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SergeantQueen's avatar

When would you give up on trying to help somebody?

Asked by SergeantQueen (9276points) 1 month ago

I have a friend I’ve known for about 5 years now. She has always been depressed, constantly trying to harm herself and in and out of hospitals. She got addicted to drugs and was in rehab but still does some of them. She’s in the hospital for another suicide attempt.
This has got to be her like 9th or 10th attempt, as I said she never stopped with the drugs. I love her and I do believe that everyone is worth saving, but it is getting hard to deal with. I feel bad when she does this and I don’t check up on her enough, and I obviously don’t want her to die.
How can somebody be getting so much treatment for various things, be put on medication, in therapy multiple times, and all that, but still be the same person and never change? She’s gotten a lot of help but still goes back to her old ways.

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23 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

When they don’t want to help themselves.

chyna's avatar

I had a friend that sounds almost exactly as you describe your friend. For at least 8 years she attempted suicide, went to various therapists, and talked about her depression non stop for years. I loved her, but honestly could not listen to her any longer. She tried to drag me down with her pointing out various bad things in my life and going on and on about how I should be depressed about my life too. I tried to help her, did things with her that she wanted to do but would change her mind halfway through. For example, we went to the beach for a 4 day trip and she insisted we leave the second day there. I couldn’t get my money back on the room. Went to Florida another time to visit her family. We came back on the second day. For my own preservation, I cut off contact with her. Was I a good friend for doing that? Probably not, but I was in my 20’s and had no idea how to help.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille @chyna Yeah, she doesn’t seem to want to get better. I always try to help her best I can but when I’m depressed she offers no help or she’ll even encourage my negative thoughts at times. I’m getting to the point of cutting her off. It’s sad though.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I recommend therapy for yourself to learn effective boundaries. It is completely possible to be friends with someone who is depressed and not enable any self-destructive behavior while still loving them.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Yeah everybody recommends therapy for me but it is something I cannot afford nor do I like. I’ve been to 4 therapists and I never got help. So please that is not a good suggestion and one that I wish would stop being brought up to me.

And I don’t know. If that person is constantly trying to bring you down with them then no it probably isn’t possible. There are different types of depressed people and those that do not want to get better are not easy to be around, especially if you have your own mental issues.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@SergeantQueen You can’t change them; you can only change yourself. Follow what @Hawaii_Jake is telling you, change can only happen to you.
Change for your friend can only happen if she wants to change. Sounds like she doesn’t want to change. Protect yourself.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I don’t need to follow what he told me because it wasn’t an answer to my question.
I’m going to just let her figure herself out. I have tried multiple times to give her help. She needs to change herself first. You are right on that.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@SergeantQueen I live with bipolar disorder type 2. I have been in the deep black pit of despair. I have had depression so bad that on some days if I brushed my teeth, I considered myself a success for the day. I have been on the edge of suicide. I have been hospitalized 3 times that I can remember, possibly more. I understand mental illness far better than you assume.

I recovered. It was a long difficult process, but I now have a job. I live on my own and pay all my own bills. I did it using 6 important tools:
1. medication: I take the medication given to me by my psychiatrist exactly as prescribed.
2. meditation: I taught myself to meditate despite having a brain that malfunctions.
3. therapy: I went to therapy and actively engaged with the therapist and honestly tried their suggestions
4. I get exercise. I walk as many mornings as I can. I take the stairs when possible.
5. I get adequate sleep.
6. I eat wholesome food and avoid all junk food including all soda of any type.

I do this to avoid relapse into that black pit of despair where I never want to return.

SergeantQueen's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I’m not assuming you don’t know mental illness. Where in my question did I state I need help? I didn’t. So telling me to go to therapy makes no sense.

SergeantQueen's avatar

It’s not me doing what she is doing. I already told you in a previous question that Therapy doesn’t work for me.

zenvelo's avatar

Please bear in mind that in the circumstances you describe you are not responsible or accountable for her behavior or any harm she does to herself.

The next time she mentions suicide or harming herself, tell he to please call the suicide hotline number before she does anything. If she calls you, tell her to call the hotline; they are trained in ways you are not.

And, be strong enough to say, “I love you but I cannot be around you while you are using.” Let her know that you will always be there to help her if she is clean, but not if she is using.

Then work on letting go.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@SergeantQueen You cannot change another person. You can only change yourself. If you are experiencing distress related to the actions of another person, you need assistance with learning effective boundaries.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I don’t think that your friend needs you to be a counselor, but just to be a Friend that does not talk about her/his problems since you are just there in her life to be a normal friend.

Perhaps she is seeking a normal life without been diagnosed,since she has that already.

However is using around you have that boundary line drawn , where you are not trained to help her, except to call the ambulance should she require it.

By the way I wonder if he/she is suicidal in order to force the system to take her in since treatment is expensive etc

Maybe not her but others might be doing that as a maneuver to get the help that they need?

seawulf575's avatar

Have you listened to her? Does she explain where her lack of self-esteem comes from? Was there some trauma earlier in her life? THAT sounds like the issue that needs to be looked at. It is a tough nut to crack though. You might not be the right person, though as a good friend, you are a great start.

Patty_Melt's avatar

I claim the right to disagree with virtually everyone else on this issue.

She is a parasite, feeding herself off the pity of those who will give it. She is behaving like a teenager who refuses to walk, claiming they can’t, all so someone will carry her for the rest of her life. Nobody’s efforts have helped her after all this time, because she wants to c hu ange nothing.
I think you should kick her to the curb, but given all you’ve put up with so far, I doubt you could be convinced to do that.
You are an enabler. So long as she has you, and other enablers in her life, nothing will change.
If that is how you want to a pend your precious few years of life, then don’t behave as though you see it as a problem. If you do want to fix things, know that you can’t fix either of you if you allow it to continue.
Fixing problems comes from changing approach to the problem. No change from you equals no change for her.
Wanting change for herself will never ever come, because she has her beloved enablers. For her to want change, she has to one day see nobody is going to pick her up and carry her around.

You got on the wrong bus. Staying on that bus is not going to get you eventually to where you wanted to be. To change direction you have to get off the bus, even if it seems like a perfectly good bus.

Gargarian's avatar

I think you help up until the point that you start to hurt from giving so much, and you might be there now by the sounds of it. I had a friend who suffered from an opioid addiction; a bunch of us did everything we could to help him and then some, but he relapsed multiple times, ripped us off for money, and betrayed our trust again and again. When I eventually realized I’d spent more time trying to help him out then I spent on myself, I took a step back and accepted that he had to want to get better.. He did eventually turn things around but not before burning every bridge he ever built: It was only after he’d pushed everyone away that he finally felt the desire for real change.

Inspired_2write's avatar

After viewing Dr OZ today caught a glimpse of perhaps to the why that your friend is not accepting the treatments that were available to her.

Its because she probably feels that she is NOT mentally disabled but rather mentally injured by abuse etc

As ” Darrell Hammond” on Dr Oz discovered that he WAS NOT BORN mentally ill but it was an escape coping mechanistic that the mind creates to survive.

Darrell Hammond tried to commit suicide after repeatedly put on medications and different diagnosis by numerous doctors, throughout his life.

It happened that the last Doctor that treated him discovered that he was NOT Schizophrenic, NOT Bipolar,nor anything else associated with mental illness, rather he was mentally injured by his abusive mother and developed a way to disassociate or cope that resembles mental illness.

Supposedly this September 20 2020 his story will be out in books and movie for the general public.

So if interested earmark that date on your calendar.

SergeantQueen's avatar

She has had a rough life. I do not want to get public with it but yes. She does have some traumas.
By the way I’m NOT an enabler. Not sure what made you say that but thanks @Patty_Melt I haven’t told the full story here as I don’t want to put everything out in public so don’t make assumptions from what little info you have.

Patty_Melt's avatar

If you don’t put everything out there, then don’t expect workable answers

I stand by mine. I knew it would make you hate me to say truth, but there it is.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I don’t hate you @Patty_Melt I never would. I respect you speaking your mind. It just isn’t true but yes, without me putting it all out there you can’t think anything else.

snowberry's avatar

@Inspired_2write pretty much exactly described my life with my abuser. And you can bet that everybody in my world at that time wanted me to go on all kinds of psycho tropic drugs to “help me cope!” I knew at the core of my being that my behavior would turn right around if the abuse stopped.

I also knew that I was the only person who could make it stop, but I needed some people in my corner who were not abusers (and enablers of my abuser) to help me get there. Eventually I found those people, and I found the words and the ability to make my abuser stop. It’s 150% better now,! II’m so glad I never took medication!

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