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Dealing With Friend's Depression

Sunday Confessional: I Don't Want to Deal With My Best Friend's Depression

This week's confession comes from our anonymous Confession Booth group in the TrèsSugar Community. Weigh in with your advice below.


My best friend has been depressed for quite a while.

She's always crying, always being sad, always telling me how guilty she feels. I know she has a bad home life, and I know she can't help it. She's my best friend in the world.

But I can't stand it.

Everyday, everything is about her. Everything is about wah-wah-wah, something's going wrong in Helen's* life. Everything is about boo hoo, something happened that made her depressed, and when she wants to hear about me, she still keeps a little upside-down U shape on her mouth the entire time. I don't mean to be selfish, because I know this is. But I can't help feeling that she's always sobbing, bringing me down, making me feel depressed because of her. Her parents won't get her help, because they're too poor.

Every time I try to talk to her, she gives me this little whiny show about how something new and even more depressing happened to her. She tells me she's sorry, and I know she is, but I really can't help being fed up with her. I'm almost to the point of just ignoring her completely, though I could never do that. Like I said earlier, she is my best friend.

What should I do? What can I do? I just want to rant and rant about her insufferable behavior, but I feel kind of bad. What should I do? What would you do?

*Her name was changed, because it's a very unusual name.
(Imagine that this girl was your truly best friend, the only person you really talk to.)

There's lots of cool stuff going on in our community — join it, check it out, share your posts or advice in the great groups, and maybe we'll feature it here on TrèsSugar!

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Wobbaphet Wobbaphet 3 years
I was in a similation as well... Only my friend has issue with her girlfriend... They went from being best friends to being lovers... It started happening right about 2 weeks after they started dating... My former bff started getting super clingy and only wanted to do things with her s/o... They would start arguing about every little thing and even start screaming in public...well its been more then 14I months now and they're arguments have nothing but increased... Her gf even heated on her with 2 other guys and we'll she's still dumb enough to try to make things work so they're still together... Well to summarize everything short ; whenever she got into arguments with her gf she would call me and bitch and bitch... She's been doing this since I came back to Vancouver and I keep telling her the exact same thing since the beginning of this annoying roller coaster oyster... To break up and move on... And she would only ever talk to me if a situation regarding her falling Part relationship... Never a oh hi wanna go shopping or do something fun... I felt like her emotional rebound...] if her gf wasn't available then I was her next best thing but I felt used. The overall even confronted her about that be a use I wanted to fix things between me and her because we begN to become distant... She even admitted that she didn't want to talk to me sometimes because I wasn't babyig her enough and that she wanted to hear false hope about her so called "healthy", relationship to work... So I basically couldn't handle her anymore also because she bailed out on me on so many dinner dates lunches etc.. Just to be with her abusive girlfriend... She's in denial... NS ITS SAD... We haven't spoken for 3 months now... I got so fed up and decided to walk away from this friendship... To me it wasn't worth the headache but I do feel regret because I've now lost a friend but at the same time I'm happier with my decision... I have a lot of issues with my own life going on and didn't need the extra negativity...
ViolaMorbid ViolaMorbid 4 years
Thanks for the help everyone!
Bubbles12 Bubbles12 4 years
I'm guessing your still in school, so my answer is with that in consideration. I was where your friend was in junior high -- things were horrible at home, I was a real downer to be around (I didn't realize that for years) and was deserted by my best friend. I found another one who actually shared the problem (an alcoholic father) but the sting of being abandoned by my best (we were super close and had so much fun before) hurt for years. I think ultimately what she did was right for her, I just wish she had handled it differently, so here's my advice. This is a problem *way* beyond your ability to meaningfully help and being a friend does not mean signing up to be a cheap therapist, you should be enjoying yourself in her company. You're not a bad person for being unable to give her what she needs...because you're not a doctor or therapist. As a friend though you can give her what no one else will -- the loving truth and some advice she needs to get *real* support and help for her problems! And bug her to do it and don't let her dump on you anymore! When she tries, ask her what she's doing to help, and if she says nothing than tell her you can't help her if she isn't helping herself and change the subject. First tell her how her constant negative stories are overwhelming your own emotions and it's more than you can deal with, you definitely care about her, understand she needs help but way different than what a friend can provide. She probably does need a doctor! Chronic depression is stress turned into a medical condition, it's not because she's weak or crazy. Here are some suggestions, but it's really what you feel ok doing: Set boundaries that work for you, something like she gets to complain for 5 minutes each time you get together and *that's it*, set an alarm as a funny but firm reminder. She has to talk about things other than her negative feelings or her situation. End the venting with a mutual hug and then talk about anything else. And have her tell you each time what she's doing for herself (reading self-help books, going to the school counselor, 12 step meetings if she or someone in her life has an eating disorder or is abusing drugs/alcohol) so you both know she's not just sitting on a volcano. If she won't respect the rules you need that make your time together worthwhile, I'd say you've done what you can. And let her know you need to create distance because you are overwhelmed with it and you encourage her to *go get help*, including at school or through the county. If you create distance, don't be mean. Leave an opportunity for the two of you to reconnect, you probably will in the future, even if it's far away. The most important thing is to be honest, to realize your limits, and be gentle but firm.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 4 years
Just posted a comment with some links to resources that you can use to get help- hopefully it gets posted soon! And let me say- the system onsugar uses to verify who's spamming and who's not- is a FAT USELESS PIECE OF CRAP. Don't ask me how a link to a couple .org websites (from someone who has been a member for well over a year) is spam, but 15 links to Louis Vuitton knock-off boots isn't.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 4 years
And here's some tips to get help- didn't want to get flagged so I'm posting them separate. Google search, "[your county] mental health board." Like for me, it's "Cuyahoga county mental health board". If you live in a small city/rural area, maybe "[your county] board of health" will work better. Not sure what you'll find, but it's a good place to start. Or try 211. That's the United Way- an organization I have nothing but praise and gratitude for. Dial 211 on your phone (most mid-size cities offer this service). Explain your problem- you're calling on behalf of a friend who is depressed. They'll connect you to help in your area. Or visit: http://211.org/ And type in your zip code. This is the number to the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255 And this is their website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ You don't say she's suicidal, but they won't refuse help to her. Worst case, they'll connect her to someone else who can help her. Hope all that helps.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 4 years
I was in a somewhat similar situation, with a male friend of mine following his divorce. He was so mopey and whiny, he just sucked to be around. I limited our time together to once a week, and then only at public events (bars, playdates with our kids) where he couldn't drag me into a corner. I discussed my feelings with a mutual friend- turns out the mutual friend was handling it the same way as me. Semi-avoiding him and waiting for it to blow over.Unforutnately, my story has a sad ending- my friend never got help, and ended up committing a crime so morally horrendous to me (and then insisted he was set up- IMPOSSIBLE- that's what cold hard evidence is for) that we no longer speak. He's not even on my fb. Not sure what the moral of my story is, but you're not alone. Maybe the moral is, depression doesn't just 'blow over,' it causes people to act out in desperate, unimaginable ways and your friend needs help now.It bothers me that "Her parents won't get her help, because they're too poor." It sounds like her parents may be the root of her problems. I couldn't imagine my girl telling me she was depressed- and then me just blowing it off due to lack of $$$$$. That is straight neglect, borderline emotional abuse.Do either one of you drive? Sounds like even if she finds low-cost help, her parent's won't take her. She knows she needs help- or she wouldn't have asked her parents. The best thing you can do is help her find it.And agreed about antidepressants being a false cure. Some people are so chemically imbalanced that they CAN NOT function in society without drugs. But they should be always a last resort. Tell your friend to be wary of any doctor who tries doping her up within a month or two of seeing her.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 4 years
I was in a somewhat similar situation, with a male friend of mine following his divorce. He was so mopey and whiny, he just sucked to be around. I limited our time together to once a week, and then only at public events (bars, playdates with our kids) where he couldn't drag me into a corner. I discussed my feelings with a mutual friend- turns out the mutual friend was handling it the same way as me. Semi-avoiding him and waiting for it to blow over. Unforutnately, my story has a sad ending- my friend never got help, and ended up committing a crime so morally horrendous to me (and then insisted he was set up- IMPOSSIBLE- that's what cold hard evidence is for) that we no longer speak. He's not even on my fb. Not sure what the moral of my story is, but you're not alone. Maybe the moral is, depression doesn't just 'blow over,' it causes people to act out in desperate, unimaginable ways and your friend needs help now. It bothers me that "Her parents won't get her help, because they're too poor." It sounds like her parents may be the root of her problems. I couldn't imagine my girl telling me she was depressed- and then me just blowing it off due to lack of $$$$$. That is straight neglect, borderline emotional abuse. Do either one of you drive? Sounds like even if she finds low-cost help, her parent's won't take her. She knows she needs help- or she wouldn't have asked her parents. The best thing you can do is help her find it. And agreed about antidepressants being a false cure. Some people are so chemically imbalanced that they CAN NOT function in society without drugs. But they should be always a last resort. Tell your friend to be wary of any doctor who tries doping her up within a month or two of seeing her.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 4 years
I agree that she needs help from a professional to deal with this. You can suggest it to her kindly, when you are not annoyed with her, and let her know how much you want to help but that you feel ill-equipped. I hope you don't feel selfish or like a bad friend for not being able to handle this. If your friend needed an operation, you wouldn't feel badly for not being able to perform it.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 4 years
I agree that she needs help from a professional to deal with this. You can suggest it to her kindly, when you are not annoyed with her, and let her know how much you want to help but that you feel ill-equipped. I hope you don't feel selfish or like a bad friend for not being able to handle this. If your friend needed an operation, you wouldn't feel badly for not being able to perform it.
luckyduckyy luckyduckyy 4 years
There's always help for people battling depression, no matter how poor they are. Look up local community health centers. They will accept people who don't have any health insurance, or who have very little coverage in their health insurance plans. She's probably saying she can't get help because she's poor only because she's in the pit of her depression and can't see any way out of it. Help her get the help she needs, even if it means scheduling the damn appointment for her and dragging her there.
jenjen82 jenjen82 4 years
Are you in high school? If so talk to a guidance counselor or some nurse at your school (if schools still even have those) and tell them your friend needs help for depression and explain her parents financial situation. Also I think you should talk to her parents directly. They should be able to figure something out as far as medical bills go or finding a free place.Are the things your friend complains about trivial? Is she just addicted to being a victim? Some people whine and complain as a way of seeking attention. This is complicated. Do you have other friends? I would try to build deeper relationships with other friends so you have normal happy people to hang out with. Do what you can as mentioned above but your not a therapist. There is only so much you can do and you need to look out for yourself by having other friends to hang out with too.
jenjen82 jenjen82 4 years
Are you in high school? If so talk to a guidance counselor or some nurse at your school (if schools still even have those) and tell them your friend needs help for depression and explain her parents financial situation. Also I think you should talk to her parents directly. They should be able to figure something out as far as medical bills go or finding a free place. Are the things your friend complains about trivial? Is she just addicted to being a victim? Some people whine and complain as a way of seeking attention. This is complicated. Do you have other friends? I would try to build deeper relationships with other friends so you have normal happy people to hang out with. Do what you can as mentioned above but your not a therapist. There is only so much you can do and you need to look out for yourself by having other friends to hang out with too.
ChrissyLee ChrissyLee 4 years
There is no such thing as being too poor to get help, most communities have resources for people battling depression who cannot afford expensive therapy. It sucks her parents won't help her, but if you really care about her then you need to seek out this treatment and get her to go. It's unfair for you and for her to be her only support through this and it will probably lead to the end of your friendship if you don't get outside help. She may resist, but you have to try. As for you, you need to get a little help as well. Maybe just one or two sessions but after you get your friend some help you need to process this for yourself. She's been dumping on you for a long time and you need to make sure that you let all that negative energy go so that when she does get better you can keep the friendship.
ChrissyLee ChrissyLee 4 years
There is no such thing as being too poor to get help, most communities have resources for people battling depression who cannot afford expensive therapy. It sucks her parents won't help her, but if you really care about her then you need to seek out this treatment and get her to go. It's unfair for you and for her to be her only support through this and it will probably lead to the end of your friendship if you don't get outside help. She may resist, but you have to try. As for you, you need to get a little help as well. Maybe just one or two sessions but after you get your friend some help you need to process this for yourself. She's been dumping on you for a long time and you need to make sure that you let all that negative energy go so that when she does get better you can keep the friendship.
lxndrcho lxndrcho 4 years
This is difficult because if you don't go about it delicately than it will end in an argument. Firstly, realise that she CANT help making things all about her at this point, yes its annoying but at the moment all she can think about it telling someone about all this bad stuff because it eases her suffering.Also realise that you are aiding in her recovery at this point, talking about all her worries is easing her depression and guilt.what you need to do is talk to her and explain (in the nicest way you can) that you will always be there for her but you feel like you are unable to talk to her about your own problems, say you feel guilty that your problems are not as big as hers but that they're still effecting you, that you need to talk about them without being reminded that she has it so much worse. You both must come to an agreement that when its her time to talk about her problems she can, but when its your turn to talk she cannot interrupt or compare, this is not a game about who has the worst life, you are sharing what worries and bothers YOU.Dont forget that after all the whining is over to have fun! have a good talk get it off your chest but then try and go and do something fun, or talk while doing something small and fun (sad i know but my friends and i talk together while we sew, sometimes people feel its easier to talk about dark and traumatising things if the atmosphere is light).as far as medication goes, i don't know about America, but here you can buy St Johns wart over the counter, its very cheap and acts as a natural anti depressant, there are other on the shelf items that can also help. Other than that they say exercise is the best mood lifter, these wont help her overcome her depression but it is a start.Overall its going to be a hard road for both of you and she wont change overnight, she may even try and resist any changes you try and make for the better, because at the moment your friendship to her is stable and she will be scared of change. I wish you both the best of luck xx
lxndrcho lxndrcho 4 years
This is difficult because if you don't go about it delicately than it will end in an argument. Firstly, realise that she CANT help making things all about her at this point, yes its annoying but at the moment all she can think about it telling someone about all this bad stuff because it eases her suffering. Also realise that you are aiding in her recovery at this point, talking about all her worries is easing her depression and guilt. what you need to do is talk to her and explain (in the nicest way you can) that you will always be there for her but you feel like you are unable to talk to her about your own problems, say you feel guilty that your problems are not as big as hers but that they're still effecting you, that you need to talk about them without being reminded that she has it so much worse. You both must come to an agreement that when its her time to talk about her problems she can, but when its your turn to talk she cannot interrupt or compare, this is not a game about who has the worst life, you are sharing what worries and bothers YOU. Dont forget that after all the whining is over to have fun! have a good talk get it off your chest but then try and go and do something fun, or talk while doing something small and fun (sad i know but my friends and i talk together while we sew, sometimes people feel its easier to talk about dark and traumatising things if the atmosphere is light). as far as medication goes, i don't know about America, but here you can buy St Johns wart over the counter, its very cheap and acts as a natural anti depressant, there are other on the shelf items that can also help. Other than that they say exercise is the best mood lifter, these wont help her overcome her depression but it is a start. Overall its going to be a hard road for both of you and she wont change overnight, she may even try and resist any changes you try and make for the better, because at the moment your friendship to her is stable and she will be scared of change. I wish you both the best of luck xx
Yukaxx Yukaxx 4 years
i can understand how you feel about that because i had a friend who has been always depressed.and i really wanted to make her happy, but it was so hard and i was made depressed.so it was one of the reasons why i placed a distance with her.and also i've been depressed momentarily. i could take all things happened to me only as bad, and i just didnt know what i was supposed to do.but now i think it never lasts. i'm sure.i try to take it as a worst time and there's no worry about worse things will happen when i'm so depressed.hope your best friend and you will be happy. xoxo
Yukaxx Yukaxx 4 years
i can understand how you feel about that because i had a friend who has been always depressed. and i really wanted to make her happy, but it was so hard and i was made depressed. so it was one of the reasons why i placed a distance with her. and also i've been depressed momentarily. i could take all things happened to me only as bad, and i just didnt know what i was supposed to do. but now i think it never lasts. i'm sure. i try to take it as a worst time and there's no worry about worse things will happen when i'm so depressed. hope your best friend and you will be happy. xoxo
pax4pax pax4pax 4 years
She should get medical treatment. It could just be a chemical imbalance. Is she too depressed to seek such help? If so, it's all mental and get away while you still can.
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