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Author: xraymd Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 15004  
Subject: Re: A friend who needs a friend. Date: 10/26/2002 10:39 PM
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I'm worried about her. As long as I've known her, since high school, she's had problems. She's bipolar, but hasnt needed meds since she met Mike. I'm worried about her going into depression. I sure know I would!

I sent her flowers the other day, and offered her my place to stay at until we find an apartment. I just hope I can be the friend she needs right now..


Greetings, Soup, it's a very generous and supportive offer you are making to your friend who I sense will appreciate it very much.

But you are probably right about her experiencing a depression to some degree, given that her world has essentially collapsed around her feet. No surprise there. What I think will be very important for you is to be very honest with her and with yourself. Ordinary blues are expected - but if she begins to spiral in a way that she can't get under control with meds and therapy, it's going to be very important for both of you to realize what your limits are as a concerned and supportive friend. If it becomes too much to handle, have an action plan ready (like one or both of you reconsidering the living arrangement) and DISCUSS THIS BEFOREHAND. Talk with her about what steps she has in mind for herself if she becomes severely depressed (or even manic) - will she be in counseling? Will she be on meds? What do you have her permission to do if she is acting in a way that is unsafe for herself - or both of you? What WILL you do if she refuses your early efforts to intervene?

In college I agreed to let a dear friend since childhood move in with me after she had undergone EST and hospitalization for clinical depression and a suicide attempt. I didn't really understand at the time how tenuous her state of mind was - though in hindsight I still think I would have had her move in with me. Long story short, she had a breakdown and I had to figure out the safest way to deal with it for both of us. I ended up being very honest and direct with her (though still kind) and effectively told her that how she was acting was unsafe for both of us and that I was calling her parents to come and get her. Which I did - and all hell broke loose. We did not speak again for almost 10 years, mainly because her mother was furious at me for not "handling" her. I submit, though, that I was 21 and doing the very best I knew how to do for my also-21-year-old friend in the midst of a psychotic depressive break.

After a decade passed, we found our way in touch with one another again. In the interim, she received further (and effective) help, was more stable and carefully we re-established a friendship which grew ever deeper in its solidity. She actually confessed to me early on in our rapproachment that it was because of my honesty and strength with her that she was able to develop a better backbone for herself though she was very angry with me at the time. But now, almost 25 years later, we have been and are long since once again dear friends and I would not change anything I did, save for talking beforehand about what to do in such eventualities. No different, really, from any important conversation that needs to be held with someone you share your living space (and a big part of your life) with.

You have a lot of insight, Soup, and I totally trust you will do great here but I did want to offer these thoughts.

xraymd
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