It’s World Mental Health Day. Just want to restate that the best thing I have ever done for myself (besides quitting drinking) was seeking help for anxiety and depression. It seems like so long ago I don’t even remember where to look for it in the archives, but I went through a rough spell and was miserable, having panic attacks, losing feeling in my fingers and toes, and WebMDing myself into mania. I remember panic attacks so bad I would just lie under the covers and cry while holding Lily (it was the summer after I got her that the panic attacks started).
It sucked, but I got help, and things got better. If I hadn’t done that, and made that first step, I don’t think I would have ever been clear-headed enough to quit drinking.
So go to a doctor if you need help and get it. Your friends will be there with you and help you all the way. Mine did, and I’m a total asshole, so I know yours will.
Snarki, child of Loki
It’s not whether you are an asshole, but whether your friends are assholes.
Yeah, but John: you’re a
famous influential well-knownblogger: you’ve got more friends than most folks do! (and probably more sympathetic petsanimal companions, too! )
Thank you for writing this, John. And thank you for being so honest and open and public about your own demons. There’s probably not a single person on the planet who doesn’t have some kind of issues, at least occasionally, but far too many of us bury and deny them. Your sharing your own experiences has in all likelihood helped someone — maybe several someones — you’ve never heard of.
It’s been said before, and I expect it will be said again. I’ll say it now: You are a mensch.
not an open thread but breaking story: A Benghazi staffer just fired (an Air Force major, hired by the republicans as an intelligence officer) is claiming that the committee dropped other probes to concentrate on HRC.
He’ll be interviewed by Jake Tapper tomorrow on CNN.
Getting good mental health assistance is wonderful. That we make it so difficult to take advantage of for so many should be criminal. Said this before but why we look at mental, dental and vision as sub categories of health care that are not covered by standard health care insurance is 1000% wrong. This should be the next step on the way to single payer head to toe coverage. At least if we are going to have profit centers in the way we should make the package worth while.
Legitimizing mental health, showing that it works and helps people is vital.
Yes. This, absolutely.
All extremely true. Most of the hardest parts of my life were really because I wouldn’t seek help for what weren’t even terribly hard problems.
Don’t think you need to hit rock bottom before seeking help. Seek help as soon as you realize you’re over your head.
Between the Major, Rep. McCarthy’s “gaffe” to Hannity a couple of weeks ago, and Chaffetz’ recent admission that his appalling Planned Parenthood hearing disclosed no wrongdoing — well, I have nothing to say except “Please pass the popcorn.”
It’s like they’re writing Hillary’s ad campaign for her!
I had issues growing up. I wish it had occurred to me to ask for help. I was too worried my parents would yell at me if I said anything.
So very very true.
And if our friends care about us, they will suggest help… and they are usually right.
A good start, but an ad that had it all — McCarthy, Chaffetz, and a question-mark-covered Issa — would have the GOP crying and running for cover.
Two great movies onTCM tonight.
10 pm The Lavender Hill Mob
Maybe not so great, but a classic of its own-
10 pm on MeTv-It Came From Outer Space!
Even if our friends suggest we need help, and even if you have health care insurance, you may still not be able to afford it. Many can not, I know people who go to dental schools because it’s relatively cheap, or don’t go at all. Or wear the same glasses long after the prescription is no longer valid because they can’t afford it. Or self medicate because counseling is either not available or too expensive. I bet we all do.
ETA And I’ve been one of them. I’d bet most of us have.
Just the fact that so many more people can go to a doctor is reassuring that things are getting better.
Asking for help is the first step, and it’s an important step. I just wish the subsequent steps were a little easier. I feel like I shouldn’t have to be suicidal before medical professionals take me seriously, and that maybe there should be less bureacracy involved in getting help for people who are already having trouble coping with daily life.
@Ruckus: The way insurance companies give X number of appointments, no matter what the issue is, or how bad the condition may be, or how well the patient responds to treatment, is a hideous travesty of care.
John, I have delt with my own mental health issues. My friends have been invaluable to me, by helping me cope, analyze and move on.
These last 2 years I have been dealing with Superstorm Sandy “recovery”.
The process of dealing with the agencies charged with helping those of us who sustained severe damage to our homes has been frustrating, degrading and financially ruinous.
Things came to a head one night, about 10 days ago.
Dark, suicicidal thoughts came rushing in. They were persistent and overpowering.
For the first time in my life, I called a suicide prevention hotline.
The woman who took my call let me rage, cry and, in general, vent. She listened. She soothed. She got me back on the ground..
I am in PTSD Therapy. Among my friends, my Therapist and the Angel on the other end of the Hotline, I am able to deal with the frustration and the darkness.
I know that the trials will end and I’ll be able to start my life over.
I thank the friends and professionals who stand by us.
Emotional issues can be delt with.
I only wish that therapists, social workers, nurses and other giving folks were better compensated, financially. It really bothers me that stock brokers, bankers, insurance companies, hedge funders and other narcissistic vampires are the ones who grow rich while those who actually do good in this world are sadly undervalued.
Thanks for listening.
Major Major Major Major
Thanks for being so open about it, John. I’m not one who suffers in silence–quite noisy about it actually–and it’s always good to have public voices talking about these things.
Not so fast. See #s 5, 10, 11, 14 and 15.
I live northern New York and WCAX has Rubio commercials all the time, starts out with all the American dream stuff and then goes repeal the tax code and Obama’s healthcare disaster. He had me at the dream and then turned into an asshole right before my eyes.
These problems are interconnected and really are due to the systems inability to recognize mental, dental and vision health as being part of a healthy being. The human body is an entire interconnected system and leaving out or making it far too difficult to fix, 3 systems that make reasonably connecting to the rest of the planet possible is incredibly stupid and short sighted.
2012 I was having a very bad time of it. Finally sought help after years of ‘toughing it out’ (n.b. untreated, each sucessive depression episode tends to be worse). Just getting off the meds now, feeling fine. Don’t remember saying anything here at the time but beside work eat and sleep (I’ve always been at least minimally functional during bouts) this place and youse people helped keep me occupied with something beside the unpleasantness in my head.
p.s. I did take a week of vacation instead of medical leave (didn’t want work to know) for day counselling at a very prestigious psych institution, and they were under pressure of lack of facilities to meet demand, whether employees for day counseling or beds for those who needed 24/7 attention. Pretty sure the situation has not improved.
I am so sorry you have had to deal with both the original trauma, the ongoing bureaucratic nightmare, and the PTSD. But good for you for reaching out to the hotline, and for sharing your experience here on BJ. I hope things begin to turn around for you soon, and that you’ll become a regular participating member of this strange, yet very supportive, community.
Another Holocene Human
@glory b: he’s either a major bullshitter or telling the truth, and if telling the truth this is really bad for the R’s because he’s alleging he was fired for going back on active duty
J R in WV
Me too! Thanks for talking about the issue, and for making it just that little bit easier for people to look for help.
I agree that the way people who seek help for any sort of mental problem are treated is a crime.
I have had loved ones seek adjustments from their employers due to mental health issues who were immediately bullied by their managers. And the adjustment they sought was to not be yelled at!
Imagine how additional yelling and general abuse would affect someone seeking mental health help!
ETA: So, John, many thanks for all you have done to keep this issue in the daylight. It isn’t easy, nothing worth while is always easy. Keep up the good work!
Another Holocene Human
@Ruckus: and now they’ve proven dental health affects heart health so this neglecting dental shit is just costing medicare more money
Glad you were able to get help.
This sort of thing can sneak up on you and usually does at the worst times. That you took charge and called someone is huge and a very good sign for you.
All the best for you.
Another Holocene Human
@Darkrose: Yes. This. From the EAPs that only cover 3 visits, to the therapists who make YOU fight with the insurance company (for routine visits!), to the pikers who change your diagnosis fifty fucking times (“I don’t care what the person who saw you for 2 years thinks, you’re upset today so you obviously have a more exotic diagnosis.”), to the medication-go-round, to the employer who freaks because you’re on meds, and so on. They make it so freaking hard.
Another Holocene Human
@Jparente: Hear, hear.
But you knew that.
@Another Holocene Human:
And even if it didn’t affect the heart, so what? If you have bad teeth it affects your entire life. And really the medical care industry has known this for, if not ever, a really, really long time. It’s the health care insurance industry that is a huge part of the problem. When I was in boot camp dental was one of the first things they ran us through. The number of guys who had never been to the dentist or needed major care amazed me. The military may treat you like a number but they let the heath care side of things take care of you.
John, Reading the posts and comments made me realize, that I’m glad I found this site a long, long, time ago.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
It’s why I’m here.
Now you tell us, John, after half of us have been driven crazy by sports today!
And so say all of us.
Thank you for this John. Your honesty about these things is inspiring.
I appreciate you.
Gin & Tonic
@Ruckus: If you have bad teeth it affects your entire life.
This is so true. And I know dentists aren’t always empathetic, but I have two good friends, in two different countries, who are semi-(or more)-retired dentists, who put this into action: one by doing a free clinic one day a week, and the other by flying into deep, deep rural areas to serve people who see a dentist once every 10-20 years. The things they see make you heartsick. Yes, both are in ostensibly first-world countries.
Depression’s a bitch. Had it pretty bad a couple years ago, got into therapy and, well, I’m still here and doing a lot better. Seemed like it took forever to turn it around, but it did get better. It’s not a magic bullet, but it’s so much better than doing nothing, or trying to tough it out alone.
This is another one of John’s posts that really strikes a cord with a lot of people. Because we are all broken in some way, but we can be helped to be functioning humans if given the chance. We have for the most part, the technology, we lack the will to make it possible for everyone to participate. Many of us have been around for a few decades and seen medicine really help people, the polio vaccine for example. Salk refused to patent this and look what that has done for the world. And now we have assholes who purchase long time drugs and raise the price to a point that makes it untenable for those in need to pay. We, at least part of us anyway, have learned to pray to that golden cow as the only important thing in life. And it’s killing the the rest of us.
Space is tight on these National Days calendar.
Today is also International African Penguin Awareness Day and Hug a Drummer Day.
\Yesterday was National Moldy Cheese Day.
I was not aware that there were penguins in Africa.
OT… But I see therapy for repubs on the Benghazi committee… Earlier someone mentioned that a former intell person investigating the attack was fired … He’ll be on CNN tomorrow…
Anyway the NYTimes has this article .. chickens come home to roost
That happened to me after election day in November 2004.
thanks for your testimony Cole
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@Ruckus: Mental health is physical health; the brain is an organ in the body. It’s been stigmatized far too long, and insurance parity is a step in recognizing that health is physical.
I’d say they outsmarted themselves.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
You certainly can’t work in the medical field with an attitude like that!
/snark, just in case it wasn’t obvious.
Obama has Ø fucks left to give – goes all Sista Soulja on Baud’s 2020 opponent Kanye West
WATCH: Unarmed black woman beaten by #Florida cops for filming arrest of her husband: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/10/watch-unarmed-black-woman-beaten-and-tackled-by-florida-cops-for-filming-arrest-of-her-husband/ … #p2
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
A lot of us have been shouting out Jimmy Carter in recent weeks (and rightly so), but I’d just like to note that mental health parity has been a priority issue for Rosalynn Carter for many years. She would be the first to say that it’s not fast enough, but to the extent that insurers, the media and the public are recognizing the importance of proper care for mental and emotional issues, give some credit to the former FLOTUS.
One of my oldest and dearest friends is going through a bad depression and medications are not working well.
I’m very worried for her.
I’ve lived with a low-level depression for most of my life. I’ve been in a number of different counseling situations and am currently in a therapy group with a social worker. All of it has helped me to live productively. John, thanks for being so open about your problems. And to everyone else on the blog, thanks too.
@shell: Ok, now, missing Moldy Cheese Day is something I’m seriously going to regret. Are there rain checks, or would that be damp moldy cheese day? Extra Moldy Cheese day ensues.
Good article at Vox about anxiety: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/4/7262991/anxiety-disorder-help
“This is one of the most frustrating things about having an anxiety disorder: knowing as you’re freaking out that there’s no reason to be freaked out, but lacking the ability to shut the emotion down.”
Yes!!! We have one body and I think the only reasons for separating mental, dental, and vision out from the rest of our bodies are outmoded beliefs and cost.
Worse, they pay very poorly so many doctors severely limit the number of insure patients they will take. I have been through this and it is deadly for depressed people; here is a list of 20 doctors in your program, call each to be told “we are not taking new patients with insurance at this time”. When your brain already tells you it is hopeless this is a killer – LITERALLY in some cases.
Since the radiation killed my saliva glands I can’t take any antidepressants because they dry out normal throats. I have tried a lot of things but I just try to be aware of what is real and what is just the disease.
Maddie, me, Zoe and my sister having a sleepover
Been watching a series of kids shows on Netflix for Maddie…Strawberry Shortcake, Mickey’s Clubhouse, now watching Sofia The First.
Zoe sitting on her pillow watching Sofia the First!
@Another Holocene Human: I can remember being very upset about various problems and calling my EAP. There were 57 bureaucratic hoops to jump through. Since I had reached my breaking point I was in no condition to do that. I turned to the Lord, who, for some reason inexplicable to me, sent help. I would say EAP–ours, at least–isn’t great for those who are caught in a crisis but might be good for longer-term problems.
Next time you talk to Him put a good word in for me, He seems to be ducking my calls.
Awww John, Who has it better than us?
I’m relieved he survived Oregon. Maybe he is, too.
I need this right now…after hearing the Tamir Rice news
Zoë is knocked out in my arms :-)
@Schlemazel: I did mention you. He changed the subject.
@MomSense: That is worrisome. Two thoughts: First, do you think she would benefit from a second opinion from another psychiatrist? Second, we had a family friend with a serious depression that wasn’t getting better, and electroshock therapy saved his life. IIRC, he had to go through it twice, this was about ten years ago. So your friend is not out of options.
Jesus be a fence!
2 reports say Cleveland officer was justified in shooting 12-year-old boy who was holding pellet gun: http://apne.ws/1FYgPnx
@Schlemazel: “Why me?” is a knotty theological problem. For instance people who survive a disaster often say the Lord was looking out for them. What about the genuinely good and devout person who dies? Logically I know that I am about as capable of comprehending the mind of the Infinite as an ant is capable of comprehending my mind, but it’s human nature to continue to wonder–why me?
And of course it goes the other way, too, which is why the story of Job is still fresh.
@lamh36: I saw the video and I strenuously disagree with those reports. That conclusion is just plain ridiculous!
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@lamh36: Jesus wept. Disappointing doesn’t cover it. I see a very stringent consent decree in Cleveland’s future. Which won’t bring back Tamir Rice.
I am Doing It Wrong today, all pissed off and negative. But I’ve decided suicide is both murder and vigilante justice, and I just don’t believe in vigilante justice, it’s a total hot-button issue for me so I’m basically fucked. Mostly mad that I have to sit through such wretched badness.
I ate a bunch of icecream, plus I bought many excellent fancy coffee beans. The icecream is actually healthier for me at the moment because I’m just over 180 pounds and mostly avoid it out of vanity. But I can only afford/manage/schedule two meals a day and one is a single egg, half a strip of bacon and a sausage, so part of my negativity is literally starvation: pretty sure at my advanced middle age I’m supposed to be all heavy and paunchy, but poverty says NOPE!
Also, I am a major My Little Pony G4 fan, and we just had the most wonderful episode in years and years, finishing a story arc that was born FIVE YEARS ago. So, while I’m frustrated with many things and having to nom ice cream to get my head reasonably straight for bedtime, at least my ponies are well. Heck, they’re awesome.
Night night, crazy balloonjuicers. Any world with this much ice cream and ponies in it hereby gets a chance at another morning, where I’ll doubtless feel more ah… stable ;P and soon I’ll be launching into an eighth book for my readers, and after THAT I can try doing ones actually to sell on Amazon. Which may very well fail, but at least I have a lot of practice and something of a reputation as an effective writer, after probably close to two million words almost all of which are available to read, a million of them dedicated to ponies.
Self-medicating with cartoon ponies has its problems, but it’s kind of underestimated.
funny, looks more like random chance to me.
No CONCACAF cup thread? US v Mexico starting right now at the Rose Bowl. Pasadena is having a busy day – JPL open house was also today and it was packed. My daughter got to meet dozens of female scientists and engineers. They did a great job putting some really amazing women out front.
One thing that always stands out at JPL open house is just how much we do as a nation. It’s really remarkable, particularly on the earth science front. The US is unquestionably leading the world in terms of instruments to measure everything about how our planet works, and unfortunately in spite of all that climate data that *we* collect, so many elected officials routinely deny what our own instruments are telling us.
You really wonder what they could do if their budget kept pace with the Pentagon’s.
@? Martin: There’s no programmer in charge.
@Schlemazel: You’re just mad because the Lord changed the subject.
When I went in the hospital for heart/kidney failure, I got a single visitor for the week I was in. I got a few “get well soon”s on Facebook, but that was it. Even one of my nurses told me “You need some new friends.” That was when I quit Facebook, and these days, I mostly keep to myself. Very eye-opening episode.
The hardest thing for the human mind to understand is that there is no cosmic why. There is no special personal narrative of divine intervention. The universe is utterly indifferent to our presence – and we find it very difficult to face that fact. We invent gods (nonsensical, fucked-up personal ones as a rule) to make us feel that there is a higher power that can be appealed to or bribed because it values our attention. And sooner or later, when one set of gods doesn’t do it for us any more, we invent a fresh set – and so on and on.
Thanks. We talked a few days ago about going to Boston to have another opinion if this new medicine stops working like the rest have. I definitely think ECT is a good option but there are limits to what I can suggest/push since I really want to be someone she can call without any stress. It’s a balancing act. We are also dealing with some trauma that I don’t think is nearly as resolved as she does.
Any of you have any experience with disability for mental health? I think some financial support would help her to just focus on getting well without that additional stress.
@Baud: They’re called, wait for it, African penguins. They live on the southern tip, and also on islands off the coast.
My 7 year old knows EVERYTHING about penguins and is the proud owner of two stuffed African penguins.
Could you say ECT is something you heard about and wondered if it might be applicable for her? Sort of just laying it out there for her to hear, in a kinda don’t know anything about it way?
@Sibelius: The Penguin Malt Shop in Laguna was awesome!
That’s how I raised the let’s go to Boston and see someone new! I have to be very relaxed in my suggestions so once we get through the next four days/week of meds we can figure out what to do next.
She was really diligent with the kids’ health when they were young so I know she has it in her if she can see caring for herself in a similar way.
Depression has that wonderful way of making one not give a shit and then being pissed at yourself for not giving a shit. Depression is such a vicious cycle, your depressed and being depressed makes you feel worse…..
IOW, sorry, that she was able to care very much and very well for others may help but if she’s that far into it, what she is doing now, the meds, is the way out, something to break the cycle, for counseling alone won’t. That’s what the medicine is supposed to do, break the cycle so that she can see her way out. Counseling/medicine/ECT all of these are steps that help and may be required, depending on what level of depression the person is in. Breaking that cycle so that the person has a chance to see is the process. And that’s why you are worried for her, she is still going in circles and can’t see her way out. But she is trying and that is a good sign, it means she hasn’t given up. Hope this isn’t too much nor too personal but someone to help is very good for her. Sounds like you are doing all you can. Good luck to both of you.
Thanks for talking about your mental health issues, John.
I still do not have the nerve to open up like you did with mine.
I thought the recent article in the NYTimes on the benefit of tea, including for depression was interesting. It’s not a cure all but it’s better than other home remedies. link
Glad you reached out and got help. It takes a lot of strength to accept you need help.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
@MomSense: A problem with many AD meds is that they may take up to 6-8 weeks to show an effect. As a result people may give up too quickly – including some docs.
Which is not to say a 2nd opinion with another doc is inappropriate; all docs are not created equal and some have more thorough knowledge of psychopharm than others. She’s quite fortunate you’re her friend. You’re navigating the balancing act with aplomb.
For some it’s talking about it for others it isn’t. Both ways can work. It is after all a very personal thing, mental health. You got help and got better as I believe I remember you once saying, and that’s what’s important for you.
@pkdz: so true! Paxil has saved my life.
A good article about anxiety: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/4/7262991/anxiety-disorder-help
“This is one of the most frustrating things about having an anxiety disorder: knowing as you’re freaking out that there’s no reason to be freaked out, but lacking the ability to shut the emotion down.|”
I read this site daily, enjoy it always, and post almost never. This is to say thank you for what you have shared of yourself amidst the good political writing. It matters.
A few points:
1. Insurance is now required to provide mental health parity with physical health care. So I pay the same amount for my behavioral health visits as I would for a non-routine PCP visit and there are no limits on the number of visits in a year. (Thank you, Paul Wellstone)
2. Besides ECT, another promising depression treatment is IV doses of ketamine. The treatment is still considered experimental, so insurance won’t cover it, but for a lot of people out has near-instantenous results. The patients report almost complete abatement of symptoms and it lasts up to four weeks.
Dealing with that now and have in the past. I honestly don’t understand depression and i’ve had the chance to experience it with the loss too early of my wife of 23 years. I’m angry about it right now as my fiancee has fallen to it for the second time in our relationship. I’m on the verge of giving up.
I’m curious Luthe about ketamine treatment. Are there any reference materials you could share?
“World Mental Health Day”, insert joke here about referring your member of Congress to a mental health specialist.
Just don’t get help while you’re possibly facing any kind of US government certification because they’ll ask you to sign releases allowing them to talk to all of your mental health providers. Even though it’s illegal for any other employer to demand your mental health history before offering employment the government is more than happy to demand that you give up your privacy rights to keep your job. Even better they force those requirements on employees of private business as well. They don’t limit these certifications to jobs where public safety is involved. I was tangentially involved in the federal student loan program and was subject to one of these background investigations.
The US government is the single largest employer in this country and they feel like your mental health history is their business. That’s mad fucked up.
I doubt Mr. Peart likes hug a drummer day
It’s probably too late in the thread for you to see this, but have you ever been tested for ADHD or other learning disabilities? There’s an increasing amount of evidence that dysthymia is caused by those kinds of daily frustrations and is not “true” depression (though it can turn into it if left untreated long enough).
Also, too, for people who need low or no-cost therapy, look for local graduate schools whose students are in the final stages of getting licensed for marriage and family therapy or social work. I have an extended family member who just started her practicum for her family therapy license through Concordia University in Chicago. Yes, they are technically still students, but they are very closely supervised and should be helpful for most kinds of talk therapy.
Thanks John. I went through major depression a couple of years ago. Crying at random times for no apparent reason. First thought on waking up was ‘I want to be dead’. And I did. Not suicidal, it was more matter of fact. But outwardly, to co-workers and such, I appeared fine.
Luckily I told my doc at a regular checkup. He diagnosed clinical depression right away, and put me on generic Celexa. That was amazing. Felt way better after just a couple of days.
Later I transitioned off the med. I did have one bad reaction to that. McDonalds gave me a cheeseburger when I specifically asked for no cheese. Ha ha, right? Not then. Went into a rage. If I’d had a gun I literally would’ve gone back and shot them. That scared the crap out of me.
But off the med, depression returned. Not as bad as the first time, but a general feeling of bleakness and hopelessness. Not waking up wanting to be dead, but not seeing the point of going on living.
Back on meds now. Also done some therapy. Meds may not be right for everyone, but I know my brain chemistry is off balance. I used to be against medicated relief, at least long term, but it’s saved my life.
You’re doing a great service being so open about your path, John. Peace and joy to you.
The latest god Americans have invented as a higher power that can be appealed to or bribed is one called “the market.” The worship of this god will end particularly badly. As in “sacrificing your children to Baal” badly. As in “Aztecs cutting out victims’ hearts with obsidian knives to end drought” badly.
This is a wonderful place, filled with generous an interesting people. Thank you all.
A friend with family in Hooper Bay, Alaska sends along this video (6:30). Pass it along if you can.
Al-Jazeera article: http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/america-tonight/articles/2015/2/12/Ketamine.html
Current clinical trial: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00088699
Google has more.
Page wants a Facebook log-in.
@Steeplejack: Really? I’m not on FB and it works for me. It says its shared publicly. Dunno why it’s giving you issues. :-(
@MomSense: This may be little help, but: one relative has been on m.h. disability a long time. Different state and many episodes, but the one thing I can offer is that a record of evaluations and treatment is important. So, seeing a good Boston dr. as you are urging, is the way to go. I admire your focus on helping with the dr. and on just being there for her during this period. Making decisions may be hard for her, if so, one could emphasize that she doesn’t have to make any decisions now. Now is just the time to see an experienced doctor and listen to options. Emphasis might be that there are many options and, just as with surgery, it’s good to see a doctor who has treated many people with the same problem.
In that period of waiting for meds to kick in or for the drs appointment, I think a friend can help in a huge way doing very small things, leaving the big issues for later.
Because the change in light is pretty abrupt in the north, I’ve seen a few people be severely triggered in the fall and spring (or by 14 hour jet lag). A friend can help just by reminding someone that depression is temporary, affects a lot of people, and can be sort of a nature-based phenomenon (so going easy on yourself and waiting it out, like the trees and animals do, is more realistic than blaming yourself.)
If depression is leading someone try to regain energy or calm by eating sugar, alcohol, etc and she doesn’t have the energy to cook, then the lack of protein and fresh vegetables can make the depression spiral down. So a friend can make a big difference during that really hard, one-day-at a-time period, just by dropping off ready-made protein (like tuna sandwiches or a cooked chicken (picked lobster!) and raw vegetables. Also, B vitamins and B12/folic supplements have helped my relative quite quickly at critical times. (Not a cure, but still a difference that helped.) Just doing something very small, like take a supplement or a passive car ride or a good meal, helps get him through to tomorrow. Anything complex would be beyond him at those times, so those small things that a friend can offer do make a big difference.
If she has a more agitated, can’t sleep tyoe of depression, that can be dangerous and she or you might need to call a hot line or go right to a local drs office or ER for temporary extra meds.
Also, after many many years of severe episodes, my relative, on advice from his doctor, has been helped a *lot* by mindfulness tapes (by Kabot-Zinn, but there is also Thich Nhat Hanh, both on you tube. (I don’t know him, but some friend who have the obsessive thinking (rumination) part of depression, say it helps them to listen to E. Tolle tapes to quiet the destructive thinking.)
A few times I sat with my relative over the phone, listening together to the same youtube tape. (I had checked it out beforehand, and then called and sent a link, because he would not have done that alone at that point.)
For agitation, the listening to tapes might not work. When close to self-harm, my relative needed hospitalization. I don’t know how to make that call, but if you are worried about that, call a hot line to get advice, or her doctor.
More aggressive mental health laws to get those folks off the streets will help eliminate all mass murders by guns at colleges in america.