I need some help, my depressed/anxious friend has around 2 panic attacks a day and she always texts me. I feel like an outlet to her problems, she only tells me half the story of her problems and she constantly texts and says everyday "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I don't understand what she wants from me but she says that she talks to me because she knows I won't leave her... So I kind of feel used. I talked to some internet friends about it and they said to try and use reverse psychology on her so I did. I said to her "I'm sorry." she responded to this with "it's my thing to say sorry for no reason." Then I spoke to her giving her half the story, I waited exactly 10 minutes every text. In the end I told her why I did it but now I feel really mean. I don't even know if she's telling the truth about half the things she says, I don't know if she's actually panicking because she kind of just stares into the distance. She also showed me her wrists as a confession that she'd been self harming so I was nice about it and told her why she shouldn't cut, she said they were almost a year old but they obviously weren't. There's some other things I won't talk about but I feel concerned and mean, I've been wanting to talk to someone like my counsellor but I don't want to loose her trust. I want your opinions on this, what should I do?
Also I have anxiety and was previously depressed because of a loss, So i do know about some of the things she's going through, it just seems like she's trying to get my attention rather than asking for help.
It can seem a sort of open ended and confusing situation, and you don't want to hurt your friend. At the same time I guess you feel a bit used, maybe out of your depth.
OK, well really there are three things to think about:
The first is you. You mentioned you have an anxiety condition and have a councilor. Also you have been depressed. Under those sort of circumstances you really have to see to you own well-being first, before you can help anyone else. This sort of thing is stressful and very worrying in its own right. For someone with your history you need support to cope.
So see you GP or councilor and explain the situation. Get professional advice about how you should cope.
Incidentally do you have anyone to support you? Family or a friend you can talk with? It can be a big help.
The second problem is your friend. She too needs professional help - probably more that you. Anxiety and depression can make someone self-harm to try to cope, but it is only sort of dealing with the day to day hassles, not the cause, and can be very dangerous. I guess you need to consider how to get her to seek out treatment. You can't force here, perhaps you -or someone else she listens to - can try to persuade.
The third thing of course is the interaction between the two of you. To be constantly used as support without end has led you to post here. I suppose after seeing your doctor you will have to set up boundaries for your own protection - and hers in the long run.
An example is those panic attacks. Using you as a coping mechanism is not that satisfactory. Leaning how to deal with them herself using breath control, movement and appropriate thoughts will be more effective -and stop her having to say sorry.
We are here if you would like to talk more - and you'd be very welcome
Labrox, first off welcome to the forums. A really supportive and caring bunch of people in here so you have come to the right place.
I think that the first and foremost thing you need to do is make sure that your own self care is tip top. You have previously been depressed which if i read right is that you are not suffering that anymore? but by the sound of it still have anxiety?
If this is the case, please make sure that you put yourself first because if you are not as mentally healthy as what you can be, this situation may be detrimental to your own health.
So to your mate, are you able to sit down with your friend and ask her to tell you the full story? It is exceedingly difficult to help people out if you do not know the full story.
Is she being treated for the anxiety, depression and the self harm?
Lets say that she is genuine, are you happy to help her out when you can?
Have you set any boundaries in the past in what can and what cannot be discussed?
I won't go any more questions at this stage, see how you go with these ones so we can work through this.
Mental health discussions can be very complicated so having a good plan is key.
Hope to hear back.