Dealing with a friend...

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Tippew, Sep 30, 2013.

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  1. Tippew

    Tippew New Member

    This is my first post here, and I apologize, but it will be long. I am here because one of my roommates recently has been feeling suicidal. There are three of us and we all deal with depression on some level. We all met over the internet. I'll refer to them as "A" and "S".

    S and I took A under our wing because she was feeling suicidal from being in a toxic living situation with her family, and her family never helped her to get the assistance she needed. Maybe it was silly, but we paid for her to move in with us from states away. From there we learned the severity of her condition, as her mother mentally abused her, when she gets upset she curls up and doesn't talk to us and it takes us sometimes hours trying to talk to her to get her out of it. She also has very poor problem solving skills, which may be a side effect of her depression or the "learning disability" her school claimed she had, but was never diagnosed. She's been here two years, and was actually doing better for a while, especially after getting a job.

    However, she recently lost her job. We were trying to get her to make applications to get a new job, but she would literally do nothing. Finally she cracked one day saying she felt like we only valued her if she had a job, which we promptly denied, because that's not true. On top of that, it was close to her birthday. So her depression took a tumble into self-harm and suicidal thoughts territory. We set up a doctor appointment for her, but she can't get in until the 11th, so she's claimed that she "won't last that long."

    S and I are stuck in a very frustrating spot, because A is becoming more and more withdrawn and will get sucked into being on the computer all the time. If we try to pull her away from it, she will get short and snap "leave me alone!" or swear. We've tried to take away the laptop she's using to get her to not withdraw so much, but she'll throw a fit over it (it's not even her laptop...) and of course start feeling suicidal again. I understand that the internet can be a distraction from those feelings, but it scares me that she places having internet as a priority over her friends who are trying to help her.

    She won't do anything productive. No household chores, nothing to creatively release her feelings (she mentions wanting to DO art, but never does), she will refuse to go out when S and I go out to eat, and then she'll get upset because there's "nothing to eat" at home (there is, she just doesn't want to settle for it). She just mostly stays in bed and focuses on the internet, which just isn't healthy...

    There's a lot of tension, especially between S and A because they share a room. S gave up half of her room to make space for A, but A gets upset that she has no real personal space (though it was worse for her back with her family, she was literally sleeping on the couch). S is also very social and will try to prod A into responding to her. But A will try to ignore her and things just escalate until S also falls into depression, thinking that A doesn't care about anything but herself, and that if we died, A wouldn't really care, and then SHE starts feeling suicidal. A won't respond to anything at that point. I try to help as I can, but I'm not perfect, and after two years of this stuff, my patience has been running thin.

    When A is feeling suicidal, S and I do try our best to be supportive. We tell her we love her, we remind her that we do things for her because we care. We tell her if we didn't care, we wouldn't be trying to work with her. We point out what we like about her. We tell her we like her physical traits too. We tell her it'll get better and that we'll be there for her and she can talk to us anytime. We remind her that we're not like her family. We remind her that we've also gone through and deal with similar feelings so we do understand what she's going through. We try and try to be encouraging, but she gets so lost in despair. We're the closest people to her, but she won't really listen to us...

    On her birthday we had to work really hard to just get her out of the house to go eat. It took us literally two hours to get her dressed and willing to go. We went to a restaurant she liked, gave her gifts, and she enjoyed that. But then she wanted to go to a night club (I think mostly she just wanted to get drunk, which I don't think is a good idea in her condition), but both S and I had to work the next morning and we didn't have the money to buy a lot of drinks. And from there she just crumpled and whined about how it wasn't fair because it was HER birthday and we shouldn't have to work on HER birthday and she knew she shouldn't have gone out because there wasn't enough time to do anything (which we mentioned part of that was because it took 2 hours to get her out of the house). And alksjfihlkj. We worked so hard to get her to go out. While we felt like she wasn't very grateful, I think it would've been much worse if she didn't go out at all.

    In anycase, I'm at a loss of how to deal with the intensified selfish behavior she's been exhibiting with the increased depression and her refusal to listen to us. S and I keep thinking that we may have to send her back to her family, because our incomes alone aren't enough to support all three of us. But we don't WANT to do that. But then her behavior is very hard to live with, so we get stuck and frustrated. There's only so much we can do to help and it seems like this is beyond our capabilities. I really want to hold on at least until she can get medical attention, though she thinks it can't help her, S and I know from experience that it can make a difference. We're hoping that from there, if she can stabilize enough, she might be able to decide for herself what she wants to do.

    But I don't know what to do in the meantime? How much should we give in to her? Should we be upset that she never gives in to us sometimes? Should we limit her computer access? Or are there times that she really should have it? How can we get her to not withdraw so much? Is that even feasible at this time? How can we encourage her to be productive? How much do we have to lead her VS treat her like a child? How much should she be responsible for? How much should WE be responsible for?

    This is bringing us all down.

    Sorry again for the long post, but I'd really like to hear some feedback and opinions/advice from people dealing with similar issues/situations. Thank you for your time.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    I think it is time to walk away really You and your freind are not professionals and in no way can you help her She has to be willing to help herself here If she states she is suicidal then it is time to call crisis line and get her into hospital simply as that You have to look after YOU ok your depression and so does your friend Right now she is controlling both of you and it is NOT fair she is blackmailing you with her suicidal threats These threats may be real but you and your friend are not in position to help her again call crisis line get her admitted so she can get on appropriate meds and get the appropriate coping skills to survive without you ok do that for her If she get irrate and angry so be it you cannot be her carer she needs to do that for herself hugs
  3. Yoyogirl86

    Yoyogirl86 Well-Known Member

    Next time she feels suicidal why don't you take her straight to accident and emergency and get her to open up a pysch or mental health nurse on how bad she's feeling and for them to make a decision of what to do for her, otherwise she's gonna drag you down and make you feel more depressed as you can't help her. Has she opened up to why she feels that way?
  4. Tippew

    Tippew New Member

    Thank you, both. I appreciate the feedback.

    Currently as she's told us, she feels she's worthless, that no one will ever hire her/she'll never hold a job, she feels like a burden, her talents don't mean anything, and a lot of "I don't care anymore" about everything. This is when we can get her to talk. There's a lot of "I don't want to talk about it" too, which S and I know it's even worse to NOT talk about it. When we ask her if she's concerned about anyone else, she refuses to reply.

    We're also concerned about ourselves of course.

    We're concerned about the possibility of losing her as a friend in the case of taking her to the hospital, as well as the fact that if we tried to do that, I'm afraid she would probably refuse to move from her bed and we have no way to physically drag her. And I don't really know how that works, and she has no insurance of course.

    I know we can't help her if she doesn't want to help herself... I'll go over these with S and try to figure out what our next, best course of actions should be.
  5. themute

    themute Active Member

    That sounds so difficult. Probably a lot of us have been in similar situations but not to the extreme that you and your friend are experiencing. A friend I had was like this, but nowhere near as bad. With that situation I walked away after deciding that I had done all I could to help her. But I could walk away knowing I wasn't the only person in her life, which made it a lot easier. It seems that you and S don't have the comfort of knowing that she has other people that she can turn to, and that makes it all so much more difficult. If I had known that I was the only person in my previous friend's life I doubt I would have been able to walk away so easily. But it seems like you're doing as much as you can do, and even more. And at this point there might not even be anything you can do for her. You and S are not professionals and even if she refuses it the only thing that can help her is probably professional help. I don't live in the US but shouldn't there be some kind of welfare health program for those who can't pay for it? Maybe explain to her that there is nothing you and S can do to help her at this stage, but if she wants to come and talk to you then you will still be there for her, no matter where she is? I really, really hope that things work out okay.
  6. scaryforest

    scaryforest Banned Member

    this is very tricky..
    i'd say be there as normal and see what that appointment brings and if she goes.
    if not, then i don't know... admitting would be eneivtable- wow, spelling skills just failed- inevitable.
    total eclipse's advice about crisis line, definitely too..
  7. the black raven

    the black raven Well-Known Member

    I think you should do what total eclipse told you. It's the best, possible action. If u lost her as a friend, so be it, for her own good. If you want her to change, you should risk something, and that is the best thing I can think of. She need not to abuse the "privilage" you and S gave her. I call that abuse because, really, she should be grateful to have friends like you and S. Not many people want to deal with others when they have severe depression problem, yet you're taking care of her like a baby. She should be grateful about her bday, at least you two try to make her happy by inviting her to a dinner party. I don't think you can help her more than you do right now, it's just impossible, because the constant refusal. She will refuse any help you and S provide her. I have withdrawn nature too, I tend to avoid talking to people when the depression take control of myself, but I try to deal with my own depression. But I will be grateful if someone tries to do something for me(no one will though), even if I refuse their help. But I won't blackmail them like what A does to you and S.
  8. flowers

    flowers Senior Member

    this does sound complex. You said she has an apt with someone in 11 days. Is this person good at diagnosing and treating? If so, it might be worth it to wait for the apt. But if she is showing signs of being a danger to herself, eg suicidal or self harming then it would be important to call a crisis center. Especially if she says she will not last until the 11th. If the dr is not a psychiatrist, then I am not sure it is the right doctor anyway. She does need a good psychiatrist to diagnose and prescribe. And then counselling. It sounds like she should be on medication. Do either S or you have a therapist? It may be good for you both to have someone locally you can turn to for help yourselves during this time.

    Are you sure A can work? Does she have to be on disability for a while? These are questions that perhaps a therapist or psychiatrist can answer.

    Re the computer, I do not know if you should limit her computer access. She may be able to communicate online but not in person. So the computer may be a lifeline for her. I do now know. Sometimes people come here. They cannot talk to people irl. But they can say a bit online to people. So I am not sure about computer access.

    It is difficult for me to answer any of your questions re how much you should be responsible for with her. other than getting her help that she needs. Because i do not really know whats going on with her. eg is she having a breakdown? So regarding all the questions you have at the end of your post, I would work to get her the help she needs. including medications. and perhaps inpatient treatment. Right now if she is in serious crisis, triggered by a job loss, then it may be hard to get her to do anything. I think its too big for you both to handle even for 11 more days. Please keep writing here. :hug:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2013
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