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How to Help Out a Friend?


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There may be triggers, brief mentions of SI/suicidal thoughts (?)

I have a friend that I worry about a lot. He tends to be depressed quite often. I know that he gets suicidal feelings and I suspect very strongly that he cuts. When he gets down, he talks about how no one cares about what he goes through, of how difficult it is to live, of how hard his life is, etc. There is a girl that he has been involved with for a long time, and I really have no idea how to explain their relationship, but he loves her and she loves him. But the least difficulty in their relationship sets him off on a low, and there have been some times that he has really scared me.

His family has a history of depression. Once, when he was really bad off, he called me to come to his house just to be there. I ended up helping him clean up and organize, but he said something about schizophrenia and needing to go back to the hospital and needs medicine because it was happening again... then he stopped suddenly and said, I didn't say that, okay? You can't say anything, no one knows except for a very few people, and I assured him (then and about three times later on) that I wouldn't feel the need to divulge anything he said. This was a little while back, and I don't think that he's been to see anyone or gotten any prescriptions since that time. Another friend has mentioned doing this, but he gets irritated with her when she does.

He has the tendency to remain withdrawn and isolated when he's depressed and he doesn't want to be around anyone. He rarely talks about what's bothering him and I worry that bottling up is even more unhealthy (of course, who am I to talk? I do the same). He's an extremely unique person that is sensitive and able to help me when I'm down, and I really want to do the same for him. But I don't know how...

One further complication... it's really not anywhere near as important, but if anyone has advice that applies to this as well, I'd appreciate it. I really like this guy and wish that our relationship could be more than a friendship, but he has said that the girl that he is with is the only one that could ever make him happy and I don't want to mess with that. It's just that, often, when he does talk to me I it is about her and I am understanding and a good friend... and destroyed emotionally. When I leave or get off the phone, I'll start crying and thinking about how I've always been alone and I always will be, which really upsets me because I need other people desperately, despite how shy I am in social situations. I know I'm just being pessimistic, but I can't stop thinking like that and I'll be set off on a depression. How can I block my emotions and worry about what I need to?

I know that he struggles more than I do. So I need suggestions in how I can help him and what I can do when he gets really bad off and won't talk to anyone or come out of his room or "goes for a walk" and I am really worried about the blade I bet is in his pocket. Thanks for reading, and, please, advice as to what to do would appreciated greatly...

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Hi Celeste, I understand that your post concerns your friend, but have you considered counseling for yourself about your depression and feelings of lonliness? I ask because when you try a solution for yourself, like sharing your problems with a doctor or a counselor, sometimes sharing that experience with those in need of similar help will give them the courage they need to try seeking help themselves. This solution also has the added benefit of addressing your concern that your friend's issues may trigger your own depression.

As for helping your friend, I suggest to seek out local community walk-in counseling services. Visit these offices yourself, ask what they can do for people like your friend, and take their contact details and any other relevant information, such as what to expect when you walk in for counseling, wait times, what counselors can do, privacy matters, etc. This way, perhaps when your friend contemplates raising some of his issues with a professional or a counselor, you can help him past the procrastination by going to the office with him or telling him the business hours of the office, the location, etc. Also, if you decided to visit the office beforehand, you can share with him what to expect when he walks in.

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