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Topic: What to do when your friend or loved one's mental health affects your own.

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Ezim
    Ezim avatar
    2 posts
    8 June 2018

    Hi, My oldest friend has diagnosed mental health issues (bi-polar) that they've been on meds and counselling, for almost two decades. They recently moved quite far away further shrinking their support network; and I had a baby a couple of years ago, which has further shrunken my support network. Our supposed closeness along with this friend's consistent unreliability in our friendship over the decades has taken a toll on my mental health too, specifically anxiety, with the 'if my best friend doesn't want to hang out with me, then i must be a bad friend' mantra dominating, I've never talked to a professional about this, as it felt self-indulgent in light of the weight of my friend's issue. I've recently seen a counsellor for post-natal depression over the last year though.

    Every time this friend cancels a catch up, which is almost always, I get really down, and it affects all my other relationships. I know I'm not alone in dealing with this kind of 'it's not really about you' rejection, but i'm struggling with it now. I'm especially struggling to care about putting more effort into this old friendship. It makes me really sad.

    How do other people deal with this in a productive way? Do you talk with the person openly about this? Do you have a specific meditation or meditative activity? Do you make yourself exercise? How do you not let it bring you down?

    2 people found this helpful
  2. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
    3505 posts
    8 June 2018 in reply to Ezim

    Hi Ezim and welcome to the forums,

    I can relate to what you wrote about feeling rejected. But I am usually the friend who cancels. Sometimes I get in a place where I don't answer texts or emails or calls either.

    Usually I am drowning in guilt too. I want to show people I care about them but I cannot make myself do it. It's a vicious circle too because when I feel guilty and crap for letting them down it makes me pull away further and further. Ie "they deserve better than me".

    What can you do?

    First of all I agree with you saying talk about it. Your friend may be completely aware of how rubbish she makes you feel. Or she could be oblivious. You won't know unless you talk to her.

    Pick a time when you're both well and catching up (if you pick a low moment she may just back off further).

    I don't manage this very well myself and have isolated a lot of people in my life (I'm 33). The friends that have stuck around are people that understand what to expect from me and are able to accept it. They also know I don't expect anything better in return.

    One friend and I make a plan to meet up weekly. It only lasts if she tells me when and where I am to meet her. If it was left to me 6 months would pass.

    Another sends me a text "are you alive" when she is getting worried and needs a reply. She doesn't care if it is a sentence just acknowledging I am reading her words.

    My husband knows to call if it's been a day with no response.

    I know you feel rejected. I feel bad on behalf of your friend because I get it but reading your hurt is hard.

    Maybe think about what you need and expect from her as a minimum. If you can put a few realistic things in writing to give her you might find she is able to do one at least. For example if you text making sure you get a reply within 48 hours.

    In the meantime what supports are available to you? Is there a local playgroup or women's health centre where you can join to meet some new people?

    Has your post natal depression been managed by your doctor and yourself?

    Perhaps it might hurt less if you have more supports around you so you don't notice her lack of support quite so badly.

    Nat

    2 people found this helpful
  3. quirkywords
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    quirkywords avatar
    8275 posts
    10 July 2018 in reply to Ezim

    Ezim,

    Your title really intrigued me as it is something I think about.

    Nat has given you a helpful reply and an insight into why people cancel.

    I have had bipolar for 4 decades and I know sometimes I really don't feel up to a big social occasion like my school reunion a few years ago.

    Luckily there was a facebook page and many fellow students opened up about their real lives and mental health. So I ended up going and it wasn't as bad as I thought.

    Have you ever asked your friend is there a time or place that would suit her so you could meet up. ? Do you keep in touch by email or Face book.?

    Your post raised many interesting points, so thank you.

    Quirky

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