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Topic: Supporting Friends

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. RamblingGirl
    RamblingGirl avatar
    3 posts
    29 September 2020
    Hi. I am just looking for some advice regarding supporting a friend. He's been struggling with depression for years and has had suicide attempts previously, before I knew him. Unfortunately his family are very unsupportive of his struggles (they are "just get over it!" kind of people). He doesn't seem to have many supportive friends either and he won't talk to any mental health professionals, so it feels like it's just me who's trying to help him through this. And since we met online and live far from each other, I can only support him through texts/calls. For the last couple of months he has been much more hostile and critical of me with my attempts to support him - accusing me of being too positive, of lying when I say anything remotely positive about him (or anything, really). If I offer to provide a listening ear or advice he gets angry at me, and when I don't say anything he seems to be mad at me for doing nothing too. I feel like he wants me to say/do something but I don't know what. Yesterday he said some hurtful things and I knew I needed a break for my own mental health so I haven't messaged back. I want to reach out again, but I'm not sure how, or how long I should give him. And I feel so guilty for not having thicker skin, I know what he's going through is far worse but I've started to dread out conversations. And I'm so scared what he will do. Thanks for reading this, and thank you for any advice in advance.
  2. Flowertop
    Flowertop avatar
    51 posts
    29 September 2020 in reply to RamblingGirl

    Hi RamblingGirl

    It is hard to support someone who is acting hostile towards you.
    If he is abusive towards you, this is not a healthy friendship.
    You are correct that you need to look after your own mental health in regards to this. You sound like a very kind and caring person. It sounds like he is hurting and redirecting his pain onto you. This is not good for either of you.
    If he is threatening to harm himself you could always call an ambulance to his place to make sure he is safe.

    This is a difficult situation and quite upsetting when you want to help someone who will not let you help.
    I think it is good that you are not responding to his text especially if they are hostile.
    Hope your Ok

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Soberlicious96
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Soberlicious96 avatar
    519 posts
    29 September 2020 in reply to RamblingGirl

    Dear RamblingGirl,

    I know this is gonna sound a bit harsh, but sometimes, you gotta walk away. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be helped. And if this person is aggressive towards you, then perhaps walking away is the best thing to do.

    You are NOT responsible for what he may or may not do to HIMSELF, even though we like to think that we can help.

    I once got a complaint from a customer at work, for being too happy! Sometimes our 'light' is too bright for those who are still stuck in the dark. And if you are starting to dread having conversation with him, then my suggestion is: don't. Don't keep putting yourself into a situation that makes you so uncomfortable that you are feeling dread and anxiety.

    In the meantime, while keeping a distance may seem harsh, perhaps you could also tell him that when he is ready to treat you with respect, and NOT be hostile and critical of you, THEN you will help him again. But remind him that you are not his enabler, and you will help him, only if he agrees to also help himself and get professional help.

    Also, remember we are here for you too, for as much as you like.

    Take care. I'll be thinking of you. xo

    1 person found this helpful
  4. smallwolf
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    smallwolf avatar
    5768 posts
    29 September 2020 in reply to RamblingGirl

    hi and welcome to beyond blue.

    You are a good friend to have - you are trying your best to help your friend out. As someone with depression I can tell you that sometimes I don't want to talk about it. And sometimes it is case when friend don't ask, you want them to. I guess the difference between myself and your friend might be that he voices his thoughts (to you)? I am only guessing. And so it can seem you sometimes cannot win.

    So what can you do about this?

    1. One thing you could try is reframing some of the thoughts. That is, when he says something nasty, reframe that as "his anger/depression is making ...." as opposed to that is what is he really thinks about you. It may not easy and may take time the believe this new thought.
    2. The next thing to consider and pick the right time, would be to chat with him about how some of the statements effect you. And perhaps consider setting boundaries. This next bit may seem counter to the what is said in the prev. point, but if you are hurt or consider what is said to be verbal abuse, but you also have to be able to look after yourself as well.
    3. A good page to start at is here... https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/supporting-someone

    You do not require a thicker skin to support your friend. If something is too much for you, you have every right to put up boundaries and give yourself the space you need. Also... thank you for being there for your friend.

    Tim

    1 person found this helpful
  5. RamblingGirl
    RamblingGirl avatar
    3 posts
    30 September 2020
    Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate it :) It made me feel less alone so thank you. I will give him a few days and then if he’s calmer try and set some boundaries.

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