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Ask Amy: Chronic depression is constant topic

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am an adult female in my 50s who has lived with ongoing, treatment-resistant major depression for most of my adult life.

I have, for the most part, accepted that it will probably always be something I have to deal with, to one extent or another, although the severity of it does vary. And I do my best to keep it under control with medication and therapy.

The problem, though, is that my sister only seems to see that part of me.

She means very well and is genuinely concerned for me.

I understand that, and I appreciate her concern, but almost every communication I get from her is about my depression: Daily suggestions about things I should be doing differently, lots and lots of unsolicited advice, frustration if I don’t always implement her suggestions, etc.

How do I get her to understand, that even though I appreciate her concern, the barrage of “suggestions” can sometimes come across as judgment or criticism, especially when advice has not been requested?

 

Also, how can I gently suggest that I’d like to talk about other aspects of my life than just mental illness?

I feel like all she sees in me is brokenness.

– There is More to Me than My Illness

Dear There is More to Me: Any person living with serious chronic illness must wrestle with this question of identification, and it is vital that others realize that their own expressions of compassion and concern can come across instead as a desire to control the outcome.

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