[sorry, that would be seandr @27]
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In response to people who say it’s not possible to get someone to see a doctor if they don’t volunteer or respond to a single polite request. That’s not true.
Depressed people don’t feel they have value, so they are not motivated to get care for their own suffering. It may not occur to them that their behaviour has any effect on anyone else. If they do, it can be in dramatic terms such that they think that unless they kill themselves they are ruining everyone’s life.
Yelling and screaming at them that being depressed is not ok and that you need them to do something about it *can* work.
1) They may see a doctor to make the screaming stop.
2) They may be motivated to see a doctor for your sake, or perhaps to demonstrate to you that seeing a doctor is pointless (they already know that everything is pointless and impossible, but apparently you don’t know it yet and need proof).
3) They may be secretly pleased that you care enough about them to yell and scream instead of just leaving for a better life or abandoning them to their hopelessness. Because they know they are inherently worthless, they may feel more accepting of yelling and screaming than of kind concern.
4) Seeing a doctor is a concrete step that can be undertaken. If seeing the doctor is the goal, then just getting to the office is success. They don’t have to make feeling better the goal, or being a better person, or remaking the world into a good place to live, or causing all 7 billion of its inhabitants to be good and proper. They just have to make an appointment and allow someone to take them to it.
Alternatively, if the depressed person is more sad than dickly, you can just sit with them kindly and explain that you don’t like to see them suffer, and you know they can tolerate it, but can they imagine letting someone *they* care about suffer like that?
As msanonymous @19 points out, getting to a doctor’s appointment is only part of it. If someone’s basically a dick, getting successful treatment just makes them an undepressed dick. Treatment is not always successful even if the person is completely cooperative and proactive. And not everyone actively participates in their own treatment.
My point is simply that the proposition that getting someone to the doctor is not possible is untrue, not that getting them to that first appointment will always fix everything. Though sometimes it does.
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For people interested in the experience of depression, see Hyperbole and a Half’s posts: