A good friend of mine has been harming herself for some time. Recently she's told me that she wants to commit suicide. She seems to have thought about it a lot, saying she already knows where and how, but not when. I'm really worried about her and just don't know what to do. She made me promise to not tell anyone so I feel I've betrayed her just by writing this. But the thing is I'm finding it all hard to cope with and have started to feel depressed myself. I don't know what to do. I want to help her, but I also don't want to break my promise any more than I already have. How can I help her? And how do I help myself, I just want to be able to sleep at night again.
I'm really worried about her and just don't know what to do. She made me promise to not tell anyone so I feel I've betrayed her just by writing this. But the thing is I'm finding it all hard to cope with and have started to feel depressed myself.
I don't know what to do. I want to help her, but I also don't want to break my promise any more than I already have. How can I help her? And how do I help myself, I just want to be able to sleep at night again.
It sounds like you've been having a difficult time and have been supportive to your friend. Equally, it is clear your friend is going through a lot at the moment and it is great she trusts you enough to tell you how she is feeling.
Supporting someone you care so much about can be lot to take on, especially when they've asked you not to tell anyone. Although you might feel you've done all you can, you can continue to help by simply being there to listen without judgement. Befrienders International has further information about helping a friend who is suicidal.
The fact your friend has asked you not to mention her issues to anyone else suggests she may feel awkward or embarrassed about how extreme her thoughts and emotions right now. If your friend feels awkward about anyone else knowing, such as her family and friends, perhaps it would be helpful for her to speak to a professional about how she is feeling, for instance, a counsellor. Details of local counselling services can be found by contacting Youth Access on 020 8772 990.
Speaking to someone face to face can prove quite hard when someone is feeling particularly distressed. SANELINE is a national, out- of -hours mental health helpline offering confidential, non-judgemental emotional support and practical advice. You or your friend can call them on 0845 767 8000 from 12pm-2am everyday. They will also be able to offer information regarding local counselling and self-harm services, which could help your friend further.
Also, National Self-Harm Network is a UK focused survivor-led organisation, committed to campaigning for the rights and understanding of people whom self-harm. Priority is to support survivors and people whom self-harm but they also support the people it indirectly affects, like family and friends. People can discuss the issue and gain effective support on their discussion boards.
Being emotionally involved with someone who is experiencing such intense issues is admirable, but also very draining. It sounds as if you have been a great friend, but you have taken on a lot and it is important that you do not feel bad for writing to askTheSite. In order to continue being there for your friend, it is crucial that you bear in mind your friend is ultimately responsible for her own actions. Also, is there anyone to support you?
Depression can be a very isolating experience and you need not be alone. It can be treated with or without medication, combined with a form of talking therapy such as counselling. Your local doctor (GP) will be able to go through the options available with you.
Question answered by SANE