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Depression and Suicide If you or a loved one is feeling depressed or suicidal, you are not alone. Talk with other users about your feelings here.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Xujhan Offline
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Looking for Advice - July 14th 2009, 11:54 PM

First a quick disclaimer: I'm looking for help in helping a friend, not for myself. If that means this would be better placed in the Friends and Family section, whichever Mod finds this first is welcome to move it to a more appropriate location.

Now, here's a brief overview of my situation, or at least as brief as I can make it. The Sunday before last my girlfriend - let's call her Kat - and I were having a big heart-to-heart. Friends and family, personal beliefs, ambitions, our relationship, past experiences, things like that. Then suddenly, with almost no warning or transition time, she starts feeling really depressed and really, really full of self-loathing. And Kat's normally a really cheerful, bubbly person. Things like "I'm a horrible, manipulative person, why don't you hate me?" and "You should should leave me, you'd be better off," I never thought I'd hear her say anything like it.

I did what I could to be supporting, reassuring her that I didn't hate her and I wasn't going to leave her, and after a couple hours she slowly moved on to talking about exactly what her family situation was like and how much it stress it was putting on her and how unhappy with it she was, and from there she slowly cheered up again. It took her a couple days to get back to her usual self, but she was only in that state of self-loathing for a couple hours, at least that I know of. The same thing happened again last Friday, during another heart-to-heart. All the same sorts of feelings, not wanting to be touched, feeling like a terrible person and not deserving any love or affection.

I don't think it's just random mood swings - and she wasn't on her period, before any wiseass suggests that - because she's normally a really steady person. Everyone has off days, yeah, but something like this doesn't seem like it could just be stress or a bad day. Kat also really doesn't like showing emotional weakness, particularly around the people she's close to, so I don't she's have opened up like she did about all those bad feelings unless they were really, really upsetting her. I don't think she actually feels like this all the time; no one's that good at putting on a fake smile, but I think it's probably a repeating occurrance rather than a random one.

I've had my rough patches, and I certainly won't pertend that I'm always happy with myself, but I don't think I've ever really experienced something as strong as what she's going through right now. So, basically what I'm looking for are other people's experiences with this, either first or second hand. If you've been through, or are going through something like this, what do you find helps cheer you up? If you've helped a friend with something like this, what kind of things did you do or say to help them pull through it?

I'm already reading through various books and websites on depression and similar subjects, but I'd really appreciate any help or insight you could give me. Kat's a truly wonderful person, and I want to do everything I can to help her through this. Thanks so much guys.


The atoms that make up you and me were born in the hearts of suns many times greater than ours, and in time our atoms will once again reside amongst the stars. Life is but an idle dalliance of the cosmos, frail, and soon forgotten. We have been set adrift in an ocean whose tides we are only beginning to comprehend and with that maturity has come the realization that we are, at least for now, alone. In that loneliness, it falls to us to shine as brightly as the stars from which we came.
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  (#2 (permalink)) Old
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Re: Looking for Advice - July 15th 2009, 12:24 AM

Hey there,

It sounds like you really care about Kat and that is a great thing; everyone needs someone to care for them and if she has that it will help her get through this.

It sounds like Kat is going through a rough patch but she does sound like a strong person and she is talking about her feelings with you which is a very good thing because she isn't keeping them bottled up inside.

I know this might not be what you want to hear but the best thing you can do is be there for her to talk to. When people are feeling sad/lonely/etc they need to know that they are cared for and that they have someone to talk to and if Kat has that in you it should help her alot.

I remember when I was going through a rough time I wanted desperately to talk to someone about all my feelings and just have them listen to me and comfort me and tell me that they were there for me and it would be okay. I am sure Kat needs some of the same things as well.

Hang in there and I hope everything works out and if you ever want to talk feel free to pm me.

~Jenna~


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Re: Looking for Advice - July 16th 2009, 03:54 AM

its great she is talking to you and that yuor there for her. keep listening and supporting her if she tells you something that disturbs you for example she felt like hurting herself or she starts drinking to much and espceially if she gets really with drawn then mention something to a teacher or parent. but your doing great being there for her and she does sound like a strong person. i am sure she will get through this rough patch . pm me if you need anything
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Re: Looking for Advice - July 16th 2009, 05:00 PM

Hey there, Fletcher!

First of all, may I just say that I think you sound like a truly wonderful boyfriend. Itís not every guy that would go to so much trouble to help their girlfriend, and to try to support her like you are. I can see you really care about Kat, and I think thatís amazing. I hope she realizes how lucky she is to have you around. =]

Iím actually really glad that Kat finally opened up like that, heart-to-heart chats can be good for that. Keeping stuff locked up inside is never a good idea, and I think this is what sheís been doing. Because when we keep everything inside, eventually thereís just no more room for it, and it all explodes, and everything seems worse than it may have originally been. So, while it may be scary, and a tad terrifying, you should be happy that she let all this out. Can you imagine what it was like for her to keep all that self-hatred bottled up inside? Since she wasnít telling anybody about it, she didnít have anyone to tell her it wasnít true, so it probably just got worse and worse.

You did say one thing that I donít really agree with though.
Quote:
I don't think she actually feels like this all the time; no one's that good at putting on a fake smile
I have to say, I really do disagree. I know this isnít about me, but I went through years and years of seriously bad mental health. I was in a terrible state, self harming and all sorts. And you know what? Nobody noticed. Nobody. I was that good at putting on a fake smile. Itís surprisingly easy to say ĎíIím good, thanksíí when somebody asks how you are, even if youíre practically falling apart on the inside. So, donít be quick to assume that this doesnít go on very often. Iím not saying it does; but it certainly is very easy to keep this sort of stuff to yourself.

What you need to do, Fletcher, is exactly what youíre already doing! Being there for her. Listening to her. Supporting her. Thatís precisely what she needs right now, and I think youíre doing a pretty good job of it! You know what I think might be a good idea? Getting out a piece of paper and making a list. A list of what? Everything thatís amazing about her. List out all the things you love about her, and just everything great you can think about. Iím sure thereís a million things, yeah? And give it to her. You could even mail it to her if you want to surprise her even more! I just think itíd be kind of sweet, and she does need reinforcing of why sheís a great person. =]

We all struggle with self esteem at some point or another, and what we all need is a good support circle around us. So make sure she knows that she can talk to you always. Let her know that it doesnít only have to be when youíre having a heart-to-heart, let her know that she can tell you anything, anytime, anywhere. Give her that security of knowing that you care and youíre going to do everything you can to get her through this.

Good luck, Fletcher, though I donít think you need it. You seem like youíre doing great already. I really hope everything works out okay, for the both of you. Take care of yourself, yeah? Stay strong.
   
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Re: Looking for Advice - July 16th 2009, 08:25 PM

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Originally Posted by x_nicola View Post
I have to say, I really do disagree. I know this isnít about me, but I went through years and years of seriously bad mental health. I was in a terrible state, self harming and all sorts. And you know what? Nobody noticed. Nobody. I was that good at putting on a fake smile. Itís surprisingly easy to say ĎíIím good, thanksíí when somebody asks how you are, even if youíre practically falling apart on the inside. So, donít be quick to assume that this doesnít go on very often. Iím not saying it does; but it certainly is very easy to keep this sort of stuff to yourself.
You're definitely right that it's possible, so I'm not assuming otherwise. I'll try and explain my thinking a little better. For me, my self-esteem issues come and go. It's not that I always feel a certain way, and some days I'm just better at dealing with it or not thinking about it, but that some - most, thankfully - I actually am perfectly fine. The things that upset me on a bad day just don't on a good day, no matter how much I ponder them. And I don't think it's the same with Kat.

On the other hand, I think what you're saying is different again. I know it's possible to have those negative feelings eating away at you constantly; I had a friend once who felt like that. If I understand what you're describing, even on the "good days" you feel bad, but you just put on a smile and cover it up so no one sees it. It's definitely a possibility, but I don't think it's exactly what's going on with her either.

I think what Kat's feeling falls somewhere in the middle. I think that on the "good days" she does feel genuinely happy; she's not just faking it to appear strong. But I think she only manages that by avoiding the things that upset her and shoving those feelings down. It's better than feeling terrible all the time, but it's still not healthy. That's the best I can describe it. And of course, I could be completely wrong.

And thanks very much Nicola, Chantel and Jenna. I feel like I'm trying to do a balancing act during an earthquake here, so to speak. On the one hand I want to be as supportive and available as possible, but on the other I don't want to keep reminding her of things that brought up those negative feelings in the first place. And subtlety really isn't my strong suit, so while I am very glad that she's letting this out it's a little stressful trying to figure out what the best I can do for her is. The reassurance from you guys really helps, thank you.


The atoms that make up you and me were born in the hearts of suns many times greater than ours, and in time our atoms will once again reside amongst the stars. Life is but an idle dalliance of the cosmos, frail, and soon forgotten. We have been set adrift in an ocean whose tides we are only beginning to comprehend and with that maturity has come the realization that we are, at least for now, alone. In that loneliness, it falls to us to shine as brightly as the stars from which we came.
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Re: Looking for Advice - July 17th 2009, 01:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xujhan View Post
I think what Kat's feeling falls somewhere in the middle. I think that on the "good days" she does feel genuinely happy; she's not just faking it to appear strong. But I think she only manages that by avoiding the things that upset her and shoving those feelings down. It's better than feeling terrible all the time, but it's still not healthy. That's the best I can describe it. And of course, I could be completely wrong.
I bet you hit it on the mark there, sure did with me. Best way to deal with it is to simply forget about it, right? Not like she can do it all the time, and as the other posters have said, the best you can do is be there for her. Good luck.
   
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