Being a supportive friend?

I have a friend who has begun to experience major depression lately, but refuses to acknowledge how bad things have become. He has been stable on medication for many years and tells himself that the medication has fixed his depression, and so rejects the possibility that his recent emotional state and behavior are a product of an episode of major depression.

He has been physically ill with increasing frequency, to the point that his work has complained and I’m worried he will lose his job soon. This past week he didn’t go to work at all, and made up a laundry list of symptoms for why, which he had to eventually justify in a way that made no sense. Anyway, point is, things are degrading. He has no local friends, no hobbies or interests, and doesn’t enjoy anything. But he’s convinced he’s not depressed.

How can I bring this up in a way that he might be able to hear? I want him to go to therapy, but he thinks therapy is for losers (my words). He knows I have been in therapy, and I believe he feels himself superior to me for that reason. He only wants to be on medication, and believes it’s working sufficiently well. Any ideas?

Metabolism changes over time, so I assume the meds can have a lesser impact. Being ill frequenty might be psychosomatic, caused by mood based dietary changes, addiction or really crappy stuff like cancer.

Did he get a thorough exam, bloodwork taken, etc.? What about the book you reccomended me, did he read it?

I believe the illness is psychosomatic.

I’ve tried many times to get him to read the book, but he says, “No, my medication is enough.” If it were anyone else, I’d just wait until he made the realization that his medication is no longer sufficient, but I really don’t want to see him self destruct and that’s the way it’s heading.

It’s a tricky situation. As much as you might want to help your friend, it might turn out badly if he doesn’t want it for himself first. My girlfriend at the time tried to get me to do things to help with my depression, but none of it stuck until I decided I wanted to improve my life on my own and started working on it everyday.

One solution is to pay attention to what he’s saying and what “excuses” he’s making and try and help him with on that regard. For example, if he says “I can’t go out because I don’t have clean clothes”, maybe offer to do his laundry for him? Personally, when I’m depressed there are usually one or two things that are blocking me from making progress and whenever those are removed (either by myself or others), it’s much easier to make progress on other things.

This one puzzles me - he takes meds and knows he’s taking meds, right?

  • so he knows he has a chemical imbalance that can be fixed via meds
  • he also thinks therapy is just for the real crazies

Do you think he’s ruminating about his frequent illnesses or fear of loosing his job? If so, better help him assuring he’s not serious ill and send him to a GP - like @vibranium said, help him get things organized and remove roadblocks as best as you can without sacrificing your own sanity.

I’m really sorry I cannot help, I can relate to your pain, but it’s impossible for me to come up with better suggestions.