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Me and my ex had a long term relationship for 2 1/2 years. We were very close, and after we recently broke up we are still good friends.

She has been diagnosed with severe depression, and was even self-harming herself once. I did my best to make her see reason, and I don't believe she would do this again. I am the only person to know about this but that will change if she does it again.

She is bisexual and I am heterosexual. I am male. Note that she knows I have no issue with her sexual orientation. She has had one girlfriend since we broke up, but it didn't last long.

The problem is this: I really feel for her as she is clearly unhappy, and I do want to help her, but I feel myself almost being pulled down whenever we get into the subject of her state of mind. I want to stay in contact with her, and still be friends. I do not want to tell her how I am feeling about this 'relationship' (we are out of a relationship after all), but still want to be able to support her and do my best to help her without being too cheesy...

I think I am the only person she talks to about this.

She has seen doctor(s) and psychologist(s) and is now on medication. I don't know who and how many she has seen, just that recently she has had bad news about her condition (Severe depression).

Question

How can I support her and make her feel loved (in a friendly way) without being in a relationship? She does not like herself (sometimes even hates herself) and believes that no-one else does. I cannot confirm this. She has virtually no confidence, and is indecisive to the point that I have to make most of the decisions.

What I seek is to make her feel loved, and to help her love herself. To persuade her that she is appreciated and that whatever she or others may think, she is a lovely person.

I have to do all this from a non-romantic perspective.

Notes and clarifications

  • We saw each other rarely when we were together. Meeting up was a challenge, but not impossible as we live within 20 miles of each other. It's highly unlikely we will ever meet again.

closed as too broad by sphennings, OldPadawan, ElizB, Anilla, Jess K. Feb 27 at 20:53

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    You mentioned that you rarely saw each other when together. Was your relationship a long distance one? – Rainbacon Feb 27 at 19:03
  • This is entirely dependent upon what your ex needs for support. Unfortunately without knowing your ex personally we can't do anything more than wildly guess about what will and won't be helpful to her. If you could edit this question to be about how to do a specific supportive act while not being in a relationship I think this question is more likely to remain open. – sphennings Feb 27 at 19:16
  • Rainbacon, sphennings: I have updated the question based on the advice you have given me. See the revisions if my edits are not immediately visible. – Arthur Feb 27 at 20:22
  • I've been in this position myself with depressed friends, unfortunately it seemed to me there was only so much you could do, the rest will be up to them and hopefully professionals trained to help them. – BKlassen Feb 27 at 20:27
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    Stack Exchange is good at giving concise answers, but this feels like one that would be difficult to get an answer here. reddit.com/r/depression may be more helpful; their format allows for much more detailed discussions, which are probably important here. However, their volume and interface conspire to make your visibility window to get noticed rather short. I'd like to think there's a better place, but I haven't found it yet. – Ed Grimm Feb 28 at 5:27