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How Do I Help My Depressed Friend?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From a woman in the U.S.: I have a friend who lives in another state, we’ve been friends for a few years now but over that last few months he’s been suffering really bad depression. We text daily and I try my best to be there for him and help him through it.

The last couple months he is constantly upset with me. Here are some examples: I don’t respond to texts immediately but I usually will respond with in 10-15 min. He doesn’t respond for hours.

If I didn’t respond he would stalk my social media status and question why I could be on things like Facebook but not respond to him. If I talk to other people that he feels threatened by because the attention isn’t all on him he will blow up at me. If I’m talking to him on the phone and get a notification he will question me and accuse me of lying or with holding information. It’s to the point I now get anxiety if someone mentions me in a tweet or other online public places he might see because I know it will cause an argument.

I don’t want to give up on him but I also don’t know how to manage the situation for my own mental health. Losing the friendship would be devastating for both of us but I also know it is not a healthy one.

How Do I Help My Depressed Friend?

Answered by on -

A.

What you are describing is emotional blackmail. This guy is controlling you and isolating you. Lose him. Lose him now. Trust your instincts. This relationship isn’t a “relationship”. You are being used and abused. He is taking much too much of your time and your life. Normal relationships do not require a person to be on call 24/7.

You deserve so much better. Get yourself out of this and make yourself available for someone who doesn’t demand such exclusivity, who treats you with real respect, and where contact is enriching, not anxiety provoking.

If you find that separating from him is a terrible struggle for you, please consider seeing a therapist for a few sessions. A therapist can help you take better care of yourself and can help you extricate yourself from this toxic situation.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Help My Depressed Friend?

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). How Do I Help My Depressed Friend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/08/18/how-do-i-help-my-depressed-friend/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 16 Aug 2020 (Originally: 18 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 16 Aug 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.