FIFO Focus

Developing resilient FIFO workers and building psychologically healthy workplaces.

FIFO Life Part 48: Can depressed people come across as selfish?

FIFO Focus’ Dr John Forbes  joins Big Al as part of the REDFM series FIFO Life.

In part 48, Dr John explains why we should be patient with our loved ones who feel depressed.

Can depressed people come across as selfish?

Can depressed people come across as selfish? To some people, yes. Are depressed people selfish? The short answer is, no. People who experience depression and anxiety become overwhelmed with emotions. At those times, and they can affect us all at one point or another, we tend to want to pull the covers up over our head and just disappear. When people experience depression, though, it can affect them quite profoundly, and they end up withdrawing from life. That can frustrate their friends and family, because a lot of people want them to just snap out of it. That’s really isn’t how clinical depression and anxiety work, though. They are significant disorders.

Unfortunately, in our efforts to help them we can encourage them to go to the movies or the footy, and they keep saying no to us. So, we can throw our hands up in frustration and walk away.

There are some things that we can do, though. We can let them know that we ‘are’ going to involve them in things. Notice that this isn’t a request, though. It’s more of an instruction. We’re not giving them much of a choice. Explain it to them, though. Acknowledge what they’re going through, but let them know that you’ll be tackling it together – but you ‘will’ be tackling it. Let them know that you care about them, and won’t take no for an answer.

That’s important, because depression can make us think that no-one cares about us. So, we withdraw. However, after a while people give up trying to reach out to us, and then that can apparently confirm that no-one cares about us.

Remember, that the person with depression isn’t rejecting us. It is part of what they’re going through, and it’s important to separate the person from their symptoms.

Carers of people who experience depression also need to look after themselves and have people to talk to. If this is you and you, please feel free to drop us a message on our Facebook page or via email.


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