What is the best way for family members to help their depressed loved one?

Thanks to members of a family, a mother and daughter attending a Depressed Anonymous meeting for the first time, were given tools helping them understand their father and mother’s husband who was isolating and depressed. It was at this meeting with me after the meeting, that they discovered that the parent and daughter were both experiencing some of the same feelings as was their loved one.

It was At this juncture of our discussion together that we knew at that point that family members needed to learn more about depression.

It was there that the initial program of Dep-Anon had its origin. They saw how their loved one was isolating and resistant to any or all of our solutions or efforts to budge them into recovery. The more we cajoled them the more this made matters worse.

Little did we realize that by continuing on this path of negative emotions directed toward our loved one that this would push the depressed family member further away from us. Our efforts continued to be self defeating.

We learned a very important message: We needed to back off, take care of ourselves, learn as much as we could about depression and leave our loved one alone. We also discovered that we needed a group much like Al-Anon in nature. We figured some out and that was we had to take care of ourselves and let the depressed take care of themselves. We truly were powerless to change them. We had to learn a new way. We found it important that we ourselves use the same program of recovery as our family member uses at their Depressed Anonymous group. We call it Dep-Anon. Yes, we had now found a way for ourselves to use the same spiritual principles which the Al-Anon family uses as they start taking care of themselves and let go of trying to regulate and control a family member’s drinking. We began to understand that we must try to change ourselves first, before we try and change someone else. We must fix ourselves and learn exactly how and what depression can do and does do to our family member.

All of us, who do have a family member as part of the fabric of our lives, can now look to Dep-Anon, a 12 Step family group, formed to not only help ourselves but also for us to participate as a member of a larger group of family members, who now together are learning ways to care for themselves.
Hugh

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