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Old 02-09-2019, 09:41 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 17,683
Ideas on dealing socially w/ a depressed person

I play in a 5-piece acoustic band. One member is quite unreliable. Today he didn't show up for a gig. No phone call/text/e-mail as of now - 5 hours after.

In the past, when he has missed practices and such, he has said things about "missing his meds," and "having a depression day." But I really don't know much more than that. Nor do my 3 other bandmates.

I like this guy, and like playing music w/ him, and I really don't want to do anything negative for him. And I'd LIKE to be a positive influence, if I could. But I really want my band members to show for practices/gigs - or at least send a text when they won't.

I don't know what kind of questions to ask, or what types of approaches might have a chance of being the most positive for all involved. Any ideas?
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
Old 02-09-2019, 10:02 PM
burpo the wonder mutt's Avatar
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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Location: NE Florida
Posts: 22,928
Someone could swing by and pick him up for practice?
Old 02-09-2019, 10:17 PM
TSBG TSBG is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,541
It's not clear to me that he really is suffering from depression; seems like he hasn't actually said so directly. Could he have other issues or maybe a substance abuse problem?

I have experienced clinical depression and my behavior then was not unlike what you describe--I'd make plans with friends and cancel last minute or just not show up. I can tell you that the only thing that motivated me to get treatment was getting dumped by my girlfriend. (I was also extremely lucky to have very good friends who took me in for months.)

Seems like you care about this guy, so be up front with him. Tell him you like him and like playing music with him. It seems like he is dealing with depression and you know that can be hard. But it's also hard for you and the others when he flakes and you deserve at least the courtesy of a message.

Based on my experience, he won't respond well if at all to this. It seems like you don't know him all that well, so I wouldn't entertain any ideas about being a "positive influence" under the circumstances (as my friends were for me). You don't want to get sucked down into what's going on with him. If his behavior continues it's reasonable to give him an ultimatum. And perhaps if the music is important enough to him it will kickstart him into not forgetting his meds.

Also shouldn't you discuss what to do with the other band members?
Old 02-10-2019, 09:59 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 17,683
In the past, after he missed a couple of practices w/ no contact before or after, I e-mailed him saying essentially, "Is everything all right?" He responded w/ the comments about missed meds and depression.

Someone COULD pick him up, but he has never suggested anything to indicate that was needed or welcome. Of the 5 of us, he lived the closest (walking distance) to yesterday's gig.

Never seen any signs of substance abuse, but who knows what goes on in other aspects of someone's life? He is younger than the rest of us - around 40, married, 2 kids in grade school, and his family's primary breadwinner - something with computers. On some occasions, he has cancelled at the last minute, citing work or childcare issues. I can understand that sort of thing better than complete silence.

Basically, I know him in ways related to playing music. First met him at jams. When one band member moved away, I met him at an event and asked if he would be interested. He was VERY enthusiastic. Saying "positive interest", I hoped that a low-key opportunity to participate in a hobby would potentially be a good thing for someone with emotional difficulties.

Our group is probably at least as much about enjoying each other's company and spending time making music, as it is about any pressure related to performing. Yesterday's "gig" was very low key - volunteer at a retirement home. But we DO rehearse arrangements and prepare a set list. We practice weekly, and want to improve over time. We all met Thurs eve for practice and discussed the Sat gig. On Fri, I e-mailed copies of the setlist. Then Sat p.m., he simply didn't show. It wasn't a big deal to substitute songs for the ones he would have led/sung, but the music overall suffered somewhat. Still no word from him.

And yes, the band has discussed this as a group. We all like him and like playing w/ him, but don't know what is needed or welcome. In large part, tho, we are at a point in our lives where we don't welcome this sort of uncertainty. Being as casual as we are, we don't want to make things more "rigid" than we are capable/desirous of. But something like knowing who will show up has a big impact on how we sound, and how we enjoy our activity.

Right now, the options seem to be to kick him out, or just assume he is unreliable, but appreciate him when he comes. The music we play would definitely benefit from a 5th player. The sorta casual road we are taking makes it tough to get someone who is of a similar ability, complementary personality, similar level of dedication, etc. The other 4 of us are a good match. We thought he was as well. But I guess we COULD restructure as a 4-piece w/ him as a periodic guest...
I used to be disgusted.
Now I try to be amused.
Old 02-10-2019, 10:13 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,339
I like the other answers. My contribution would be to consider a more formal separation of the two issues -- having a band member, and helping a person who's struggling. For example you might welcome him when he does show, but you might also seek a reliable member so that his absence is less significant.

I like that you want to be helpful and, at least, not harmful.
Old 02-10-2019, 10:14 AM
elbows elbows is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14,018
Be open and honest. Explain to him, as you have handily to us, that while you’re a pretty casual band, and gigs/rehearsals are low key, and you’d hate to pressure him in anyway, that his no show/zero contact really detracts from the others enjoyment of the time together. Then ask if maybe setting up a ride for him might help with his carry through? Because it might, only he could know. Tell him you want to be understanding of his mood/med issues, family commitments etc. Then explain it’s the no show/zero contact that’s really the upsetting part, could he maybe come up with some suggestions?

Then wait and see what he suggests, and go from there.
Old 02-10-2019, 03:29 PM
Helena330's Avatar
Helena330 Helena330 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Near Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 3,576
I flirt with depression and I know that going into any level of detail will cause him to tune out and shut down. Too much pressure. I think the best thing for HIM is for you and the rest of the members to consider yourself a four-piece band with him joining in if he shows up. Don't make a big deal of anything. If that's the best for the four of you, I don't know.
Old 02-11-2019, 12:53 PM
bump bump is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 16,779
Is it possible that he's just a flake?


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