Mental Health Support
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Supporting, Fatigue and Depression

Hi im new here and looking for support/advice. Skip to bottom if you want to miss out middle bit and get to the point lol.

A close family member has suffered from depression on and off all my life but has recently gone into a worse phase. I try and support as much as I can but it seems to make no difference and I can feel myself slipping back into depression with her.

Also, im suddenly tired all the time. I use to be like this when I was depressed so I suspect its linked to stress. Dont get me wrong I WANT to help the family member. I just want help with the side effects from the stress/depression/hopelessness it causes. It makes me unmotivated to do anything because I just feel like I need sleep. Of course, doing nothing makes me more depressed so I've started drinking more caffeine to beat the tiredness. It doesnt seem to help much and I know dependency on it will make me more tired. Its frustrating.

The point of this long post is:

1. How can I support someone when I seem to make no difference (she's on waiting lists for professionals but that could take months)

2. If my tiredness is caused by stress what can help?

(Note: can't remove stress source as I live with the family member and want to help them. I go outside daily and run every other day.)

Thanks for reading.

2 Replies

Hello Acquila, such straight forward questions and as with so many posts so difficult to answer but I'll try. Firstly its impossible for you to know whether you're making a difference as you don't know how bad your family member would be without your support. Its very likely your support is helping considerably but at some cost to yourself. Helping considerably is a relative term . You'll put a lot of effort in for little visible reward.Its doubtful whether the wisest of counsellors doing their utmost could guarantee a very noticeable improvement in a very depressed person , until as is almost always the case the depression ends. In my view therefore you should continue to do all you can ,within reason, as you would doubtless suffer some guilt if you did otherwise but within reason means limiting your efforts to well within those likely to affect your own health. I'm not an accountant or politician but I've given the sort of advice they would give. It sounds wonderful and is probably correct but useless. So I'll give a better answer ,reduce your effort by a considerable percentage, protecting your own health, and only step it up again if you notice a marked deterioration in your family member.

This should help with your second question. I would suggest that you agree an hour in the early evening or whenever, when you can sit together, maybe over a glass of wine, and review the day and discuss anything your relative wants to discuss. An hour is n' t long but living with your relative this could be seven days a week and that is an ample seven hours. each week. Be ruthless about it and try limit your support to that hour. Even when the professionals eventually arrive they are not going to give 7 hours a week support and if you are ruthless about it (you probably won't like that description) its only a limited clearly defined period of 1 hour each day. That should be possible without too much stress for you . In my experience conversations involving depression can go around the same endless loops time after time and its wise to limit the time available for this to happen. It does no one any good. Remember also that as far as practical support such as household chores a depressed person is not helpless and these should be shared, as equally and sensibly as possible.

You sound to me a very sensible and caring person and there's very little to be gained by putting pressure on your own health.



Hello Aquila I imagine this is very difficult for you wanting to help your family member,but at a sacrifice to yourself. I think you need to be a priority in your life , get yourself in a good place and then hopefully you'll be strong enough to help. It sounds as though this person has dealt with depression for some time without much success. Everyone reacts differently there is a chance you won't be able to do anything. I think consulting with a gp would be a good idea. I would ask if it's probable you can make a difference and also what you should do if you feel you're getting pulled further in to your own depression. Stay in touch, Pam


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