how to help a friend?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 02, 2011 4:40 AM GMT
    So, I have a background in Mental Health but I am stumped.

    I have a very good friend, someone who inspired me to come out to my friends and family and seek a relationship (at the time in an attempt to be happier myself). It worked really well and life was good as it usually is with your first real love hah and so all good things came to an end. Around that time when I really needed that same kind of inspiration and support from my friend he couldn't give it to me because he was in the throws of depression.

    I've been talking to him since then a lot but he rarely wants to talk about depression. He pours his entire existence into video games. The mental health person in me knows what he needs, some good old hard confrontation. I'm very good friends with his girlfriend, so obviously she turns to me for support where he is unable to offer it. It's a good thing I'm gay because this same situation has created many a straight drama ;)

    Anyway, my question is simple, would you confront your friend and visit your mental health training/knowledge on him at the risk of him alienating you as someone who is uncomfortable to be around (because of the confrontation) or continue to the friend thing and be available when needed, but not try to interfere? That is where I'm stumped.
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    Sep 02, 2011 2:25 PM GMT



    I want to say do it, but first, can you describe what you mean when you say confrontation?

    -Doug

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    Sep 02, 2011 2:26 PM GMT
    Nope. Mind your own business.
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    Sep 02, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    meninlove said


    I want to say do it, but first, can you describe what you mean when you say confrontation?

    -Doug



    Well, he is a very close friend so it's not like I'm intruding if I offer him some advice. Basically up until this point I've just been there for him, but by confrontation I mean talk to him and tell him that I think playing video games is functioning as a way for him to escape from reality and not get better at all. Then of course offer some suggestions. He already took my suggestion of getting into therapy, which I'm glad but therapists often take a while to get to know the person and sometimes they never really find the problem. I've known him for several years, so I have some pretty good insight.
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    Sep 02, 2011 10:31 PM GMT
    JackNWNJ saidNope. Mind your own business.


    I guess I'm the only one that see's the irony in responding to a post with that statement icon_razz.gif
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    Sep 02, 2011 10:57 PM GMT
    Adam, as you know, many with mental issues are in denial. They will avoid medication and psychotherapy to the nth degree. I think you could more or less be a good therapist to him with your experience. Just continue to be his friend and maybe you could help him to accept his condition. Do you really think he is trying to avoid the medication or is it the therapist? You could more or less be his unofficial therapist (if you are qualified).
  • tuffguyndc

    Posts: 4437

    Sep 02, 2011 11:21 PM GMT
    adam228 saidSo, I have a background in Mental Health but I am stumped.

    I have a very good friend, someone who inspired me to come out to my friends and family and seek a relationship (at the time in an attempt to be happier myself). It worked really well and life was good as it usually is with your first real love hah and so all good things came to an end. Around that time when I really needed that same kind of inspiration and support from my friend he couldn't give it to me because he was in the throws of depression.

    I've been talking to him since then a lot but he rarely wants to talk about depression. He pours his entire existence into video games. The mental health person in me knows what he needs, some good old hard confrontation. I'm very good friends with his girlfriend, so obviously she turns to me for support where he is unable to offer it. It's a good thing I'm gay because this same situation has created many a straight drama ;)

    Anyway, my question is simple, would you confront your friend and visit your mental health training/knowledge on him at the risk of him alienating you as someone who is uncomfortable to be around (because of the confrontation) or continue to the friend thing and be available when needed, but not try to interfere? That is where I'm stumped.
    Listen, as someone goes through boughs of depression sometimes you just have to be there as a friend. when he is ready he will definitely come to you. do not try to use your degree to try and help him because he will see it coming and put up his defenses. continue to talk to his gf and make sure she understands and give her some coping skills
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2603

    Sep 02, 2011 11:27 PM GMT
    I`d say continue to be his friend and support him as he needs.Stay in contact with his girlfriend and try to help her(and him).
    A frank conversation with him about his problems and how to deal with them sounds a good thing,something a true friend would do,but don`t complicate your friendship with him by involving any(too obvious) professional training and experience of mental health medicine/care.You`re too involved with him for that.
    From what you say,having a friend like you is a very good thing for him;not to be underestimated.
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    Sep 03, 2011 7:25 AM GMT
    Yeah, I think I am going to do the friend route.

    And yes, its never a good idea to use professional skills on your friends. Mostly because they notice the change in role and are like "oh jesus don't start that shit with me"

    What I'm talking about with skills is more a passive thing, where I confront him at the right time. For instance he just had a huge fight with his girlfriend, it would not be a good time for me to confront him on some of the issues that are keeping him depressed.

    Thanks for the help guys.
  • barriehomeboy

    Posts: 2475

    Sep 03, 2011 7:46 AM GMT
    In the last six months, three Canadian prominent NHL players have offed themselves due to depression These are the butchest men on the planet. They were the enforcers on their teams. It's ok to be considering death, but not cool to chose it. Get help if you're in those shoes.

  • Sep 04, 2011 1:03 PM GMT
    I have a combo pack of mental health issues myself, currently on meds, waiting for therapy. I have gone through an "electronic addiction" to escape reality. There are so many variables. Sufficient meds? Correct meds? Cocktail needed? Taken on time, no skipping? I had to go on 2 anti-depressants, max dosage before I saw significant improvement and it took months not weeks. If it were me I would just be available for friend stuff, after all the gaming is a symptom. After a period of time if my friend's condition didn't improve then I would start to ask questions & make suggestions. I would want to be involved especially if self-harm (drug abuse, cutting, suicidal thoughts) seemed like a possibility. I would explain I am a friend & as such cannot standby without trying to help. Better to risk a friendship than attend a friend's hospital bed or funeral, & if it came down to it I would say just that. It's a difficult row to hoe.
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    Sep 07, 2011 1:45 AM GMT
    I'd be careful not to over-analyze. You might ask him how he's doing and see if he wants to talk. But it's not possible to be a good therapist and a good friend, and you are already his friend. If he needs help, you need to refer him to someone.