Help for a friend

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thewrit3r
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Help for a friend

Unread postby thewrit3r » Mon May 22, 2017 7:55 am

So I have this online friend I've known with for a few years. I recently found out that her family has been having some financial issues (she lives at home like me) and she has to move out of her house, they have to find someone else to stay, her dad's struggling to find a new job (and she mentioned he's "lost it" and I'm afraid he might try to kill himself even though I know that's an extreme thought), she might have to work, her sister has to buy them groceries, and overall her life has been turned upside down in a stressful way. She also recently mentioned that she used to be homeless and I think she might suspect that will happen again. I'm concerned for her well being but I don't know what to do to help. I would love to send her something that could help her out, like some money, but I know that could be risky, sending money to someone who lives in another state because it could get lost in the mail and I would hate for that to happen. But is there anything I can do to help her besides providing emotional support? And as someone with mental illnesses, how could I possibly help someone without feeling worse myself?
Last edited by thewrit3r on Mon May 22, 2017 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sam W
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Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby Sam W » Mon May 22, 2017 8:02 am

Hi thewrit3r,

Your instinct to help your friend is really kind. If you still have a way to communicate with her, have you asked her what you could do to help (that's within your own means, since you can't, say, pay for a new place for her family to live)? If not, that's the best starting place, since she'll have a sense of what you can provide and how you could get it to her.

As for taking care of yourself, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to remind yourself that it's not within your means to completely save her, and there's nothing wrong with that. Your jerkbrain may try to tell you that a true friend would do more, but an genuine offer of small help is better than trying to help in some huge way that backfires on both you and her. Does that make sense?

thewrit3r
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Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby thewrit3r » Mon May 22, 2017 8:06 am

It does. I just left her a message saying she can talk to me if she needs anything, since, like you said, I'm not sure what she needs.

I think my problem with helping people is that I've been through so much mental pain myself - not with circumstances, I've actually been rather fortunate overall, but my own mental anguish wears me down - that I don't want anyone else to feel that way. And just knowing I can't take away someone else's painful experience bothers me, even through I know I can only do what I can do. Perhaps if I realized those were my own feelings and not necessarily my friend's, I would feel better. I keep forgetting being depressed makes me see things much bleaker than most people would.
"The writer is by nature a dreamer - a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers

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Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby Mo » Mon May 22, 2017 5:03 pm

I think it's a good idea to let your friend offer suggestions of ways you can help, if she thinks of any. But even if you can't send money or solve big problems right now, it can be a huge help just to be a presence in her life and maybe offer some cheerful distraction when things are rough. Even in really bad times, having a friend who knows to send me collections of hedgehog pictures (because they are my favorite) or recommendations of good fic to read, or who wants to talk about a tv show we both love, can be a huge help. It might feel frivolous, and sometimes it is! But that frivolous stuff can become such a relief when things are really bad. It's true that you can't take someone's pain away but sometimes really small things can be a big comfort in a hard time.

thewrit3r
not a newbie
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 10:07 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I’m pretty smart
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bisexual
Location: North Carolina

Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby thewrit3r » Mon May 22, 2017 6:24 pm

Thanks for the comments! I think I sometimes overestimate how little things really can help people in large ways. I think she knows I'm willing to help her out so I'll wait to see if she says there's anything I can do for her. Thanks!
"The writer is by nature a dreamer - a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers

thewrit3r
not a newbie
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 10:07 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I’m pretty smart
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bisexual
Location: North Carolina

Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby thewrit3r » Sun Jun 11, 2017 5:27 am

Unfortunately I just found out last month that my family's having financial trouble as well. Which isn't fun at all of course but I feel better knowing that there's something directly I can do. And knowing that others have give through similar experiences makes me feel about better about the whole thing. I thought about mentioning it to my friend since she could relate but I don't want her to feel worse like I'm also going through something and no one's happy! Should I even bring it up?
"The writer is by nature a dreamer - a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
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Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:03 pm

I think that depends on what you'd hope to get out of bringing it up with her. For instance, if you want to let her know that you get where she's coming from, you could bring it up and preface it with that. That would give her some idea of where you're coming from, and could head off some of the reactions you're worried about. Does that make sense?

thewrit3r
not a newbie
Posts: 181
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 10:07 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I’m pretty smart
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She/her
My sexual identity and orientation: Bisexual
Location: North Carolina

Re: Help for a friend

Unread postby thewrit3r » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:07 pm

Yeah, it does. I don't know. This person is also a kind of "on/off" friend so to speak - I really like her and she can be really nice, but at the same time she's super conservative and I know everyone has varying political affiliations, but I can't just brush off the homophobia, sexism, etc. Anyway, I think letting her know I'm here for her helps. She said she needs a break right now so I'll give her the space, hopefully she knows I'll be there if she needs me but I won't push her if she doesn't want to talk.
"The writer is by nature a dreamer - a conscious dreamer."
-Carson McCullers


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