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Can I help my depressed friend without being dragged down too?

DEAR BEL
I’m 22 with a very close circle of five friends the same age. 
The problem: I think one of my best friends has mental health issues.
I have no idea how to help her and worry a lot about what she will do. She went to a very privileged boarding school (indeed, she had boarded for most of her life) but was moved to our school at the age of 16 because her family had money problems. 
When we were 19, I started to notice she was very negative about men and seemed unlucky in love. 
'When we were 19, I started to notice she was very negative about men and seemed unlucky in love'
'When we were 19, I started to notice she was very negative about men and seemed unlucky in love'
Over the next three years, things went from bad to worse. She never sustained a relationship but always wanted one — pushing, trying too hard and clinging until she put men off. 
Her parents divorced, then her family lost all their money which left them with nothing — all the while her behaviour was becoming worse.
It’s now got to the point that whenever our little group spends time with her, we’re all very down when we leave. She’s very bitter about all our relationships. I don’t ever mention my partner now, as it upsets her. 
One or two have stopped seeing her (she hasn’t realised it’s because of her), but I can’t help feeling I should do more. She’s very negative and once told me she was worried she was going to have a breakdown. 
I’ve never dealt with depression, but others in my family recognised it. After three years, I’m now at breaking point. I value our friendship but she’s so down I can’t spend time with her as it’s exhausting. 
She has random outbursts about things that happened months or even years ago. 
What can I do? She has no relationship with her father and her mother is too unstable for me to approach. I tried to raise the issue with her but she refused to speak to me for a week. 
She won’t listen to anyone or see a doctor as she doesn’t think anything is wrong. 
But surely it isn’t normal to feel so low all the time and to constantly moan and complain about everything, and make nasty comments about good news she hears about others? I’m at a loss.
MARIE-LOUISE


The fact you've written like this tells us so much about you - she is lucky to have you as a friend.
Unlike some of the others, you've hung in there, even though her attitude and behaviour have severely tested your affection. You are concerned about her welfare - and rightly so.
Members of your family have guessed she is suffering from depression, and they're probably right - even though in my experience those who are genuinely depressed are usually willing to accept that description of their mental state, even if they remain stuck in the black hole, unwilling to countenance help.
I chose your letter because it reminds us of a tough truth - that there are some things we can do nothing about. Trying is laudable, but surely there comes a point when we bow to defeat and move on?
Of course, the desire to make matters better is noble, on the private as well as the public level. But to what extent can we allow the toxic behaviour of a friend to poison our lives, when we have tried our best to help?
You've already attempted to talk to her and given much thought to her welfare and ways of improving her life. 
If she believes there is nothing wrong, but embraces the prison she has created by her selfish and negative conduct, what can you do?
At the same time as your email, I received one from a woman called P grieving for a friend who has cut her out of her life for spurious reasons irrelevant here. To me, an outsider, the other woman sounds pretty poisonous, and I for one would be glad to be rid of her.
But P writes: 'I miss her still and often shed a tear for my lost friend... I still remember the good times and don't understand what happened... 
'What can I do to help myself forget and not feel so wronged and sad?' 
I'm afraid I cannot advise P in any terms other than acceptance of what is. Remember the good times, but accept that they are over.
Save your reserves of sorrow for the events and people that will need them - don't waste tears or energy on somebody who chose to hurt you and cares nothing for the pain she caused.
Does that sound hard-hearted? Perhaps it is, but sometimes you have to be tough-minded for your own sake. 
P's situation is relevant to yours, Marie-Louise, in that it could be the same for you in a few years' time, unless something changes.
I'm not saying you should give up on your friend now, just that all of us must sooner or later accept the fact that there's only so much we can do to save others from themselves. 
It sounds to me as if she was very damaged by her family background and certainly needs therapeutic intervention of some sort.
But how can this happen if she refuses to accept her need for help? Have you thought of writing her a letter even longer than the one you wrote to me? 
You could research counselling services in your area and offer her some names. 
You could buy her a book on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (good ones are by Christine Wilding or Dr Sarah Edelman) and send it with your letter, stressing how much you care about her but saying it's time she took action. 
If she refuses to speak to you as a result... well, what can you do? Except refuse to let her spoil your own happiness 
 
Bitterness is destroying our marriage
DEAR BEL
I’m a postgraduate, my husband works hard as an accountant and we’re in our early 20s. We’ve been married for three years, which have been the happiest of my life. 
We laugh a lot — my husband is a kind and generous man who truly makes me happy. But a year ago, he got us into some financial trouble by not paying the rent for several months. I found out when he called me to say we were going to be evicted. 
I was shocked and deeply hurt — if he had come to me over any financial worries, we could have solved them together. He was apologetic, saying he’d just got himself into a huge mess. 
We borrowed the money from kind relatives and I took on a job to pay them back over the coming year. Although hurt at the time, I told him we all make mistakes and that we had to try to move on. 
But I didn’t move on. Since then I have become such a bitter person. In the past year I have repaid him with snide remarks and rude comments. I don’t know where this pent-up bitterness has come from.
My words sting and almost immediately I wish I could take them back. I try to be positive and supportive, only to fall back into the pit of being resentful and rude. 
Recently it’s come to a head; my husband feels I am disrespectful and that I swing between bitterness that he put us in this situation and despair that I seem to be tearing apart our marriage. 
We have days filled with joy and love, but after a while we return to mean words and long silences that take a day or two to blow over. It seemed such a small thing when I found out about the money — just a bump in the road on the long journey of marriage. 
We both know that marriage can be as challenging and fragile as it is beautiful and joyous. How can I cure a bitter heart?
HOPE
Your choice of such a perfect pseudonym gives me hope too. You sound wise as well as worried, and I am convinced that you will get through this bad patch. You are so right about the first years of marriage. 
The other day I had to unearth a journal from 1970 (to find some references to a dear friend for a birthday book her daughters are assembling) and found myself reading miserable posts about being married.
It was rather disconcerting to see the evidence of what I had all but wiped from my memory — that after just two years, and at your age now, I was disappointed and anxious in equal measure. And yet (just like you), I wrote about having joyful days as well. 
'I have become such a bitter person since my husband got us into financial trouble'. (Posed by models)
'I have become such a bitter person since my husband got us into financial trouble.' (Posed by models)
So please relax a little, in the knowledge that you aren’t unusual at all. The more you worry about the state of your marriage, the more tense you will become. Obvious, isn’t it? 
Having said that, it would be useful for you to take your quest for self-knowledge a step further. Do you think you might feel just a tad guilty that you were so busy you left everything to your husband? 
It seems to me to be likely that, given his profession, you had every reason to assume he could cope with all the practical details of your life together, allowing you the freedom to study. 
When you discovered he’d made a mess of things and (worse) put off telling you until the very last minute, I’ve no doubt you felt deeply disappointed. I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t stuck him on a pedestal, so when he fell to the ground you were angry — and you wanted to kick those pieces of him around. 
I’m wondering what your relationship with your father was like and how that might have impinged on your expectations of marriage. 
I know a woman whose father was pretty weak, with the result that she looked up to her alpha-male husband too much, only to be devastated when he proved to be weak (in certain respects) too. 
Think about your expectations and talk to your husband about sharing the mundane side of marriage more. 
Your closing question makes me brisk. You must ‘cure’ what’s happening by exerting some self-control. There’s no magic involved in buttoning your lip when you feel a nasty comment coming on.
One trick is to hold it in your mouth like a boiled sweet, then slip into the bathroom and say it to the mirror. Try that. See how it feels to be on the receiving end and consider how much your criticism of him applies to you too. 
You and your husband are in this together, but unless you show some respect to the lovely man you married, you’ll be on your own.
 
And finally... We shouldn't be obsessed with blame
Inevitably I make a mistake from time to time, otherwise I’d be infallible, wouldn’t I? 
Cue Mr P.M. Buckley: ‘Regarding your typically biased reply (February 16) on men breaking up the marital home, a very simple internet trawl would show that women instigate more than twice (2.34 times) as many marital break-ups. Still, when has the truth ever mattered to misandrist ‘journalists’ such as you?’
My first response was to shrug that the guy obviously does not read this column regularly, otherwise he couldn’t possibly think me anti-men. 

TROUBLED? WRITE TO BEL

Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to: Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or e-mail bel.mooney@dailymail.co.uk.
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters, but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
Not at all. I love men and often take up the cudgels on their behalf.  
Then came this, far more measured, note from  Mr D. Anderson: ‘You wrote, “So yes, the men (and it is they who break up homes in the majority of cases )... ” 
This is actually incorrect insofar as women file for the majority of divorces (around two-thirds of the time... ).  
'I just wanted to correct your generalisation, which is plainly feminist propaganda. I enjoy your advice page,  so hope you will take the time to look at the actual current reality.’ 
So I did look — and I do apologise. My original comment was actually taken from an article about Chris Huhne’s son’s bitter estrangement from his father. 
What I had in mind — and what is certainly the generalised overview of this column — is that even if the woman has instigated the divorce, it tends to be in response to her husband’s affair/coldness/bad-temper/alcoholism/porn addiction. 
So if a man has gone off with his lover or had a series of affairs, and the wife files for divorce — who instigates the split? Statistically, yes, the wife. Who broke the marriage? 
The husband.  But does it make that much difference? Only if you have a narrow, gender-biased view.
My important point was that, whoever was at fault, parents must protect the children from their hatred and hurt. Please let’s focus on that.


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7 comments:

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  4. my name is JULIE MATTIE. When i read a testimony online on how dr.drust the great and most powerful spell caster online of great ultimate temple, i was wondering how can this be true, Because many has failed me in the past without any result from them. I just let the post pass by and move on the forum. To my notice under again, Some person posted and said tested and trusted spell caster. After reading through the mail it was this same dr.trust she was talking about. So i have no other option than to really check up how he works.I was totally devastated when my beloved lover left me. It was like my entire world vanishing into sorrow and pain. I know it sounds weird but out of all the spell casters I contacted, he was the only one to give me that impression of being so true and trustful. More than his words,He brought my lover back and he made all my wishes come true. He is now loyal, pays attention to me, he offers me flowers every Sunday, and we often go out at the cinema and the restaurant. I will be forever thankful for turning my life from hell to heaven! i believe who need help should get to him for help. TRULY SPEAKING THIS MAN IS REALLY A GREAT SPELL CASTER AS HE DID NOT FAIL ME BUT GRANT MY WISHES BY BRING MY HUSBAND BACK TO ME. email him for your own help (ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com tel:+2348156885231) to get the problem solve, Because there is no spell caster online like him. his website: http://ultimatespellcast-net.webs.com

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  5. I was in so much pain for three months after my Husband i got married to for 8 years ended our marriage for so many personal reasons!! I did all i could to get him back but he decline and told me to stop contacting him or looking for his whereabouts, i was so devastated that i was finding it difficult to live alone with my children. Just two weeks ago, i saw so many comment about getting your ex back so i did a research and i came across this spell caster said to be real and reliable. I contacted him and narrated all my problems to him, and i was so surprised when my husband came home pleading to accept him back! Thus i never believed in spell caster but i was so happy to get help from such a supernatural spell caster with just a little sacrifice. I recommend you get in touch with this great spell caster for any kinda help!!! Contact Dr. Iyayi via email: dr.iyayispiritual.herbalspell@gmail.com

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  6. Husbands really need to be careful of other woman outside their marriage,this was a true life story that happened to me to my own notice my sister took my husband from me the Husband whom i have love so much and promise me that no woman will take him from me but all of a sudden things turned apart if not for my friend hear in USA that told me i needed a spell caster that can cast a spell to separate them maybe by now he must have went for a divorce which could have made me commit suicide because i loved him so much likewise like him also but how things turn around was a thing that surprised me.
    I vowed that any thing it could cost me i must separate him and my elder sister i then collected the contact of this spell caster from my friend Mary she told me his name is dr aluda and his email is aludaspelltemple@gmail.com i contacted him and narrated the whole story to him he consulted and found out that my sister visited a spell caster that casted a spell that made him love her i then ask him what to do he told me that this spell needed to be broken so that my husband can leave her alone and come back to me the spell was broken and within three days he began to hate her that he even beat her up before he said to her that it is over between him and her right now my husband is with me again and take good care of me like he have never done before i thank my friend Mary but i own all thanks to dr aluda for bringing back my husband and i therefore for advice that if you notice any strange behavior in your marriage or your boy friend or girlfriend is cheating you contact dr aluda to know the root of it he will surely help you out and give an everlasting solution to it.his email address again is aludaspelltemple@gmail.com or call and whatsapp him on +2348063930531
    Reggie Joan
    Am from usa

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