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To not make contact with ex-friend who I've heard has been Sectioned?

(59 Posts)
lechatnoir Sat 17-Sep-11 22:56:20

I've recently heard that a girl I was good friends with for c. 20 years has been Sectioned and it's all sounding pretty hopeless sad. We initially drifted apart about 6 or 7 years ago as we were leading such different lives (she was already struggling) but I severed contact altogether about 5 years ago when her behaviour became so erratic I just didn't feel comfortable having her in my life generally but especially since I'd had children.

I'm well aware that I probably abandoned her just when she needed me most, but there were many many 'incidents' before I took this decision & on hearing reports of her since, I firmly believe I made the right decision for my family and stand by that decision.

AIBU for not getting in contact with her since hearing the news? Of course I do worry about her & think of her often but don't want to suggest I'm resurrecting our friendship when, if I'm totally honest, I can't deal with her in my life right now. I wondered about sending a note to her parents to tell them I'm thinking of her, but that just sounded like a copy out, So AIBU & should I make contact or should I stay out of her life unless I can be a proper friend?


redexpat Sat 17-Sep-11 23:05:55

I would send a card to her parents' address. It doesn't necessarily mean she'll contact you again, but hearing from you may make the world of difference to her.

HoHoLaughingMonster Sat 17-Sep-11 23:08:49

I would stay out of her life. It sounds like the last thing she needs right now is a fair weather friend.

A1980 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:10:06

Sounds like you're not a friend of hers and haven't been for 6-7 years.

Just leave it. Why bother now. Perhaps when she was so erratic 5 years ago, if you've told her family members or something she wouldn't have ended up being sectioned. But it's a bit late now whwn things are at rock bottom.

You've also said you don't want to bring the friendship back, so just leave it.

SexualHarrassmentPandaPop Sat 17-Sep-11 23:12:43

Stay away. You will give her false hope by contacting her. You would only be contacting her to ease your own conscience.

slavetofilofax Sat 17-Sep-11 23:13:09

I wouldn't. You decided you didn't want her in your life, and we don't know how she took that, or how she now feels about it.

I think that when someone has just been sectioned, it is not the besttime for them to start to have to work out issues with long lost friends.

You don't even want to contact her really, and it wouldn't do either of you any good at all, and may even make things worse, if you contact her just because you feel bad about abandoning her and now want to make yourself feel better.

I'm not saying you should feel guilty btw, you have your own life and family to consider so you did nothing wrong. But you should have good think about why you are thinking of contacting her now, and if it would be for your benefit or hers.

lechatnoir Sat 17-Sep-11 23:13:09

eta She's been in & out of mental health units of one description or other since her teens so I didn't suddenly drop her the minute she hit a sticky patch but I did drop her when it started to impact on my husband & children. Not defending, just explaining but I sounds like I'm best staying out.

AgentZigzag Sat 17-Sep-11 23:14:33

What do you think it is that's motivating you to feel you might make contact with her again?

Would you be doing it because you care about her welfare and want to ease the isolation she might have found herself in?

Or because it's what you think other people would expect you to do?

I don't think it'd be fair of me to comment on whether the risk you feel is a legitimate one, because only you can decide that for yourself (plus you haven't given any details of it, not that that stops some posters grin), but does it have to be an all or nothing? Is there nothing you could offer her in between that you'd feel comfortable with?

Jamillalliamilli Sat 17-Sep-11 23:15:59

Don't contact her if you've no desire to be in contact in the future, you'll just hurt her more.

lechatnoir Sat 17-Sep-11 23:16:42

Contacting her now won't change the way I feel- the thought has purely come about since I've been told this latest news and the fact that it really doesn't sound good this time.

sunshineandbooks Sat 17-Sep-11 23:20:09

One of my closest friends has been sectioned. THis is a subject close to my heart.

I think the OP is best off leaving this and not making contact. Despite the fact that I have stayed in contact with my friend, visiting her in hospital and giving her support when she came out, I think the OP is right to have ended contact.

I have other acquaintances that I wouldn't have been that supportive of. It depends on the person, the nature of the illness, the depth of the friendship, and how much any one person has the ability to give and support. Only the OP knows those details.

My friend was extremely dear to me and I wanted to help her despite the havoc her illness caused. I didn't do it out of some misplaced sense of duty but because I cared for her enough to do it willingly in the same way you'd help change a sick child with a D&V bug (the degree of help may be completely different but the underlying principle is the same). I did it because I loved her basically. That's all there is to it.

If you don't feel that way about someone then there's no point in forcing it. A friendship based on duty and guilt is never going to be genuine.

A1980 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:20:16

If it was having an impact on your husband and children then it was absolutely the right decision to distnace yourself. Now that you've done that though, don't contact her. It may give her false hope particulary when you don't want to be friedns again which is entirely reasonable.

Slambang Sat 17-Sep-11 23:21:25

If you decided to cut contact for good reasons 5 years ago then nothing as changed for the better now has it? It would seem strange to contact her now if you have no intention of letting her back into your life. And unfair to her.

I'd say you already made that decision 5 years ago.

lechatnoir Sat 17-Sep-11 23:22:21

aaaarrgh sorry keep posting before, I would LOVE to be friends again but unfortunately on my terms (ie no unannounced visits/endless calls in the middle of the night, no innappropriate conversations either with me or my family, no drugs, no sex with (far too) young strangers, etc etc ) which just hasn't worked in the past hence I don't think it's fair to try & make amends. I guess I just want to know whether me telling her I do think of her and wish her well would help.
Oh, and this would be between me & her so definitely no saving face or keeping up with expectations elsewhere hmm

racingheart Sat 17-Sep-11 23:24:40

Lechat, I had a very close friendship which broke up in similar circumstances. I've kept out and stayed out of her life since breaking contact. I understand that your concern for her isn't fairweather but genuine. But you know she will want more than just a kind thought. Don't get sucked dry. Don't put your family life at risk. You have every right to preserve your life without feeling guilty. People who haven't dealt full time with a seriously mentally ill friend have no idea how draining and debilitating it is.

AgentZ, the danger is that with certain types of mental illness, there is no in-between option. You send a well-wishing card and that is taken as a cue for the person to ring you ten times in a night form midnight to five; pull you out of work meetings because they want someone to cheer them up, arrive on your doorstep with three bottles of cheap red and dominate your life, refusing to acknowledge your children need feeding and stories because they need to talk about themselves in a torrential monologue. And on. And on.

I feel an urge to protect Lechat from this. Don't feel guilty, Lechat. Don't make contact directly.

troisgarcons Sat 17-Sep-11 23:24:42

Friendships are a movable feast. This girl hasnt been your friend, nor you hers, for nearly 7 years.

let it go.

sunshineandbooks Sat 17-Sep-11 23:28:29

racingheart - absolutely.

I coped with all of that and it was worth it because she was my closest friend. Had it been a less close friend I'm afraid I would have ended the friendship because you have to care about someone an awful lot to be willing to upend your own life to that degree. When you've got kids to think about (I didn't at the time, it was pre-DC) it's even more difficult and you have to put them first.

OP, don't feel guilty please. You've probably made a good call.

lechatnoir Sat 17-Sep-11 23:29:22

Thanks racingheart. you are all absolutely right. I'll just (continue) to hope the next news I hear of isn't the worst kind.

A1980 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:30:45

so, I would LOVE to be friends again but unfortunately on my terms (ie no unannounced visits/endless calls in the middle of the night, no innappropriate conversations either with me or my family, no drugs, no sex with (far too) young strangers, etc etc )

Some of your terms are too onerous.

"no unannounced visits/endless calls in the middle of the night, no innappropriate conversations either with me or my family"
That is reasonable as it affects your family.

The drugs may be is reasonable too.

"sex with (far too) young strangers, etc etc )"
That is none of your business if both parties are consenting adults.

AgentZigzag Sat 17-Sep-11 23:31:44

So really you just want her to know you're thinking of her, which I think is a nice thing to do, reaching out to someone who's having a difficult time of it.

And everyone is presuming this would set up false hope with the OPs friend, I say this with no offence meant to you at all lech, but she might not want long term contact with you.

If the womans other friends have deserted her like the OP has (and that's not a judgement on why contact stopped) then a kind word might not go amiss, even if it's nothing more than that.

lechatnoir Sat 17-Sep-11 23:43:32

A1980 I'm sorry you see it this way but without giving too much (generally sordid) detail I can assure you my terms are not that onerous - DH saw how destructive she was & how manipulative she could be & begged me to break contact for years but I was adamant I wouldn't ever drop a friend in need - sadly it eventually got too much and I made a tough but ultimately right decision.

ravenAK Sat 17-Sep-11 23:52:51

I wouldn't make direct contact.

Dh1 was an alcoholic schizophrenic who died shortly before he could be sectioned, & tbh, old friends guiltily getting in touch in the last months was nightmarish - it just generated levels of paranoia & stress in dh around what they might want from him...

A card or call to her parents might be a good idea, but only if you know them - otherwise it's just one more thing for them to deal with.

Maryz Sat 17-Sep-11 23:54:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

A1980 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:54:45

That's fair enough LCN, only you know waht happened. I'm sorry.

But the more I hear, I think you should let sleeping dogs lie.

whatever17 Sat 17-Sep-11 23:56:51

Don't do it - I re-contacted my sister (who I am not close to) when I heard she was having a terrible mental health time. She latched onto me like a drowning man and I couldn't take it. I did more harm than good.

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