through depression before and though it was medically induced, I'm still susceptible, and do have a delightful case of anxiety. All of which is to say I really, really get it. I promise to say as few unhelpful things as possible, and assure you it's OK to call me on it when I screw up and say unhelpful shit.

Date: 2015-09-11 01:09 am (UTC)
indelicateink: gojyo (saiyuki - gojyo sidelong)
From: [personal profile] indelicateink
Well written. I identify with much of this so hard, and I'm really hoping that you--that both of us--have better days ahead. But meanwhile I'm just really, really hoping we have the strength to accept the present moment for what it is. (gdi, that sounds like platitudes. not meant to be.)

Ah yeah, "Actual Me." Sightings of my Actual Me are rare indeed, and when people ask me how I'm doing I've long since passed on being real with the truth. Working on it, though. (Sometimes I think it would be darkly hilarious to lay it on them, but then I remember their reaction is unlikely to be helpful/supportive.) I hope you're better at learning the balance between Actual and Public than I am. ♥

Thanks again for sharing this.

Date: 2015-09-11 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] norfolkian.livejournal.com
Very articulate, well written post. When I was suffering from depression I had a lot of people say a lot of hurtful things - making me feel like I was being difficult, telling me what I should do etc. So, thank you for writing this. And I hope the people on your Facebook take heed.

Date: 2015-09-11 12:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dragonmamma.livejournal.com
Thank you for this. It's very difficult for those of us who have never really been down that black tunnel of despair to understand and to know what to do and say that is helpful. As someone who is miles away from you in age, experience and actual distance, there is probably little I can ever do or say that might possibly be helpful, even though I do care what happens to you. I remember how much i liked you when FK introduced us and on the few subsequent times we met, and being sad when you moved from Manchester as I had hoped to spend more time with someone I thought of as a new friend.I wish you the strength to carry on fighting and defeating your demons and a more positive future than you see for yourself. And I have never liked you for what you Do, only for who you ARE. Hugs, if you can accept them.

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