Advice : What should I do? There is a... - Anxiety and Depre...

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What should I do?

There is a man, a good man, in my life who has trouble communicating his emotions. As he put it, "when bad things happen, I shut down and my mind goes blank. I don't feel anything physically like I'm numb."

Today he was going through something and just sat there in silence while I asked him questions. He kept answering "I don't know" to almost everything I said and I could see he was shutting down. Head down, eyes to the floor, quiet when he spoke, stuff like that. I told him journaling helps me so he felt comfortable writing some of his feelings down on there (which is where I got the above quote). He said I could read it so I did to further help him.

Any advice on how to help him from here? He is looking for therapists but as someone in his life who cares about him, I still would like to help if I can. I know it's not my job to "fix" him but I want to be a good support system. Also I know men and women are very different so particularly men on here who struggle with maybe depression and expressing your emotions and feeling numb, what are things that could help you? What do you suggest? Or any women who have helped men go through this? He is very open to my suggestions but not others so I think if I figure out a few things and act as though they were my ideas then he would give them a try

11 Replies

Honestly the best thing you can do is just be there for them, there is no magic word you can say that will change him

These blocks take time to remove, as a guy my self I have always refused to show emotion in a public setting or infront of others.

As men a lot of us are brought up with that stiff upper lip syndrome and it just gets so engrained into your brain where despite everything life throws at you, your brain keeps telling you don't cry basically.

It took me a good 11/12 years to even open up to someone about how messed up my brain(thoughts) can be, and even now I still hold a lot back.

So that's all you can do, is be there for your friend, even when they are silent and shutdown, when they look backup they will see they are still not alone.

What do you do when they shut down and remove themselves from your presence for days/weeks?

Give them time, drop them messages, even if they don't respond, they will know you are still there

Don't push the issue, the harder you push them the more they will resist

When they are ready to speak again they will.

I am just speaking from how I have dealt with my crap over the years, I've gone months shutting people out.

Then I'm back as if nothing was going on.

Do you know the emotional damage you do to people who love and care about you!?! Especially a girlfriend?

Honestly, I thought I replied to this thread about 2 or 3 hours ago, did not realise it was 13 hours ago, people are used to me being that way, I have one really good friend I have known since school and he will message and call me an anti-social so and so if we have not spoken in a while.

Everyone else I know, just think it is the way I am, normally when I go radio silent its because I am lost in my brain, lost in my thoughts and sometimes I just need to be away from everyone.

And when I do eventually reply they are cool, he knows what's up, and yeah I do say it calmly because its who I have been since I was 13/14, it's something I have battled for so long that I try not to let it bug me out as much.

Due to my circumstances outside of my control, I have avoided any relationships, have had hookups here and there but nothing ever long term because how can I be expected to love someone else when I have struggled for so long to live my self.

If people need me they know where I am, if they really need help they know where I am when the gauntlet is down and they have trouble they know where I am, in this situations ill break radio silence, otherwise sometimes my own company is better then outside company.

It might come across as selfish but it's what I am used to, everyone is different, some people need contact, need company, me I just need to find my self.

I want to scream and yell at you for saying that statement so calmly, as if its ok behavior. Im extra sensitive right now because im so hurt. But going dark isnt ok for the people who crave a connection.

CJ2016 I’ve shut down for decades. As unhealthy as it is for all involved at least you know you do it. I didn’t even realize. So I’m proud of you.

The PTSD that causes a shut down isn’t the same thing as purposely going dark. Why is he doing this? It’s hard to help him if we don’t know why he’s shutting down. His response is pure. He’s even moved forward somewhat. He’s not in fight/fright. He’s in shock. Something happened in his life that taught him to go numb or ‘die’.

This is deep but to verbalize that he’s doing better than most. I’d say he needs a trauma therapist and until then one must say ‘I’ll be here when you’re ready to move away from this subject for now’. It’s an awful waiting game. I’m down to a 72-hour waiting period.

While you wait think of him as a scared child hiding in a cabinet or an animal holding really still. Movement means ‘death’. He basically told you that.

Just love and be kind and patient. It’s a tough thing to deal with as the person and for our friends.

Best of luck to you.


Thanks, honestly its been going on for so long as time goes by I become more self-aware so to speak, and yeah sometimes even though you know your shutting down, trying to get out of that cycle is hard, sometimes can take weeks or months, depends where your head goes.

It's been a while since I have had any episodes of being depressed or anything, even after certain events that have happened, I can say I feel fine, I still get bad days but not as much as I use to.

I still get suicidal thoughts(not as often), not self-harmed in over a year and a half, it's felt that long I don't even recall anymore how long it been, the urge comes and goes to do it but I just ignore it.

Suppose getting tattoos give that little bit of a dopamine fix that I use to get when cutting.

All in all, recent months I have been feeling chilled, without needing to take medication or anything to feel that way, I just remedy my self with keeping my mind occupied and my hands busy.

And by telling my self stop being so negative, tried a bit of meditation done it for a week or two got bored of it, got my self some mala beads, when I have nothing to do with my hands I play with my Mala beads, go through each bead and have a word for each one, i.e strength, healing, protection, wisdom, knowledge, etc basically keeps my hands busy as well as my mind.

Things that used to annoy me, I no longer let them annoy me, thing's people use to say to annoy me, I just give them a shrug of the shoulder, the last 2 months or so, I have blocked all negativity from surrounding me and just tried to stay positive and not let negativity in.

Listen to yourself. You know you can't fix him and yet you are trying to find an excuse to do just that. I know you want to save him , but you may sacrifice your relationship if you step into that role. He might end up resenting you. Leave him alone to fight his own demons and be there for him, to listen and encourage.

hitbyasegway, of course you want to help!. See if you can find an emotions chart, aka feeling wheel - this has helped my husband name his feelings where before I just got "nothing". A good counselor will also have this in their bag of tools.

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