Struggling to help my depressed friend, time to let go?

H

Hope88

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#1
Hi Everyone

My friend has depression and other health issues which drain her mentally and physically for most of her adult life. She takes anti-depressants and has professional help, but I'm not sure how effective these are right now.

Although she can be a lovely person, it's can be very difficult to separate her behaviour about what is really her and what is her condition. She admits, she does not even know herself sometimes. I have excused rude, selfish and stubborn behaviour many times, putting it down to her depression.

I have spent alot of time and effort being there for her, in fact I've gone out of my way to help whenever she's needed something. I'm the only friend she really sees in person on a regular basis. She knows she doesn't need to pretend to be happy with me and hopefully this saves her energy.

She seems to see people as temporary in her life, as no one can ever 'deal' with her and everyone ends up walking away. I try to reassure her as often as I can, that I'll be there as long as she needs me.

I try to push her when I feel like she wants to talk and understand about things and offer support. Sometimes this works and she will open up, but more recently she just gets very annoyed that I am trying to understand her better. She's says I constantly annoy her with any questions.

I don't know how to describe it well, but now when we talk, it seems like she's almost setting me up so she can attack me. I don't think it's deliberate, but it's got the point where often I'm terrified to say anything, because even if I agree, she gets very angry.

She will start talking about something and present her opinion as facts. I try to agree where reasonable as not to cause conflict, but if I suggest anything as an alternative, she gets angry and says I'm deliberately opposing her and trying to force my opinion.

I feel like she is trying to push me away and shut me out. It's happened before and I've told her I'm there wherever she needs me and backed off a little to give space. This seemed to work and she's offered glimpses that she values the friendship.

Recently though, I think this is the lowest I've seen her. Her behaviour is getting more erratic. She's had several stressful events recently and in my opinion, she's struggling to make rational decisions. I'm scared this will be very damaging and end up with her blaming herself, so I'm trying to get her to see reality, but she's perceived it as negatively from my side and has shut me out.

I feel useless and helpless now. It seems I am causing her more harm than good and it's taking its toll on me. My partner is now worried about my mental state. I don't want to walk away, I've invested alot in our friendship and I committed to be there and I want to honour that. I don't want to be another person who walked out of her life, because they couldn't deal with her.

Thanks for any words or advice
H.
 
calypso

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#2
You have to look after yourself first or you won't be any use to her or anyone else. I think you may be too kind and maybe tell her that her behaviour is too much at times. She doesn't seem to value you very much from what you wrote. I don't think its unfair for you to be blunt with her at least once and say that you are finding it hard to take her behaviour.

I am not clear if this is all depression. I think if the meds she is on aren't working then she needs a review of them and assessment.
 
calypso

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#3
You have to look after yourself first or you won't be any use to her or anyone else. I think you may be too kind and maybe tell her that her behaviour is too much at times. She doesn't seem to value you very much from what you wrote. I don't think its unfair for you to be blunt with her at least once and say that you are finding it hard to take her behaviour.

I am not clear if this is all depression. I think if the meds she is on aren't working then she needs a review of them and assessment.
 
H

Hope88

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#4
You have to look after yourself first or you won't be any use to her or anyone else. I think you may be too kind and maybe tell her that her behaviour is too much at times. She doesn't seem to value you very much from what you wrote. I don't think its unfair for you to be blunt with her at least once and say that you are finding it hard to take her behaviour.
Thank you so much for your reply.

I've tried before to say that I can sometimes find her behaviour difficult and she got very defensive and told me that I should not be around her and to find other friends who are not.

I am not clear if this is all depression. I think if the meds she is on aren't working then she needs a review of them and assessment.
She has other conditions as well around behaviour and anxiety, so combined, it can be very difficult for her. Her meds have been changed multiple times over the years and I think she's worried nothing will ever work properly.

I'm just terrified that she has always struggled to keep friends and every time someone walks out of her life, it's just another trauma that makes things worse. I want to try and break that cycle, but it's so difficult.
 
calypso

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#5
You are being a wonderful friend to her and I think you are kind and thoughtful. I'm sorry if I came over too bluntly before. By all means be there for her but not at the expense of your own health. Take some time for yourself and if that clashes with her needs then tell her that you can't make it that day or whatever.

Be kind to yourself too. I appreciate that she is despairing that anything can help her right now. Can you suggest she comes on here to talk with others who know only too well how hard things can be. We (including staff) all have experience of MH conditions and know how it can feel. We aren't professionals at all and that can be a plus. Its worth a thought.

Has she had a formal diagnosis?
 
SunnyDaze

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#6
Maybe she just wants you to be a friend rather than trying to fix her or save her?

When I'm at my worst and struggling with my PTSD I just want someone to spend time with and chat about anything besides my mental health.The last thing I want is someone trying to "help" me unless I specifically ask for help.

You sound like a caring and kind person.And a caretaker.All good things but you do need to take care of yourself first.

Maybe you could tell her you're there if she wants help or to talk about her issues and then leave it at that and just be a friend.
 
H

Hope88

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#7
You are being a wonderful friend to her and I think you are kind and thoughtful. I'm sorry if I came over too bluntly before. By all means be there for her but not at the expense of your own health. Take some time for yourself and if that clashes with her needs then tell her that you can't make it that day or whatever.
I've really tried to be. I have my own flaws, but I can honestly say I've done my best. I don't want to let her down, she's been abandoned over and over in her life and deserves someone to try and understand her. At the moment, we're not speaking, she's ignoring me.

You didn't come across bluntly to me. I really appreciate any words as I'm honestly struggling with what to do

Be kind to yourself too. I appreciate that she is despairing that anything can help her right now. Can you suggest she comes on here to talk with others who know only too well how hard things can be. We (including staff) all have experience of MH conditions and know how it can feel. We aren't professionals at all and that can be a plus. Its worth a thought.
I would love for her to hear opinions from others and talk. I don't think she's comfortable talking to strangers, although from my own experience, I know it can be useful, as they can approach situations from a neutral position

Has she had a formal diagnosis?
Yes, long term depression and she's been seeing a psychiatrist for a while. She spent some time in a clinic as well when things got really bad before.

I'm sorry, I would like to go into more detail, but I already feel like I'm betraying her, she hates personal matters being discussed and would probably never speak to me again if she read this.
 
H

Hope88

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#8
Maybe she just wants you to be a friend rather than trying to fix her or save her?
Thank you for replying.

I'm sure you're right. She has said many times, no one can fix or help her. Probably I've tried too hard and this has backfired.

When I'm at my worst and struggling with my PTSD I just want someone to spend time with and chat about anything besides my mental health.The last thing I want is someone trying to "help" me unless I specifically ask for help.

You sound like a caring and kind person.And a caretaker.All good things but you do need to take care of yourself first.

Maybe you could tell her you're there if she wants help or to talk about her issues and then leave it at that and just be a friend.
I offer to be there and to talk all the time. We don't really talk about MH because she does not like to discuss it and says I can never understand anyway. We discuss other topics, however it seems now any subject can turn toxic. My interpretation is that she's trying to push me away.
 
SunnyDaze

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#9
Maybe she's just really struggling and irritable. It's probably not anything about you personally.

Maybe just give her space ?
 
H

Hope88

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#10
Maybe she's just really struggling and irritable. It's probably not anything about you personally.

Maybe just give her space ?
I believe so, she's been through alot this year so far.

I'm scared that she thinks I don't care any more. So I'll try to maintain a balance between letting her know I'm here and giving space.
 
SunnyDaze

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#11
You could always send her a "thinking of you"card or even just a message letting her know you care and are there for her if and when she needs you.
 
H

Hope88

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#12
You could always send her a "thinking of you"card or even just a message letting her know you care and are there for her if and when she needs you.
As I mentioned, she's currently ignoring me. I asked how she was the other day and she hasn't replied.

I'll remind her this weekend, I'm still here if she needs anything.

Thanks for your words, it helps me feel I am doing the right thing
 
sadpunchingbag

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#13
You come first remember that it’s all good helping someone but if they are not putting in as much it’s a losing battle cut ties with her not all relationships are meant to last
 
daffy

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#14
What sunny daze says is a good idea. If she’s not talking to you . It might be that she’s feeling a bit overwhelmed with her emotions at the moment and needs some breathing space to get her head around things. But there are some lovely Thinking of You cards out there. Just choose one with an appropriate verse and and your personal comment saying you’ll always be there for her. And I think she will appreciate that. My friend got me one of the thought ones that’s credit card size and fits in your wallet and just says on it ‘sending you hugs when you need them’ and I really appreciated it.
I do hope you can get her on the forum then she can express how she’s feeling and realise that she’s not on her own

Daf:hug:
 
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