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Licence to Kill
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure how to handle a situation...both for my best interest and a friend's... I'm hoping for some advice to help me figure out what to do...

My friend has been having some serious depression problems for about a year. I've been encouraging her to get counseling for about 6? months now. She's severely depressed...goes from somewhat normal to EXTREME depression like a roller coaster.

She's at a point where she says she'll meet me (she does this to others, as well) for something and then doesn't show up/call...nothing. (This is a HUGE pet peeve of mine). About every 3-4 times I finally call her on it...she goes through the same cycle.
She gets upset with me for calling her on it, swears (via e-mail...knowing I am offended by foul language), apologizes profusely, and then the cycle starts over again...with her making plans and then she's a no-show a few times...etc.

I am SO tired of this...yet, she's in such a deep depression I worry about just stopping any contact. On the other hand the stress from her "depressed" & "emotional support needs" have been having health effects on me. (She 'leans' pretty heavily when she's low, then doesn't let me know she's okay after another 'rock-bottom', which leaves me wondering if she's still alive).

I'm developing such high stress levels from it my face is broken out, I have a mouth full of canker sores, and I'm having other 'issues' from stress, as well. I want to help her and be there...but it's taking such a toll on me, I'm worried about my health. And to be honest...my patience is wearing pretty thin.

I know she cares about me (on her 'up' days she's very vocal about how much she cares -- and I know I wouldn't be so upset by all of this if I didn't care about her)... She considers me her "big sister".

Additionally, her birthday party is coming up this weekend and it went from just us hanging out, her having some alcohol (it's her 21st bday), and just kicking back - having fun...to me going along with her and her friends in a limo to bar hop (I hate this idea)...then, to her friend who's throwing the party, that I don't even KNOW, wanting me to pay for part of it (I'm not kidding! I said NO to her, but am guessing the friend will hit me up again)... On and on...

So, I'm totally frustrated on this point, as well. I accepted an invitation to 'hang out' for her birthday. I have no desire to go bar hopping!! I hate loud noise (my ears are hyper-sensitive and loud=painful) and I can't drink because I'm a reactive hypoglycemic (I go into sugar-shock). I was going to go along just to make sure everyone stays safe, but at this point I just want to run away!! ARGH!

Ok, I just had to vent it all. How do I handle this? My Dh says to just tell her I'm sick birthday party night and then stop answering calls and e-mails...but I don't like to lie. He says it's so that she won't be as hurt as if I just 'cut things off'. I dunno..."lying to be nice"?? I mean, I can see it a bit, I guess??? She's very vulnerable and I don't want to throw her into even deeper depression.

Ugh...what to do? :hmmm: I don't need any more stress in my life!! I'm so confused. :(
 

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This is a very hard situation - you are obviously a very caring person and she is just as obviously in need of professional help. Where is her family? How are you friends with her?

In MHO - you should not be sacrificing your health for her or anyone else. Personally, I would tell her that you would love to get together to celebrate her birthday when you two can do something together that you both will enjoy. Wish her well and a happy birthday with her other friends.

This sounds as if it's going to be a long process - you are in a tough position. Please take care of yourself.
 
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Licence to Kill
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is a very hard situation - you are obviously a very caring person and she is just as obviously in need of professional help. Where is her family? How are you friends with her?

In MHO - you should not be sacrificing your health for her or anyone else. Personally, I would tell her that you would love to get together to celebrate her birthday when you two can do something together that you both will enjoy. Wish her well and a happy birthday with her other friends.

This sounds as if it's going to be a long process - you are in a tough position. Please take care of yourself.
We are friends from college...she is planning to go into the nursing program the same time as I do.

She was a quiet and shy person when I met her...but her mom passed away a bit over a year ago and she fell into a deep depression. Her father isn't involved in her life. Her brother moved away to the lower 48 about 2 months ago. No other family...just me, who she calls her 'big sister'. :(

I just don't know how else to help her?? :(

I agree...I can't afford to lose my health... :hmmm:
 

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This is a very hard situation - you are obviously a very caring person and she is just as obviously in need of professional help. Where is her family? How are you friends with her?

In MHO - you should not be sacrificing your health for her or anyone else. Personally, I would tell her that you would love to get together to celebrate her birthday when you two can do something together that you both will enjoy. Wish her well and a happy birthday with her other friends.

This sounds as if it's going to be a long process - you are in a tough position. Please take care of yourself.
I have to kind of agree with mauimagic.... just tell her that you hope she has fun out bar hopping, but you're declining the invitation to go... tell her it's not your cup of tea. If she's that adamant to go drinking, alcohol may very well be what's contributing to her behavior.... trying to find comfort from her loss from a bottle. Invite her to your house for a quiet, peaceful, alcohol free dinner to celebrate her birthday and offer her a tasteful gift of your choice (not paying for her and her friends evening of partying). I guess if she gets mad, let her, but you have to look out after yourself and your health.

On a more serious note... I know first hand the destructiveness of depression and grief is on a person's life. The choices and decisions and actions she makes today will effect her for the rest of her life. Not only is she dealing with the loss of her mother, but I sense an underlying more long-term mental disorder. I strongly encourage her to immediately seek grief counseling and, with the right therapist, they will be able to diagnose if long-term counseling or medication therapy is required.

My thoughts and prayers are with you both.
 

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I think you need to be honest with her. Tell her that her behavior, although it may not be of her control, is starting to wear on both your health and your friendship with her. If you've told her to get counseling and she still hasn't, she obviously doesn't value your friendship enough to consider your feelings.

I'd tell her that until she gets the help that she needs, you can't handle much more of her behavior. She's an adult and she needs to be held accountable for what she's doing to both herself and to you.

Friends should be respectful of one's wishes, but not to the point of using lies and profanity and putting them into situations that make them literally sick.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have to kind of agree with mauimagic.... just tell her that you hope she has fun out bar hopping, but you're declining the invitation to go... tell her it's not your cup of tea. If she's that adamant to go drinking, alcohol may very well be what's contributing to her behavior.... trying to find comfort from her loss from a bottle. Invite her to your house for a quiet, peaceful, alcohol free dinner to celebrate her birthday and offer her a tasteful gift of your choice (not paying for her and her friends evening of partying). I guess if she gets mad, let her, but you have to look out after yourself and your health.
I'm sure she's not drinking...her 'fix' seems to be food...often fast food. :( Ickers...she doesn't take care of her health. I'm concerned for her in many aspects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for the input!! :)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok...here's the kicker... How do you get out of an invitation you originally accepted, but then the plans change?

Also, she and her mom were planning this huge bash for her 21st (it was important to her mom...not sure the reasoning??).

She's told me several times how *important* it is to her that I'm there (I'm assuming the "family tie"?)...and how glad she is I'm going. :( ARGH!!!

Can I run away now? :cry:
 

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has she had her thyroid checked?
 
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Yes, you can still "run away". A basic pat answer is "something has come up" -- in your case it is your health.

It really burns me when people, women especially, use depression or pms to offend people (as in her use of foul words to offend you). Her #1 problem is that she is too focused on herself. Since she is not taking your suggestions to seek help, the best thing you could do it cut ties with her instead of continuing to enable this behavior. Everyone wants to help friends but some of them don't want that kind of help, they want the attention.
 
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I'm afraid I agree with the others. I would bow out, even though I'd accepted, and offer up a 2nd part of celebration where you two just get to spend time together.

*****stray side thought**** or if you are just feeling guilty/bad for bailing on the "bash" due to the whole family/mom background piece you could play more of a family/mom role and offer to serve some food (Hors D'oeuvres/ Appetizers- nothing fancy, maybe just finger cream cheese, sandwhiches, crackers, celery ). This would allow you to be there in the beginning to toast her off, give her a gift (the appetizers) which will also work as sponge factor for the alcohol, and avoid the whole bar scene. I'm sure this could be done for just a couple of bucks being the frugal gal you are and then you won't have that guilty nag in the back of your head. (Not that you should have, it just sounds like you do, and having heard it myself from time to time I know how persuading it can be) *****side thought over*****

Ok ... as far as the whole situation goes in general I would sit her down and have a nice long chat with her, again about seeing a professional. Try pushing from the grief aspect of losing her mom and her brother (moving that far is a loss as well). Explain that that would be a lot for anyone. People are more receptive to the fact that they are grieving (and more likely to be ok with seeing someone over it) then they are with seeing someone over depression. Grief is seen as normal, acceptable, and even an expected response when you lose someone. Depression is seen as "something's wrong with me" and not normal. I'm not saying this is right or wrong. It just is how lots of people would see the two.

If your friend still won't seek professional help then I would start weaning contact. I would refrain from setting plans other than if you know your going to be home one evening telling her she's welcome to stop by and when she starts to "lean" in converstaion or so forth I would redirect the conversation to another topic. If she won't redirect, or only wants contact to "lean" then you'll probably need to cut the contact altogether. Whatever she chooses to do at that point is up to her. We are each only responsible for ourselves.
 
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Wow, that is a lot of drama from one relationship! You sound exhausted from it all, and I hope you're taking care of you in that roller-coasting :)

Your dear friend's depression is not something anyone can fix. These types of conditions aren't fixable - only treatable, and only by your friend's will and a doctor's guidance. It's messing with her whole life but she obviously just isn't ready to deal with it.

In the meantime, an honest conversation is in order. Not on her birthday, obviously. But sometime soon. Think of it as training for your upcoming career as a nurse - the ability to deal with a person's condition straight-forwardly and compassionately. When my husband crashed, our therapist told me again and again not to ignore the elephant in the room.

May I recommend that you DON'T get into an argument about whether she is Depressed? Just state your concern for her health and where your own limits are. "I'm not going to make plans with you anymore that get ruined when you don't show up - that's not fair to either of us. But I love you and want to see you. So until things get better for you, I'm going keep the door open by emailing you when I plan to go to a movie, or if there's a good afternoon for you to drop by. I'll hope you show up, but if you don't - I understand that you're still working on things."

With my husband it was; "Dinner is at 6, we'll miss you if you don't join us but there's always food in the fridge if you're eating at another time." (People with Depression famously have wacky eating issues.)

As for her birthday, follow your heart. You sound like you want to make sure she knows you love her and celebrate her milestone. There's many ways to do that without turning yourself inside out and unhappy. Part of the fun of being frugal, I think, is that we tend to find home-made and unique ways of doing things instead of burning money. Rock your imagination!

Hugs to you, warm thoughts in your (and her) direction!
 
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Friendship is based upon mutual trust and respect. Your friend, whether for reasons that are her fault or not, is routinely violating that trust and respect by her disregard for your time and your values (deliberate swearing).

She deserves to know why you are going to terminate the friendship - "I'm sorry but I can't keep putting my faith in someone who treats me the way you do when you are in a down cycle - until you get professional help and get well again, I need to stop spending time with you." is perfectly fine.

You didn't marry this person - you didn't vow to care for her no matter what - so don't let her boat anchor drag your ship underwater with her.

Yes, that's cold and callous sounding - but why let two lives be harmed when 1 doesn't need to be?
 

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I've gone through something similar with a friend of mine. She would call me in the middle of the night, from halfway across the country. I would spend hours on the phone, trying to talk her out of her depression. She'd tell me how she just wanted to die. I felt so helpless and tortured by the situation. After a year of that, I finally came to the realization that she needed help I couldn't give. I had to lovingly distance myself from the toxic friendship. I told her I could no longer be her counselor; she needed a qualified professional. I finally gave myself permission to absolve myself of any responsibility for her actions. She was a grown woman, and I would not feel guilty for her bad decisions. I let myself off the hook from fixing her problematic life. Once I backed away, she eventually sought the help she needed. Later, she even apologized for putting me in that position.

No matter how much you love her, you will NEVER be able to fix her. She has to do it herself with the aid of a professional....and the longer you are in an enabler position, the longer she may avoid getting professional help.
 
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I think your friend has what is called "borderline personality disorder". Someone who has this is very draining! It is more like a push and pull relationship. She pulls you in and then pushes you away. She will do what she can to get attention from you and then if you get too close she will push you away.

You are not responsible for her. Don't sacrifice your help for someone is not willing to truly help themselves.
 

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I too have been in a similar situation with a friend. She was very needy and clingy. The entire friendship was about her, her needs, her wants, her moods, etc. If I wasn't available when she wanted to talk I was in for it. She would blow up my email with email after email "where are you", "why aren't you answering me". She would call and blast me with messages "are you mad at me", "why aren't you answering your phone", "where are you"? She would find out we were going camping and invite herself and her family along. She pushed herself and her kids into a weekend with my family when I was sick, showing up at my house even after I told her I had been sick all week. When I asked her to leave because I was sick she got mad and didn't get in touch with me for a year. Which was fine with me because that was my breaking point anyway.

When she did reach out to me again it was once again all about her. I had hurt her feelings, she needed this from me and that from me, etc. I said NO WAY! And I refused to allow her into my life again. She tried and tried for several months but finally left me alone.

I would sit your friend down and tell her that you love her but you can not deal with HER problems anymore. Tell her that she can either get help or you will have to distance yourself from her for your own good. That puts the ball in her court.
 

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I wouldn't terminate the friendship...but I would lay down the lines. If you are not comfortable with the bar hopping scene then be honest and tell her. If she doesn't like it...well that is her problem. You should not have to be put in uncomfortable positions in order to be her friend. This girl obviously has other friends that she can enjoy those activities with. By setting your boundaries, you can maintain the friendship on your terms and she will have to respect that. You can be support for her, but you have to maintain who you are also. Don't get lost in her issues....she should go see a counselor and get meds...Stay strong and be true to yourself...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Before I continue on with this thread, I want to give a big "Thank You!!!" to my Frugal Family... I come here for more than frugal advice and you all are so supportive!! :hugz:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

LK2 - I'm not sure if she's had her thyroid checked? What would she be looking for in that test??

What I guess I just don't understand is that she acknowledges that she's depressed. She says when it gets "bad enough" she'll seek help. I don't get that? What point is "bad enough"?

She could get the counseling for FREE...the college offers it at no cost!! That's where I've been trying to get her to go... The hospital where her mom passed away offered free counseling, as well. She went a couple times back then, but just stopped. They had her on meds, but she took herself off them...cold turkey (again, about a year ago). :hmmm:

I dunno... I guess I feel like I'm "too close" to the situation to voice things in a manner that will come across right. Several of you have suggested e-mail...I'm thinking that's the way to go as she's not so good with face-to-face emotional chats.

Anyone willing to help me work out an e-mail? I don't want to say anything that's going to send her into further depression, but I know I NEED to do something before this pulls me completely under, too. :hmmm:

I like what Greebo said, "I'm sorry but I can't keep putting my faith in someone who treats me the way you do when you are in a down cycle - until you get professional help and get well again, I need to stop spending time with you." That still leaves it open for her to get help and then continue the friendship.

I need to add something in there about the party. She's planning to pick everyone up in a limo, so there's no chance for pre-party appetizers (otherwise, that would be a good 'fix'!! :) ).

I know I can't fix things for her...but, I hate to not be supportive. Maybe I am 'enabling' her to not see a counselor? I certainly don't want to do that! :(

E-mail help? Other input?

Thank you all so much!!!
 

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Of course she acknowledges that she is depressed - that gets her more attention from caring people. Of course she won't get therapy b/c then she would actually have to work on her issues and have nothing to bring her attention.

No matter what you do with the party - you are not responsible for her actions and , If I am right, she is going to majorly react to you not going. I don't think that you should go tho.

For what it is worth, before having my kids I was a mental health counselor and worked with people with these issues. Once she is done emotionally "draining" you she will find someone else.

Again, you are not responsible for her choices.
 

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underactive thyroid can make people be low energy and non functioning.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Ok...how does this sound?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear _____,

You know how concerned I've been for you for quite a while now. I know we've talked about your 'low days' and that they affect more than just you.

I'm still worried that you haven't gone to a counselor, even though you have options that wouldn't cost you anything but your time. You say you will get help when it "gets bad enough", but I'm not sure I understand what that means??? And honestly, the thought where "bad enough" leads to, scares me. I'm starting to wonder if me 'being there for you' isn't giving you just enough 'cushion' to keep you from seeking the professional help you need.

I know you've apologized for the many times you've been a no-show and blown me off (and you've told me you do this to other friends, as well), but at the same time I can't help but think that it's happened over and over. If you were really sorry the first time, why did it happen again? And if you know you're depressed why not seek help now...before it's worse?

I've told you for over 6 months now that I would even go with you to your first appointment, just for 'moral support' since you were uncomfortable going alone...I even checked with the counselors at the college and they said it's fine. If you know you're hurting others by not getting help...how much do you truly care?

I'm sorry but I can't keep putting my faith in someone who treats me the way you do when you are in your deep depression days - it all hurts me too deeply and is having serious stress repercussions on my health. Until you get professional help and get well again, I need to stop spending time with you.

I cannot tell you how incredibly hard this is for me...and I look forward to spending time together after you've gotten help.

With lots of love & hugs,
......
 
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