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Wedding Woes

Twitter turmoil

Dear Prudence,
I go to a small university in a small city and live together with five friends in a house we rent out. This situation is wonderful—apart from one friend, “Ellie.” Ellie has severe mental health issues, as do many of us in the house. (I myself am in the middle of a major depressive period, which I am in treatment for.) Ellie spends most of the day in her room, posting on her Twitter account (we all follow each other) about how depressed she is, about acts of self-harm she wants to commit, about how much she wishes she could be with her friends (we are her only friends), and about how suicidal she often is.

I understand she needs to vent, but this is difficult to deal with when we are constantly reaching out to her, trying to help her get help, saying that we are here if she wants to talk, and generally trying to help the best we can. Her tweets are hard to read and often seem intended to make us feel bad about hanging out without her, when we invite her constantly and she ignores our invites! We have suggested therapy, and one of our friends has physically gone with her to student support services. These constant posts about how miserable she is when she will not accept any help make us feel awful, and we’re becoming less and less sympathetic. This has been going on for months. How do we deal with this?
—Home Stuck in Hell

Re: Twitter turmoil

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    Depending on how they want to proceed, they might want to tell roomie that next time she posts about self harm they will call for help. That’s too much to constantly deal with. I like the unfollow suggestion too. This kind of reminds me of a friend I used to have. We tried so hard to help her, but in the end she didn’t want to use the resources. There was only so much we could do. And then whenever someone was having an upswing in their life, suddenly she would be in crisis. Eventually we had to draw a line for our own mental health and well-being. 


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    eileenrobsparklepants41short+sassyernursej
  • Unfollow her on Twitter and talk with your own therapist about how to draw healthy boundaries. 
    charlotte989875eileenrobshort+sassy
  • levioosa said:
    Depending on how they want to proceed, they might want to tell roomie that next time she posts about self harm they will call for help. That’s too much to constantly deal with. I like the unfollow suggestion too. This kind of reminds me of a friend I used to have. We tried so hard to help her, but in the end she didn’t want to use the resources. There was only so much we could do. And then whenever someone was having an upswing in their life, suddenly she would be in crisis. Eventually we had to draw a line for our own mental health and well-being. 

    I can't tell you how many times I have been in this situation, though usually not about mental health.  1) Friend complains about problem and/or asks for advice.  2)  I give super awesome, really helpful advice.  Not being boastful, it is, lol.  Often basic stuff but, like anything else, does take a little work and willingness to do something different than the usual.  3)  Friend doesn't take advice, keeps doing the same thing and keeps complaining about the same thing.

    Like the old adage.  You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.

    Plus, I think there are people out there who prefer to live in drama and tragedy.  Possibly a subconscious desire, but no less real.  Maybe the LW's roommate.  Possibly/probably she also suffers from depression.  But I'm assuming the roommates are neither doctors nor psychologists.  They cannot help her and they need to forgive themselves.  They can encourage her to seek professional help, but the roommate has to be open to being helped.

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    charlotte989875
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