My best friend has suffered from depression on and off ever since I’ve known him. I’ve always offered him unconditional support, but I’ve found that when he’s in a low spot he prefers to ride it out on his own and he doesn’t ever reach out. I’ve tried lots of things to reach him over the years- I check up on him via text, drop by unexpectedly with gifts and food, and I’ve tried to talk to him about how he’s feeling. Nothing really works- We’ve actually never had any in-depth conversations about his depression at all- it seems that what he really wants is to be on his own. I’ve finally adapted to just letting him go through it and reaching out periodically until he is ready to come back. I think that this is the best I can do for him. When he goes, it’s hard for me, but I’ve always reasoned that whatever I’m feeling can’t possibly be harder than what he’s going through, so I keep that to myself. But I’ve started to notice that when he comes back, I am happy about it for a few days, and then I start to get annoyed with him. I wonder what would happen if I needed him when he’s down, and I think about how much time I’ve spent worried about him, and I feel resentful. I never feel this way when he’s sick. I usually reason away those thoughts with the same thinking - my feelings aren’t as bad as what he’s going through, but that’s harder to rationalize when he’s back and being my best friend again. I can’t imagine that it would be the right thing to do to tell him how I feel, but I also don’t want these feelings to build and for me to not want to see him anymore. Is there a way I can tell him how I feel, or am I just being selfish?
Depressed Friends Forever
Woof. This is a tough one. I’m gonna be honest - wanting to tell your sick friend that you’re annoyed with him is pretty selfish. A decrease in what we can handle socially is as much of a legitimate symptom and consequence of mental illness as a decrease in an ability to walk far distances is to spraining your ankle.
That being said, feelings are kind of selfish. They’re coming from inside of you, they’re influenced by your perception of what’s happening to you, and stuffing them down and not listening to what your feelings are telling you can leave you in the kind of perplexing situation that you’ve found yourself in.
What you’re feeling is actually very valid. Losing your friend for periods of time - not knowing whether you’ll be able to share in good experiences, or if they’ll be there comfort you in bad is tough as hell. If you add onto that that his actual experience isn’t something he’s shared with you, that can get in front of the empathy that you’d normally feel. It’s a kind and logical response to tell yourself that his situation is worse than yours - because it probably is! But that doesn’t mean you’re not experiencing something hard yourself - you really are.
I will say that your instinct is correct when it comes to being hesitant to share your feelings with him. Although you’re feeling hurt and annoyed for a good reason, simply broadcasting those feelings to him could be harmful. Oftentimes folks with depression already have a pretty substantial collection of negative thoughts at the ready, and keeping those thoughts from overwhelming can be a heavy task. He’s probably beat you to the thoughts you’re having, and its possible that he already has a loop of “I’m a bad friend, I’m a bad person, I hurt the people around me” going on in his head. Hearing those thoughts confirmed from you might do more harm than good.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t talk to him! Share your feelings, but be kind and give him some ways to help you out when he’s well. Maybe he can tell you a little bit about what he’s going through, maybe he can share some resources or information, maybe he can treat you to lunch.
My boyfriend chews when he’s tired before bed. He just chews on nothing, or maybe on the memory of lunch? The sounds are starting to get to me - I love him, but I also want to put him in the ground. Please help.
The Nightly Gnash
OKAY THIS IS REAL. Mouth sounds are awful, and when I hear people chewing on nothing I am instantly convinced that their teeth are dentures, and then that’s WAY worse for some reason - it’s a whole thing. I hate that your life is this way. You did mention that you noticed he does it when he’s tired though. Sometimes heightened perception of noise happens when you’re tired, or hungry, or on edge, or feeling anxious. I have to say that this is not a “scientific fact” as much as it is something that I’ve experienced, so take it with a grain of salt. Chances are he’s chewing more often than just when he’s tired (I’m sorry), but you’re probably distracted because your body its not about to fall into a coma. Next time you notice him night chewing, just kinda say to yourself “This sucks, but it’s worse because I’m tired and I will love him again in the morning.” This is called meditation, and Actual Science says that it’s helpful to reduce homicidal urges. You could also get a ball gag.