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Helping a friend with depression

As someone who has never truly been happy and at the same time in a position where I seemingly have it all, owning my own car and home, having a good paying job, beautiful wife and child, I know how difficult it is to even find a reason behind depression let alone a cure for it.

I had a friend give me a call today and mention he's not in a good place mentally. He's been through quite a bit compared to other people of his age but recently he's been really down as he feels like a failure in his life and regretting a number of decisions he's made in recent times.

It mainly stems from him feeling inadequate. He's felt this way as long as I've known him, but it's never really matched up with reality now. For example, when we first met, he always put himself down for not having a girlfriend, owning a home or even being paid as much as me and his other colleagues despite doing the same role. At the age of 26, we all told him he needs to stop worrying about that stuff for now and instead, as it is a concern to him, work towards the stuff he wants to achieve.

Long story short, we gave him some sound advice both in general and for particular situations that he pretty much ignored. Now, everything is seemingly caving in for him and he sounds suicidal. Just as an example, we advised him not to spend all hi redundancy money on a holiday and instead save it/help his mum out and get another job. He chose to spend all on a Ibiza holiday. Now his mum is struggling for bills, he has debts up to his neck and he now has a job which is paying him much less than what he was on beforehand.

So what I meant by his situation now matching reality is that the various things that he was worried about before, he's now an age (turning 30) where we can't legitimately give him an answer that he has plenty of time not to worry about it and things will work themselves out. He has no girlfriend, a crap job, a lot of debt, mum's struggling, everyone around him is seemingly doing much better and he has no direction in life (I'm paraphrasing his words).

What can one possibly do to help him? Even if it's recommending professional help. Any answers will be much appreciated. I'm due to meet him next week and their has been times where we've spoken and it's motivated him to do something about the situation (job, therapy etc.) but this time, there's so many issues and I personally don't see how it can be solved.


  • annandale
    annandale Posts: 1,469 Forumite
    Is this about him or about you?
  • BrassicWoman
    what leads you to think you have the skills to help him solve it?

    how about asking how you can help and listening, instead of fixing?
    2021 GC £1365.71/ £2400
  • annandale
    annandale Posts: 1,469 Forumite
    Ah right. So because he's 30 he doesn't have time to sort himself out. According to you and other well meaning friends. You don't see how it can be solved! Then just leave him alone.

    End of. If you can't see that things might get better for him you are no friend.

    No girlfriend. At 30. Life is over.

    Just another ridiculous thread from you.
  • Robisere
    Robisere Posts: 3,237 Forumite
    First Anniversary Photogenic First Post Combo Breaker
    edited 3 September 2017 at 6:30PM
    " Is this about him or about you? "

    I thought that too. So many posts similar to this are written in the Third Person. If that's true OP, this is not a place where anyone knows you by your post. Any advice is freely given, without criticism I hope.

    If that's not you, then I still understand: I went through a period just like that some years ago. Your friend needs to start looking at what he has got, instead of what he has not. Try to get him some professional help, even if it means going to see someone with him. Do you share a GP? If so, make an appointment yourself, tell the GP that you are aware of patient confidentiality, but your friend needs serious help and you are concerned about his welfare.

    I am afraid that the most you can do, is point him at answers and solutions. The rest has to come from inside himself. That's what happened in my case: someone I liked, admired and respected, forced me to look at life through their eyes, looking at the state I was in. I had to take the steps to change my life.

    EDIT: the criticism has already begun. Put yourselves in the same place, people!
    I think this job really needs
    a much bigger hammer.
  • IAmWales
    IAmWales Posts: 2,024 Forumite
    So I thought of this thread after a discussion with a friend of mine. Last year he came into some money as he was made redundant, something around £7k, and pledged to use it to start his own business as he was fed up working in the corporate environment.

    During that time, I was with him when another friend of his called and asked if he wanted to join them in Ibiza for the week to celebrate a birthday. In typical fashion, without thinking he said yes and literally got up, packed his bags and headed for the airport that evening. When he came back he was showing of all these pictures of him drinking stupidly expensive champagne and went on about how much of a good time he had.

    Not going into details, he's been through enough that he deserves to let his hair down whenever but I was scratching my head puzzled as the week before he was talking about using his money to help his struggling mum and start a business, but now he had blown all his money and had no job.

    Anytime someone ask him out somewhere he always says yes. Even when he has a prior arrangement he will somehow try to merge the two or go to both. He's a fantastic guy and every one loves him and his quirks.

    Broke and jobless, we are having a deep conversation about a number of things and I brought up the conversation about his spending in Ibiza. He felt no way about it, justifying that his friends also went and spent thousands on champagne. Paradoxically, he also was emotional by the fact he was not in a position to help his mum out and or start a business but mentioned a friend invited him to go to Thailand for 3 months and he was going.

    I told him that he needs to carve out a life for himself. All his friends that were in ibiza with him all went back to their jobs, wives and children and every time an opportunity comes up for him to do something with his life (relationship, money and family) he inevitably throws it down the drain, especially as he goes on about not having the aforementioned.

    It's getting to a point where everyone around him is getting married, having children, buying properties or getting on with a career. I just fear that 10 years from now all he's going to be over reliant on others for any ounce of happiness or self worth

    Sorry, I know it's a long post and I hope it makes sense. What are your thoughts?

    If this isn't about you (and I think it is), you're no friend. You don't support you preach.

    Leave the guy alone, hopefully he has other friends that can show an ounce of empathy.
  • comeandgo
    comeandgo Posts: 5,753 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Don't try and sort things out, don't tell him what to do, just listen. Take him out for a pint or two and just listen.
  • PeacefulWaters

    Walk with him (the exercise will do him good).

    Don't solutionise for him.
  • Primrose
    Primrose Posts: 10,626 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 3 September 2017 at 9:03PM
    Ask your friend what he would do if another friend found himself in that position and asked him for advice.
    Sadly the first thing he must do is accept he needs to take responsibility for himself and his actions. Nobody forced him to spend all his redundancy money on a holiday in Ibiza.
    He needs to set himself some simple daily goals which will gradually encourage him to get back on a motivational path and help increase his sense of self respect.
    Tell him to get down to a library and read a few books on things he can do to increase his self confidence. He needs to start believing in his ability to make a better life for himself but until he respects himself he can't expect others to do so, and certainly not future employers or potential girlfriends.

    Maybe he's never had a good parental role model and perhaps he'll spend the rest of his life drifting. If he's seriously mentally depressed he should seek help from his GP but sometimes people get depressed because they expect life's benefits to fall at their feet without having to work hard for them. Maybe he's one of these people who continually see themselves as a victim because they want the things that hard work brings but can't motivate themselves to do what's necessary to achieve them.

    If you're serious about trying to help him, don,t give him a list of things he should be doing. Help him to come up with his own list and force him to start thinking for himself. At 30 he's old enough to be starting to figure this out for himself.
  • Bewildered_Banshee
    Don't judge him by saying he shouldn't have spent all his money. Don't criticise - he already feels crap.
    Give him Samaritans number and email - they're excellent in a crisis.
    Try and get his to see his go.
  • goodwithsaving
    I would like to know why MSE didn't ban the OP and removed all comments relating to his disgraceful posts. It deserved a ban!
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