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Asking friends for help
Keen to hear your thoughts on asking friends for help on all issues, minor or severe.
For context, I've recently asked friends for support on getting over a relationship break-up, domestic issues growing up, learning about my tendencies towards a personality disorder, depression and suicide. Those came successively and are in order of "severity" to me.
I found it increasingly hard to talk to my friends about these because I feel like I'm placing undue pressure on them when I should be using professionals for it.
The flipside is that I find it hard to emotionally accept the support of professionals because, well, that's just what they do. Whereas I know my friends care (and I emphasise know, because even though I can intellectually know professionals care too, it's not the same).
What are your thoughts? Do you find it easier or harder to talk to friends? How much do you reveal and do you do that willingly or not? Do your friends meet your emotional/support needs?
Its a gamble.Those appearing supportive types can turn on a dime with such support and turn off unexpectedly.
Those that appear unsupportive in empathy could end up being most understanding.
If that isn't confusing enough, most acquaintances don't have the capacity to understand. This is because our illness unlike a physical disability isn't visable.
They say "birds of a feather flock together". However those with mental illness have less tolerance for others with similar issues eg. You need patience to be supportive and if you're anxious you are likely not going to be able to commit yourself to give them the time they need.
I'm 60yo. I've learned that people in clubs or groups run quickly from those that are having a down day. They'd rather laugh and connect with other members than sit with you chatting about your issues.
Sadly, if you had a leg in plaster they'd crowd around you signing their name on the plaster and asking you how it happened.
Its disgraceful really and oh so common. There must be a fear factor???
That's why we are here on bb talking right now.
Thanks for your thoughts.
It certainly does feel like a gamble - I never know how someone might react. People who I thought I could count on, are unhelpful and sometimes even completely cold. While others who I thought would be unsupportive and even flippant actually reached out on their own accord. It's really eye opening.
And I don't think any less of those who don't want to help, but it certainly feels more isolating.
Yes, I think there's a "cool" factor with having a leg in plaster, like you must be a successful, active, exciting person to have gotten into a situation where you broke a leg. But if your mind is broken? Then you're just scary or not fun. Which is a shame.
Yep you are right on the money there Tony,
Have found out who my true friends are. A really close friend came by recently and I could feel the awkwardness in the room. It's only those directly touched who have some understanding. There is so much stigma attached with mental health.Im a bit like you James I don't think any less of the people who aren't supportive. Some people just don't get it.im grateful for the people that do. On that note I'm also starting to get it as in understanding what makes me tick, being different with bipolar and trying to make improve .im starting to be far more selective about who I tell. I operate on the assumption that most people know about my illness given the reaction I get. I can gather by their response in how much info I divulge.im at the stage where im handling the negative responses a lot better and brushing them off whereas a while ago I would have reacted completely differently. Regardless it's a tough call.
Thanks for posting your opinion Len.
I think I'm also starting to learn how to be more selective as well. I went through a period where I basically shared the basics with everyone, and now it's just a matter of, in bad times, knowing who I can call on. But that's just what we have to deal with I guess.
Guys, I wished I was so tolerant.
My mental illness us a big part of me, its part if my character and every moment in my life.
I'm tired of people looking sideways at me, staying clear, thinking and reacting adversely to who I am. Eg. I'm in a car club on Facebook. I have a few members that think I mention things I shouldn't like I'm having a tough time, I'm depressed etc. These people want only fun in their lives. They don't want to feel compelled to understand.
Yet couple of years ago one of them had a brother that suicided. I drove 4 hours to be there fir him. Many of us have the care gene that compels us to simply care.
If someone doesn't have that care factor...I'm out of here. They simply won't be in my life.
Tough decision? Nope. I just don't want to waste my time with people lacking one if humanities most wonderful qualities...compassion
After all...what does it take? A simple "r u OK"? Or " hope you feel better tomorrow ".
It wouldn't take much at all for me to feel a little better and keep them as friends.
Those that make me feel awkward fir possessing such an illness that I didn't choose don't deserve me.
"These people want only fun in their lives."
This quote really spoke to me, but maybe in a different way.
I get angry that my ex didn't want to support me after I told her I'd started seeing a psychologist and was clearly distressed. Instead, she suggested I talk to my other friends about it. I wasn't asking to get back together or even to see each other. The last thing I wanted to hear was "thanks for calling, I'll listen now, but you should talk so someone else." Like you said, just an "I'm listening" would've been enough.
I get that she wanted a break from our relationship, but even if the person I hated most called me up and was distressed, I wouldn't palm them off.
But then enter my other mind which says: they mean well, they just don't understand. And then I feel guilty, haha.
I use to say that to myself "they mean well" but over time after lots if study if these people, for self preservation I came to the conclusion they don't mean well....its more if the case of me hoping they mean well.
Ex girlfriends and visa versa aren't the best to talk to. I write poetry to get out my feelings. Everyone has their own ways.
My wife told me once. "You only need one very good friend".
Perhaps two, one for insurance
Yes, I actually tried writing short stories/parts of short stories before when I felt better. Then as I got worse, I started doing journals, then finally started talking to people, but I've not found something/someone that can "just be there". I found distractions too tiring, and I just don't find I can just bug any of my friends 24/7.
But like you said, i guess that's why I turned up here!
I think I echo the feelings of most posters here.
Call me butt-hurt, but I feel a ping of 'betrayal' as I've talked to these people many years about their relationship problems, family problems, financial problem etc etc. I can usually sense people really well, and at first mention of my problems, they take a disinterest, 'I'm too busy', 'you should be grateful for what you have' kind of approach.