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My friend is depressed and I can't handle it!!!


SF Supporter
I and my friend are 60 years old. I am bipolar 2 but mostly depressed. On the whole lately I have been doing okay with the grandson and having a support network of friends. I have a good job, money to live by and a little more. I have an advanced degree and work hard to work and to enjoy life.

My friend is high school graduate, works retail for the past 30 years, has little money and no self confidence. He has two or three friends, of which I am one. He lives with his sister who doesn't charge him rent and is barely making it. She is about to leave the area soon which means he would have to find a place to live. He just accepted a job to be a busboy and dishwasher. He works part time in a pharmacy as a tech. Although he has an junior college degree his skills are outdated and he refuses to go back to school. I even offered to pay.

So he is depressed because he sees how the college educated folk live and he wants a piece of it. He has nothing to live for and knows it. He has no confidence. Everytime I talk to him it's the same sad story; "my car is on it's last legs" " I wish I could get away from scraping by" "I wish I could take a trip" " Companies have no respect for employees" "I have no friends" "I don't know what to do with my life" The last especially is a downer - he doesn't vote, go to church, file taxes, he just exists and envies the world I live in not realizing the stress I live. I suggested at one point he saw a therapist because I couldn't handle the sadness and envy of his. of course, it was rejected. I almost don't want to talk to him he is so depressing and envious it is overwhelming and sometimes I can't handle it. I feel real bad because he will never get out of being poor and envious. He will always be buying junk and not feeling good. If I reject him by not talking with him or spending any time with him then I would feel more guilty and depressed but really he's a downer. At 60 very little will change except he will be working until 70. And it will get worse as we professional types retire and travel.

So I don't know what I am asking but I need advice how to separate myself from his agony and feelings. I can't handle it. But he needs a friend. But I'm afraid that it isn't me and I don't know after almost 10 years to tell him we can't be friends. I have to meet him for pizza next week and I don't want to go. I don't know how to separate his feeling without making them mine.


Has a frog in the family
SF Pro
SF Supporter
i'll give my 2 cents for what it's worth, of course you know him better than i do.

it may be time to be brutally honest with him. tell him how much his constant griping is hurting you. tell him he has a choice but must act soon. if he doesn't want to go back to school suggest he go nights or online. i wish i had things better than i do but i realize i also have a lot to be thankful for. it sounds like he doesn't want to work for what he wants or be appreciative of what he does have.

if he is willing to work at improving things then by all means help if you can. if he won't try limit your exposure to him for your own well being.

Unfortunately I understand your friend's predicament. I'll likely be in that situation too as I work in minimum wage and will one day have to move out on my own. My advice just listen to him. Give him a shoulder to cry on. It might not be his fault that he can't go to college. He probably can't afford it or he might have something that impacts his learning like I do. I have dyslexia and schizophrenia and the meds don't help with cognitive function. Some people have no choice in their circumstances. Some may be gifted with intelligence and such and others aren't. You can't hate on him for it because he might be one of those people. All I can say to you is talk to him ask him what is on his mind and try to reassure him if possible. Take some time out for yourself and tell him how much effort it took you to get to where you are now tell him it was not an easy one despite if you have smarts or not just inform him of what it took you to get there. It may help a little bit


meandering home 🦢☔️
SF Supporter
That's a very difficult situation. It's true, that he needs you for support & it'd be harsh to remove yourself from his life.
But it's not fair, nor healthy for either of you that he has total control over the conversations.

Maybe, if he'd go along with it, tell him you will eat pizza with him, but you are simply not going to talk anout [x, y, z]?

Also, I'd keep urging him to attend some sort of support group auch as emotions anonymous.
Sorry that your friend is dealing with this, and that you're dealing with the stress of dealing with him.

Cybele, this was originally posted May 2021. Is this still an active issue? Do you have any updates you'd like to share?

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