My Depressed Loved One Won’t Get Out of Bed- What Am I to Say?

CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness    (c)2015  Nancy Virden

photo-25664611-1-29-14-travel-and-vacation-icons-4-06Depression, whether triggered by circumstances we can see or not, is a place of pain. We may experience it to some level or another, but when a person won’t get out of bed you can bet she or he is hurting badly.

I know it is hard to take care of someone who is sick. Depression is painful to watch. It challenges our agendas and causes us to sacrifice more of our time and energy. We don’t like having our plans ruined. Often, we feel helpless even though this is not exactly true.

On the outside, depression can appear a choice.  On the inside, the one who is suffering battles a war against a disease that changes the brain. If it seems a person you care about will not move out of sheer stubbornness, laziness, or is “only” seeking attention, consider this: is it reasonable to assume that millions of people each year would choose to have their lives interrupted in such a way? It makes more sense that your loved one prefers to experience laughter, meaningful relationships, and accomplishment, does it not?  Of course, no one chooses depression.

Yet your loved-one who is experiencing depression needs love and affection, acceptance, and patience. Emotions are raw. Pain can be so intense that a body cannot keep up. The daily fight against depression creates a hero with each small step forward.

Despair and a sense of helplessness held my focus for over a year following my suicide attempt. Major Depression rerouted my best intentions into days staring at the walls, and moving as if every joint in my body was in slow motion. Small steps of self-care slowly led to more, then eventually to more. Sixteen months later,  I was able to decide to learn what enjoying life means.

“Well, of course!” you might say. “So why doesn’t my depressed loved one do that too?”

Your loved one may not know how. Severe depression steals reason from the most competent brains. Issues including stress, betrayal, shock, trauma, abuse, or other losses and disappointments may interfere. These must be addressed with appropriate timing and expertise. Depression is complex.

Professionals in Mental Healthcare are there to help. Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD, DO). Their training is in brain science. They will prescribe medication; rarely do they offer therapy. Psychologists are experts in human behavior and are often therapists (PhD, PsyD). They do not prescribe medication. Licensed therapists have training to help clients cope in healthy ways.

It is of utmost importance you recognize your loved one’s depression is an illness. Taking an ill person to receive professional healthcare is normal. You would not say to a cancer patient, “Quit having cancer!” Yet many are quick to tell a person with depression to snap out of it. Blaming, accusing, scolding, or shaming will not make an illness go away any faster.

What is it you can say or do to show support?

Avoid mind-reading and assuming you know what is happening. Ask, “Are you safe? Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Do not leave a suicidal person alone. Remove all lethal items from the home. In the U.S., Call 911 in a crisis, or contact 1-800-273-TALK for advice. 

Show your depressed loved one you care. In the depths of the disease, he or she may not believe “I love you.” Say it anyway. Promising, “I’m here for you,” may seem more substantial, however you must keep your word in practical ways. Broken promises reinforce a sense of rejection and worthlessness.

Help to combat your friend’s or relative’s sense of aloneness. “I’m going to work, but I’ll check on you when I get home” offers a positive look toward the future and a reminder that your concern is not temporary. “Would you like your friend to come over? I’ll call her” is a valuable service because depression makes even tiny decisions challenging.

Set-up or offer to go with your loved one to the first appointment with a psychiatrist or therapist.  Do not assume this will be a quick-fix solution, and instead accept that you both may be in for a long haul. Just as there are less helpful and better equipped professionals in any walk of life, mental health professionals do not connect with every client. If your loved one is not satisfied, help find someone else.   

Avoid some common reactionary mistakes. These include: “You are neglecting your family”; “Quit being so morose, it’s not good for you”; “Just go to work already”; “You’re lazy”. Comments like these are most likely attempts to change the situation to make it more comfortable. They are not helpful.

Place emphasis on the value of the person instead of on disappointments. Focus on the person and not his or her behavior by saying, “I am glad you are alive.” Your encouragement, “Stay with me, we’ll get through this together,” may be met with a blank stare. Nonetheless, this type of message matters.  photo-24734018-bread-toast-with-a-fried-egg-in-a-heart-shape.

Above all else, just be there. Sit by that bed and do not say anything. Read a book, do your homework, banking, or research on your laptop. Get on Facebook or Twitter and enjoy your friends while your depressed loved one lays next to you. It is ok to laugh, cry, or share a story from your day. Keep your expectations for responses low, and just be there.

Compassionate love learns to meet people where they are.

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I’m Depressed and Can’t Get Out of Bed. What Am I To Do?

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Today’s Helpful Word

1 Corinthians 13:4,5

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…”  -Saint Paul 

To learn how a relationship with Jesus creates eternal hope, click here

***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME (see tab below)  NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “My Depressed Loved One Won’t Get Out of Bed- What Am I to Say?

  1. What is said here is true and life saving. I did not know while Hubby couldn’t get up he wanted to die. What could have happened if I had not stayed right there refusing to leave his side only for groceries. And I said I’m going to such and such to buy food do you want any special treat? I even got a few responses. He wanted to kill himself I never knew it! He would be dead had I not loved him enough to convince him to see anyone he trusted medically. And finally it was forced by illness the beginning to a hopeful good end. He is in a top notch facility facing his issues taking baby steps a day at a time and a shower everyday ! Yeah team! Progress not perfection. I don’t ask anything heavy like why or what I want the end result. You must be as Stubborn as the depression is refusing to let it steal your loved one. If you must leave let them have the phone numbers write them down again depression screws up memory they can’t remember a number DIALED a thousand times. It won’t hurt to back up your moves give an idea of time to expect you back stick to it closely if your late call say I’m behind and why and how long. Let them constantly know they matter that much more and more they may start believing it too enough they can finally grasp for help with your help or mine got mad at depression and it saved him, not knowing better I begged him not to go due to the wreckage he had left us in so selfish of me I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I don’t know why he hated himselself or gave up but that strong he man did and hurt him hard in bed two years eating MEDS that was his existence and did not call for me to move back home he was in trouble. He couldn’t call were talking a 30 year love and he couldn’t call me.married that long all he had to say is help me i’de come running. And I pushed my way in once I learned his plight. No way anything could stop me. I love him truely and it is a we disease just as it was said cancer. He could no more help himself than a three month old can drive. And I know it. Take this serious foljsthe life you save will be that one in bed. Don’t leave them alone if at all possible they could be hiding wanting to die mine was! How did I not know I didn’t know why he could not shower. I went in with him for his first so he wasn’t alone or afraid I saw fear in his eyes he couldn’t talk about. The eyes talk, LISTEN if you truely love them. If you may not get a parent there you know does and willing to do anything including staying at their side. Not wierd it is their life in the balance. If You believe in prayer this is time drop to those knees put your hand on their chest stand in their place ask for their needs pray constantly for each need thanking God for the answers and guidance strength wisdom. And that person has hope. Pray out loud let them hear positivity whether they believe or not they hear your live and commitment to them can give them your strength to borrow. I told him take my little strength use it to make a dec and ill go do it with you. Its a we thing im here for the long haul you will see the other side of this its only temporary setback i said to him alot!! Fibally he walked the dog about really four country blocks his own decision and took a shower. He made small strides I praised made a big deal of because i knew it really was a big deal. He is closer to him now than in years off pain pillsand suffering physixally but not bad as i said under great care. Gabapentin increasesed slow and lorazapam lowered slowly its very dangerous to stop gave him two violent seizures near killed him fell down a flight of stairs and a head injury so they put him on a reduxed dose pronto he feels strong enough he wants off of it but he can stroke out it must be down to a certain level and gabbapentin at a certain high level to take over its science they know best let them. I say. I know why he wants off due to its highly addictive medicine he was never warned and should have been dr. Was tild ge was a former addict w a addictive personality should never been prescribed all the meds he was on. They made him a legal jukie. The amt of pain pills on daily coulda stobed out 4 elephants and did nearly kill him 27 heart stents open heart and 1 bypass and 2 heart attacts after that. So it was taking him out i think he saw no way off of it all. May have got him to that bed! Lost hope of ever being truely clen. Vision have one and share it with your love say I see hope you’ll be up and we can do this together. That in itself is real hope they can’t speak right now watch the eyes you may see a twinkle for the first time. Take any hope and hold it tight. Real tight. You both get there . trust in something bigger than you that Loves you both call prayer groups look on the web for them they will do what you may not be able yet but you will see how big Gid is and He cares for both of You and feels your loved ones pain knows it well ask him to take what is paralyzes them, He will never doubt the T will come once they can see you are there and do care won’t leave let them gain strength to raise up first they must get mad enough at it all to desire to get out of bed that’s an inside job! Only they and your hard prayer and carefully filling them with Gatorade or equivalent and protiene cracker pnut butter corn tortillas w beans form a perfect protiene for a vegetarian salads pumped up W chesses and prtienes ask a health food store what to add to a salad but finger foodvenison jerkey beef jerkeyturkey jerkey eggs milk Nestle’s quick higher protiene NE than boost! Read labelsxottage cheese w peaches pnut butter cookies homemade w milk. Broths with crackers but spread cheese or anything healthy avocado great high protiene wgood fat! Read on the web you will learn fast . potatoes spinache dip on crackers . make them wipe off with scented pampers wipes wearingfresh CLOTHES daily clean sheets . play the radio to their choice unless you hear bummer music and tell it’s bringi g them down nope off! Watch TV programs light hearted topic not murder killi g missing people junk like that don’t belong. Be there for a miracle it will come then get best Psychiatric help you can afford. You get what you pay for a humans life! .stick to it do not give up or be HATEFUL . you’ll be pushing off the cliff. Your the only support. They have watch who is let in no negative people who could trigger it worse . watch carefully don’t tell anyone that’s priacy of patient. Be wise. And kind. Love them till they love them again!! Good job!!!. You can do it!! Never quit before the miracle.

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