I'm new here but very lost with the current situation i'm in right now...
im leaving with my best friend who is dealing with severe depression and anxiety and I'm completely lost about how i'm supposed to support her. it's been almost three years now, and i'm completely drained of energy, i’m dealing with my owns struggles and i thought i would be strong enough to have the shoulders to help her... our relationship is going down everyday, i’m doubting myself, everything is a huge mess, because i'm her only friend. she doesn't want to meet new people as she has abandonment issues, and keep thinking i'm going to leave her as well. i can't go out anymore without making her feeling bad, anxious, and most of the time she try to make me feel guilty about it without realising it. i'm so lost, i wanna get out of this toxic relationship but at the same time, i don't want to leave her alone, because i don't know what she is going to do, she has nobody and it can be worst for her....
Hi @lilisteinn, welcome to the forums 😊It's great you've found this supportive community and I hope you'll find the support and help you're looking for 💐
It sounds like a tough situation you're in 💞I can hear that you both have a lot of care and concern for your friend, and that you're struggling and may need to focus on yourself for a while.
Something I've learned about being a carer/helping others is that your own needs, well-being, and self-care are just as important as those of the person you're supporting. Meaning I've found that drawing boundaries are essential, e.g. I need to take some time off if things have been particularly intense, and that my needs need to be respected by the person I'm supporting. If they can't respect my needs (i.e. if they'd be happy for me to burn out), I personally couldn't see that relationship as sustainable or acceptable.
If you're up for a bit of reading, the Peer Support Team at SANE recently ran an online chat about boundaries in relationships- you can read the transcript for that here which you might find helpful
I really relate to wanting to ensure someone will be okay, but at the same time it's helpful to remember that someone has ultimate responsibility over their own life, actions, and decisions - maybe they'll never seek help or make other friends. It's (hard, but) helpful if we can come to accept that- otherwise we could spend a lifetime in agony trying to enact change in someone else's life when that action can ultimately only come from within them.
I'm certain that there are others in similar situations similar to yours, so hopefully you'll have some other responses too 🌼
A final thought- you might be interested in some 1:1 support given how complex this situation sounds like it is. If you like, you can speak with one of our counsellors by phone (1800 18 7263) or webchat, Monday-Friday 10am-10pm AEST. Here is some information about what you can expect from the service 😊
Something that would be important to know is what external professional medical or psychological support that either of you has looked for or received.
It sounds to me that if you have not already done so, that it would be important for you both to first seek assistance by speaking with a general practitioner (GP); your regular doctor if you have one. From there the doctor will offer options for both of you, and just you, for yourself, if your friend refuses to go. Until you have taken that step it is very difficult to suggest alternatives.
With that in mind, I agree with girasole that you won't be able to look after anyone if you are, as you say;
“completely drained of energy, I’m dealing with my own struggles”.
If you run out of steam (capacity), someone else will be looking after both of you.
Indeed, anyone else "in the same situation", will be just that, and consequently, find it very difficult to offer you the assistance that you may seek from them.
It may be difficult to get an appointment with a GP at this time, around Easter, but I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. If necessary, there are phone numbers on this website if an emergency arises.
In the meantime, if there is anything that you are especially concerned about, certainly come back to the forum. However, any advice we can give will never be a substitute for professional advice. Also, people on the forum come and go, and sometimes there are no people logged in.
Normally, people are assisting each other, here on the forums, after they have sought the assistance of professional health practitioners.
Be assured that the forum members will offer any support that they can, however that support is limited by the format through which the support is offered and is offered in a non-professional capacity.
My estranged husband of thirty years, saw me as pessimistic, half glaff empty and " my anxiety gave him the shits". As a result of these narcasstic comments, I have lost all respect for him.
I too suffer abadonment issues, loss and not having a purpose or belonging. I am an only child with no family support because of my his opinions.
Perhaps rather than looking at your friend as being toxic, try finding strategies that are going to make her feel inclusive( its called baby steps) and things that make her happy and valued.
Sometimes people find being thrown out into the wider community overwhelming, therefore they find making friendships difficult.
I speak from life experience, I also have an internal disability that people do not understand. They tend to assume without asking. I also have a family that is not supportive (my partner threatened my mother over her lack of support towards me and her grand-children) Due to his actions I have not seen my mother or her family in over 14 years.
May I also suggest some breathing techniques for when your friend is stressed, as well as calming music, going for walks along the beach or bush walking will assist with the anxiety. This would work for you too.
I hope my advice will help, I know its not easy, however, people have spent too long putting loved ones into the too hard basket. It's about walking the tightrope together, unpacking the issues one step at a time. "Rome was not built in a day".
I didn't expect someone to reply that fast, and i would like to thank you for it. your message helps me a lot, because i thought for many years that it was my responsibility to take care of her because nobody else will do it. i really, really want her to get better and i know she will, but i will try my best to set better boundaries with her.
thank you so so much for your message. Have a happy easter weekend. ☺️
My friend actually see a psychologist since i told her it was maybe a good thing to get better. She also going to see a psychiatrist to make a test and see if she doesn’t have more than the depression and anxiety. It will be better as well as he/she will provide her the right medication (the antidepressant she is currently taking is not adapted for her).
I take a note on everything you said, and will take an appointment in the meantime.
thank you for you message and have a happy easter weekend. ✨
thank you for your message, it is really interesting to read you, because you are seeing this from the side that i can’t see.
My friend doesn’t have any support from her family as well. They think she is faking it or being too dramatic. They don’t understand that mental health issues matters way much more than what people thinks. Her friends that she had before in high school or uni just left her like nothing and i remained the only one at the end. it’s maybe why i find it very hard? because i know i’m the only she can rely to?
I’m not seeing her as toxic, but my friendship is. i know that everything she is doing, is done unconsciously, that she would love to be “normal” as she say often. I’ve done a lot of things to include her, done many things to make her happy and valuable. so i stopped going out with others peoples because she hated it, spend more times with her doing things that she liked, and now i wonder if all of that wasn’t a mistake. Because she got used to it, and now when i want to see my friends, she get into panick attacks, she get possessive and call me every second to know where i am, why i left her, she doesn’t to be alone.
she told me that everytime she is alone, she can’t focus on anything. all the exercices she learned with her psychologist, she forget them. she is only focused on the fact that i am not here, that i left her, even tho i’m coming back. she is obsessed that i think my friends are better than her, so she doesn’t want to meet them, she doesn’t want to meet anyone because she feels bored with other people than me. And sometimes she get angry at me, thinking i’m selfish because i like spending time with my others friends as much as i like spending time with her. she try unconsciously to push me saying things i never said, just for her brain to prove her it was right. and i feel lost, hurt as well. because i want her to get better but i don’t know if i can at that point. because it’s hard, way too hard for my shoulders to handle everything.
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