In case you haven’t read yesterday’s post, I suspect my friend to have depression. It gives me hope to think that his behaviour can be explained by depression; and also that it can consequently be treated. Obviously I am no expert in depression but the more I think about it, the more I think he might have it.
I have already completed Step 1 of my action plan, which was to call an info-line on depression to get some opinions on my friend’s well-being and how to go about helping him and him getting the help he needs. I spoke to a very kind lady from Beyondblue. She asked me to describe why I thought XXX might be depressed, so I mentioned all the symptoms I had jotted down in my post. She said that it seemed he was going through dark times, so I guess she agreed with me. But I have to tell you something funny. I had started the conversation saying, “I am actually calling in regards to a friend I am worried for … ” and within ten minutes of speaking to her, the lady was like, “you have feelings other than friendship for this guy don’t you?” lol. Great! Apparently someone can tell I’m in love with him just from a 10minute conversation!! Is it that obvious?!
I also made sure to ask about how to get treatment. First it’s a GP, who will provide a mental health plan, and then a psychologist. She gave me the name of two psychologists in our area (XXX and I live close-by). Therefore, if he decides to see someone (which I hope he will), he won’t have to do any research (which could lead to putting treatment off or not even having any).
I am currently preparing for step 2; it’s probably the stage I am most afraid of, simply because I’ve always been crappy at face-to-face conversation, but even more so about a topic as serious and as sensitive about depression. Although XXX and I are performing at a concert tomorrow, I doubt we will get the opportunity to speak properly, so I have asked him if I could see him Sunday (but I still don’t know if I will 😦 ). So hopefully I will see him Sunday. I’m trying to think of ways to bring the issue up. It’s going to be so difficult, but I can’t be bothered being afraid. I’ll just have to do it, because in the end it’s for his own good. I just hope he’ll be cooperative and honest with himself and I, and actually admit that perhaps there is something that he is suffering from. The Beyondblue website has a “depression checklist” and I might suggest he does it to see what rating he gets. I tried the checklist yesterday and pretended to be XXX and the result came as “High” … so we’ll see.
Sometimes I get crazy ideas and I think they are so good that I just do them. One such idea was making a “journey out of depression” sort of notebook for XXX. Let me explain. I went to the shops and found a nice notebook which is divided into four sections. 3 of those sections has a purpose:
One is a “feelings tracker” and it will be for XXX to write down on a regular or not basis his emotions. As the name suggests, it’s mostly for him to keep track of his feelings – what is staying the same, what is changing, patterns etc etc.
Another is a “communication” section where XXX can write letters, messages – anything – he wants to but cannot say to anyone. I might leave a message myself for him to find (a very positive one of course).
The third section is a “happy” journal, so this is where XXX can go to when he is feeling crap or needs cheering up. Happy Memories, positive affirmations, inspirational quotes, jokes, etc etc.
There’s a fourth section but I haven’t given it any purpose, I might actually leave it blank and XXX can think of something.
Anyhow, I’m not saying XXX will use it. He might not even be depressed! I guess I will give him the notebook if he wants it but I’m definitely not going to force him to write in it, although I think he could benefit from it.
I truly hope I get to talk to him Sunday. I said it was urgent and important so I hope he got the message!!! What I’d really like to happen is that he feels willing to take the issue of his mental well-being as an adult (i.e. very seriously) and considers making an appointment with his GP. I don’t want to appear too imposing but I feel maybe I should go and talk to the GP too – wouldn’t it be good for him/her to have a second opinion? Plus, it would be useful for me to be kept up to date with my friend’s condition (and learn more about depression).
I just hope he’s not going to say something like, “nah I’m fine, it’ll just pass”. I’ll probably have to find different ways to tackle the issue. If he says that I’ll just have to go, “I’ve known you for 10 months, you’ll always been like this, it hasn’t passed yet and I don’t think it will”. Obviously in a gentle voice!
Anyhow as you can tell I’m probably over-thinking everything but actually I’m not. I know exactly what I’m doing. I’m looking out for my friend, that is all. As I’ve said before, I’m not certain he is depressed but I am 80% sure that he is. And I don’t think his parents have noticed it because he lived out of home all of last year, by himself, and he hides it well in public, which is probably why his other friends haven’t noticed it either and why it took me so long to understand something might actually be very wrong.
So next part of the story if you want to join me: conversation with XXX about his possible depression!