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ballettmaus
01-14-2011, 12:32 AM
I've got a friend; she says she is suffering from depression and she does show depressive symptoms. However, my problem is that over the years I'm not sure the depression is the problem.
To clarify. As far as I know, it started in school. She was overweight and bullied, she didn't like going to school, became anxious about going to school, didn't enjoy it, of course, and in the end her parents took her out of school. Thus, instead of helping her through it by supporting her, it seems as if they helped her avoid the problem.
Now each time there is a problem she reacts in the same way. She moved out rather early yet all of a sudden there is a problem and she crumbles.
In 2009 she had to quit her job due to an operation, told me after four weeks of staying with her parents, she was anxious to get back to her place. Once back, she did find a job.
Now, this summer there were a lot of small problems and then in October she got sick twice in a row and that's when she took a turn for the worse. Mommy was only a phone call away - as she always was. She can't take criticism very well; she does ask for it but when you give it in a constructive way and it wasn't what she expected to here, she takes it personally.
She likes to think someone is attacking her or saying something mean about her. I once said that if she would do something that way (which we had previously said she wouldn't do) it would be a waste of time. Which she took personally and when I mentioned that by thinking I would deliberately say that her action would be a waste of time she said that I was deliberately hurting her. Which she denied. We often end up in that kind of discussion and I get the feeling she likes the pity. It's as if she thinks that if people don't pity her and if she isn't the victim, people wouldn't care about her.

I have an aunt who is an alcoholic and she's very much the same way only when my aunt feels like she's the victim she grabs a bottle and doesn't fall into a depressive mood.
Meaning, when life gets too tough both flee into their respective methods of avoiding life and the problem.

My problem is that I don't know how to deal with that friend anymore. I do know that depression is a serious illness. However, to me it looks more like she's unable to cope with the toughness of life and reacting with depression is an easy way out since mommy is there to pick her up and as soon as she's depressive people understand and sympathize with her.

Which is another thing she always asks: People have to be patient with her and have to understand. She also asked me to tell her what her qualities are. Which I have repeatedly done and we always end up in the same discussions because she thinks she's bad at what I previously said she's good at.
I tried getting her to acknowledge her qualities by telling me what she thinks she's good at, why she's a good friend etc. She avoids that.

Whenever I offer my thoughts, she seems to ignore them. The other day she told me that a lady who is a psychiatrist and a reiki healer and a friend of her parents told her nice things about her and was very considerate and understanding. She seemed to believe that lady more than me, who's in contact with her every day and has seen her reaction to almost everything. Which makes me wonder if it's because the lady is saying the nice things and I'm saying the uncomfortable things which she doesn't want to hear because they require thinking and an effort. I know I do that, say things which aren't uncomfortable but I say them for a reason.
She finds therapy tiring as well - she does have therapy since summer at the place she lives at, that friend of her parents now seems much more appealing to her though.

She also likes to believe it's always her, always about her, and I sometimes just want to tell her: Not everything is about you.
Also, at times, when I tell her something she blocks me, insists on what she told me and her opinion is and then tells me she doesn't want to get too dependent and wants to figure things out herself. Yet as soon as something gets more difficult she calls her mom - because her mom doesn't ask any questions/doesn't critisize. That is what she told me. Which to me sounds as if she says, mom is comfortable and easy.
She asks me to trust her more and tell her more about myself yet when there's a problem, I can't rely on her. If I told her that, she'd break down again, would be the victim again.

There's basically nothing I can tell her. If I don't approve of something or are of a different opinion than her then she gets touchy. Tells me I'm not helping.
I did mention that maybe it would have been better if she had called a friend instead of her mom because mothers tend to be... mothers. They sympathize and take care of things and don't push you to do stuff. Friends are company but they're not mothers. So, I said under the circumstances, it was good she called her mother since she was the only one available on short notice but that maybe a friend would have been the better solution.
She told me, she didn't need me telling her that and I could have just said that I thought it a good idea she had called her mother. Which means, she wanted me to lie so I would agree with her. It's always that way.
And at one point we were talking about our differences in thinking as a lot of conflicts seem to result from that. When I mentioned to her how I was thinking differently from the majority of people and gave her reasons for why that is, she told me, she felt like I was cutting her out. (well, excuse me for being the way I am)


She also talks about not having enough confidence which she obviously knows since she says that she has confidence issues but doesn't do anything to build confidence. Which makes me wonder why.

I know this is long... I know it's confusing. But I don't know how to deal with her anymore.
Fact is, I don't want to hear about her problems anymore. I feel like she in her head thinks depression is depression and there's nothing she can do about it and we have to understand and be patient. Problem solved.
That's the message she sends.
I'm not only not sure that she's really depressive but I also feel like yelling at her that I don't need to understand all the time, that I'm a human being as well, with feelings and that she has to get over herself and start realizing that there are other people in this world who have problems which really are problems. She's creating problems where no problems are and she's making me more and more upset and aggressive.

Any suggestions/thoughts? I am at the point where I think of ending our friendship... which I know would devastate her but it certainly would be better for me.

milanessa
01-14-2011, 01:05 AM
Ending the friendship might be the best thing for you - I'm not sure you understand what depression is.

hydro
01-14-2011, 01:10 AM
Probably best to end the friendship, for her sake and your sake.

And probably best for you to get some much needed therapy, as well. You're projecting an awful lot on to your friend that you clearly need to work through.

Aceon6
01-14-2011, 01:11 AM
These are the common signs of depression:
-you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
-you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
-you feel hopeless and helpless
-you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
-you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
-you are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
-you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

The behavior you describe does't really match the depression profile. Instead, several of the things you report are more closely aligned with delusion than depression.

I really can't offer any advice on dealing with a delusional person, but I'm sure there are some in our FSUniverse who will chip in.

Matryeshka
01-14-2011, 01:13 AM
Part of the problem with depression IS being in a rut that you can't get out of--even if there is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, you can't see it. What seems obvious to you is not going to be obvious to someone who is depressed. Also, depression can wax and wane. Just because she doesn't exhibit signs of depression all the time does not mean she's not depressed. It is cyclical. It also can seem like narcissicism--when you are depressed you literally *cannot* focus on anyone's problems but your own. It is a coping mechanism and for many who suffer from it, it's necessary just to survive.

Not everyone can deal with a friend that's depressed, and if you can't, it's in the best interest of both of you to end the friendship for now as gently as possible. I will also say though in your friend's defense, just from the tone of the post--hell, just from the TITLE and the word "supposed"--it doesn't sound like you're really ready to listen to her either. You don't sound all that sympathetic, and honestly, does it really help/make anyone feel better when you tell someone (whether they're suffering from depressing or not) that other people have it worse off than you? It doesn't for me. It just makes you feel even worse about the world in general, or small and petty--neither of which is going to make anyone feel better or make them "snap out of it."

genevieve
01-14-2011, 01:15 AM
I'm thinking ending the friendship might be better for her, too.

ballettmaus
01-14-2011, 01:43 AM
Also, depression can wax and wane. Just because she doesn't exhibit signs of depression all the time does not mean she's not depressed. It is cyclical.

How cyclical? Because according to her, the only other time she needed medical/therapeutic attention was when she was in school. She said she got over depression once so I assume it didn't happen again. She's a year older than me so that was more than 10 years ago.

Do depressed people have the need to proof themselves? That is a strong need of hers. Not that she's worth something but that she's capable of something. Like it was very important for her to live alone and make her own decisions and earn her degrees and such.


It also can seem like narcissicism--when you are depressed you literally *cannot* focus on anyone's problems but your own. It is a coping mechanism and for many who suffer from it, it's necessary just to survive.

Then why does she keep telling me she wants to be there for me and wants me to tell her when something isn't quite right/when I'm not feeling well?
She also worried that she destroyed the friendship right before Christmas when she really hurt me with something she threw right into my face. According to what you said, she wouldn't worry about that, would she? She wouldn't have had "time" to have worried about it because she wouldn't have been able to focus on that. But she realized that what she said had been wrong. About four days later - because I only stuck to answeing questions she asked and asking her how she was doing. Which is quite unusual for me.
She apologized for it and asked if everything was alright again.



Not everyone can deal with a friend that's depressed, and if you can't, it's in the best interest of both of you to end the friendship for now as gently as possible. I will also say though in your friend's defense, just from the tone of the post--hell, just from the TITLE and the word "supposed"--it doesn't sound like you're really ready to listen to her either.

I have listened alright. For the past two years I cannot count the hours I spent offering her an ear and advice when she needed it. The response I got was minimal. Often times her response was "yes but" or "I see your point but" and she found a reason to keep holding on to what she had said and I felt she was blocking my attempt or didn't understand exactly what I meant. So I tried again to be more clearer. And again. And again.
I often ended up thinking if she doesn't want my help why does she ask for it (because she did) and she said she does want it and appreciates it. Then I don't understand why we often ended up discussing the same problems and subjects.


You don't sound all that sympathetic, and honestly, does it really help/make anyone feel better when you tell someone (whether they're suffering from depressing or not) that other people have it worse off than you? It doesn't for me. It just makes you feel even worse about the world in general, or small and petty--neither of which is going to make anyone feel better or make them "snap out of it."

Well, I do have friends who've got it far worse than her because she's got a great life, she's got nice sisters, lives on her own, doesn't have money troubles and has a job which pays well and she adores. So, yes, I do have a hard time understanding why anyone would crumble over something little as getting sick while living alone. Why that is a major problem.
I didn't actually tell her that though, that others have a life far tougher than hers. But to make things clear, I do believe that we're all entitled to our self-pity. Just not lose sight of what we have and how fortunate we are.

And the reason why I used "suppose" is because she wouldn't question anything told to her by a doctor or any other authoritarian person. So, if one person once told her it was depression she would have believed that and would have done what she was told no questions asked.

If I wouldn't care, I wouldn't be so worked up about it. Then I wouldn't care.

Angelskates
01-14-2011, 01:45 AM
Ending the friendship might be the best thing for you - I'm not sure you understand what depression is.


Probably best to end the friendship, for her sake and your sake.

And probably best for you to get some much needed therapy, as well. You're projecting an awful lot on to your friend that you clearly need to work through.


I'm thinking ending the friendship might be better for her, too.

ITA.

ballettmaus
01-14-2011, 01:57 AM
These are the common signs of depression:
-you canít sleep or you sleep too much
-you canít concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
-you feel hopeless and helpless
-you canít control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
-you have lost your appetite or you canít stop eating
-you are much more irritable and short-tempered than usual
-you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

The behavior you describe does't really match the depression profile. Instead, several of the things you report are more closely aligned with delusion than depression.

I really can't offer any advice on dealing with a delusional person, but I'm sure there are some in our FSUniverse who will chip in.

Well, she has troubles sleeping but she has problems relaxing in general. Her mind keeps thinking about everything and nothing, I sometimes think. She has a hard time letting go of something, often over-thinking and over-analyzing. I didn't know her other than with sleeping problems.
She was able to do her job very well which does require a lot of concentration. She is writing texts about mortgages and whatnot which she has to read and learn about first.
She didn't mention either hopeless or helpless, I can't comment on that. She did get up every day though to drive to work and back home and managed to eat and such.
She didn't strike me as more negative than before. She doesn't strike me as a negative person in general. We often share a good laugh. Though when it comes to negativity I'd say she's like those who see the glass as half empty instead of half full. She is very very good at seeing positive things in others!! She seems to be able to find good in everything and anyone even when it seems hopeless. It's a trait I most admire about her. She worked with handicapped children, so she always had to see their qualities and she's amazing with that. Showing others positive when there seems to be nothing positive. If there's a grain of gold among the golden colored sand, she finds it.
She didn't eat well but she had a stomach virus. So it's hard to tell though she herself said that she thought her not eating well was due to the virus.
I have never encountered her as irritable or short tempered. I really don't know how a person can be so forgiving... she even manages to excuse people's actions when she's upset over what they have done. Which I guess isn't good either.

ballettmaus
01-14-2011, 01:59 AM
And probably best for you to get some much needed therapy, as well. You're projecting an awful lot on to your friend that you clearly need to work through.

May I just ask how you came to that conclusion?

Matryeshka
01-14-2011, 02:21 AM
Given your response, ballettmaus, let me offer this: I'm not criticizing you personally and in some sense you are right--those that are depressed would be better off if they didn't focus so much on themselves, but they can't, so it's a moot point. Even other people's problems somehow become about them, i.e., "my friend has the flu...but I can't do anything to help her! I'll get sick! I can't even bring over soup! OMG, I'm a HORRIBLE FRIEND!" Always apologizing is also a sign of depression. Everything is your fault, and everything is out of your control.

And we all ask for advice and react with a "yeah but..." when we don't get the advice we want. Most of the time when one asks for advice, he's really looking for someone to agree or validate the conclusion he's already come to. After all, who we ask is often more indicative of what we want than what we're asking. Your friend thought you'd give her a different response, so she got upset when you didn't react they way she thought you would. That's human nature. Look at all the advice threads on FSU that go in ways the original poster probably did not think it would go...

I'm sure you care for your friend and I'm sure you've done all you can for her. But we can't be all things to all people all the time. Even if the advice you give her is sound and from the heart, if she can't hear it, it's not any good for her. Maybe you just can't get through to her and that's all right. I think we've all had friends, good friends, best friends, siblings, parents, close cousins, that we've wanted to help but for whatever reason, we're not the right go-to friends. For example, I'm great at giving advice for break-ups, but fall apart and just sort of stutter when friends need advice in dealing with family members and other friends. Very few people can be effective when dealing with depression. What you can do is just listen and not offer advice or just tell her flat-out, I'm not the person who can help you right now and you'll be better served by talking to someone else.

kimkom
01-14-2011, 03:01 AM
Well, I do have friends who've got it far worse than her because she's got a great life, she's got nice sisters, lives on her own, doesn't have money troubles and has a job which pays well and she adores.

As someone who has suffered from depression, I was told this over and over by friends/co-workers. I also have a great life, fantastic job and the most loving family anyone can ask for. People always commented on how cheerful and fun loving I was, and I never acted sad or angry in front of anyone. The minute I was alone, I would crumble. Most days I would cry all the way home from work and not even know why.

The point I'm trying to make is people can seem to have the world by the tail, but that makes no difference when you live with depression. It's a disease. You would never say your friend "supposedly" has cancer, would you?

I had friends who distanced themselves from me during that time, and now I understand why. Some people don't know how to deal with something they can't do anything about. Maybe you are one of those people.

Angelskates
01-14-2011, 03:08 AM
She's creating problems where no problems are and she's making me more and more upset and aggressive.

Just because you don't think there are problems, doesn't mean she also needs to think the same. And you are choosing to become more aggressive, she is not making you. If you choose to respond with aggression, that's your choice. If you can't control that choice very well, therapy may help you with that.

I don't think you understand depression at all, and just the thread title rubs me the wrong way. You come across as very judgement in all areas where your friend is concerned.

ETA: kimkom said exactly what I wanted to say, too.

ballettmaus
01-14-2011, 03:11 AM
Given your response, ballettmaus, let me offer this: I'm not criticizing you personally and in some sense you are right--those that are depressed would be better off if they didn't focus so much on themselves, but they can't, so it's a moot point. Even other people's problems somehow become about them, i.e., "my friend has the flu...but I can't do anything to help her! I'll get sick! I can't even bring over soup! OMG, I'm a HORRIBLE FRIEND!" Always apologizing is also a sign of depression. Everything is your fault, and everything is out of your control.

Well, her apologizing was justified. It was just that I wondered that if she was consumed by her own problems, as you said, how she could notice my different behavior and care about it. Because both - her hurting me and her apologizing for it - happened when she was "rock bottom" so to say.



And we all ask for advice and react with a "yeah but..." when we don't get the advice we want. Most of the time when one asks for advice, he's really looking for someone to agree or validate the conclusion he's already come to. After all, who we ask is often more indicative of what we want than what we're asking. Your friend thought you'd give her a different response, so she got upset when you didn't react they way she thought you would. That's human nature. Look at all the advice threads on FSU that go in ways the original poster probably did not think it would go...

I guess this is what I have difficulties with because it frustrates me. I'm one of those rare individuals who doesn't ask for advice if I'm not open for all answers. I rarely do ask because I never had one around to give me advice. The standard answer when I needed advice was: You have to decide for yourself.
So, I learnt to look at something from all angles and weigh arguments against each other and such and I also had to live with my decisions. Which is why I expect when someone asks for advice that they're prepared to deal with it even if the answer isn't what they want.
I'm sometimes wondering if she wants the advice but doesn't know what to do with it or how to handle it or even that I'm crushing her being the more confident. That she does want the advice but at the same time it makes her afraid.



I'm sure you care for your friend and I'm sure you've done all you can for her. But we can't be all things to all people all the time. Even if the advice you give her is sound and from the heart, if she can't hear it, it's not any good for her. Maybe you just can't get through to her and that's all right. I think we've all had friends, good friends, best friends, siblings, parents, close cousins, that we've wanted to help but for whatever reason, we're not the right go-to friends. For example, I'm great at giving advice for break-ups, but fall apart and just sort of stutter when friends need advice in dealing with family members and other friends. Very few people can be effective when dealing with depression. What you can do is just listen and not offer advice or just tell her flat-out, I'm not the person who can help you right now and you'll be better served by talking to someone else.

Yes, well, I do know that I have the problem of wanting to help everyone. My handicap is to quickly catch on to problem-solution, so I want to help someone get on the right track and it frustrates me when I can't because I care.
I guess, a part of me is also afraid that someone along the way drew a wrong conclusion. As I said, my aunt is an alcoholic and so is a jazz teacher of mine and I know that it's wrong to support these people. In order to admit their problem you need to let them fall - tell them that you're there once they go into therapy and that they won't be alone but otherwise don't support them in any way.
So, when someone asks for understanding and tells everyone that she has problems and people have to understand and be sympathetic of her then I automactially start to think: wait a minute.
Especially since I've been told people who are depressed don't talk about it and retreat into their own cocoon since they don't want to burden others. She says she doesn't but she's doing something entirely different. For example, she can work from home and she hasn't been in the office since the week before Christmas (when she was at her worst) but her boss is so kind and seems to think so highly of her that he's calling her almost each day and tells her what to do and discusses her work and such. Which I do consider a burden of sorts. She's also staying with her parents and doesn't have any intentions of getting back to her place. Her parents would never complain, of course, they're her parents but that's also burdening someone. Then there's me. While I'm her friend, listening to her and being there for her is also a burden. I mean, that's what friends do. All I'm saying is that she's leading a quite convenient life at the moment and it doesn't fit about what I've heard about depressed people retreating because they consider themselves a bother. And it all happened before that week before Christmas. Not afterwards when she was getting better again.
She also took a turn for the worse after having been in therapy for three months (which also made me wonder... She didn't take any meds and she actually seemed to gain confidence in September and seemed more sure of herself and then she got sick and it seemed like my aunt. That there was something which didn't fit into her "perfect" world and that made her crumble)
I can't shake the feeling that it would be good for her to move further away from her parents, where she can be all by herself and has to rely on only herself and her parents can't interfere. Her mother does strike me as the controlling kind. (I mean, there are other example but most recently, she ordered her daughter a truck load of food - twice - without asking her daughter first after she had seen her daughter and told her that she was so skinny. My friend was overweight as a child and is very proud to have lost a lot of weight and she feels good (and she does look good) It's certainly a nice gesture but it seems like her mother also wanted to make sure that her child gets some more fat on her bones. It's one thing to ask what she would like to have or offer a gift certificate. It's another to just order the food because you think your child is too skinny).
Another thing I wonder about is if she's honest with herself or if she's seeing everything in a more pleasant light than things are. Not at the moment but things which happened in the past. Her parents for example stayed together just because of the kids which was difficult on her, of course. But she only recently allowed herself to get upset over it. It feels like she's often thinking she can't get upset at her parents because they're so good to her and because of everything they've done for her.

I'm a critical mind, I do ask a lot of questions. I know there are signs of depression but there's also things which don't fit with what I've read/know about depression and I didn't know what to believe anymore.
One thing I do believe is that she has a psychological problem. That is for sure; I don't doubt that.

Angelskates
01-14-2011, 03:13 AM
Why do you can so much about a diagnosis? Who are you to say if she has depression or not? To be blunt, it doesn't matter whether or not you believe she has depression. She says she has. You're calling her a liar. How are you helping her?