How to help someone that is withdrawn... - Anxiety and Depre...

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How to help someone that is withdrawn during severe depression


My sibling has encountered a bad state of depression as of late and seems to not want to communicate or talk to us . I feel this is not healthy in terms of healing or getting help and I also want him to know we care and we are thinking of him . We live 20 hrs apart and our only way of knowing how he is , is if he communicates to us our his wife does .. problem is she doesn’t want any of us blowing up her phone as she says or excessive text messaging she has to reply to . ( which we would never do ) . We feel very lost in how to get the message across we care and our here without making them feel suffocated by us . We would like to know how he is doing as we do care ? Any suggestions on how to reach him .. or break the barrier ? Is this normal-for people with depression to isolate themselves from family ? I am very worried . His wife is also not anxious to provide updates as well which I find so weird . Any suggestions ? When I suffered from depression prior to being on medication I needed my friends and family ... I find this so different . Any I site or feed back . I did send him a heart warming message today that went unreplied to .. I feel so sad we can’t even be there to be a support .

13 Replies


Everyone experiences depression differently. It's not unusual to isolate yourself if you feel so bad. Numerous things might be going through his head. He might not know where to begin to talk about his feelings, he might feel a burden on others if he talks about his feelings, etc.

It could be that he just needs some space to work things out in his mind.

All you can do is offer to be there for him, which it sounds like you're already doing.

HiddenThis reply has been deleted
Downandout123 in reply to Hidden

Send him a beautiful basket of fruit, or candy, or whatever he really likes. Just let the card read that you are thinking of him and that you care. I'm sure, no matter what his mood, this will make him feel at least somewhat better. Then he might reach out to you. Just keep the card simple. Unexpected gifts ALWAYS put a smile on my face!😊

Agora1 in reply to Downandout123

Downandout, I like your idea. We all like to feel that someone cares. :) xx

Thanks I sent him a really nice text message yesterday but it went unanswered . Last time this happened I flew there and he was experiencing extreme paranoia and hallucinations . I really worry for him and with no communication I feel I am so lost . I struggle with depression myself but it’s under control but I have never felt that I didn’t want to talk to my siblings or appreciate there effort to call . I just am struggling .

I still say to send him something. I don't think it will go unanswered.

Jinxed20 in reply to Hidden

Thanks . I can appreciate someone wanting to be left alone and not be bothered . I guess we just want to know he’s okay . We have struggled with keeping an open dialogue with his wife so we are in the dark although the family all get alone . It’s just a very trying time . We live so far away and I truly think of him every day . I’d hate for him to think we don’t think of him or we don’t care . I also question the amount of isolation as well ... is that even healthy ... his wife gets the brunt of his on going worries and so on and I feel that’s a real load for her . I feel sad he doesn’t feel he can reach out to us .

Birmanblue in reply to Jinxed20

Hi Jinxed it's not pleasant not living nearby to drop in to see your brother. He is probably needing sleep and rest to help recovery. His wife understands him and may be needs to concentrate on him without phone calls. If someone thinks they are talking about them behind their back it makes them feel worse. He is not well enough to text. He probably is not opening texts. When he is better he will feel more in control. Just send e mails to your sister in law sending them both and family all your love . Sending something in the post might cheer him up but don't expect a reply from either of them. If you have any nieces or nephews you could text them to say you are having difficulty in contacting their dad and chat to them. Am sure you will get feed back from someone eventually. Take care of yourself and try not to worry as he is being cared for.

Jinxed20 in reply to Birmanblue

Thanks I guess I just love him and want the best for him . You are right though he probably isn’t well enough to send text messages or it isn’t his priority right now .MY mom ( his mom) he has even replied to which has left her very worried and distressed . ( she is 80) I find it confusing his wife would not update family at least once a week to let us know how he is ... I just feel like we aren’t important or that we shouldn’t care as much as we do for him or they would prefer we don’t . It very confusing to me because I’m sure if I called his wife’s mother she would know how my brother is . They do have 2 kids but they are young and don’t understand . She also limits them talking on the phone with us as well as has always had a very structured lifestyle of which calling or texting doesn’t very often fit in to there plans . I feel like he’s been isolated from us ... I’m feeling pretty broken . I guess we just have to except what is and trust if things go off right off the rails they will call . That’s I guess all we can prey and hope for . It would I guess have to be that bad for them to reach out by the looks of it .I have always felt that the dynamic of his and his wife’s relation ship has played a role in his health and that is by keeping him so busy and restricted in calling that he’s given up . She is very controlling of his time and his contact with us .. I have no idea why it’s just the way she is .. it’s like we are a bother . So this is why I question his not replying .... is it her or is it him ? I’m struggling and don’t understand why someone or how someone could have so much control over someone .. that they can’t call there family even once or twice a month . I don’t think it’s asking a whole lot and we have never ever done or said anything to make them feel like they weren’t loved or cared for by us . It’s just the way she is and he has to fit into it otherwise as he would say “she will scream at me “ . I’m lost .. totally and broken . I realize this isn’t about me this is about him and I love him with all my heart . I just wish he new that and I feel he’s just given up on life because he’s compartmentalized his family of which in most cases we don’t fit in anywhere to his life because there is no time for a 5 minute phone call. My other sibling it’s also the same way with him as well . We don’t want to give up and just forget him , but on the other side of it I am worrying myself sick for someone I can’t even reach .out to or be allowed to care for and it plain sucks . I had a photo of him with a great big fish he got last yr when we visited him and I sent him that photo . I won’t reach out not again as I’d be afraid his wife would feel we are blowing up her/his phone . Even though it wAs one text since he’s been ill . That how nervous I get of doing something wrong in her eyes . It’s really crazy . There marriage also struggles as well .it just sucks all around .

Birmanblue in reply to Jinxed20

That's a hard one. The distancing in relationship is hard on you all. At least they are sticking together as a family . She has a lot on her plate with two children and her handling of her husband does not sound great almost as if she is driving him to the edge with his mental health. We have a lock down here and only go out for a walk once a day. His social isolation sounds as if he is withdrawing and sleeping throughout the day. Some meds take weeks to work and can make some people worse. As Gran has not heard from her daughter-in-law there is no feedback. What a light idea to send a photo of him with big fish. Hope you have a copy of this as it might get tidied away without him seeing it. My dad had to ask my uncle's neighbours to keep an eye on his brother after he had flu and phoned the police to see if he was ok. My husband was able to ask neighbour and they were kind. This virus restricts folk so may be the virus has spread to their area. If you are worried with no contact you could phone the social services in the area to see if things are ok but would wait a bit. Sending some lock down toys might help for kids but it sounds as if it is stalemate at the moment. It would only make things worse if you acted too soon but it is hurtful when you can't contact someone you love. Is it a question if a few days or weeks?

Hidden in reply to Jinxed20

Yep, I understand! Although you're family and family looks out for each other, I still want to applaud you for your kindness to him!

Can you send something light like a series of post cards that would make them laugh, maybe something that only you both know about? It might pierce the apathy fortress and get a smile, at least.

Jinxed20 in reply to Derpy_716

Maybe I need to get creative . I really don’t know . I feel I need to try harder without being a bother to break through somehow . Thanks for the idea . I really care about him and just want him to know he is loved by us all regardless what’s going on in his home life that we can’t see .

Derpy_716 in reply to Jinxed20

Sometimes if you feel that bad you don't have the energy to respond to anything that requires any effort, so something light might do that? But, something light (not vapid - like, hey cheer up) like a shared experience reference might be better. :)

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