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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » How to deal with depressed friend

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Author Topic: How to deal with depressed friend
Persimmon
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I have a friend who is extremely depressed. He is medicated for anxiety, though I'm not sure if he's medicated for depression. I am really worn down from dealing with his depression and anxiety for many months (especially before he got medicated), and I am also scared that I am saying the wrong things when he tells me he is sad or suicidal. I don't really know what to do, and I guess I just want some advice, either for myself or for how to respond to him.
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Karybu
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Does this friend have anyone else they can turn to for support? One person can't possibly supply all the help someone needs, and it sounds like you need a break. Ultimately, as much as you want to help him, you are also not responsible for his well-being, and it's perfectly okay for you to take a step back and say that you need him to build up some other supports in his life if he doesn't already have them. (You said he's medicated - does he also have a therapist or counsellor he sees regularly?)

It's pretty much impossible for us to help someone else if we're not feeling good ourselves - that doesn't do anyone any favours. So I'd strongly encourage you to talk to him about this, and make it clear that while you want to continue being his friend, you can't be his primary source of support right now. That's especially true at times when he's suicidal: there are plenty of hotlines he can call at those times to talk to someone who is trained to deal with individuals who are feeling that way.

As for saying the wrong thing, in my experience (as a person who's suffered with anxiety and depression for years) it's tough to to do. Short of telling him you don't care or something similar, I really can't imagine that anything you could say would be wrong or hurtful.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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