My friend has severe abandonment issues that lately I have been struggling to deal with. We're very close, he's my closest friend really, we talk almost every day normally. Since COVID and lockdowns hit he's been struggling a lot more, and recently he has had a lot of friends stop talking to him, apparently because they found his mental health too much of a burden (his words, I have never met them so not sure what the situation is exactly). He suffers from depression and repeated suicidal thoughts, and I have tried to support him as best as I can whenever those moments come up, trying to remain calm and caring even though I'm usually panicking inside. Overall in the last few months he seemed like he was doing a little better but in the last week things have gotten worse again. He's shut down and I misguidedly thought it was my job to try to distract him so I have been trying to keep him talking to me and rambling on about things, which I acknowledge was the wrong thing to do, I should have been listening to him and giving him space/support as he needed and following his lead.
He called me out on that and keeps bringing up his friends, saying I don't really care about him and its only a matter of time before I abandon him too. I tried apologising and acknowledged my mistakes but he twisted my words, claiming it just shows that I (and everyone else) don't care about him. It's not the first time he has said that to me, pretty much whenever his depression is hitting him hard he will say things like this, and it's really hurtful. I feel like I should have thicker skin because I know it's his depression making him say that and I know his abandonment issues are valid and not his fault, but still, I feel really hurt and upset. And that makes me feel terrible because I also suffer from anxiety/depression so I know how hard it is. I want to tell him that I understand how hard things are for him but at the same time I don't think it's ok that he treats me that way, but I don't know how to say it without making things worse. I'm so afraid if I upset him more it will lead to those suicidal thoughts again and that he'll hurt himself. I guess I am looking for some advice on what to do next because I have no idea. Sorry for rambling so much, and thanks for reading until the end of this post.