friends with depression

I have a friend at work who has been going through depression for the past few years due to stress over his daughter’s worsening mental illness. He is a very funny person, but when the laughter stops, he turns quiet and moody very quickly. He has been coming to terms with the fact that he has a mental health condition, but he is not someone who is likely to write about it. He is a more take-action type of person, and it bothers him greatly that he can’t simply fix the problem of depression in the same way one would fix a broken bone or by taking cold medicine. I don’t know for sure, but I think he would be very reluctant and uncomfortable talking to a therapist about the stressors that are causing his depression; he would rather sit and stew about his problems and drink whiskey to forget about things for a while. I don’t want to stereotype, but I think this is a typical “guy” response to depression when he doesn’t understand why this is happening and he doesn’t understand how he can more effectively cope with stressors causing the depression.

We have talked about mental health because of his daughter’s illness, my daughter’s illness, and my own experience. He is the only person at work who knows I have bipolar, but I think to him it is simply an abstraction I live with and he doesn’t understand the full experience. I’m okay with that; it never seemed appropriate to give him the full story of how bipolar has fucked with my life over the years. I don’t know what he suspects about me, but he understands my personality is different than his, and that I tend to be more closed-up about my thoughts. He may be curious to know I have been to therapy multiple times (I wouldn’t tell him that it didn’t work for me very well), but I don’t think I could convince him to see a therapist. I think it would really surprise him to find out how open I have been on this blog about my mental health issues, but I don’t think it would surprise him that it has all been written under a pseudonym.

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