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I am exhausted

(20 Posts)
appleblackberry Thu 15-Dec-16 17:32:00

My friend has depression and I feel completely drained, physically and emotionally. I try to be there for her and I would do anything for her, I love her so much. I'm finding it difficult to remember that the things she says sometimes are not intended to be hurtful, they're because she's unwell. I feel like I'm giving everything I have and it's not sustainable. We haven't spent time together for months and most of the time we spend talking is online. I miss her. I don't really have many other friends, I'm single, and I'm lonely. Not that I could tell her anything like this. I feel guilty for feeling this way. I'm supposed to be her friend.

Onlyonce Thu 15-Dec-16 22:26:18

Hi, didn't want to leave your post unanswered.

You sound like a really caring person. How about a little bit of self care? Looking after yourself. If you don't you could easily burn out taking responsibility for your friend.

I am sure you love your friend but you also sound unhappy. And i think deep down you know you can't fix everything for your friend. You can support her, but you can't do everything like you are now. What professional support is she getting?

Try looking after yourself a bit. Do one thing a day that is just for you. A nice coffee, watch a movie, take a walk or a long bath. Do something like crochet or drawing. You don't have to be good at it, it's about time and relaxation.

If you are lonely have you considered a new hobby that would get you out and about a bit where you might meet like minded people? Even a church? They can often be very welcoming and friendly and might give you a sense of community you enjoy. Not saying you need to become religious, just the community and being welcomed might be good for you

Onlyonce Thu 15-Dec-16 22:48:16

Bumping for you as well

appleblackberry Thu 15-Dec-16 23:47:39

Thank you for your reply. I do feel a bit burnt out. But I feel guilty for feeling like that. I feel like I have to be there for my friend 24/7, just in case she needs me. I could never forgive myself if something happened to her that maybe I could have prevented if I'd looked at my phone or whatever. I know that's probably an unhealthy attitude but it's how I feel right now.

If I'm honest part of it is also because I want to almost "win her favour" in a way. I'm struggling with not feeling good enough in most aspects of my life at the minute. I have been for a few years, but it's been particularly bad recently. I feel as though my only use to her at the minute is as someone to offload her feelings onto. Otherwise she wouldn't need me, she has plenty of other friends to fulfil her other needs.

I don't know what professional help she's getting, if any. She's always been very private, even before she became unwell. I know that she went to the doctor about how she's been feeling but I don't know what happened since then.

I'm not sure about a hobby. I don't drink but I'm quite young so I'd be worried that nobody would want to connect with me, either because I wouldn't want to go out for a drink or because I don't have as much life experience as them. I would like to meet more people. I don't see any positive qualities about myself that people wouldn't already have in other friends though. I feel very isolated

Mrsbird311 Fri 16-Dec-16 07:53:55

Have you thought about volunteering locally. When I first moved to my local area I didn't know many people so I joined the local food bank, many different types of people help out and I've made some lovely friends, being depressed doesn't give your friend the right tonne unkind to you, I've known many people with depression and they are unkind about themselves but never others, they almost worry about upsetting others , does your friend have a diagnosis for depression or is she using you to take out her frustrations. Please get yourself out and about and make some new friends , this friend is not your responsibility

Onlyonce Fri 16-Dec-16 09:13:32

Mrs Bird is right. This isn't your responsibility. And your friend shouldn't be saying unkind things. You cannot be responsible for what she may or may not do. Nobody can do that for her.

This is damaging your health. You need space and time to yourself. How often do you speak to your friend? Perhaps there is a way to manage that

I am in my 30s and I have friends in their 20s and in their 60s. People of any age can be friends. You need opportunity to let that happen.

I can see positive qualities in you and I don't even know you in real life. You are obviously kind, articulate and perceptive.

What sort of thing are you interested in?

0dfod Fri 16-Dec-16 09:57:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Yoksha Fri 16-Dec-16 11:34:47

Hi OP,

Please take a step back from this. It all seems too intense & you come across as overinvested in your friend's mental health. It's just a thought, but if your friend is being "off" with you maybe she doesn't want your support & maybe finds the situation over bearing. Possibly she can't articulate her feelings in a healthy way! Maybe you need to back-off & allow her to process her own thought behaviour. Give yourself & her space.

I agree with other pp's, you need to indulge yourself in small constructive ways. Let her become aware of your absence rather than act aggressively about your concern.

For you OP flowers & hace a merry christmas.

Yoksha Fri 16-Dec-16 11:35:37

* have. I'm a muppet!fgrin

appleblackberry Fri 16-Dec-16 21:41:43

I have thought about taking a period of time to take a break from my friend, but she has told me that she needs people to come after her or she'll just withdraw more and more. I'd be worried that she'd think it was something personal, that it was her fault, that she's a burden, that it would affect her mental health even more. I just feel like no matter what I do, I'm either sacrificing my mental health (which is in better condition than hers is) or else I'm putting more pressure on hers. I'm not sure if she's having suidical thoughts or anything, I'm a bit scared to ask because I don't know if I could cope with that right now. I know she's said things about it being better for everyone if she didn't exist and that she just wants everything to stop (which really worried me in itself, I stayed up late that night worrying) but I'm unsure whether that definitely means she is feeling suicidal. I would hate anything to happen to her, and if it happened while I wasn't talking to her I would feel responsible.

I honestly don't think she's treating me the way she is out of badness, she's absolutely lovely and kind but I think she just needs help and support at the minute but sometimes I need that too but I have nobody to get it from.

I like reading (however not a very social activity!) and I like languages and history. I like going to the cinema and going out to eat. I'm not a fan of sport or running or the pub. I'd just love a friend who I could talk to about my life and how I'm feeling and listen to them talking about theirs, someone I could have a balanced relationship with. Everyone around me seems to already have all the friends they need. I find it really difficult to make friends. I'm quite shy and lacking in confidence. I often find it hard to know what to say, I'm not very good at small talk.

appleblackberry Fri 16-Dec-16 23:36:48

I realise I'm being awfully selfish here, but I need to get this out...

In a way I feel as though I've lost my best friend. I say I'm always here for her but when I think about how her depression could pan out for years and years like this, I can't do it. I can't do the fake chatting online about pleasant things and the worrying and the hurt when she thinks I don't like her, let alone love her, and the loneliness of it all because I have nobody else to talk to. I know I'm horrible

Onlyonce Sat 17-Dec-16 07:12:44

You like reading, that's great and it's a good way to meet people. Pop in to your local library or phone them and ask about book groups running in your area. They will pass on your details and the group organiser will call you. Also the local bookstores near me run book groups. Look online for movie clubs you could join too.

You are absolutely not horrible! You cannot take responsibility for someone else like this, it's not horrible or selfish saying that, it's just the truth

Onlyonce Sat 17-Dec-16 07:30:55

Your friend needs professional support. She should see her Gp to discuss what might be appropriate for her situation. I'm not being unkind saying this, she needs a professional. It would be better for you and her that way.

appleblackberry Sat 17-Dec-16 08:26:42

Thank you so much for your help.
Should I ask her if she's having any kind of professional support? I really have no idea if she is or not.

I'm very much a people pleaser; how would I go about setting some boundaries without hurting my friend? I know she already sees herself as a burden, which isn't true. It's just that what I am for her right now isn't healthy for either of us. I should not be placing my worth on another human being.

Unescorted Sat 17-Dec-16 08:54:24

Apple First of all can I say you are a really wonderful person. You are stepping up to position that few are brave enough to do so.

My husband was hospitalised on and off with his - so I know what you are going though. The guilt of just saying enough is enough and the need to walk away. The what if they do something to themseles, the growing sense of dread if you don't hear from them, the fear of what I would find when I got home from work. It was all consuming.

My take home advice from that dreadful period.
1) being depressed does not make you say nasty things - in the hospital there were lovely people with depression and there were wankers. It tends to make people a bit self absorbed and navel gazey, but not say horrible things directed at another person. That is them being rude. So my advice when she does that - call her on it. It is not acceptable that she is lashing out at you.
2) you are not responsible for her. She is, her family are, but not you. I assume that her family are about and if not give them a call and say your daughter needs you.
3) you need time for you. It does not matter if she withdraws more. Infact if she is day that she will withdraw more if you don't keep helping her sounds like emotional manipulation. That is not the action of a friend.

As fo rsetting boundries - tell her your feelings. Say you are a rude cow at times - I am worth more than being your emotional punchbag. If you continue I will walk away. You can't expect me to make you better - there are experts in this. I will be your friend but I cannot make you better. If she starts say she will kill her self etc - tell her that it is her choice and if she is feeling suicidal then she needs to get to A&E and ask for the duty psych and get herself sectioned / admitted to hospital.

I know it sounds really harsh - but you will end up having given everything of yourself if you don't and frankly she sounds like she doesn't care.

Unescorted Sat 17-Dec-16 08:55:47

day = saying

Backingvocals Sat 17-Dec-16 09:54:07

appleblackberry you sound lovely. But dont get drawn into thinking you are responsible for your friend. What you are doing is more than enough.

I did this as a younger person (in my late teens) and looking back I realise I took too much on and could never have made my friend ok anyway. I couldn't fix her. Even my support became a negative in that it was never enough because it never could be enough. One human can't fix another. We have to fix ourselves if possible.

I think priority your now is support for you. You need some local friends to have fun and a chat with. Volunteering? Do you work?

appleblackberry Sat 17-Dec-16 16:10:23

Unescorted and backing that is exactly how I feel. It is such a relief to hear that I'm not the only one who has felt this way. I feel like no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, it's never enough because I can't take her depression away from her, even though I wish I could.

Also I think I have inadvertently portrayed her in a negative light - she's not downright rude to me, it's just that because of her depression, things are much more focused around her and how she feels and sometimes this hurts me. I know it's just a side effect of depression, before she became unwell she was absolutely lovely (she still is all of these things!) and kind and trustworthy. I think that's another reason why I try so hard for her, because she's the first friend I've had who I really felt I could trust and felt comfortable with.

I'm not currently working, I'm at college at the minute. I have emailed about either joining or volunteering as a leader at a reading club so hopefully that will work out. I do need some friends, I'm just not sure that anyone will like me enough. It often seems to be that I would like to be friends with people who don't like me enough to want to get to know me.

Onlyonce Sat 17-Dec-16 20:56:37

I am sure people will like you and you will build some good friendships. Get yourself in to a group of some kind then you get chatting you can suggest things like going for coffee etc.

Onlyonce Sat 17-Dec-16 20:57:34

I'm sure you care about your friend but that doesn't mean you have to be available to her all the time. You have a life of your own to live

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