I'm Stuck: Between A Rock And A Rock.

I have no idea what to do with the current situation I'm finding myself in.

I have a friend who I have known since high school. During her junior year both of her parents died and her life has done nothing but go downhill since then. When times have been rough I've done what I can to help her out. The thing is, I don't know if I've helped enough or helped too much.

We now go to the same college. She is in her fourth year and I am in my third. Things had been ok for the past couple of years. Then they got harder. Her half-sister won't let her stay in her own parent's house. She barely gets to see her 6-year old neice more than twice a year. She's tried to get help from her other siblings to convince her half-sister to sell their natal home so they can split the money they get, but so far it hasn't happened. 

Last summer was one of the most trying experiences of our lives. She'd been living in her aunt's house for the summer for one week, and her aunt, being bipolar and prone to manic episodes, decided to kick her out. I provided her with a place to stay at my house until a kind old couple from her church offered her a place to stay for the weekend. It helped immensly. Since she didn't have a car, or even a license, my parents and I loaned her one of our bikes to use to get around. Still, I found myself driving her nearly eveywhere--which became difficult, as we both had jobs. I would get calls from her at work just wanting to talk to me on her breaks, even though I specifically told her not to. Even when I got out of work I would get calls on the drive home from her asking me to take her somewhere. Once I even had to drive her to the ER after I got a voicemail filled with her sobbing and moaning that she wished she were dead. She only cut her foot on a rusty nail while at work (she was a lifeguard) but it seemed that absolutely no one there wanted to take her to the hospital themselves. 

She came to lean on me more and more, and I, being the bleeding heart I was, just didn't know how to say no. She wanted to spend every evening with me, would call me at odd hours of the night, so frequently I had to force myself to turn off my phone at night just to have some peace. I've helped her move all of her possessions from one place of residence to another. When the couple went on vacation and she couldn't stay at their house, I insisted on her staying in mine until they got back.

My parents had been very patient through all of this. They felt for her too, and were prepared to help her as much as they possibly could. But they noticed that she never really explained HOW they could help her, and she would seem to reject everyone's advice on the principle that she knew better. My belief is that she's become so self-reliant that she simply adapts an attitude of superiority that she knows what to do in every situation (she's critiqued my driving skills enough). Well, to make a long story short, after I consented to loan her $200, which was originally meant to pay the encumbrances that kept her from registering for classes that semester, and instead went to buying herself a new phone, after her church gave her the money to cover the educational expenses, mom and dad decided that I'd helped her enough.

Since that summer, she has yet to pay me back. Last semester, she barely spoke to me, even when she was over at my dorm with her other friends. She seemed to be avoiding me. I felt hurt, especially after how grateful she always told me she'd been to me for the summer. Then, a week before the holidays, she turned up, "out of the blue" as it were, telling me she wanted to spend more time with me, and that she'd been away so much because she'd been "severely depressed." I found that a little hard to consume, even though I did know that she herself had bipolar disorder. I also knew that she occasionally smoked marijuana when the fancy hit her. The holidays came, and went, and I didn't see or hear from her save for  "merry x-mas" and "happy new year" texts on my phone. After I went back to school, she showed up at my dorm with the same story, telling me how much she'd missed me, and asking if she could use the bike I had been given by my old roommate since hers was broken. I was really reluctant, but then she gave me $5 of the $200 she owed me, saying that it would come every week until the debt was paid. Silly me. She's still got the bike, and I haven't got more than that $5.

Now, we're up to present day. I'm trying to convince my father to let me live off campus in an apartment with another one of my friends. Unfortunately, I let it slip about the bike to my mother on her visit here last Valentine's Day, and she promptly told my father--only with the best intentions of course. He was, to say the least, very frustrated that I had let her use yet another one of my resources and told me that withholding this fact from him made him lose some of his confidence in my ability to be independent. Now I basically have to choose between the apartment, and my "friend." My parents told me that she had used me enough and that she shouldn't be asking any more of me after how she's treated me. Well, I finally made up my mind to start saying no, but I don't think today should have been that day.

It's her 22nd birthday today and she is, well was, supposed to have a party. around 7:15 she sent me a text, telling me to call her because she wanted to kill herself. When I did, she told me that three "friends" who had promised to take her out to lunch today had, well, broken that promise. She also told me that she had been fired from her job, because she'd called in too many sick days. She has been sick a lot, which is no surprise since she works with kids at her job. She told me, in a voice choked with tears and already rough from crying, that she had no idea how she was going to pay her rent on the 1st. Well, before all this came out, I tried to tell her, in the calmest voice possible, about my dad and the bike, and she promptly said I could have it back, and that she would "just walk everywhere." Well, I said, "Don't do that." And then she said that if that was the way I and my dad felt, that she didn't want "****Ing jack **** from him or me anymore." Then she said she'd had nothing to eat for three days, told me she would be drinking tequila until she fell asleep, and promply hung up.

I normally would call my dad about these situations, but I couldn't with his current opinion of her. I had no one else to tell. I feel terrible for what I said, even if it wasn't really that terrible, but still. My father told me that I shouldn't feel like I have the sole responsibility of taking care of her. He's right, but why do I still feel so guilty? I feel that I just couldn't stand it if something truly terrible suddenly happened to her, like committing suicide for instance. I wouldn't want to feel responsible for it. I feel like such an unbelievable coward right now, like the worst person in the world. I truly had hope to still be her friend, but she has pushed all of her "good" friends away, with her severe dependence as much as her mood swings, and she unfortunately chooses to hang out with the "wrong" kind of people instead. I have no idea what to do. What can SHE do now? I know she needs help, on a professional as well as financial level, but I can't bring myself to give her any more, and I have no idea how she could afford the help she needs. She feels now that no one wants her, no one cares about her, and she's completely lost faith in humanity, in GOD. I've prayed for her as much as a person can pray for a human being. It honestly hasn't helped as much as I've liked it to.

I have no other answers. My mind's been bled dry. I can only hope that she hasn't killed herself by tomorrow and that someone will have the patience to read through this tragic monologue and provide the answers I so deperately need.

To anyone out there: I send out my SOS. I thank you for what you can do, and I simply thank you for listening.

jabberwock72588 jabberwock72588
22-25, F
2 Responses Feb 23, 2010

Thank you so much! Your suggestions seem really helpful and I will look into all of them! Thanks again! It's individuals like you who reinforce MY faith in the goodness of humanity. :-)

that's tough for you all. i want to give you all a big hug. in your empathy, you've taken on responsibility for her situation and not set clear boundaries but how best to set them now? <br />
as to your guilt, know that as awful as it is for her, it's her experience, her life, her choice. unfortunately her choices aren't seeing her clear at the moment & you've allowed them to impact negatively on your life also. <br />
trying to think of practical ways you can help without causing detriment to yourself and your resources. i'm thinking maybe the first thing is straight up honesty and sharing how you feel with her and that you don't know what to do but you do want to be there for her. <br />
there are free phone counselling organisations that can help guide her with some practical steps for the financial and emotional crisis - or help you through how your feeling too. in Aus we have organisations like Lifeline and Beyond Blue (depression) with 24 hour phone assistance. Under our Medicare scheme, GPs can also refer to a psychologist for something like 6 sessions at a much reduced rate.<br />
the tough thing is that however you approach it, it's her choice as to whether she steps up and takes responsibility, with or without assistance...'can lead a horse to water...can't make him drink'<br />
<br />
be thinking of you. xo