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    Dealing with a clingy friend with continuing mental decline.
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    An_267582 posted:
    Yeah this is very OT even for AOT. I will ask other places, but perhaps you have gone through this.

    I have a very good friend since childhood and he is Bipolar. Things have gone downhill for him in the last few years. Alcoholism, lost job, homelessness and emerging mental illness. He finally got his own place through public assistance. He is relatively young (35). He has recently been dealing with childhood trauma (but I am very skeptical of this) and in the process alienated much of his family. I love the guy, but he is ready to break me. I am his only (AFAIK) local friend and support system. He is very isolated. He was on medication that he can no longer afford (or simply won't take even if so) and his mental decline has been noticeable the last year. He is now paranoid (not schizophrenia) and he always wants to meet up. More just to get outside which I am all for. However it has now become very draining and I feel put out. Not only put out but horrible for his situation (and also I feel being put out) and consider it now a chore to deal with him. I love the guy, but he talks about the same thing every time: anger, resentment, etc. Some of what he talks about his family (which I am very close with), I just don't believe much of it it but don't say anything and DO want to be supportive but it's hard for me to process everything he says and accept it. He seems to of given up on life. I have tried to do a few things to help him out, but its very difficult and seems like all avenues of help are not available. He doesn't have any money, limited to no health insurance, and just doesn't care about any of that anyway.

    What did you do? I want to 'disengage' without making the situation worse that he may commit suicide at worst. But I'm so worn out and trying to keep my own mess of a life manageable.

    Thanks guys!
     
    avatar
    ddnos responded:
    Hello,

    Just so you know, your message would have been replied to by now several months ago, but this board has pretty much "died" for various reasons, though still open - if that makes sense.

    Re your situation, it sounds like you feel VERY much responsible for him and that if you choose to take care of yourself instead, and he does something stupid or otherwise gets worse, it would be your fault. Well, it wouldn't be your fault. He is responsible for himself. You have been a good friend to him, but you can't do the work for him. Sometimes there has to come a point where you have to break ties with someone like your friend not just for your own sanity, but for his good! Right now he is depending on you for everything, and it's draining you. THAT is not being a friend on his part.

    If he has a mental illness (undiagnosed or not), there are places he can go for mental health help for free. If he needs medication, he can get that for free either through those organizations or go to https://www.pparx.org/ and where they provide free or low cost medications (with a prescription) There are LOTS of places he could go to get the kind of help that you can't give him. He can (if doesn't already know) find the Medicaid office where he lives and go there https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid-chip-program-information/by-state/by-state.html Click the preceding link to find It. They can point him in the right direction for all or most of his basic needs. If he CHOOSES to reject the help (not your help, he's already done that, but the help he needs to get on his feet) then I would tell him that you can no longer be friends because it's exhausting you (and pretty much everything you said above). If you are not able to do that, then you would be continuing to enable him, which never does a person good. It seems cruel to do what I've suggested, but its actually more cruel to both yourself and him to continue as you are. If you don't already resent him, you will be soon. It's not a healthy relationship based on what you have shared.

    Whatever his response might be to what you do (if you do) would be about HIM, not you! He is responsible for his own behaviors no matter what situations come up, just as we all are. He has choice. If he had a major tantrum fit, that would be HIS choice, he doesn't have to react that way. I'm just reiterating that whatever he does is about him and not your fault, and whatever you do or how you react is about you. So keep it that way. Let him be responsible for him, not you.

    Best wishes and I will pop in from time to time to see if you follow up on this topic.

    Debbie
    "When I'm afraid, the voice of hope whispers inside and tells me that everything will be Ok because hope is not frightened by fear."
     
    avatar
    toasted1 responded:
    I could have written these exact words about a close friend of mine, with the exceptions of he has sever depression, not pipolar, still lives with is parents, and has tried to commit suicide four times since he was 16. I have been searching for an answer myself. I have talked to him heart to heart about all of it a number of times, but he is always so drunk that he rembers nothing said the next day.


    I am bipolar myself and have been going through a lot lately.I have resorted to distancing myself from him. I only call him about once a week. Ive been coming up with reasons for him to not come over on the weekends as all he does is drink himself into a stupor and do the things you said your friend has been doing. I have avoideed at all costs going out in public with him, as he always loses contol and does and says very embarassing things, especially with regards to women.


    I have been very patient and understanding with hm, which is the best I think we can do for them..However, at this point I feel very much like telling him on a rare sober occasion that I want us to spend some time away from each other until he will admit to his alcoholism, and get the help he needs for that and his mental illness. The have to help themselves, and you can't force them to do that.


    I deeply sympathize with you. It's an awful position to be in. I don't know if this helps you at all or not. I hope it does in some way. You are not alone.
     
    avatar
    editor_morgan responded:
    Hi there and thanks for posting.

    I can imagine how difficult this situation is for you. You clearly care about your friend very deeply, but it is obvious that the friendship is having adverse effects on you.

    Aside from your friend's bipolar diagnosis, I encourage you to read this article on toxic friends who leave you feeling drained after being with them. There some really helpful tips on how to handle the toxicity in your friendship. They suggest setting boundaries, professional help, and even ending the friendship. I think that if ending the friendship is what you want to do then reading this article might give you the tools and confidence to do so.

    Here is the link: http://www.webmd.com/women/features/toxic-friends-less-friend-more-foe


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