• Keeping Friends

My Friend Won’t Leave Her House—What Should I Do?

Published: May 23, 2012 | Last Updated: September 1, 2021 By | 31 Replies Continue Reading

A reader asks how to handle a friend who won’t leave her house? The friend is constantly complaining about physical problems that don’t seem real.

[QUESTION REMOVED AT REQUEST OF POSTER]

ANSWER

Hi Lindsay,

This is a sad situation and your friend is fortunate to have you as her friend. You seem kind, caring, and compassionate—and it’s great that you have tried to educate yourself about mental illness to better understand what your friend is going through.

It’s quite possible that your friend isn’t knowingly deceiving you or herself. She may actually believe there is some yet-to-be-discovered physical basis for her problems.

Getting past someone’s denial is one of the most difficult quandaries faced by families and friends of people with mental health or substance abuse disorders. It requires a great deal of patience and sometimes progress is made in very small steps.

I can see no benefit in confronting your friend or questioning her honesty outright although she needs to be evaluated by a mental health professional. Two thoughts:

  • You could suggest that your friend speak to her therapist to get a “second opinion” about her physical problems. Sometimes clinicians who are knowledgeable about agoraphobia and other anxiety disorders may even be willing to make a house call if a patient is unable to leave home. Another alternative would be to have her speak to her therapist over the telephone or Skype.
  • Is there someone, perhaps a parent or sibling, who is providing for her basic needs (food, shelter, etc.)? You might speak to one of her immediate family members or consult her physician to express your concerns about her emotional state.

Unfortunately, your friend who won’t leave her house may not seek out help until she is in an acute crisis. The kindest thing you can do is to continue to offer her your friendship and support until she is able to accept help.

My best, Irene

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Category: Dealing with friends with health and/or emotional problems

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for helping figure out the paragraph breaks.
    It’s been difficult for me and perhaps others to read through the lengthier postings without paragraphs.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think that is where I have my issues — Lindsay’s insistence on being “honest”. Honesty is a double-edged sword. There is honesty and there is brutal honesty. And her version of honest might be too harsh. It appears that she is more interested in being “honest” about her own feelings about her friend than she is in her friend’s actual feelings. It appears that she dismisses the fact that she is already on medication for depression and it hasn’t curbed either her depression or her medical “issues”. True, she could be perfectly healthy aside from her depression but Lindsay has no way of knowing that anymore than the depressed person does. As I have stated before, she could very well have medical issues as well as depression but Lindsay dismisses this out of hand as all mentally related and not physical. What she must realize is that depression IS a physical disease due to low chemicals in the brain. Because she was able to conquer her own depression without medication, it appears she is dubious about others needing a different kind of help that she did. She insists she did it all by herself without “platitudes” from her friends so she is adamant that she will not placate ANYONE, not even her depressed friend. There is a little bit of anger in her response to her friend’s disease, as if she is purposely not getting better just to spit Lindsay. These are the friends I dumped when I was really depressed because they really didn’t want to HELP, the just wanted me to get over it already so that THEIR life would be smoother. I also think she is taking offense to her friend not following her “honest advice” to the letter. Again, Lindsay’s situation was overcome without medication. It sounds to me as if she was struggling more with the direction of her life than with chronic clinical depression and she just can’t or won’t see the difference in her friend.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t question your motives, just that you feel that your friends should be able to do what you did — fix it yourself. I don’t know if you were just unhappy with your life or if you were truly depressed in the clinical sense. “Yet i cannot deny there are a few things all the depressed people i know have in common such as denial, unhealthy relationships, gripping fear and a persistent feeling that they have no control over anything.” Yes, these are the issues with DEPRESSION! These are the thoughts and feelings that go hand in hand with the disease and I think you believe that they are not real issues. If you are depressed, dealing with the issues in your life seem impossible. You seem to have strong expectations from your depressed friends, such as asking her what she has learned since the last time you talked. If she hasn’t learned anything, it just feels like you are pressuring her to do more and to do what YOU feel she should be doing, not what SHE feels would be helpful. I think this is the crux of the issue with being criticized for your comments. You seem to understand the feelings but you expect others to react the same way you did. That is not only unrealistic, it makes the issue about YOU and not them. I understand the frustration and the exhaustion of dealing with a depressed person who seems to not want to help themselves. But, the bottom line is, THEY have not found the answer to their depression as you have. That doesn’t make them wrong or bad people or lazy or anything else but it seems as if you imply it, thus not only NOT helping but making it worse by making them feel not only depressed but GUILTY for being depressed and for not living up to your expectations. That is a lot of additional pressure on a person who finds it challenging to just get out of bed in the morning.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for your comments. A lot of people dismiss depression because they just don’t understand it. They equate it with being sad or upset at a specific situation and can’t fathom the depths of the disease. It is also chronic, so many believe it is just an attitude problem rather than a medical one. We need to work hard to overcome the stigma of depression because it is a medical disorder just like diabetes. A missing chemical can wreck havoc on a person’s body AND mind and people need to realize it is not just a person being weak or sad on purpose. It can be exhausting for those who witness it, especially if the depressed person refused to do anything to get better, mostly due to the stigma but partially due to the number the disease itself plays on the brain — that it will never get better, etc.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Speak the truth in love.

  6. Iyamacat says:

    Go to the section where it has more information about formatting options – this shows you how. Text with
    line break. T blobs are hard to read. It would be good if you could just hit enter a couple of times like on celebitchy.

  7. Anonymous says:

    A great read but my comment got lost.Kathryn

  8. Anonymous says:

    What a fascinating read.. and comments..I shall come back.

  9. Irene says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience in such a powerful and inspiring way. Best, Irene

  10. Anonymous says:

    why doesnt this blog recognize paragraph breaks? all this would be so much easier to read if i could do that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I understand what you are saying, believe me. i also understand what it means to be truly depressed. i spent over 15 years, which adds up to most of my life, in a state of deep depression. just because i managed to pull myself out of it doesnt mean it was situational or less serious than what my friend is going through. i only got through it by taking control of my life and putting myself in very intense situations that shocked me out of it. there were also things which were outside of my control that came into play but really put things into perspective.

    i was engaged to be married, i had started going back to school to try and get my career on the right path, i seemed to be on the road to a life that anyone should be happy with, but i still found myself unbearably depressed no matter what i accomplished. i was terrified of social interaction for over 2 years at that point. i could leave my house for class and trips to the store, but otherwise i stayed inside and avoided my friends.

    i dont even remember what made me do it, but i applied for a study abroad program somewhere in there. and i got accepted. my depression started melting away as i prepared to leave the country for the first time ever, but the happier i got the more my relationship with my fiance started to deteriorate. i broke up with him a few months before i left and managed to get myself over the sea without his help.

    i had a great time for about the first two weeks and then i started to fall back into depression. this time it was deeper than it had ever been, and quickly became suicidal and truly agoraphobic. i lived with five other people but they judged me and did not care. i refused to leave my closet sized dorm room, i skipped class every day, and only barely made it through because of the support of my friends back home via the internet. i saw a counselor whenever i could convince myself to leave the room, but that was the only thing i did outside my building for months. i barely ate or slept and i seriously considered jumping out my 10th story window every night.

    this went on for 8 months before i had to be sent back home on a medical leave of absence. the humiliation i experienced after what i considered to be a deep personal failure was very striking and i almost did not make it through. over the next 2 years i had to completely rebuild my entire life from scratch and it was NOT fucking easy. but i did it on my own terms and something about that has caused me to never return to my previous state of depression.

    i still cant say that i fully understand what exactly triggered my recovery, but i have a feeling it was related to somehow knowing that what i needed the most was to do something drastic like get as far away from my comfort zone as possible. even if things had to get a lot worse before they got better i still came through it and i am grateful for whatever intuition allowed me to get where i am today.

    there are many other aspects of this story that i will not get into here, but suffice it to say, i fully, truly, and deeply understand depression in a way that many people i know who are currently stuck in it do not seem to. so many of them dont do very much about it outside of going to doctors and accepting that there must be something chronically wrong with them. i fully realize that doing what i did was extremely dangerous and it wont be likely to work for everyone else who is depressed. Yet i cannot deny there are a few things all the depressed people i know have in common such as denial, unhealthy relationships, gripping fear and a persistent feeling that they have no control over anything. if each of these things can be faced individually in turn, it might at least be able to help improve the condition of other people who are depressed. i say this only because i faced the same demons for the majority of my life, and the fact that i accepted that as a chronic illness i couldnt do anything about is exactly what kept me down for 15 years. i only got better once i decided to try and prove that these things were not okay, that they were based on falsehoods and flawed thinking, that fears can be overcome by looking them straight in the eye and that control can only be regained by starting again from scratch.

    every time i have tried to even share my story with other friends of mine who are depressed, they have all reacted in a defensive way suggesting they think i am accusing them of something. every time i try to talk about my experiences with people who are medicated, they seem to think i must not understand where they are because i am not still on medicine or i must not be as bad off or as permanently crazy as they are if i managed to come through it at all. it always feels like a competition, and thats not what i am trying to accomplish by trying to figure out how best to help my friend.

    knowing at least part of my story now, i hope you can see how it might be difficult for me to just sit here and watch someone else go through something i have overcome in my own way when everything i do to try and help gets ignored or thrown back in my face. i have never wanted to accuse my friend of malicious dishonesty, but i want to figure out some way of helping her to move forward and to do something tangible about her situation. the fact is i had a unique experience that created positive results, and now i cant even talk about that experience in a public forum without a bunch of people lining up to tell me how wrong i am.

    when i talk to my friend about “my feelings”, they are not only my feelings. every time i talk to her, i ask her how she is doing and what she has learned since last we talked. i ask about her doctors visits, i suggest literature for her to read and i invite her to social events. i very rarely talk to her about my own feelings anymore, because we had one or two big conversations about it awhile back and i figured i said everything she needed to know in 2 sittings. its not like i go over to her place and boss her around and focus on myself, only a real idiot would think that is helping. i just want her to understand where i am coming from, not tell her how it should make her feel.

    all i am trying to do here is inspire people. anyone who is depressed should feel inspired by my story, but all i usually get in response is incredulous denial and questioning of my motives. but i still keep trying to get through depressed people, because i feel it is all i can do to help. my experiences and my story are all i have, so you can take it or leave it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    i have never accused my friend of faking her illness, but whenever i even try to pry into the details of what happens at her doctors visits or suggest alternative solutions to her issues, she tends to respond as though i am accusing her of being a fake. which is not what i am doing at all whatsoever! i am only trying to offer the insight of an unclouded mind and try to find ways of helping her. but her own mental blocks are keeping her from helping herself or even letting others have the info they need in order to help her. it is frustrating and sad to me.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You didn’t imply that situational depression isn’t horrible. You’re right that (for me, anyway) the depression DOES lift without medication. I’ve never taken meds for it, and at least one doctor told me meds didn’t seem appropriate for me since my depression is situational. I think it’s valuable to have heard you describe so clearly how all depression is not situational. My hope is that people who like to lump all depression in one category and declaim that it’s a “pull yourself up from your boostraps” deal will stop doing that. Thank you again for your posting. You have helped light a candle in the darkness of ignorance that comes up sometimes in this forum and in life when people say depression can be overcome as a mind over matter deal.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your comment. I am sorry for the loss of your loved one. There were a few points where I was so low I felt suicide was the only way to stop the pain. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted the pain to end.

    I didn’t mean to imply that situational depression is any less horrific that chronic depression. The symptoms and feelings are the same. It can trigger chronic depression for those prone to it. But for many, the situational stuff clears without medication or with short-term medication (6-12 months) and therapy. When you are chemically depressed, even therapy really doesn’t help when you are not medicated because it is not POSSIBLE to talk your way through it. Your chemicals are imbalanced and you can’t overcome that with therapy any more than you can cure diabetes with therapy.

    I am happy that, for several years now, I can even smile when going through difficult situations or will be down for a day or two and then feel better. I can’t imagine what people went through before there were medications for this awful disease.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your honest and clearly described comment. I suffer from depression myself, but it is very obviously “situational” depression. That’s not small thing, either, by the way. It’s awful to go 360 just because something bad as happened at the job, or someone outside of work looks at me the wrong way, criticizes me, etc. But compared to what you have described, it is nothing like that. I had a loved one commit suicide years ago because of depression. And in his case part of it was situational: big financial problems and then things relating to that. But I was convinced then and now that the underlying problem was a type of depression you have described. Everyone but a handful of us kept telling him to pull himself up from the bootstraps, become a Christian, start jogging, eat this or that, don’t eat this or that … Even his shrink didn’t seem to get how awful it was for this relative of mine. He was told to change his personality or some such thing. The medications he was on did not work for him (this was years ago; things have changed a lot since then). Getting through each day was an enormous struggle for him, and he had to fake it, he said. So it makes me very angry to hear people tell others who suffer from non-situational depression to basically just snap out of it. I’m very glad to hear you have found a medication that works for you. Thank you again for sharing your story, and my very best wishes to you for continued success in managing the depression.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I wanted to describe, to those who don’t understand, what a deep depression is like. I call it the “black hole”. One day, you just start to feel the ground crumbling beneath you a little bit. Then it opens up slowly and you start to slip into the hole. It is all very gradual and, sometimes, you don’t even notice it. As time goes on, you start to slip further and further into this slippery black hole and it gets darker and narrower the further you fall. Pretty soon, you are looking up at a pinpoint of light that is the world and where life seems to be happening around you. All the while, you are being isolated and squeezed by the ever narrowing hole and you can’t move, you can’t climb out, you can’t breath, you feel sick. You are just stuck there, watching life go on without you but you are unable to reach or call out for help. You are stuck in this blackness with no way out. If someone offers you a lifeline, by the time it reaches you it is only a few tattered threads that you can’t get a grip on. People talking to you are like voices from the top – far away and faint – and the messages get garbled and lost, no matter how positive. Sometime, the upbeat positivity is like sandpaper grating on you skin because you can’t change where you are. There were literally days when I couldn’t get out of bed (with major sleep disturbances that I didn’t realize I also had.) People who have not struggled with this have a very difficult time understanding how awful it really is. They believe, if you just think the right way or behave the “right” way, you will get better. But I could be a singing/tap dancing fool and it still wouldn’t get me out of the black hole.

    When you start to get better and look back, it is unbelievable how far you fell. You forget about it until something else happens – i.e. your medications stop working and you need to find new ones. You start slipping ever so gradually you don’t notice it until you have slid quite a distance back down that hole. So you start again and try to live a normal life, knowing the hole can open up underneath you at any time.

    I have, fortunately, been on a great medication for several years. Even severe life issues haven’t caused me to slip into the hole again. I can get a little depressed for a few days due to circumstances but, in general, my mood is normal, even when severely stressed. It is definitely a gift to be better but so many people don’t understand what it’s like and I feel I must protect them because I know what the struggle is like.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The truth is always brutal..and it will set you free..Tell her the truth, as you know it…It is the best you can do by anyone…..

  18. Anonymous says:

    I posted the comment on May 22nd and I am glad you understand what I was saying. I wasn’t saying that Lindsay was a bad person, just that she seems to have decided that her friend in not being honest and that she is the only one left who can help her because she “knows” what it is like. It doesn’t seem that Lindsay’s problems were the same as her friend. Lindsay’s experience can be described as what is called “situational depression” brought on by a death or other major event and is often short-term. I am talking about chronic depression. Depression makes you sick, not just mentally but physically. She could need medication for depression or she could be like my aunt, who had undiagnosed colon cancer for over 2 years and died within a month of diagnosis. It just appeared that Lindsay dismissed her friends reasons as excuses rather than as actual problems. She did go as far as to say she thought her friend was faking. I am not sure if she actually told her friend this but, just by thinking it, it does come across in their conversations. While someone said that she is being a good friend, I don’t think that assuming she is a liar is being a good friend. Believe me, I can tell when someone disapproves or just doesn’t get it. Many of the people slamming me are people who have NEVER experienced depression so they think that everyone who is depressed is just exaggerating or faking. “It is my theory that she does not want to leave her house but also is incapable of being honest with herself and others about this fact, so she makes herself physically sick in order to have an excuse to stay in.” I can’t tell if Lindsay is being judgmental or is just trying to rescue someone but, calling her a LIAR or assuming she is purposely hurting herself as an excuse is not being a good friend. However, she said that “I have initiated a number of great conversations to express everything I’m feeling and she seems to understand. But afterwards she always continues repeating the same behavior and its really scary.” It sounds as if she feels that a little pep talk about her OWN feelings should be all that is needed “because I see all the greatness in her and I want so badly for her to reach her potential.” That is all well and good but you have no idea how bad it feels to be deep in a depression only to have someone tell you how you are “wasting” your potential. Gee, thanks for the pep talk. This is why I would avoid you. People in their happy-go-lucky world just can’t fathom what you are going through and can’t understand why you can’t just “fix” yourself. Sometimes, by trying to help this way, people do more harm than good because you are telling her how easy it should be for her to be happy. Constantly being told how you are failing in life is NOT going to help!

    It is well known that depressed people are also in more physical pain as serotonin also helps with pain. She may be going to doctors for physical symptoms but the underlying cause may be depression. Depending on the type of doctor she is seeing, they may not even think about depression or just dismiss the depression because she is already on medications. I know a lot about this because I also used to sell anti-depressants as a pharmaceutical salesperson. Most doctors only get a cursory education in depression and mental health. They are looking for easily diaganosable problems. Even when they do recognize the need to prescribe antidepressants, they are unsure and quick to change medications if they don’t work quickly. They are afraid to go above the initial dose or to combine medications. It took me several years to find a competent psychiatrist who understands these medications and how to use them to treat difficult depression. But, if I had a friend during this time who tended to look at me side-eyed when I discussed my REAL symptoms (not complaining or whining, just the conversations you initiate), I would have felt they were NOT a good friend as they would be questioning my truthfulness or to make me feel like THEY were the victim of MY depression. “It seems in line with what I have read that she has become agoraphobic, but I have never seen someone in such deep denial about mental problems before.” And, how many patients have you treated? She is being treated with meds for depression and anxiety so how is she in denial? As I stated, she may simply need a change or an adjustment to her medications. Maybe she has an undiagnosed MEDICAL (not MENTAL) issue. I don’t think that it is necessarily being in DENIAL (an accusation) but rather, she is exhausted from pursuing adequate treatment and probably more depressed that she is not getting better.

    My main problem is that you seem to second guess what she does yet you claim you KNOW it is agoraphobia. I don’t know about you but, when I am really depressed, I find it difficult to have casual conversations or to attend social functions when all I want to do is go to bed and pull the covers over my head. Believe me, if she did show up in her current condition, you would find reasons to criticize her because of her demeanor. Even non-depressed people should understand how hard it is to put on a phony happy face when you are not feeling it. Now try doing it while feeling like you are carrying 10,000 pounds on your shoulders. Being fake-happy is exhausting enough without depression.

    I know she wants to help but, to me, Lindsay wants to know how to make her friend snap out of it. She won’t just snap out if it, ever. Until she gets proper treatment, she’ll continue to suffer on her own. But to have a “good” friend who not only doubts everything you say but is also a bit condescending (as in, “See how easy it was for me to get better! Now that I am fixed, I know all about depression and have diagnosed you as agoraphobic. Why won’t you just follow my expert advice?!) is worse than no friends at all.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I appreciate what you’ve been through, with yourself and your mother. I agree with you in theory that honesty with friends seems the best way to go. But as I’m sure you know, depression doesn’t manifest itself in the same way with everyone. And not everyone is able to hear the honest, constructive criticism in any way that is helpful. You have to be careful when being “honest.” Even trained proefssionals have to be careful. Brutal honesty doesn’t always have the beneficial effects. Also, not every case of depression and related maladies can be helped in the same way it helped you. I applaud you for how you were able to get help. I do know what you mean about looking at yourself for root problems is key. But we just can’t rule out how physical issues can impact our ability to do anything other than be aware of the physical pain and limitations. It’s hard to walk in another person’s shoes.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t see anyone say that Linsey was fake. I saw one person who suffers from depression say that it’s hard to be fake-happy when you are so low. It sounds like Linsey, Linsey’s friend, and the poster you have just slammed all have depression in common. I feel sorry for them all. I think you’re posting (“You’re a Good Friend”) speaks more to slamming the other posters and pushing your own agenda about that than it speaks to the complex issue Linsey, Linsey’s friend, and the other suffering poster are going through. Linsey is trying to help her friend by applying to her friend what has helped for Linsey. That’s understandable. But as the other poster points out, manypeople do suffer from medical problems and don’t get the adequate help needed. Linsey and all of us should probably rethink the notion that there is a more or less one shoe fits all solution. I find it interesting that you have no sympathy apparently for the so-called heavy handed poster’s depression problems. Sometimes the topic at hand gets overlooked on this forum and some people get more involved pitting one poster against another. That doesn’t help anyone. And yes, I am guilty of the same thing sometimes. But I try to look at the hurt each poster is going through and have sympathy for them all.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Linsey, after having read your original post, I did not get the feeling you were being insensitive, being fake, etc., as some other poster went on about here, in a very heavy handed way. While it is important, to read about different perspectives as they pertain to someone such as your friend, other posters should refrain from assuming, and taking it so personally, just because they have been facing similar issues. It’s one thing to share one’s own experience, it’s another thing to completely become accusatory. Your friend is quite fortunate to have you in her life!

  22. Anonymous says:

    The whole May 22nd post titled agoraphobia. There is only one other May 22 post aside from Irene,one sentence long, so sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    I’m not the one who called the post venom, but off the wall. I titled it venom as a way for a person reading the sidebar to know the post was for this thread as it was a common term being used throughout it.

    The post titled agoraphobia describes the person who wrote Irene as not supportive when she hasn’t challenged the fake sickness, describes her friend in supportive and positive terms “She is one of the sweetest and most gentle people I have ever met, and I just cannot bring myself to abandon her.” She also wrote in because she is afraid to challenge what she perceives as denial, which Irene was balanced in thinking enough to acknowledge the friend might need a doctor’s second opinion on her medicial issues to figure out what’s wrong, OR, is really in denial, but that it shouldn’t be challenged too much. The person who wrote also describes any talks with her friend aS “have been racking my brain trying to think of ways to help her, and I have initiated a number of great conversations to express everything I’m feeling and she seems to understand. But afterwards she always continues repeating the same behavior and its really scary”.
    Then, the person who wrote the agoraphobia post says “Your total dismissal of her symptoms and your insistence that there is nothing wrong with her are certainly clear to her and is not helping. There is nothing worse than having someone tell you that you are just plain crazy and that they know better and if you would just do XYZ, you would be fine. I would avoid you like the plague because you have no desire to understand, just to fix her so she can be a better friend. She is not YOURS to fix and the extra pressure you are putting on her only makes her feel worse about herself and also makes her doubt herself and her feelings. A true friend would ask how they can help, not try to diagnose and treat something you are not willing or able to understand.” One, she didn’t totally dismiss her friend, and is not insisting there is nothing wrong, but knowing her very well, thinks she might be imagining or creating illnesses to avoid life due to emotional or psychological issues. She never said or implied her friend was crazy as agoraphobia said, and you said that you would avoid her like the plague,when this person is practically the only friend left to this troubled person. She did not prescribe XYZ as she is not sure what to do and wrote Irene. Once again I ask you what if this person has the mental illness of imagining physcial problems as a manifestation of agoraphobia, and takes your advice and the one thing she is screaming for through her behavior is to do exactly that but no one, at least a medical professional, does? The person who wrote knows her friend well over a long period of time and could be right but has given the benefit of the doubt for a long time just in case, and has refrained from challenging her friend that she might not really be physically sick but using medical problems to get something or avoid something, even though she is pretty sure that is the case. So the post titled agoraphobia on May 22nd was off the wall to me due to the examples I gave, and I actually do agree that it contains venom for whoever wrote that, examples what I quoted, as the person who wrote is probably smarter than me wondering why she should have to answer a question with such an obvious answer.. If that it isn’t clear I dont know what it is.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m having a very hard time following just who you mean by “you” and whose “entire May 22 post” you are talking about?? Are you talking about Irene, the owner of this blog? I don’t see “venom” by ANYONE here. That’s a pretty melodramatic term for people who might disagree with things. Anyway, you are very unclear (to me) as to who specifically you are talking to.

  24. Anonymous says:

    the entire may 22 post is pretty off the wall. you are projecting your own issues and faulting the poster for ones that aren’t really hers or her friends. lindsay knows her friend a lot better than you do and her attitude toward her is very loving and charitable. are you saying that her friend might actually not have a medical issue? what if challenging her is the real solution to her problem and she doesn.t do it due to your insistence that this person must have a medical problem?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Will you please cut and paste the passages from posters that contained “venom” to Lindsay? I am very curious since I don’t see “venom.”

  26. Anonymous says:

    It should say:
    “…which seem venom-filled to me, are posted, and I hope they don’t …

  27. Anonymous says:

    I think you have been a faithful and supportive friend when many other people would have just turned their backs. I also think your past experiences help you to understand your friend’s issues and can encourage her to continue to seek more help. I’m so sorry that a couple of the responses to your blog, which seem venom-filled to me, don’t turn you away from continuing to help your friend. I would want to have you as a friend.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Lindsay:
    I urge you to please refrain from accusing your friend of faking her physical illnesses. While they may or may not be compounded by her agoraphobia and “underlying emotional issues” they are still very real and create much anguish to her. It’s doubly frustrating to her to have physical illnesses that impede her ability to cope with other problems and “change.” If she can sense, and I’ll bet she can, your dubiousness about her health problems, that will make things worse for her. I’ve been there. You might have been there, too. It’s really that simple. People can have horrible, painful health problems that aren’t ABC resolved by doing ABC, 123. Sometimes as the expression goes, shit happens and people get sick and it doesn’t get better. But they need their friends’ support all the more. I would also urge you to not make comparisons of your situation to hers. Just because you resolved your problems in the manner you did does not mean she can do so in the same way. Illnesses and conditions, physical and emotional, are not like factory widgets. They are unique to each person and situation. I beg you to please rethink what you’ve written in here and just take your friend at her word about the pain she is going through.

  29. Anonymous says:

    this is lindsey. in response to the first reply, i would like to note that i have not only lost my own mother to problems very similar to what i am witnessing in my friend now, but i have suffered through my own depression, anxiety, ptsd, and borderline agoraphobia for a number of years. i spent ages expecting the solutions to come from outside my body, in the form of a pill or doctors advice. but things did not change or start moving forward until i looked inside myself, addressed the real problems under the surface, and started making active changes in my mind and my life. i never would have come to shifting my perspective if not for the friends who questioned me in all honesty instead of serving me platitudes. while i have to know there is a possibility my friend has real medical problems, i also know they would be a lot less intense and physically damaging if she could address the mental roots for all this. i can see how it would be very easy for someone who is in the throes of this to say i am being insensitive, but i think most people who have actually come through it in one piece can agree that what a person in her condition needs is support in the form of honesty.

  30. Anonymous says:

    You are doing your friend a disservice by believing she is lying to you or herself. She may actually HAVE an undiagnosed medical issue even though you are conviced she does not. There are thousands of people misdiagnosed every year and some rarer disorders may take YEARS to diagnose.

    She could also need an adjustment to her depression medications. Most general practitioners are afraid to do more than prescribe the lowest dose of a med and then switch if it doesn’t work. Some people need higher doses and also need other medications in combination, as I do. It took me almost 10 years and the release of a new medication before I found one that worked.

    It is obvious that you do not understand depression if you think that discussing YOUR feelings about HER issues is going to “snap her out of it”. This is a common refrain heard from those who have no idea what being depressed is like. You can’t just “suck it up” and be cheerful. You have no idea the energy it takes to be fake-happy for a couple of hours. I don’t think she is being dishonest with you or anyone. As a matter of fact, it appears she is very honest and you just don’t believe her. That is not support. Unless you have a medical degree, it is highly disturbing that you think you have “diagnosed” her issue as agoraphobia and that she is FAKING symptoms or purposely CAUSING herself to be sick in order to avoid social engagements. There were days I simply could not get out of bed.

    Your total dismissal of her symptoms and your insistence that there is nothing wrong with her are certainly clear to her and is not helping. There is nothing worse than having someone tell you that you are just plain crazy and that they know better and if you would just do XYZ, you would be fine. I would avoid you like the plague because you have no desire to understand, just to fix her so she can be a better friend. She is not YOURS to fix and the extra pressure you are putting on her only makes her feel worse about herself and also makes her doubt herself and her feelings. A true friend would ask how they can help, not try to diagnose and treat something you are not willing or able to understand.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I have been extremely depressed before, and it helped when my friends came to see me and then slowly encouraged me to get out more. I will never forget the loyalty and kindness of these friends.

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