Author Topic: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always  (Read 6612 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3867
Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« on: October 02, 2012, 01:35:09 AM »
My question is basically; At what point do offers of help become too pushy? What are Ehellions personal preferences on this?

The situation is: I have a friend who is really struggling at the moment. I haven't seen her as much as usual recently because we were both busy (I thought). However a few weeks ago I invited her to an activity I know she enjoys and she said she maybe couldn't make it, but would try to get there, and added that she was feeling really down at the moment. From the words she used I suspect she has been diagnosed with depression. She didn't make the activity in the end and although she told me that afternoon that she was still going to try and make it didn't text or anything when she didn't. No problem etiquette wise, she knew it was a group thing so I wouldn't be on my own or anything, but it isn't like her.

After a few days I texted her to say "Missed you the other night, want to catch up for coffee or something?". She then messaged me on fb letting me know the whole situation - basically they are flat broke, she's struggling with depression and a big part of that is that she is finding it so difficult to leave the house with no money and lots of kids, and mentioned that any catch up would have to be free and suit taking the kids. I messaged her back and provided a number of suggestions a few actually free, but I also suggested other things (dinner, the activity we both enjoy) and told her it would be my honour to pay for her and let me know what would be best for her.

Anyway, I know she read the message about 3 days ago but I haven't heard anything back. Now I am worried I've offended her, but I'm also worried that she's just too down to make the effort to reply. We have a very strict 'girl code' so contacting her husband to organise a night out is out of the question. DH suggested that I just ring her and say "Right. I'm taking you out. I'll pick you up at X o'clock" or something, but that seems rude and pushy to me.

So I'd love to hear from ehellions, particularly those of you who have gone through similar rough times. I really think that she needs to get out of the house - in fact she said so. But should she be left to do it at her own pace? Am I ignoring a cry for help or taking a hint? Argh! I'm dreadful in these situations unfortunately, so please help  :-\
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

Allyson

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2018
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 01:57:36 AM »
She might feel very stressed by the idea of responding to everything in your email. I know when I get down and overwhelmed, the idea of answering *everything* is just too much, and I feel like if I just answer one thing, that will be rude. So I will let things sit way longer than I should. I think you were totally fine to send the email--she might just not be capable of properly responding right now.

Maybe you could email, call, or text her with something short, just a simple, "Hey, I've been thinking of you! If you have any free time I would love to get together--do any of these days/times work for you?" And then suggest some specific times. If all she has to say is 'Tuesday, 4 PM' that might take a lot of the pressure off.

I wouldn't recommend this as a normal relationship situation, but for someone struggling with her issues, it might help.

lovepickles

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 02:31:27 AM »
I struggle with this all the time. Depression, lack of funds, etc. It is really hard to get out of the house once you start feeling  crappy. Also I'm afraid that if people are used to me being in a good mood part of the time I'm afraid I'll damage my decent relationships when I'm feeling ok again.

As someone who has some I vote that you keep at it and risk being overly persistent. Don't preach or anything but I'd love it if I had a friend who called and asked if I wanted to do something the same day and if I said no then say something like "Ok well I'll call you in a few days or so and see if you feel like doing something else. If in the meantime you feel like hanging out give me a call."  And then totally backing off. Sometimes just knowing someone wants to hang out leads to someone coming out of their shell.

I wouldn't offer to pay for anything because that changes the dynamic and it is too much of a challenge. Find some free things to do and suggest them. Parks, museum free days, outdoor festivals are all good suggestions. Exercise is also a GREAT idea. Walk and talk. Or if you are feeling EXTRA cheesy go volunteer for something together. Think environmental stuff, animal shelter, etc. Another possiblity is to give her an awesome book to escape with in her downtime. Something fiction-y, you know? :) Or bring a movie over and watch it with her while her kids are napping. There are a million things to do that don't involve $$$. Board games, mud masks and nails ... somebody stop me!

<3

katycoo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3799
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 03:23:40 AM »
Another option is to go to her.  Take some nice coffee to her place, and sit and chat.  No stress of going out, no cost, nice catch up.

pierrotlunaire0

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4251
  • I'm the cat's aunt!
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 09:58:23 AM »
Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression most of my life, I would welcome the friend who showed up, made a pot of coffee, and said, "I wanted to see you because I like talking to you."

For me, one of the worst things about depression was feeling cut off and as if no one cared.  A friend who would reach out like that is a god send.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

Seraphia

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1775
  • Unabashed cat person
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 10:16:47 AM »
She might feel very stressed by the idea of responding to everything in your email. I know when I get down and overwhelmed, the idea of answering *everything* is just too much, and I feel like if I just answer one thing, that will be rude. So I will let things sit way longer than I should. I think you were totally fine to send the email--she might just not be capable of properly responding right now.

Just as an aside, Allyson, but I think you've explained something that's been bugging me for ages.

I have a deeply perfectionistic friend, and always have trouble getting ahold of her, even when she isn't depressed. I call and leave a voicemail, no response. I call with no voicemail, she's pretty likely to call back. I send her a long text, no response. I send her a short (ten words or less) text, and suddenly she's all over it, and wants to chat and we have a great conversation. If I don't contact her, we'll go anywhere from four to eight weeks without talking, and when she contacts me, she's perpetually apologizing for being "too tired." I never understood the pattern until just this second.

If she's thinking a bit like you, where it would be rude to not respond a whole email/text/voicemail/whatevs, but overwhelming to do so, so she just doesn't respond at all, that makes an *amazing* amount of sense.

Thank you.

[/threadjack]
Ancora Imparo - I am still learning

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 10:26:28 AM »
Another option is to go to her.  Take some nice coffee to her place, and sit and chat.  No stress of going out, no cost, nice catch up.

Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression most of my life, I would welcome the friend who showed up, made a pot of coffee, and said, "I wanted to see you because I like talking to you."

For me, one of the worst things about depression was feeling cut off and as if no one cared.  A friend who would reach out like that is a god send.

This and this. It takes care of the "free" and "kids included" requirements. It also gets her some face time with another person without having to get ready for public viewing (which can be daunting when one is depressed!).
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13987
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 10:32:22 AM »
Are her kids of an age where they could play at a park with minimal supervision?

If they are, maybe pack up a simple picnic lunch for all of you, go over and say, 'Grab the kids.  We'll have a picnic in the park and we can chat while they play on the swings.'
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

Two Ravens

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2322
  • One for sorrow, Two for mirth...
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 10:42:31 AM »
Another option is to go to her.  Take some nice coffee to her place, and sit and chat.  No stress of going out, no cost, nice catch up.

This is exactly what I was thinking. Sometimes just the thought of leaving the house can be overwhelming.

Maybe you could bring some treats for the kids as well. And then if she is feeling up to it, you could suggest going for a walk if the weather is good?

Coley

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1281
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 10:43:03 AM »
Another option is to go to her.  Take some nice coffee to her place, and sit and chat.  No stress of going out, no cost, nice catch up.

Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression most of my life, I would welcome the friend who showed up, made a pot of coffee, and said, "I wanted to see you because I like talking to you."

For me, one of the worst things about depression was feeling cut off and as if no one cared.  A friend who would reach out like that is a god send.

This and this. It takes care of the "free" and "kids included" requirements. It also gets her some face time with another person without having to get ready for public viewing (which can be daunting when one is depressed!).

POD to all of this. If she remains resistant to seeing you, I suggest texting or PMing regularly to let her know you're thinking of her and are there for her if she needs to talk. The availability of a supportive, listening ear can do wonders.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30829
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 05:03:59 PM »
Speaking as someone who has struggled with depression most of my life, I would welcome the friend who showed up, made a pot of coffee, and said, "I wanted to see you because I like talking to you."

For me, one of the worst things about depression was feeling cut off and as if no one cared.  A friend who would reach out like that is a god send.


Ditto!

I like this as a gradual transition into another state of thinking. And maybe you can pry her out for a simple walk around the block--lie and tell her you want to look at the houses in the neighborhood, or you saw an interesting garden on the other side of the block, and it'll help your acid reflux (after the coffee) to get up and move.

And if you REALLY want to help, maybe find a way to make that regular. The road out of depression is a long one, and having someone reliably want to be around her is pretty valuable.

One of the most valuable things to me was the friend who insisted that we have breakfast every other Wednesday. It gave me structure, and someone to talk to outside the depression.

Don't worry about being pushy--try to go for "insistent" and "I want to be around you. I'm coming to see you for myself." And then steer the conversation toward enjoyable things, and not wallowing in how bad she feels.

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3867
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 05:37:27 PM »
Thanks guys - that's so much help! Her children are too young to play unsupervised so the park is not as relaxing as it could be. I shall definitely go with regular, short, simple texts/messages so she knows I'm thinking of her. Will also suggest me coming to her.

It's great to get insight from people who've been on the other side so thanks again guys :)
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30829
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2012, 12:49:47 PM »
One other suggestion:
One of the most reliable cures for depression is to *do* something. So don't restrict any ideas to social stuff.

Go over and get her to help you clean up the kids' room. Or "find" some "leftover paint" and suggest you help her use it to paint the bathroom. Or something.

By being part of it, you'll get her started, and by finishing it, she'll feel better.

And I would also vote for not "totally backing off"--just pop up regularly with one specific invitation.

Softly Spoken

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 626
  • "I am a hawk on a cliff..."
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2012, 03:44:52 AM »
Stumbled on this topic and had to throw my two pennies in. I am in a major depression right now and I can a) POD with all PPs, b) say that the worst part of depression by far is the isolation and c) caution that there is a fine line between encouragement and 'bugging' someone. If you approach with empathy you should be okay, but if you hold her to your standards it can be disastrous.

When you are severely depressed, sometimes just getting out of bed is the highlight of your day. Sometimes you are lucky if you manage to take a shower and/or get dressed. Little things seem like big things and big things seem impossible. Invitations to do things (free or not) are not always the way to go if, for your friend, doing things takes more effort than usual.

My friend used to ask me to go do things and then keep pressuring me after I said no. I really resented her making me feel like I was being a stick in the mud - if I didn't feel like going that was my right. I'm sure she felt like she was just "encouraging" me to "come out of my comfort zone", but I ended up feeling like my feelings and boundaries were trampled on. :(

I want to reiterate that the best thing you can do is let her know you care - because the only thing worse than going through a hard time is going trough a hard time alone.

I am glad you are working so hard to find a way to help you friend, and I hope you are able to. :)
"... for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
-William Shakespeare

"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."  ~Frank A. Clark

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Help please: How much support is too much? - Long as always
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2012, 07:54:16 PM »
"Hi Friend,I need to get outside and don't want to go to a park alone. Care to to grab the kids and hang out for awhile?"

   this way you can make it seem like she is doing you a favor by bringing the kids, not imposing them on you.