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Question
Posted by: Concerned friend | 2008/06/04

Depression

Hi CS,

I think my friend is suffering from depression. It started about a year ago when her cat was killed by someone in her complex. Since then she has become angry at the whole world. She is distancing herself from friends who were once very close to her. Things that would just be a small irritation to anyone else causes her to completely loose control of her temper. For example: one of her co-workers phoned her twice asking for the same thing and she lost it. She started screaming and throwing things around and immediately started crying afterwards. She also doesn’t sleep much anymore. Yesterday I dragged her to a small private coffee shop and I finally got her talking. She admitted that she feels completely overwhelmed and that she can’t trust anyone. I think that the thought that someone could so brutally kill her cat did more damage than she would admit. I think she lost faith in all people. (She doesn't have children, so her animals mean the world to her)

I asked her to please go and talk to someone about it, but she refuses. She kept saying that it’s just a matter of getting her thoughts straight. When I got back to the office I did some research on depression and she is showing almost all the signs. I also read that positive thinking alone won’t pull her out of this hole. So I printed some of the information and gave it to her, but she just laughed and dismissed the idea.

We have been very close friends for almost 11 years and I just can’t believe the change in her over the past year. It’s as if she has turned into a completely different person. She lashes out very easily which hurts me, but when I keep my distance she accuses me of not caring about the friendship anymore. I love her dearly and I won’t throw away 11 years’ of wonderful friendship over something like this.

Her husband also mentioned to my husband that he doesn’t know which way to turn anymore.

What should I do to convince her to see someone? Or at least to admit that there is a big problem? Should I get her mother involved? Should I get her Pastor to talk to her?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

From your description, she does indeed sound depressed, and in need of treatment. She's right, of course, about needing also ( hence CBT !) to get her thinking straight, but obviously she is, like most of us, unable to do that entirely on her own. its not a matter of inducing or learning positive thinking, as unlearning the habir of negative thinking.
Not knowing the people involved, or her relationships, I don't know whether her mother, or pastor, could help to convince her. You'd be in a better position to guess that. Otherwise, persist gently in the way you have begun, which, among other effects, reminds her that there ARE some caring people in the world.
And having, in the past, had 2 cats murdered by a icious local gardener, I know that her anguish could be considerable.

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