July 25, 2014 at 11:28 am #61759SarahParticipant
I’m not quite sure where to put this post – so I chose here.
Currently, I have a very depressed friend – I’ve watched her downward spiral over the passed year or so.. Weight gain, bad voices, emotion highs and lows. I guess I can’t say that I’ve “watched” because I have been supportive and an ear to listen; tell her positive things that I see about her, tell her how much I appreciate her friendship.
She talks to me about some pretty deep and heavy things, that I can’t handle. (I was diagnosed with depression a few years ago.. so I feel her pain, in some way) I’m trying to be supportive, and be there for her… I just am all out of ideas and things to say. I find myself (not on purpose) pulling away because it is too much to handle. I don’t have terrible thoughts about myself or hurting myself, so I have a hard time relating or knowing what to say.
I just need some advice, on how to be a good support system. I’m the type of person who takes on other peoples feelings, and I can’t have my depression suffer because of it.
Please don’t take this post as being all about me – I would love to hear some advice, from both sides..July 25, 2014 at 2:16 pm #61767Marilyn Briant-RockmoreParticipant
Yes, it’s hard to help people sometimes, because they seem to want to stay where they are. I remember being very “needy” with friends for years, and one in particular who was like you, very kind and a good listener. The truth was I was looking for help from others, when I needed to help myself. I am sure you already know this is true for your friend too.
Please remember it is important to take care of yourself first, and then try to be supportive to your friend. Have you tried encouraging her to seek professional help? Maybe you could do hs by being honest and telling her “I am pleased you feel you can confide in me, but I am not able to handle all of this and I have found therapy really helps.” Or, “Can I help you find someone who can help you sort things out?”
You are obviously a very kind and caring person, Sarah, but there is only so much we can do for others. I think it may help if you focus on setting boundaries with your friend.
Love and peace,
MarilynJuly 25, 2014 at 3:40 pm #61769passionateselfParticipant
If your friend has a thought of hurting herself then you need to actually let the counselor know. I know there is an emergency line for it. I don’t know the number though.
Also, I have a rule: I keep positive people around me.When things are going bad for them, I will offer advise but I also tell them to snap out of it. Basically a year of negative thoughts are too much for me. Its easier said then done but your friend needs to become mentally strong which means positive mind and ask her to watch BObproctor dvd you were born rich. There are 3 dvd on youtube.
They are worth the time.
PassionateSelfJuly 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm #61978SarahParticipant
Thank you for your advice and kind words, Marilyn.
My friend is seeking help professionally. Seeing both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. I’m just not sure how much help they are – or how much she is willing to open up to them.
I’m a strong believer in mind over matter – help yourself before someone else can help you. I’m at a loss with her, and I find that it is easier for me to pull away, then to actually put myself in a situation where she needs my “advice” or shoulder to lean on. I’ve offered help such as self help books (which I read continuously when I am feeling lost or down) but there always seems to be a reason as to why they won’t help.
I feel like a terrible person for feeling the way I do, but my happiness seems strained some days.July 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm #61983Marilyn Briant-RockmoreParticipant
Hello again Sarah,
Please let me reassure you – you are not a terrible person and your happiness is what is most important. I realize that sounds selfish, but it is more about self-love. For years I put everyone else’s happiness ahead of my own, only to end up feeling sad and unhappy. Sometimes too, as much as we would like to help, we are just not able to do so.
There is nothing wrong in understanding that we are all responsible for the way we feel. And hopefully your friend will eventually come to accept this, as well as benefit from the professional help she is getting. There is also nothing wrong with choosing to not spend as much time with your friend, because her negative energy is affecting your own energy.
I believe it really is okay to focus on yourself – to spend more time doing things you love and being with those whose energy is uplifting. I also think it is okay to feel you cannot be responsible for someone else’s happiness – you really can’t. Perhaps you can just decide to be comfortable with whatever you are able to offer your friend in terms of support and let the guilty feelings go?
Love and peace,