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Depression Support Center Depression Support Center

Dos and Don'ts for dealing w/ somone w/ a chronic condition

Posted by on Apr. 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM
  • 7 Replies

 1. Don't assume because I look well that I feel well. Looks can be very deceiving. Many days I look great, but I feel terrible.

2. Don't tell me that you know how I feel. Non one knows how anyone else feels. Two people with the same disease may feel totally different. We all have varying thresholds of pain and pain cannot be measured.

3. Don't tell me "It could be worse". Yes, it could be, but I don't need to be reminded.

4. Don't decide what I am capable of doing. Allow me to decide what activities I can participate in. There may be times I make the wrond decision, and I do, I'll know soon enough.

5. Don't be upset that you cannot ease my problems. It won't do any good for both of us to be miserable.

6. Don't ask me how I feel unless you really want to know. You may hear a lot more than you are prepared to listen to.

7. Don't assume because I did a certain activity yesterday that I can do it today.

8. Do learn everything you can about the disease. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to know what to expect.

9. Do realize I am angry and frustrated with the disease, not with you.

10. Do let me know you are available to help me when I ask. I will be grateful.

11. Do offer me lots of hugs and encoureagement.

12. Do understand why I cancel plans at the last minute. I never know from one day to the next how I will feel.

by on Apr. 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM
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Replies (1-7):
diaperstodating
by Bronze Member on Apr. 10, 2013 at 10:53 AM
1 mom liked this
I love this! Our family and friends need to be informed of this!
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
deltathree
by Gold Member on Apr. 10, 2013 at 11:47 AM
1 mom liked this

This is excellent - tfs!

matreshka
by Ruby Member on Apr. 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I wish my DH would understand #9 more.

leahbeah143
by Leah on Apr. 10, 2013 at 12:47 PM

 

Quoting diaperstodating:

I love this! Our family and friends need to be informed of this!

 That was my thinking!

lyrick24
by Ruby Member on Apr. 10, 2013 at 2:03 PM

 that all sounds so much like me. i think i am going to have to let my family read this.

lancet98
by Bronze Member on Apr. 11, 2013 at 8:23 AM

 I kind of agree with all of these, to a point.   And in some ways, I think your reactions are the depression talking and something you should not 100% give in to.

When depressed, we often resent comments that seem to 'make light of' depression or suggest a little bit more effort will chase it away.   We may even put too much interpretation into what are actually honest, innocent comments.

But that's just people's own experience - their depression responds to home remedies, and is briefer and lighter.  In that sense, it's easier to deal with.

But is it really so bad, to go for a walk, or eat a good meal, or appreciate the encouragement or complements of others?  Should we immediately discard EVERY complement or effort at encouragement as so terribly wrong?

I don't actually believe we should respond to EVERY complement as insensitive and unfair.  

My suggestion is quite different from this list - look for the feeling and tone behind the words - and look at the body language and the expression of the person.   Their comments may be naive, but perhaps there is a warm heart behind it, and a concern and kindness.

For example - I think that these two are very, very different in nature:

A depressed person is sitting slumped in a chair on her porch, and a neighbor marches up and shouts, 'Hey lazy butt, get moving, no wonder you're depressed, you're so frikkin lazy!'

How different it is when the neighbor comes up and says, 'I was wondering if you might like to go for a walk with me.   The kids and I are going to the park', and at some point you mention how depressed you are, and she says, 'and yet you were able to comb your hair and put on that lovely bracelet'....those are very, very different encounters.   The second one offers real encouragement and notices your efforts.


Quoting leahbeah143:

 1. Don't assume because I look well that I feel well. Looks can be very deceiving. Many days I look great, but I feel terrible.

I can understand that a person can feel bad inside despite being nicely groomed and pretty.   However, it also isn't healthy to snap back any time someone offers a complement or tries to say something encouraging.

2. Don't tell me that you know how I feel. Non one knows how anyone else feels. Two people with the same disease may feel totally different. We all have varying thresholds of pain and pain cannot be measured.

Kinda sorta.   I don't actually feel it really is that difficult for a person to understsand how we feel.    Everyone has experienced SLIGHT depression, SLIGHT anxiety, SLIGHT fears.   What they lack is not the actual experience, but the depth and persistence of it.   I do believe that it is possible to EMPATHIZE with someone's experience even though one has not experienced it to the same degree of severity.

3. Don't tell me "It could be worse". Yes, it could be, but I don't need to be reminded.

Again, I look at the spirit in which it was said - just a kind of innocent, 'knee jerk' sort of reaction or conversation habit, or a real attempt to hurt.  

4. Don't decide what I am capable of doing. Allow me to decide what activities I can participate in. There may be times I make the wrond decision, and I do, I'll know soon enough.

Again, sometimes we really need to be pushed beyond our comfort envelope.   That isn't always so bad.

5. Don't be upset that you cannot ease my problems. It won't do any good for both of us to be miserable.

Ah....'upset' may be honest concern and that ain't so bad.  I wouldn't always see it as upset because they can't instantly remove yur depression.

6. Don't ask me how I feel unless you really want to know. You may hear a lot more than you are prepared to listen to.

Again, ALL people have experienced pain and sadness, and have SOME ability to empathize.   Their feelings probably differ only in degree and persistence.

7. Don't assume because I did a certain activity yesterday that I can do it today.

Ah...maybe.   And again, maybe you can do more than you think.   And maybe being able to do what you did yesterday, should be a goal, not something to resent.

8. Do learn everything you can about the disease. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to know what to expect.

100% in agreement.

9. Do realize I am angry and frustrated with the disease, not with you.

Ah....to a point.   Even the most severely ill person doesn't have the right to dump their anger and frustration on some naive passerby.   Your rights to do that don't suddenly go up because you are ill and suffering.   It may happen, but it's not your privilege and it's nothing to try to preserve.

10. Do let me know you are available to help me when I ask. I will be grateful.

Ah...again, to a point.  If barging in during a suicide attempt is what 'only help me when I ask' comes down to - no.   Sometimes people are going to jump in when you are endangering yourself.

11. Do offer me lots of hugs and encoureagement.

Ah...depends.   Some people have other illnesses with depression, such as PDD or schizophrenia, in which they may be hypersensitive to touch.

12. Do understand why I cancel plans at the last minute. I never know from one day to the next how I will feel.

Ah....to a point.   To a point the depressed person needs to make an honest effort not to let that happen.

So....in general, I agree with ALL these things, but only to a certain point.   Make every effort possible NOT to dump anger and frustration on others, make every effort to NOT be able to do something one day and then go backwards for weeks after, make every effort to MEET obligations and invitations - don't view not doing so as a special right or privilege of the depressed.   View it as an unfortunate and temporary event.


 

Serenity7
by Silver Member on Apr. 11, 2013 at 3:27 PM

 Thanks for posting

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