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How can I get through to him?

This is a discussion on How can I get through to him? within the Troubled Loved Ones forums, part of the Depression Forums category; I just spoke to him on the phone for what ended up being around 45 minutes - this is the ...

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Old 09-20-14, 06:47 AM   #21
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I just spoke to him on the phone for what ended up being around 45 minutes - this is the longest we've talked since I last saw him in person before I left. I feel so ... well, happy seems like the wrong word because he's not doing brilliantly, but I guess I'm relieved and really glad that he (hopefully) doesn't hate me, and is still okay with me being in his life to an extent.

God, I miss him and I would love to see him again. He's told me before that Christmas doesn't mean anything to him any more, and I'm sure he'll be on his own for it this year, as he has been a number of times in the past. I suggested to him that he come to visit me here over the Christmas period, and said I'd pay towards his flight. He made lots of excuses as to why that wouldn't be a good idea - it'd be expensive, I'd be wasting my money, he'd be bad company etc. Honestly, none of those things matter to me. All I want is for him to have a break and spend some time in a different place where maybe he'd be able to relax and get his thoughts together. I very much doubt he'll take me up on the offer though. I just want to show him that he isn't alone and that I care; I'm not sure if he realises or accepts that even though I do always tell him.

Last edited by pinkflamingo; 09-20-14 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 09-20-14, 07:18 AM   #22
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First of all, sorry, sorry that no one replied to any of your few last replies, i am in a hurry right now, but i can promise you i will read your whole post and try to offer you some advices and support.

Till then, massive 's and support
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Old 09-20-14, 03:14 PM   #23
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Hi pinkflamingo. I read your entire thread, and I want to tell you that you are a beautiful person

I was in a similar situation as you, and I know it can be hard not knowing how he is, and missing him, and not really being able to say everything you feel or think because it might make things worse. It's hard to know what to say or do. I came to TTL for that same reason as you, to ask what to say and what to do, and what not to.

I've learned a few things:
1. Time is your friend. It doesn't seem like it is because waiting sucks... but time does give perspective.
2. Mistakes happen. You may say or do the wrong things. I've done it too. It's okay, you'll learn from them. I liked your idea of writing down things to say and having it with you when you were on the phone. I've done that too.
3. Space is good. Giving space is very hard. But it's so worth it in the end. He will appreciate you for it, and it gives him a chance to miss you.
4. Short notes are good. Avoid asking questions that require a response, and avoid saying you miss him, because he could feel bad that he's impacting your feelings and making you feel sad. "Thinking of you" is good. I've been told that he will appreciate a short "thinking of you" note every so often (not to often), but will probably not respond. Phone calls can be harder, because like he said, he won't want to talk about himself. Asking how he is can be tricky, because he's not good.
5. If he asks, letting him know that you're fine is good. He probably doesn't have energy to focus on anyone else's emotions or issues, because his are overwhelming him at the moment.

This could take a long time. He knows you're there, and that you care, which is good.

Another very important thing I have learned is: take care of yourself. It's so important, otherwise you could fall into a type of depression yourself. It happened to me once. Please, go out and do things you love to do. Hang out with friends. Take care of your health.
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Old 09-20-14, 03:27 PM   #24
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Just wanted to comment about Christmas and the flight. I think it's nice that you offered that to him, but maybe leave that ball in his court now. If you suggest it again, it's possible that he might feel pressured? I'm not totally sure since I don't know him, but I've experienced something similar. If you wait until he is the one who suggests getting together, it will likely go more successfully.

Some good advice I read once said this: "Let things unfurl". Best advice ever. It can take a long time. Baby baby steps. Don't make any sudden large moves :) Be consistent, and available.

Yes, it's hard! And your feelings sometimes don't get expressed, or are carefully worded. That's why this forum is great, and keeping a journal is great. Definitely keep expressing yourself here and asking questions.. it helps!
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Old 09-21-14, 03:50 AM   #25
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You are truly amazing person!!!!

And well, Prarie said a lot of things i wanted to say, but main is baby steps and time is your friend :)

Stay strong, we are all there for you.
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Old 09-21-14, 10:09 AM   #26
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Hi PrairieDawn and nsdimitrije,

Thank you so much for your responses. I don't think of myself as a particularly amazing person - I'm just doing what I consider to be the obvious thing here. I got involved in his life, for better or for worse, and I'm hardly going to back out now. I care about him and I want to offer as much support as I can, despite the inconvenience of time differences and miles. But thank you nonetheless for your kind words! :)

PrairieDawn, your response makes a lot of sense, and I agree with all the points you made. Waiting definitely sucks, but it's what I've got to do - things probably aren't going to change overnight for him, and I need to show that I'll be there whatever happens. It's so hard to give him the space he probably needs, though, when the only way I can know what's up is by messaging or phoning him (and I worry if I don't hear from him fairly regularly). I fully realise that doing this too often probably comes across as overbearing, and I don't want to make him feel bad, but it's hard to stop myself contacting him. One 'good' thing is that, with my new job plus the time difference, I'm so busy now that the weekend is the only time I'm able to call him (and I don't do this every week; I'm trying to limit myself!). He's never the one to initiate contact, though, which can be difficult because I feel like he's not interested in staying friends, although realistically I know that, like you said, "He probably doesn't have energy to focus on anyone else's emotions or issues, because his are overwhelming him at the moment."

I do try to send him short messages every now and then just to remind him that I'm thinking of him. However, although I try not to ask questions such as "How are you?", because I know the answer probably won't be good, I'm not always sure what to say to him. I did send him a short update a while ago, telling him what I'd been up to, which I know he read although he didn't respond. Maybe I should do that more often, rather than ask him how things are on his end. I don't know, it did feel a bit strange and self-centred, but perhaps it's a way to show that he's on my mind without putting pressure on him by inundating him with questions?

I suppose one of the main issues is that I don't know that much about him (despite our now more than a year of sort-of-confused friendship), so I'm often not sure what exactly is going on. Like I've said in previous posts, he only shares small pieces of himself and has always been quite vague on certain subjects - no doubt because they're painful and he doesn't want to get into them, but it sometimes makes it hard to think of the appropriate thing to say. I do wish he felt comfortable sharing more, but obviously I can't force him to talk if he doesn't want to.

I hope you don't mind, PrairieDawn, but since you said you'd been in a similar situation I had a look back through some of your older posts and I read some of your online journal. It really does sound like you went through something similar, caring deeply about someone who you couldn't be with to look after in person. It's tough. It also sounds as though I'm in a similar situation to you when it comes to family - I've got wonderful parents and when I was younger I just assumed that's what everyone's life was like. Now I can see how lucky I was and that other people end up damaged and hurt through no fault of their own. I don't know exactly what my friend's childhood was like but he isn't in contact with his parents, something I can't comprehend. It makes me sad to realise that there are families out there where love and support aren't natural, everyday things that are freely and unconditionally given.

I've looked through quite a lot of threads on the TTL boards to try and get some understanding of what it must be like to have depression, and so many of the posts are truly heartbreaking. PrairieDawn, I think you're lovely for offering your support to people on here. There are some posts I've really wanted to respond to but I've stopped myself because I feel like if I reply to one person, I'll end up replying to everyone because all of the posters deserve to be acknowledged. Perhaps I should start just acknowledging that I've read them, even if I don't have the answers. (Does that make sense?). For example, nsdimitrije, I've seen some of your posts and I'm so sorry that you're hurting so much but I'm truly grateful that you took the time to read through this (and I know you reply to lots of other posts on here); you are clearly incredibly selfless and kind despite what you've been through. I hope that if we were ever to somehow cross paths offline I could be a friend to you.

Anyway, I'm glad that TTL is here for me to come and vent whenever I need; I've not told anyone in 'real life' about this situation. This is partly because it's very personal and I don't want people I know to judge or try to give me their opinions, but also out of respect for my friend - much as I'd love to talk about him with everyone I meet, he deserves privacy and anonymity.

I'm sure I'll be back here soon. Fingers crossed that things get better for him, and for everyone on here. Thank you again.
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Old 09-21-14, 10:46 AM   #27
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I am sure we would be great friends if we ever cross paths offline, thanks for kind words.

Maybe you could send short message containing simple: "Thinking of you" or "How are you" ( i believe "how are you", wouldnt hurt him, or cause him to feel bad, because its sign of care, and i got to admit, when someone asks me how am i and i am feeling bad it means a lot to me, even though i might lie about it)

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There are some posts I've really wanted to respond to but I've stopped myself because I feel like if I reply to one person, I'll end up replying to everyone because all of the posters deserve to be acknowledged. Perhaps I should start just acknowledging that I've read them, even if I don't have the answers. (Does that make sense?).
Well, even reading them means really a lot to people, well at least for me, but you shouldnt be scared of replying, and i am sure that everyone gets at least 1 response, which is imo, more then enough. :)

Best wishes flamingo
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Old 09-21-14, 11:32 AM   #28
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Hi pinkflamingo . I'm happy that you found some of my old threads and journal, and I'm very glad that they helped you ! It does seem like you and I are almost the same person in some ways, doesn't it? I'm glad I came upon your thread. I think it's good for both of us to know that others out there have shared such similar experiences.

I know exactly what you mean about when people say you're amazing. You don't see it as amazing, it's just the way you naturally are. But I've realized that so many people, so unfortunately, don't seem to "get" depression. I've read so many threads here that say friends have left. It could be that your friend is used to people leaving? Maybe that's another reason why he's being so cautious? Not sure, but it could be.

Giving space is hard, but I'll tell you something. You get used to it. After a time or two, you begin to apprecite it's benefits. I think you mentioned that you can sometimes see him online, so that is a good indirect way to know he's still there, without actually communicating directly. It sounds to me like contacting him every few weeks seems like a good balance. I think sending updates on your life is good also. As you said, it's an indirect way to show him that he's on your mind. It also might help him to focus on things outside of himself for a little while.
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Originally Posted by pinkflamingo View Post
Like I've said in previous posts, he only shares small pieces of himself and has always been quite vague on certain subjects - no doubt because they're painful and he doesn't want to get into them, but it sometimes makes it hard to think of the appropriate thing to say. I do wish he felt comfortable sharing more, but obviously I can't force him to talk if he doesn't want to.
This goes back to letting things unfurl. It all has to come from him, when and if he decides to share things. I think that any small thing he may share, shows that he trusts you. But on the other hand, not sharing doesn't necessarily indicate mistrust - they could just be too painful for him to think about or verbalize, as you said. Or maybe he thinks that if he tells you certain things, that you might not be able to handle it and leave. I think it's good to reassure him now and then that you aren't going anywhere, and you'll always be there. Of course, he may not believe that until he sees it, so again, it could take time.
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There are some posts I've really wanted to respond to but I've stopped myself because I feel like if I reply to one person, I'll end up replying to everyone because all of the posters deserve to be acknowledged. Perhaps I should start just acknowledging that I've read them, even if I don't have the answers. (Does that make sense?).
That makes sense . I know what you mean. Yes, I do think people might appreciate an acknowledgement, but don't put too much pressure on yourself and feel like you have to answer everything. Nobody can. Do what makes you feel comfortable.
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I've not told anyone in 'real life' about this situation. This is partly because it's very personal and I don't want people I know to judge or try to give me their opinions, but also out of respect for my friend - much as I'd love to talk about him with everyone I meet, he deserves privacy and anonymity.
I told people in real life about some of my situation. Reactions were very mixed, and I did not expect that at all. I expected people to think the exact same way about things as I did... but boy was I surprised. I had some people telling me that I shouldn't bother, and ask me why I put myself in that situation. I know... shocking, right? Made me mad. I didn't get much support. One friend in particular was very supportive though, but I didn't have regular contact with that person. So then I started going quiet about it, and I turned to TTL to express myself instead. I don't want to discourage you at all from confiding in anyone. I just never expected some of the responses I got, and wanted you to be aware. Maybe they thought they were protecting me? Or maybe they just didn't get it. But it's definitely so important to be able to talk with others (in person or online) about what you're going through. This impacts you too, and having support is important .
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Old 09-21-14, 12:55 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by nsdimitrije View Post
( i believe "how are you", wouldnt hurt him, or cause him to feel bad, because its sign of care, and i got to admit, when someone asks me how am i and i am feeling bad it means a lot to me, even though i might lie about it)
True, different things work for different people, and at different times
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Old 09-23-14, 03:13 PM   #30
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Hi PrairieDawn and thank you for another detailed reply - it's good to hear from you! Also thanks to nsdimitrije - how are you?

Prairie, a couple of things in your post reminded me of the conversation I had with my friend back in the summer, when he told me that talking didn't help, it made him feel worse. You said:

Quote:
I've read so many threads here that say friends have left. It could be that your friend is used to people leaving? Maybe that's another reason why he's being so cautious? Not sure, but it could be.
Quote:
I think it's good to reassure him now and then that you aren't going anywhere, and you'll always be there. Of course, he may not believe that until he sees it, so again, it could take time.
When my friend and I had this conversation I'd recently returned home permanently from the foreign country we'd both been living in (and where he still is). He'd been in quite a low mood the last time I'd seen him so I was trying to express to him that I would always be on his side and I'd always support him. I think I said something along the lines of, "I'm not going to leave you," to which he replied, "You already did."

I remember this stung because he sounded sort of bitter, and I know I had literally just left but I'd never considered that he might think of it as me leaving him, if that makes sense. Like, physically I wasn't going to be in the same country as him any more but we didn't exactly see each other face to face on many occasions, so I didn't think it would make much of a difference to our relationship.

I still feel guilty when I think about that - it was such a small thoughtless thing to say but I suppose I must have hurt him when I came home, even though he never said anything to suggest he was particularly bothered about it. I worry that, if he has been hurt in the past and expects everyone to eventually leave him (or something less dramatic but equally painful), maybe I've added to whatever trust issues he may have. Does he feel like I abandoned him?

The thing is, leaving was such a hard thing to do and I'd have given anything to have been able to stay. I still imagine scenarios in which I don't leave, I turn around and go back to his apartment and knock on the door ... but realistically there's no way that could have happened, much as I'd have liked it. Although I'm fairly convinced I would do most things in my power to make him happy, I couldn't do that one thing and stay. So now, when I tell him I'll always be there blah blah blah, deep down I know that he knows I'm not being entirely truthful.

Aaaaand of course another problem is that I have absolutely no idea what he actually thinks of me, and I worry that every time I call he's secretly wishing that this crazy girl would stop harassing him and leave him alone.

Sorry, over-thinking!
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