A friend in need

Discussion in 'I Need Some Practical Advice' started by treacle, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. treacle

    treacle Member


    I have a friend who I have known very closely for about three years. While we don't exist in the same group, our creative sides have always connected and we do extracurricular activities together.

    Over time I have learnt about her, her home life and her personal insecurities and worries. She has consistently been told (especially by her mother) that she is not good enough, that reading hurts her eyes, that photography is meaningless and as a result she has a lot of issues with self esteem. Over the past two years these feelings have progressed into what she and I believe are serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Around that time she told me she was bisexual and that she would never be accepted in her family. I have tried to support her through these difficult times but lately it has been getting tough.

    She has a lot of emotional breakdowns (mostly crying) and anxiety attacks. There is a great deal of unhealthy thoughts about herself in her head and she seriously hates herself. She writes and captures beautiful, extraordinary things, for a while I couldn't understand why she would think that way about herself despite my own struggles with mental health.

    I have tried a lot of things, writing her letters, constantly reminding her of her worth to me and her other friends, encouraging her to keep seeing the beauty in the world, to believe there is something worth fighting for, that she can get away from her family in time and that yes, there is more pain ahead, but there is a better life waiting for her. She even visited the school counsellor, who warned her about the limits of confidentiality and how she couldn't keep everything a secret. As a result my friend does not like her and frankly neither do I. The rest of the school also doesn't have a good track record with her either.

    Unfortunately during another one of our conversations about the merits of suicide, she revealed that she actually thinks that her suicide would raise awareness for LGBTQIA youth, that it would expose her family and be the ultimate "I don't care" to her family. Of course I completely disagreed, I was kind of horrified that these kind of thoughts could be in her head and was very shocked and a little angry that she would think that. Maintaining my position makes me wonder if she dismisses me as someone who can't help of understand. (She has told me that I can't guilt trip her into living.) I am really frustrated and I feel really helpless. I don't agree with her plan to sacrifice herself as a martyr or saint or anything, just like I believe that it wouldn't have a huge impact on issues in the world today. I definitely don't think it's worth it and I don't want it to happen.

    Please help me by giving me some practical advice on how to deal with this situation, it would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks ~ T
  2. Rockclimbinggirl

    Rockclimbinggirl SF climber Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Can you encourage her to seek professional help?
    treacle likes this.
  3. draws

    draws Well-Known Member

    First of all, yes, see if you can convince her to get professional help.

    2nd: I have a love/hate relationship with the "Guilt Trip Into Living" method. When I was 27ish, I was having a really bad depression day, and my spouse decided to go to work anyway and leave me to do whatever (a bold move for him, heartbreaking for me, but probably the best choice). I called an emergency help line and saw someone that afternoon. She was such a shitty counselor! Had absolutely nothing useful to say. It was SO disappointing. The only useful tool she had was the Guilt Trip. And she hammered me with it. "You simple can not do this to your daughter. She would be ruined forever. You will be totally ruining the lives of those around you, they would never get over it". etc etc. It made me SO angry. I STILL get completely pissed about it! But it has worked, totally. No matter how much I want to exit, there is that final line that I would never do that to my kids.

    So, I suggest the Guilt Trip is not a bad way to go. Even when I made a lame attempt to off myself when I was 15, when I was at a sleepover with my girlfriend. And it hit me, "GEEZUS, how could I do this to her??" And we started the barf routine and I got over it. But the CARING is there -- unconscious. Guilt was my way of uncovering it through the blankets of other self-destructive thinking. We don't want to care, because caring is hard, so it's extra work to expose the caring.

    Also, I sometimes think depression is really just me avoiding how ANGRY I am. Maybe your friend needs better outlets for her anger. She's got plenty to be angry about, and there are way more outlets for that, other (more constructive) ways to give the big FU to her family. Writing? Painting? Paintball? Kickboxing?
    treacle and Heath2016 like this.
  4. Heath2016

    Heath2016 Member

    On some practical advice.
    • Ask her to join this Forum before doing anything. Encourage her to tell her story and see what happens. I am new here...but as best as I can see this community has a lot of wonderful people that offer lots of support. It is just a forum....might as well try it out.
    • So she is good at writing, wants to raise awareness in LGBTQIA Youth, and is obviously in pain. If she wants to make a difference in the world channel this pain into something more than just a sacrifice. What do families need to know about the LGBTQIA Youth to prevent more pain?
    • Finally, if you fear she will go through with it then it is ok for you to call someone. There are crisis numbers you can call (suicidepreventionlifeline dot org) that will take action and make sure it does not happen to the best of their ability. This does not make you a bad friend even if it feels that way.
    Good luck!
  5. treacle

    treacle Member

    She has tried once going to free and confidential places to talk, but she claims that they found excuses to shorten her time and not schedule appointments. Other than that, she has tried the school counsellor, but that obviously hasn't gone well. I'm not sure I could convince her to try anything else, we are children and we don't really have financial resources, besides her parents might find out.
    thanks ~ T
  6. treacle

    treacle Member

    I just don't want to distance her from me, if she thinks that I am trying to guilt trip her into living, it might add to her reasons to not live. Besides, from her mother she has already gotten enough guilt tripping, and those attitudes led her to this position in the first place. I am not a fan of emotionally and mentally manipulating her which echoes her abuse, so I think I am avoiding that method for now.

    As for the constructive outlets, I think that is a really good idea, perhaps she can join some kind of kick boxing class with me, or we can punch pillows after school.

    thanks ~T
  7. treacle

    treacle Member

    I am not sure I can tell her about this forum, she might be mad at me for putting her story out there and horrified I think. Maybe I will try the brave route an tell her.

    That is a good way for her to go, thank you so much for that.

    I just feel like that would be the biggest betrayal of them all, but I know that if one day she calls me up and tells me that she is going to do it, I would try to stop it.

    Thanks so much ~T
    Heath2016 likes this.
  8. Unknown_111

    Unknown_111 Forum Buddy Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Welcome to the forum. You have a mature head for such a young person. A credit to you for supporting your friend. You have my upmost respect for this. All I can say is that you be the rock for friend and we provide the support you need if the situation gets too much.

    In the end, you came to us for guidance in assisting your friend. You are a very courageous person and be proud of that. Take care and once again welcome to the SF FAMILY.
  9. treacle

    treacle Member

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope the situation gets better.

  10. Unknown_111

    Unknown_111 Forum Buddy Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    It will but give it time. We all struggle here but we support each other in coping with own struggles. You realise then you are not the only one in the world which itself is a comforting thought. Please try to be strong as WE CARE and most important be safe.
    treacle likes this.
  11. may71

    may71 Well-Known Member

    I think the site admins don't usually delete threads, but once you feel the thread has served its purpose, they might be willing to delete it for you.

    It could be that she would not object to your posting this thread, since you are only speaking of her in anonymous terms. Maybe you could try to delete the thread, and later re-post it if you get her permission.

    Does she have a relative that she trusts (grandparent, aunt, etc) that she could stay with instead of her parents? That might be a step forward for her. There may also be some LGBT resources out there online. In general, running away is a bad route to go, but a big step up from suicide or a serious attempt. I've heard that covenant house is a good place for runaway teens to go, but I can't verify that personally. In principle, she might be able to stay with the parents of a friend, but I don't know what legal issues there might be related to that. There may be some online resources for runaways that you could look into for her.

    She can accomplish far more by surviving her experience and trying to help others than by killing herself. Maybe someone in the LGBT community can convince her of that.

    Beyond that, the weight of the world is not on your shoulders. It's great that you are such a caring friend, but there is only so much that you can do to help others. It's not your fault if she follows through with a suicide threat.