• Resolving Problems

I’m the depressed friend

Published: July 31, 2016 | By | 8 Replies Continue Reading
A depressed friend feels her close friend wasn’t there when she needed her.

QUESTION

Hi,

I’ve searched through the blog and although I have seen a lot of advice for friends of depressed people I don’t see much for those who have been or are the person who is depressed.

I had a very tough time over the last year that involved the break up of my marriage and a slide into the worst bout of depression yet. I am fortunately getting great help for my depression and feeling much better.

Over the last year, my very best friend of twenty years turned into being more unreliable and unsupportive than anyone I know and our friendship has blown up. A major part of the problem is that she is in an on and off relationship with a controlling and physically abusive man.

While I tried to support her in leaving him and to be there for her as much as possible, I eventually had to back off in a major way because I was dealing with my own problems. Also when she is with him she becomes extremely unreliable: breaking plans, lying to everyone, and unable to handle any criticism of her behavior. When they are off, she wants everyone to forgive and forget her bad behavior without an apology. I just can’t handle it anymore.

When I tried to ask for more support from during my depression, she told me I was difficult and a bitch, and that I needed to try harder.

To top off the drama – while in the midst of all the depression I ended up getting very drunk and sleeping with one of her exes at a party. She found out and said really horrible things to me about it while refusing to acknowledge that I was in a really dark place and just made a mistake.

She literally said I’m a slut, and I don’t deserve friends and I should kill myself. Believe me when I say I realize I made a mistake and the first step I took was to STOP binge drinking, which has meant distancing myself from my main group of friends (as that is their main social activity).

I just feel that in this situation she is really holding me to a higher standard than she ever holds herself (meaning she has gotten drunk and slept with someone she shouldn’t have many times)

I guess my question is: Is this friendship beyond repair? How do I figure out if I even want to repair it? She is still with the abusive boyfriend and I wonder if it ever ends will she turn back into the person I knew before. Can you repair a friendship with someone who refuses to acknowledge that they are also at fault for things that have happened?

Signed, Amy

ANSWER

Hi Amy,

It’s great that you sought help for your depression and are feeling better. Removing yourself from alcohol-fueled social situations is a good step, too.

Depression can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, including their friendships. A depressed friend may not have sufficient energy or interest to be with other people, even close friends. Someone who is depressed may also be sad, self-absorbed and difficult to be with. And, sometimes, depression is associated with the misuse of alcohol and/or other drugs in an effort to “self-medicate.”

Unfortunately, it sounds like your friend was simultaneously dealing with a different set of problems that prevented her from providing you the support you might expect from a close friend. Moreover, her telling you to just “try harder” suggests she didn’t really understand the depths and despair of depression, and how immobilizing it can be.

Understandably, when two friends are both very needy and hurting at the same time, it can be hard for them to be there for each other.

Re: The issue of sleeping with her “ex”: Even though you were depressed and drinking when this happened, she can still hold you accountable for your behavior. It sounds like the incident was pretty hurtful to her. Although she may have gotten drunk and slept with people, too, what hurt her in this case was “whom” you wound up sleeping with. If you want to maintain a friendship, you need to apologize for your behavior without invoking your friend’s past history. It’s not relevant.

Because you say that your friend is still involved in an abusive relationship that impacts your friendship in many negative ways, you may need to back off from the friendship until she extricates herself from this relationship. In fact, since the friendship always seem so tumultuous and unsatisfying, you may want to consider your motivations for continuing it at all.

One way you can be helpful to this person who was your friend is by directing her to community domestic violence resources that can be of help to her. In the meantime, for your own best interests, you should begin to cultivate other friendships that are less draining and dramatic.

It doesn’t sound like either one of you was at fault, per se. You probably both did the best you could do under the circumstances.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


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Category: Disappointing friends, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (8)

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  1. Sabs says:

    Hi.
    I’ve been on the other end of this one before. My best friend slept with my ex. He wasn’t just my ex, he was my first love. I wanted her friendship so I pretended to be ok. I wasn’t ok. I thought that in time it wouldn’t matter so if I just sucked it up then it would be ok later. I was wrong about that. I never did trust her again. She crossed a line that couldn’t be uncrossed because she knew me and she knew my history. She understood what had happened woth my heart and had so little regard of that.

    Straight up; I don’t think you can bounce back from that. She’ll always wonder with every man, ‘Will my friend consider him fair game?’ Our girlfriends are the people we turn to when our hearts are broken. That betrayal of trust is too much.

    As for the rest of it. She’s been hellishly nasty to you and you have very good reason to let this one fade into the past.

    Mutual friends may be an issue. Don’t involve them. If asked, just say something to the effect of, ‘I still care about her. It’s been rough on both of us and I want you to know I value you and have no expectation of you taking sides.’

  2. PeachPie says:

    I think that intruding on a female friend’s man territory is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, ways of losing their trust and friendship forever. “Their territory” is whatever the understanding of that is between you. From what you’ve said it sounds like you did have a mutual understanding of it and you did cross it. Drunk and depressed won’t likely get you out of that one.

    On her part, telling someone “Go kill yourself” is sick. It sounds like her boyfriend isn’t the only abusive person in that relationship.

    Not sure if this is at all helpful or not but if you were my friends, I’d drop both of you.

  3. Debbie says:

    I don’t think she’s your friend at all and you would be better off, for your own stable peace of mind, to distance yourself from her. I say that because she is in her own world of pain and it’s doubtful she is able to see past that to of any help to anyone…she can’t even help herself. I would need substantial reasons to return to this “friendship”, which sounds like it’s only appealing to you when she needs you and is away from her abusive partner. It just sounds one sided, and you deserve much more than that. Anyone that calls you names and suggests you end your life is not your friend, whether they are hurting or angry or whatever…that is not acceptable. Decent friends talk about their hurt and pain and work through it…she just wants to blame you. It sounds like it’s going to be something she continues to hold over your head (sleeping with an ex), which you don’t need.

    Good for you for getting the help you need and recognizing what you needed at the same time. Part of self-healing is just that…taking care of ourselves and recognizing our needs, including establishing boundaries with those that have negative effects on us. I’d say continue to work on YOU and distance yourself from those that are negative and not supportive of your growth.

  4. marinakis says:

    “getting drunk” to sleep around for me is a joke excuse for being a slut, depressed or not, period!..u can say all ur stupid feministic “misogynist” lebeles in the world, but the truth at the end, is the truth!…women love sex, even more than men in latest scientific studies, problem is they have to find a “cause’ in order to justify themselves so the y won”t be labelled a “slut”, and one of the best is “ohhh, i was to drunk” and it happened!…as for depression, it’s a serious illness, and i’m happy to hear that with right treatment is getting better, and wish u the best of luck!

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi Amy, all good advice here! First, you are a human being and deserve better than this from this so called friend. For her to say these unkind, hurtful, and vicious things tells you, you ned to cut ties with this individual. She is also not thinking clearly. She is being abused mentally and possibly physically and is also in need of therapy. She may be speaking out of anger and frustration because of what she is dealing with. Either way, this is no excuse for her treating you this way. Please continue with your therapy and look for better friends, they are out there. My best to you.

  6. Whitby says:

    Dear Amy,

    I’ve been the depressed friend, and it really sucks. On the other hand, at least for me it revealed who my real friends were and weren’t. In my opinion, this woman is not your friend – Amy F and Debbie are absolutely right. Some friendships are based on authentic caring; others are more situational, based on work or proximity or shared habits. Friendships based on drinking together are usually not ones based on real caring. I had friends with whom I would drink – and of course they dropped me when I was depressed and (for several medical reasons, including the depression) could no longer consume alcohol. I should also say that my closet friends are indeed capable of listening to me when they themselves are suffering.

    I should also say that I really really disagree with Irene’s suggestion that your “friend” can hold you accountable for your actions with her ex at a party. First, this person was her ex – she has no claim on him/her anymore. Second, she slut-shamed you – which is a bunch of misogynist crap. I’m not recommending getting drunk and having one-night stands – but the term “slut” is misogynist. And women don’t need woman-hating friends – especially when they are depressed. She judged you (not “held you accountable,” which is bureaucratic speak – where’s George Orwell when one needs him?), as opposed to sympathizing with you.

    I realize that she has her own problems. But until she gets a handle on them, being around her is likely to drag you down. And at least in my experience, depression takes a lot of energy. You don’t need a lot of negativity in your life right now. And you can’t save her – she needs to deal with her own issues. If I were in your shoes, I would distance myself from her.

  7. Amy F says:

    Just like you’re responsible for your behavior when you’re depressed or drunk, she’s also responsible for her behavior when she’s angry. If someone told me to go kill myself, that would be a deal breaker, whether or not I was depressed, in an abusive relationship or anything. Those words are beyond anger and speak to deeper issues of character.

    Making relationship decisions while depressed isn’t usually a great idea, because perspective is skewed toward depression, but in this case, being told to commit suicide is a blatant indication you’re in a relationship with someone who has few standards about how she talks to you and how she allows her partner to treat her.

    If you’re not already receiving treatment for your depression through therapy, please find someone to help you work through these issues so that you’ll be in a position to find healthier relationships.

    • Debbie says:

      I agree, any “friend” that calls you names and tells you to go kill yourself is not a friend. That’s a deal breaker, she has a caustic personality and seems to be an unstable person. You have enough to deal with, and I could never forgive anyone who said those things to me. Move on with your life, get healthier and leave her to her misery.

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