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Need to help a friend with depression


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This is a long story and a very personal one. So I will start with my friend. He felt terrible for a long time and three months ago I convinced him to go to a psychiatrist. Until these days he was feeling better. But three days in the past two weeks he just really wanted to kill himself. And today is the worst day of them all (for me atleast). Well he said something I didnt expect. He said that he loves me (he is bisexual. His parents are divorced, he lives with his grandparents and I am his only friend. He says that I am the reason he is still alive.) And he is very desperate for sex so he said to me that he would like to have sex with me. This is where it begins to get wierd. He feels terrible because he doesnt want to be like that, and he thinks I am wierded out by him now. Which is true but not that much. He want to stop talking to me because from what I understood, he doesnt want to be just friends and staying like this is hurting him. But I am scared becuase he said I am the only thing keeping him alive, and if I cant prevent his suicide, what will? I am so tired of this I am starting to hate him. I dont want to ,but i really dont want to constantly feel scared for him (this is really selfish of me, but I just cant take care of other people. I am only 14 years old its just too much for me) I told all this to my girlfriend and she is scared that he will try to have sex with me. I understand her because I am scared of the same thing too. But now I just feel terrible. I dont know what to do to help him, and I made my girlfriend very sad. I really need some advice I have no idea what to do anymore. Ask anything if you need to

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Hello, Tarkus. I'm sorry you feel caught up in this situation...It sounds very distressful for you. :(

It can be extremely challenging to step back and let go when you care about a person's well-being, but ultimately we aren't responsible for another person's choices, I don't think. It's your choice about who you want to be intimate with and when, do you agree? I hear your concern and upset about your friend, but it's okay to assert your wants and needs and care for yourself. You can't "keep him alive"...he has to do that for himself, I think. I would suggest sharing with an adult in your life about this situation to your level of comfort and perhaps they can reach out to your friend's grandparents or offer other suggestions to you. I hope your friend gets the help he needs.

Just my personal thoughts, Tarkus.. You know what is best for you.

Please take care.

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Hello, Tarktus, welcome!

I understand that what he said sounds scary and you can feel hate even though he's your friend. Relationships are often complicated and bring confusing emotions :( . Perhaps it would help you a bit to try to dissociate "him" from "his illness": What you hate is his illness and the responsibility he's putting on you because he's so desperate - you don't hate him as a person, he's still your friend, just "in needs", in a very difficult situation.

BTW; you've already saved him, at least temporarily - because you managed to persuade him to see a psychiatrist - that's a great accomplishment!! Does he see the doctor regularly? Can he find a way to get also psychological help (psychotherapy)? That would be the best for him, for sure (but it's sometimes too difficult or even impossible to obtain :( ).

I think you should tell him that you care for him very much (-I'm pretty sure he needs to hear this repeatedly - depression often doesn't allow one to feel the love and friendship of others and such reassurance is often needed - even if it's now hard for you to tell him such positive things because you're angry, don't you think it's definitely worth it? Utter some words that need to be heard, even if you don't feel like saying them?) and that the only way you are able to help him is to be his friend and encourage him to seek professional help and to demand "more" (=efficient help) the doctor and/or therapist. 

BTW; does he take antidepressants (ADs)? I don't know if you already know this, but a very commun side effect of ADs in young people, mainly adolescents, is suicidality! What you describe sound very familiar to me - he got better but then became suicidal. He may be at risk; the principle is that a very depressed person doesn't have enough motivation and / or energy to kill him/her-self, but the AD increases his/her energy levels, so (s)he's "able" to commit suicide. But this doesn't mean that adolescents shouldn't take ADs, just that they need to be more "monitored", they need psychological support and, in the best case, psychotherapy, not "just medication" (see this, for instance, for some info and proofs - but you don't have to read it, I just offer it as a potential reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24942789

And... I have much to say about the most confusing and annoying topic - his desire for you - I hope you'll bear with me and, mainly, I hope very much it will be at least somewhat helpful to all 3 of you (I'd encourage you to share it with both your friend and girlfriend). Of course, I know I'm not an expert, but I hope this kind of insight / point of view might help:

First of all; sexual feelings can be often understood as other feelings/needs "in disguise". You cannot "know for sure" if it's the case now, but the interpretation matters anyway. You all may try to find a way to interpret the feelings (and desires) he has for you in a new light and "move on from there". Well... I think there is one "hint" suggesting that it's not "just that he needs to alleviate the physical sexual tension": To do that, he could (sorry for "such topics" :o ) "just help himself (alone)". It's a very commun situation that one's very attracted to someone but there's no way to have physical contact with that person - and it's not a reason for suicide... Why does he think he "needs you in this context" so much? It's not such a simple question as it might seem...

This situation reminds me of a different-one: The desire for sex with one's therapist in psychotherapy. You may say it's too different, I know... You're not "his therapist", yet you have, in this relationship, some of the characteristics of such person: You're the one who helps him staying alive, he loves you, so he definitely sees you in a very idealistic (-> unrealistic) way, ... So... if you're willing to gain a new, hopefully useful, perspective, you could invest some time to reading about this issue in psychotherapy (although it's probably quite an emotionally difficult reading for you, at your age). Here are some texts I propose - mainly the citations I quote, but you may read more to get the context:

 

Quote

As a child, intense emotional intimacy existed, or should have existed, in a very early phase when the child was essentially non-individuated from the mother. Where there was complete merger, and no separation. Part of developing and growing up is moving through this phase, into healthy separation and a sense of self, independent of the parent. When this development doesn’t fully occur, and where there are unmet needs from childhood, we may experience that childlike longing for merger with our therapist, as with a parent; but at the same time the reference point for those feelings of intimacy from the point of view of our adult self, is a sexual relationship. Which can be why what we experience for our therapist feels so confusing – we may be experiencing a childlike longing, but through adult eyes and brain.

Understanding sexual feelings as a general metaphor for an adult’s experience of emotional intimacy, and understanding how a child’s experience of intimacy can transpire alongside this, was a key step in enabling me to accept my feelings for my therapist, rather than be so troubled by them. And once I accepted them, I was more prepared to explore them, and to try and figure out what they meant. [...]

It was around a year ago that I finally figured out the meaning behind one of my most frequent and disturbing (to me) sexual images involving therapy. But it took me well over six months before I had the courage to say anything to my therapist. I still can’t quite believe that I did. The realisation was an important one – but the way in which it had tried to communicate itself, was extremely difficult and confusing to bear, until the meaning became clear.  [...] And, as described above, those needs related directly to what I felt I hadn’t had or experienced in childhood. Since I realised that, and since feeling much more accepted in therapy, those images have largely gone away.

[...]

Sexual images and feelings are, in general, reflective of more difficult times in my therapy. Which is also something noted by Attachment Girl, who commented that an upswing in her sexual desires for her therapist tended to happen when she was moving towards a difficult realisation, and the erotic feelings were almost serving as a distraction. Whereas once a major breakthrough had been made, her feelings were centred around gratitude and safety. That is exactly my experience – to which I would add feelings of great love, but not in a way that feels sexual.

[...]

So if you’re having similar feelings about your therapist, but you feel far too ashamed and scared to talk about them – I sincerely hope that this post will be an encouragement to do so. I truly believe that as well as being one of the most excruciating therapy moments you might go through, it could also be one of the most beneficial and healing.

[...]

the fear inherent in talking about the feelings, pales when compared to what slowly comes as a result of the talking – the fear of progress, when you realise that something might be changing.

source: https://lifeinabind.com/2015/08/08/sexual-feelings-for-your-therapist-and-what-they-can-tell-you/

Quote

sexual attraction to the therapist might be a repeat of the child’s wish to have something that is not permitted. When a parent says “no” to a child it can establish lots of resentment and anger. Skillful parents know how to handle this without turning it into a crisis. Parents with little or no patience with the child might meet the child’s disappointment and complaining with a huge angry and punitive reaction. The entire scenario of wanting something that the parent forbids can, possibly, represent for that person, the formula for what they come to expect from life. Some people may grow up unable to accept the word “no.” Others may become people who expect nothing from other people. Some people might come to feel resentful as adults because of their perception that the other children in the family always got what they wanted.

Here is a hypothetical example: A patient is sexually attracted to the therapist but believes that their wishes and desires will always be frustrated. This patient is in therapy because of many interpersonal failures and a lack of intimacy in their life. This desire for the therapist and the expectation the desire is wrong leaves the patient feeling depressed and hopeless as has happened throughout their life.

It is not the job of the therapist to gratify the wishes of the patient toward the therapist. Rather, it is the job of the therapist to help the patient understand these wishes and why they feel so frustrating resulting in feeling hopeless and depressed. Therapist and patient work on this transference issue in order that the patient can enter into a fulfilling intimate relationship with a partner from the world outside of psychotherapy.

source: https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/on-the-issue-of-sexual-and-other-feelings-towards-the-therapist/

You may also google more about transference, or read this, for instance: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-therapy/201206/clients-guide-transference

So, to paraphrase: It is not your job to gratify the wishes of your friend, but you can encourage him to understand them or, at least, see them in a new light, in the context of this kind of transference and, mainly, in the context of his emotional needs and childhood experiences. You may perhaps somewhat help hi with this - your willingness might be a good sign for him that you, even though you don't gratify him, care for him and actually do something emotionally demanding for him in order to help. You're not a therapist, so your possibilities are very limited, but perhaps this all could at least show him that psychotherapy can offer really strong experiences that can make big discoveries and changes even though it seemed impossible at the beginning. So... even though he can't find a reason to live now (except fo you, who seem rejecting him and thus hurting him), it's just a temporary state and he definitely can experience profound changes. In addition; you're both still so young - it's such a big advantage to start so soon to address childhood issues and mental problems! It would be very sad and dangerous for him to "wait" and/or to give up...

If he won't be willing to find therapy and/or engage more in "being cared for" by professionals, then I would suggest you to tell some responsible adults (his grandparents?) about his big need for help. (No reason to mention his attraction to you! No private details! Just that you know he's very suicidal and refuses help.)

I wish you both the best of luck!

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Oops sorry for that reply I dont really know how to use the Quote on phones. I wanted to say thank you for your replies things are a bit better now. He only feels "empty" which is still bad, but I guess he isnt suicidal for now. Now answering your question, yes he does use antidepressants. BTW I wanted to ask what exactly is psychotherapy? I am sorry to ask I just want to know what it is and if it helps. I am feeling better too but I am still scared he will start feeling bad again. I have one way to make him better. Play a specific video game with him and my sister(She lead me to this forum, you probably saw her posts her name is Tina and she has Anxiety) but because of maturita (finals) she cant play. I dont know why but it helps. I linked the sites about the attraction to him but he doesnt want to talk about it. Thank you again for your help

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No problem about the quoting ;) .

I'm glad to hear you're both feeling better! It's good that the crisis is over, but I have to "warn" you that it's surely temporary. Depression (as other conditions) has "ups and downs" and although "ups" are important, they don't mean "healing" - a real success needs much effort and time.

I'll send you some links about therapy by PM.

Take care!

 

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I'm sorry... :( 

7 minutes ago, tarktus100 said:

I guess it really is over

It probably isn't. Perhaps he needs some time. In any case, I think you should talk or write to his family. They need to know he's at risk. (Perhaps you could also offer them the website where therapists can be found...)

Did you have the opportunity to tell him you care and want help? Did he listen or just refuse instantly?

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Just now, LaLa said:

Did he listen or just refuse instantly?

Probably refused instantly.

14 minutes ago, LaLa said:

In any case, I think you should talk or write to his family. They need to know he's at risk.

I dont know about his family. His grandparents seem to not even care he lives with them, his father is always away and his mother lives in a different town and I think she has depression as well. Thats why I think I am the only person that is there for him. My mom said that I should take a break, and she's correct. I just can't take care of someone depressed at my age. I really want to convince him to go to his psychiatrist and tell her everything, or try physiotherapy but I don't know how to convince him.

 

12 minutes ago, LaLa said:

Did you have the opportunity to tell him you care and want help? 

Yes I am writing to him for the past hour but this is really taking a toll on my mental health. Should I visit a psychologist too? Because I haven't been truly happy for a long time now. I think this is all happening because he lacks care from his parents. I am just speculating really I know nearly nothing about how the human mind works 

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It's difficult to tell from online communications, but it sounds like he could be trying to control and manipulate the situation (and possibly you) to meet his own needs. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh and I can't really say for sure from here, but I think it's important for you to take care of yourself and your needs. I agree that it is a good idea to inform the adults in your friend's life that he might be at risk, but I don't know that there is much more you can do. As friends, we can really only stand by people in the space they are in...If he is pushing your boundaries, it is okay to step away and take care of yourself.

I wish you both healing.

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Well thankfully he feels better for now. I dont know why, I dont know how but he is better which is good. Now I feel like I am bothering you but I want to ask one last question. How to convince him to seek more help? Because I know this will come back one day and I will probably be back here. There are more things that bug me but this feeling will pass I just feel bad because of him. Thank you for your help 

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You're welcome and you're not bothering at all!

15 minutes ago, tarktus100 said:

How to convince him to seek more help?

You may try to send him positive info about psychotherapy together with your reassurance that you care for him and want him to get better, but the only thing you can do for him (-he should realize what you have to offer, so try to communicate it to him, kindly, not as a refusal) is to help him to become motivated to get much better and getting better involves therapy. As a start, he should talk about this with the psychiatrist - that's a person he's already a bit familiar with, so it should be easier than to go to someone new (a psychotherapist) just now. Perhaps she will refer him to somebody for therapy.

46 minutes ago, tarktus100 said:

Should I visit a psychologist too?

I think that although it's not necessary, it would probably be a useful support and help. Not just with the situation with your friend; perhaps you'll figure out some useful hints about your own problems, too. (And perhaps your improvement would be a good exemple for your friend - you would show him this approach is helpful.) Just don't forget that you can always change the psychologist after any time (even after the 1st session) - don't get unmotivated and dismissive if the first-one doesn't seem helpful or understanding.

46 minutes ago, tarktus100 said:

I think this is all happening because he lacks care from his parents.

It surely has to do a lot with the lack of his parents' love and care as well as his grandparents' lack of care. But it's not up to you to "unveil" and understand; it necessitates a long and hard work in psychotherapy. Friends are mainly to listen and to show care, sometimes to try to give advise and info, but... not to treat and heal... 

 

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OK I don't know if this is a good choice but I will tell him everything on my mind. It's that I am only 14, I am not ready to take care of someone depressed. I care about him, but I can't take care of him. I can't help him, but he still thinks I can. I need to explain to him that I just can't live my own life anymore because of the constant worrying I have because of him. I really need help this is eating me from the inside. It can't go on like this, if it did it would end badly anyway. I am scared this will shock him and he will do something drastic, but I am just slowly starting to get depressed as well from all this. This is actually kind of my fault because I made it seem I could take care of him and help him. I wish I knew that I couldn't

 

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22 hours ago, tarktus100 said:

I can't take care of him. I can't help him, but he still thinks I can

But what does "take care" mean?? Of course there're limits, of course you cannot do "anything he wants". But what precisely does he want? Could you specify (here)? Couldn't it be re-formulated so that there would be some "tasks" possible and relatively easy for you to accomplish?

And what does he need? Is it the same he says he wants? I don't know him, but I'm sure he needs professional help, some care and support from his family - at least the feeling they care about him and want him to get better - and at least one friend who cares (=doesn't mean "does anything", just... doesn't reject him as a person, as a friend).

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