• Resolving Problems

A young teen struggling with her emotions gets cut off by her friend

Published: June 10, 2015 | By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
Sometimes, problems with emotions can get in the way of friendships.



So… there’s one girl who I’ve known since birth (literally). Now I think I suffer from either mild bipolar disorder or depression. I told her and vented to her about what made me so so sad and she gave me advice, which didn’t really help but comforted me.

She’s a really nice gal and all, but now she suddenly just shut me out. She’s going out with her friends, not replying to any of my messages. Facebook, Whatsapp…

I got so paranoid that I did something wrong. I attempted self-harm but eventually chickened out. I told her and she gave me no answer. I messaged her on Facebook and once again, no answer. I know she’s very active on social media, so I find it very strange that she’s not replying. I mean I’ve known her for 13 years.

Surely she wouldn’t have just ditched me when I needed her most for no reason at all? She was fine two or three weeks ago. What should I do? Confront her or let it be?

Signed, Elsa


Hi Elsa,

Unfortunately, when people disclose that they have a mental or emotional problem, it can frighten others, even very good friends, who don’t understand that mental disorders are real illnesses.

You sound like an intelligent girl because you recognize that something is wrong with your mood and emotions—although it’s a mistake to try and diagnose yourself.

It may be that your friend is finding it hard to handle your friendship because your moods have been so erratic. Friends can be helpful and supportive to some extent but they can’t substitute for therapists. She may have also become frightened when you told her you were self-harming.

Your first priority should be to focus on how you can get your emotional problems under control. This isn’t something you can handle on your own. You need to talk to your parents or a counselor at school who can help you connect with a mental health professional who is trained to evaluate and treat these problems.

Give your friend a breather (which she has clearly indicated she needs by not responding to you on social media) and then approach her when you are feeling better and you can be a better friend.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (3)

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  1. harriet says:

    hey elsa, the exact same thing happened to me and i am 13 as well and i was crying yesterday when i was at a slide with my best friend because my depression makes me easily upset. she also suffers from depression but it is only a low scale of it. but any way back to the story i started crying and she asked if i was ok and i said no and then i said i really need to talk to you and she said no i have no time for that ethan (her boyfriend) is waiting for me and ran away leaving me there alone and crying. since then she has replied to any of my text messages and hasn’t answered her phone when i have tried calling her. i know this isnt advice but i find it helps knowing someone is there suffering in the same way

  2. Dionne says:

    It’s always possible that the timing was a coincidence and your friend simply felt the friendship had run its course and wanted to back off, either somewhat or completely. People keep changing and as old ones back off or move on, new ones enter our lives. That is the same for all of us.

    Honestly though, if I had exercised my right to back off from a friend and they told me it caused them to self-harm or even to want to self-harm, I would not feed into that, either. I would feel very manipulated and angry because it sounds like a threat, like “if you don’t do what I want, look what you’ll cause me to do.” No one likes that.

    You really need to see a medical professional because that is beyond what a friend can or should try to handle. Best wishes to you.

  3. Amy F says:

    I’m so glad you didn’t hurt yourself. You’re already in so pain. Self-injury brings people further away from their friends and family, in part because of the secrecy involved. You should be proud of yourself for resisting the temptation.

    Unfortunately, you might have scared her with the disclosure about self harm, these are issues you can work on with your therapist. Telling your friend when she was ignoring you might have felt like you were saying, “If you ignore me, I’ll hurt myself.” I know you weren’t trying to manipulate her. If, as Irene suggests, she already felt overwhelmed by your mental illness, hearing that you wanted to harm yourself over the rift in your friendship probably felt like too much.

    When you’re trying to decide whether you should talk about your depression, think about whether what you’re asking is something your friends are equipped to help you with or whether your therapist would know better strategies. If the answer is therapist, your issue might feel overwhelming to friends since they don’t have the life experiences or professional training your therapist does.

    If you don’t have a therapist, talk to your parents and doctor about finding someone who can help you understand and cope with the issues surrounding your diagnosis.

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