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Understanding when someone else relapses into depression

Posted Apr 23 2009 5:23pm
One thing that still surprises me about depression is how unexpectedly bouts of depression can come about.

Today, I'm not talking about my own experience, but rather that of a family member. She has struggled with depression for longer than I have been alive and still faces intermittent relapses. For the last two years she has been doing so good. It almost made me think that she was fully "recovered" from depression, even though I know there is no such thing as being "recovered".

A few days ago one of her children made a very insensitive remark and it crippled her with a relapse of depression. She can't get out of bed, is very despondent and doesn't want to talk to anyone.

As I stand on the outside looking in this time, part of me doesn't understand at all. She was doing so good and everything was looking bright. Why would she let one conversation put her over the edge? Why can't she just shake it off and get over it?

Yet on the other hand, I find that depression often cripples me for no reason at all, so how can I judge? I understand how confusing it must be for her to spiral into depression yet again and how frustrated she must feel.

As someone who has been through many relapses, I know that one of the most important things I can do is just be there for her. I'm planning to just go sit at her house one day this week. If she needs me or wants to talk, I'll be there. If she doesn't want anything, that's fine too.

I must admit that being on the other side of things gives me empathy for my husband, parents and all the others in my life that have stood by and watched me spiral downward for no good reason.

If you're in a good place today, perhaps it's a good day to thank someone you love that's been there for you during your down times.
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