Does sharing with a group of this nature actually help sufferers?

Hi, I will share up front that I am not a sufferer, but the parent of a young adult who suffers from severe depression and loneliness. I have to be very careful what I suggest to this person because I have come to realize that what seems like a good and rational idea to me does not look the same to them from their perspective. When I read some of the posts from people going through bad times it sounded just like speaking to this person - no hope, loneliness, despair, believing that world will never change and that they will never be happy.

I would be grateful to hear if sharing thoughts and receiving feedback and encouragement on a support site such as this actually makes a difference to sufferers and would you truly recommend it to someone in this person's position, and why. Many thanks in advance for anything you are willing to share.

30 Replies

  • my opinion anything is worth a try even if it dosnt be of any least one has try'd and can eliminate that thought of "i wonder if that would be of help"...good luck.

  • Thanks Steve. I am certainly willing to try anything if it will help.

  • for me it helps me recall that i am not alone, that people can find ways to get through bad times, i can get advice from people who have been there, because in the day to day world people put on a front and it is easy to feel isolated when depressed, as if you are the only person in the midst of "perfect" people. Looking through the posts does give an idea of how the health system works, which as a parent will be useful.

    On the other hand some depression forums can be quite triggering and stir up strong emotions. Not sure how old your son is, but if he is already a teenager he may be looking at self-help sites soon anyway, I think this one is quite grown up in its approach, and less triggering than some,

    Look around as many forums as you can, see how often they are used, whether they have too many triggering postings, see how practical they are, how often members offer advice----- Do some homework and hopefully you can help guide him in the safest direction.. good luck

  • Really helpful suggestions - thank you.

  • Hiya

    I was diagnosed with depression nine years ago, and for a long time I lived a lonely and confused existence, trying to hide how I was feeling from the world around me. I peaked and troughed according to the strength of tablets I was taking and my circumstances around the time.

    It was only in the last year, when I joined this forum and sought counselling to help me understand why I was depressed in the first place, that I started to really feel better.

    Why don't you show your son or daughter that you have registered on this site, and perhaps suggest that they join too? It might be that they don't feel comfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings somewhere with their mum checking in too, but if they're ok with it, it would be something for you both to share and would show your child how much you want to support them.

    Don't forget that you need to be supported too. Depression is an illness that affects the sufferer themselves, plus their loved ones. There's no reason why you can't stay as a member for your own reasons x

  • I will give your suggestions some thought. One of my concerns is that this person is very stubborn, as well as being distrustful of "the system" which she deems to have failed her so far, and is therefore reluctant to go back to counseling for more help, or even to her doctor for more help. I need to find a way through this to get her back to "wanting" to get better. Thanks for your reply.

  • Well she's very lucky to have a Mum who cares enough about her to take the time to look into ways to help her x

  • It could be more that she doesn't feel like there is anything that can help her - certainly when I hit the darkest points, the problem isn't that I don't want to get better, it's that I don't think I can. It could be that she feels it's not worth the effort because it's not going to help.

    One of the best things about this site for me is that we're not the system. We're not counsellors, we're not doctors, we're just people who suffer from depression. We don't judge and we can understand without having it explained to us how someone feels.

    Depression is a very isolating illness. Most of us spend a lot of our time putting on a brave face and pretending we're ok. On here it's good to just drop the facade and not have to fake that I'm alright, in an environment where I know I won't be judged or have to explain or justify myself. People just listen and support.

  • I think that is exactly how she feels - nothing is ever going to help me, so what is the point of even trying anything else. I have a shit life, I've always had a shit life and I always will have a shit life. No one - in her opinion - understands her - and of course I don't really understand this. Perhaps coming onto a site like this might make her feel less isolated and alone. Worth a try I guess? Thanks for responding with your thoughts.

  • That is pretty much what it feels like, yeah. Has she ever been to group therapy, or in support groups or anything? As a depressed person, when you're only dealing with "normal" people (for want of a better word), it does feel like nobody understands. It's really hard for anyone who's not had depression to understand it, because it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I really empathise with your situation, because I know how frustrating people like us must be to deal with sometimes. If she's not talked to other people with depression then I can imagine she would feel like nobody understands.

    There's a book I read a while ago that helped a lot. Depression: the curse of the strong by Tim Cantopher. I'd recommend that - to yourself as well. If anything can help you to understand what goes on in a depressed person's mind then I reckon it's that book.

  • Thanks, I will read the book. She refuses pretty much everything just now - she refuses counseling and therapy because she is so fed up that nothing has really helped her in the past. Its very difficult to know what to do in these situations as she refuses to go back to her doctor and has stopped all medication.

  • Hello, I would say this site helps me ; it may help you as a parent and seems that it already has in that you can see that other people feel the same as your son/daughter. I think if they are a teenager as gardengnome says if they want to seek out this kind of help they can easily find it. My advice would be just to be tolerant which is easier said than done sometimes as you may feel you want to "do" something; let him/her know you are there but do not question too much or try and come up with too many suggestions. This can feel like "pressure" to someone in that sort of state and could make them feel worse as resources are very low and often sleep is a big factor; they may need to sleep a lot; it isn't laziness as i'm sure you will know; it is mental depletion which they need to recover from. Could maybe help by accompanying to the doctors as anti-depressants may help but I would only offer this as a suggestion and not force them unless things are desperate. Don't question the reality of what they are saying if that makes any sense? It may be very distressing to you to hear a lot of negativity, it may probably make you feel angry and hopeless and frustrated at times. Just try and be there in the background and gently available if required but don't try to "buck them up" as it could make them feel worse. Hope this helps and good to see your post. Gemma x

    PS Meant to say also and I'm sure you will have read on here that depression is different from schizophrenia but the symptoms can appear the same. If this person is very very withdrawn or behaving very oddly from before then do keep an eye out; shizophrenia is a more serious illness and you will need medical intervention to cope with this, or there may be some drug abuse going on which again is another matter which you would need to seek help for.

  • All the signs you have identified we have been through time and time again and I now know that we need to tread more easily than before, but as I said to an earlier post she is very wary of the system which she sees as having failed her in the past and wants no part of it any more. I was hoping that perhaps a site like this might get her back to thinking that there might indeed still be a way out, and also a place to vent and to get empathy from others who know what she is going through. I'm very sure that there has never been any drug abuse though, so that is one thing positive. Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Yes the system can be pretty rubbish at times and it can fail people, they are very under-resourced generally and often go for a "one size fits all" solution which is mainly drug focused. This can help some people as can CBT but also as well some problems can be very deep rooted.

    There is an Australian site "mood gym" which is very good and allows you to do your own therapy from home. Another good site you can recommend is

    It must be very frustrating for you but she will know at some level that you care and that will be meaningful to her even if she is not able to show it she would almost undoubtedly feel worse if you were not there even if she cannot express this to you. Best regards X and like Lucy said there is no reason why YOU cannot seek support on here as you need support in this situation.

  • Thank you again. It makes ME feel better knowing that there are people out there who will understand what she is going through and will try to help, so I think I will definitely suggest she tries something like this. I will also look up those site you have mentioned. I much appreciate your help.

  • I think yes, this site is helpful and it reminds you that you are not alone in how you are feeling. I think many of us can recognise patterns of thought or behaviour in other posts and for me it makes me realise that others are going through similar problems, having similar symptoms. I do not feel so isolated. I have not posted any questions but just reading the posts and responses can help me when I am feeling very down or alone. I think the other thing is that this site, for me anyway, is not part of the 'system' or at least doesn't feel like that. It is for fellow sufferers of depression to share feeling and thoughts and provide and receive support. Good luck,

    Sarah x

  • Thanks for posting this advice in that case. I think I share your thoughts in that I think it SHOULD help her to have somewhere to go to see that there are others out there who feel the same and are somehow coping. My main concern was, and is, that reading of others' plights may trigger even worse thoughts. Thanks though.

  • dear kaneandhamish,

    trust me sharing your burdens and depressing thoughts of our elaorate and exquisite minds with others is the best cure you can give to yourself..... it did and still does wonders for me...... i was on the peak of depression wen i joined here nd believe me i am lot better now.... so come out and share coz we all r a family..... hope you are well n take care.... keeep in touch

  • Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • This site definitely won't make her feel worse. I'm sure a lot of people on here have felt that no one understands at some point in their life, because I think it is hard to understand unless you have had depression yourself.

    You have to remember that recovery is ultimately in your daughter's hands; it is far more important for you to be a good listener and support her than to give advice, however hard it may seem. Express your concern and encourage her to talk to you, as isolation is a massive problem for people with depression.

    She should see a doctor, but obviously you can't make her, she has to be willing to go. Try another doctor at your surgery maybe just for a general check-up. I think finding a doctor that she can connect with and she feels understands her will make her less anxious about going. You could offer to accompany her on her first visit. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with BPD and have accompanied her on most of her doctor's visits. She had not told her doctor's before about her problems because they 'made her feel uncomfortable' but this one she really liked. Also, help her make a list of symptoms before she goes. That way she may feel less awkward having to tell them.

  • I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences and suggestions. I am going to raise the subject of joining a group such as this with her as I am now reassured by the volume and sincerity of the responses I have received that it can only help, and not hinder the cause. Thanks again.

  • This has definately helped me. I have a range of strategies to cope with depression such as excercise, listening to music and using this site. We never get rid of depression but just learn to live with it.

    We must never let it beat us!


  • Great to hear that you can"t be beaten! I applaud and agree!

  • I agree with david about trying to find a range of stratagies.

    there are mobile phone apps , such as headspace, books such as the one that was recommended to me.

    (the mindful way through depression ) available on amazon.

    both of these involve meditation.

    there are lots of web sites like ,

    living life to the full .com

    I also keep a daily diary !

    writing the thoughts down and looking back to try to improve things , is a recognised way of de stressing, I find useful.

    but the one thing that has helped me more is this site !.

    I feel myself getting my sence of humour back after a few visits to the site.

    the people you will meet , have been through the mill, so to speak

    my own case of anxiety was due to a recent head on car accident that has kept me off work for four months, and another few months to go !

    I get onto the site most days, and see some of the desperation ,and actually feel good to be able ( hopefully )

    to help , others in the same situation.

    my journeys just starting !.

    so is yours,

    talk to your son /daughter.

    let them see they are NOT ALONE! .




  • Thanks for your ideas. Much appreciated.

  • kaneandhamish. Just a quick note to say well done to you. You are a good person, friend & parent to do this to try and help your son/daughter. Perhaps let them read all of this to show them that you care enough for her that you have tried to understand their mindset a little. Not all parents or friends do this. You have my respect. Good luck to both of you

  • Thanks for your kind words. I wish it were as simple as showing her how much we care! That would be easy. I'm afraid it is a lot more complicated though. Thanks.

  • Hi

    As someone who uses this website for my own personal depression then I must answer YES it does help to share my feelings on it.

    However as someone who is also a trained therapist I would ask why you are suggesting other places that your child can turn to as it suggests they do not feel able to turn to you. I am wondering why that is and whether we can help you to change that situation. I must make clear that I am not suggesting you are the cause of the depression but as the parent you know your child better than any of us ever can and as such may already have some idea about what is depressing him/her.

    You say your child is now a young adult - I am wondering whether he or she says they are depressed and lonely, also whether have any support from anyone else in the family, or from local mental health services. If you think it may be helpful you could write further about what you think may be troubling your child and we may be able to help you to help them until such time as they find help for themselves.


  • Where to start? A 25 year old who has felt "lost" for 10 years. A life which many would envy has, for her, been full of mainly downs, and she is in a place now where she would rather be dead, and has tried to make that happen. Being a difficult person to be around she has seen many friends desert her and now has no-one to turn to for help and support. No hope, would sum up her mood when she is feeling well, and free from the depression. Does not want help - refuses to return to the Health Service for help as she totally dismisses them as uninterested and useless. Does not want help getting "better" from us, her parents, as she believes there literally is "no point" as nothing will ever change or get better. We are trying to get her to go back fro medication but so far she refuses.

    We do need help to help her and are currently trying to get her doctor to speak to us.

    Any suggestions welcomed. Thanks for your interest.

  • It sounds like you are very stressed and needing support with how you are feeling. I really feel for you and I just don't know what to say.

    It does sound like you are at your whits end with your daughter. She may have an illness such as schizphenia or bi-polar which can be so difficult to deal with. She may have issues with you, with her sexuality, with God knows what as it seems difficult to fathom.

    The problem is it could be anything. Some children are "spoiled" and need a kick into independence but it does not sound like this to me. Some are chronically ill and need accurate diagnosis. Some may be reacting to something in you even though you are doing your damndest that you don't understand. Some may have some inexplicable disorder or something that is bothering them that they will not tell you about. They may have some idea about themselves that you don't know about and is making everything seem hopeless.

    I applaud you for coming on here and to me it shows you are genuinely concerned and wanting to help. I think the best thing may be to see what the doctor has to say. Your daughter seems very silent in this. You say she tried to commit suicide. That must have been horrendous for you and I can understand how you are feeling as a mother /father. What would happen were she to move away from home? Has she been to a college or anything like that? You may not want to share but i am trying to get a full picture. Maybe it isn't fair to discuss her too much on here though as she may feel you are intruding too much; so I will say no need to answer that one. Just think about it for yourselves. You say many would envy her life; so she has had material things, is that what you mean, and emotional things, and you just don't understand how she could be like this?

    I really feel for you. It could be just a terrible mental illness. I know how devastating it is for families who care. It would be so easy for me to say just get on with your life and act normal but how can you when you care so much? I remember watching a tragic documentary about a heroin addict it was called "Ben, the diary of a heroin addict". His parents were completely loving and did everything they could to accomodate him and in the end he destroyed himself. The hell they went through must have been immense. I know your daughter is not an addict but I am just comparing what you are going through with what they must have been going through.

    Try and get on with your life. Do what you can and know in your heart you want to help. Just do what you can. Try and get the doctor to talk as I think this is a serious mental health issue myself and so tragic when someone has this kind of illness. Gemma X

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