When Friends Interfere With Recovery


Anyone who has dealt with a mental illness knows how frustrating it is to not feel understood. Sometimes befriending another person who struggles with a mental disorder makes you feel like someone finally relates to you. But beware that not everyone is seeking treatment, but simply looking for someone to share all of their problems with. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping others work through their troubles, but when you become a therapist for that person, it is time to set boundaries.

It is exhausting having to deal with another person’s problems on top of your own. I am not saying to completely stop helping your friends, but when you have done everything to try and help but they won’t listen, you have to advocate for yourself. You can’t fully recover when your friend is constantly complaining about their life. I am the kind of person that will help anyone before helping myself. I find joy in making sure my friends are stable and living up to their potential. This has come with a cost though, considering I have yet to reach my full potential.

All of my friends depend on me, and it can be extremely stressful. When I am at my lowest point in life, I don’t want to pretend everything is alright to please the ones I care about. Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with friends reaching out to me for help, but refusing to take any of my advice. I know that not everyone heals the same way, but if you refuse to seek treatment and continue to always be negative without trying to fix your problems, it is tough to be helpful. I currently have a friend who constantly puts himself down, and refuses to seek help. He tries to make me feel bad for him, and it is draining to give advice to someone denying everything you say. I am so scared that something will happen to him, and I have already had to call a suicide hotline for him. I begged him to get help or at least call the hotline, but he refuses to do it. I finally stood up for myself and told him I can’t continue to talk to him until we have both recovered from our disorders.

He did not respect my decision at all and kept contacting me with all of his negativity. I refuse to block someone who is struggling so much, in case something were to happen. I need space from him, to have the ability to full recovery. He kept trying to make me feel guilty for needing space, and that is when I realized he doesn’t want help, he just wants me to feel bad for him. A few times he made me so worried that I would have a panic attack. I am not a professional therapist nor am I trained to give life advice, but I still tried my hardest to help him. I now realize it is not my job to fix him. I want everyone to know it is okay to need space from negative people. I am not saying you should unfriend them, but make sure you are helping yourself before attempting to help someone else. I want everyone to be happy, and live a life without a mental illness, or even a draining friend, weighing you down.

17 Replies to “When Friends Interfere With Recovery”

  1. you have to put yourself first, your own mental health is important maybe by showing him you are doing that it will in time give him the strength to do it for himself, there is more than one way to help someone, my girl has had this too eager to be there to support her friends with there anxiety, and mental health in the end she had to stop and take care of her own,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I struggle with that from time to time. I do, however, reach a limit. I just completely shut down all communication or kept it to a minimum at best. When I am dealing with a stressful situation, and someone close to me adds more to it, I just let them know. It does not go well at times, but boundaries are important. I am still learning on the latter.

    Hope time does well for both of you.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a friend like this, very toxic. I focused so much on helping her, it seemed as if I started to take on her problems as well as my own. It was very difficult, but I had to sever the friendship. We have to care for ourselves first, or we won’t be able to help others.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wonderful post. This is exactly what I am afraid of. I have this wonderful friend who is a great listener and most supportive, but rarely speaks about herself. On the other hand, I have been sharing every little detail of my day with my mom since nursery, hence I could barely contain anything in when I was with my friends. So it would have occurred many times that the entire time we hanged out together, we talked about our problems and solutions. But when it comes to her problems, we know there are many, we would actually plan and strategize to make her speak a little about herself. I can’t imagine how much I had drain that girl time and again unintentionally. So as soon as I realized what I may or may not had been doing (because swear on god, I know how to be drained by others), I started learning to blabber less and listening more. I think I have learned to some extent. But I am still afraid of speak out. Hence reading (a lot) and writing (a little) are my best outlet. Thank you again for this post, and thank you all for being here❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t be afraid to speak out! Just make sure you and your friend are able to set boundaries, and equally talk about yourselves. I am glad you are able to push your friend to get out of her comfort zone, and not limit herself to just listening. I also think writing is an amazing outlet!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Good post. It is important to take care of yourself first. It’s hard when you care for and about others. I too want to help people and often ignore my own needs in the process. Then I wonder why I feel so worn out. Backing away is hard but often necessary.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The goal is to use “I” statements in order to validate your needs, while still recognizing the other person’s. State how you feel without putting blame on anyone. Hopefully in return the person will be more understanding and recognize the problem

      Liked by 1 person

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