The Depression Identity Factor

When is managing anxiety, stress and depression a nearly impossible case? When the depressed person does not want help. Believe it or not it is true in many cases. There are actually people out there with severe depression that do not want help. (I'll use depression for the sake of this post, because anxiety and stress can 2 be totally different topics, although closely associated.)

Many people reading this will say "Terry, you are full of it; no one wants to be depressed." The fact is there are many depressed people clinging to their depression, whether consciously or subconsciously, because it is their identity. It is their sense of control whether they realize it or not.

Some depressed people will resort to things such as self mutilation or drug overdose, to grab the attention of family and friends, because this is their controlling factor, again it could be conscious of subconsciously, but it is who they are. I witnessed much of this when I was hospitalized and got know many of these people.

I have known others to explain their depression as being individuals possessed by demons, and have gone on to identify with the demon, and thus they do not want to lose contact with them, because it is part of who they are, their sense of control , their identity. They may say they are happy with their depression and to leave them alone, but that is not what they really want.

Despite the fact that these people are miserable, they are afraid of what would happen if they lost this identity. It is who they are and they are afraid of the unknown, or what could be. It is unfortunate, but until they get to a point that they are sick and tired of being sick and tired and finally make a conscious effort, if at all possibly, to let someone help them, there is not anything anyone can do. These types of depressed people are an opportunistic psychiatrist's dream.

As family members and friends that have grown weary from hours of worrying and offering support that seems to offer no benefit to your loved one, take solace in the fact that you are vital to this person. They need you for two reasons. Either to be there to grab their attention so that they may maintain their identity, their sense of control, or to be there when they are finally open to accepting your help. Hopefully it is the latter.
You are needed, do not give up hope.