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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have a close friend who does not seem concerned that she

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I have a close friend, just turned 60, who does not seem concerned that she has no job, borrows money to pay essential bills (heat, rent) and she does not seem to be looking for work either. I know she has suffered from depression in the past and she was fired from her last few jobs. She claims non of it was her fault. This is all so strange as she is a pleasant and interesting person overall, but does not follow through on much.   I seem to care more about her future than she does - this has put us at odds. I think I need to be quiet and let her fail on her own, but how does a friend do this with compassion and without meddling. SGD

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like from your description that you are concerned that your friend is not motivated to work in order to pay her bills. You mentioned that she has had depression in the past as well.


Since I am unable to speak with her directly, I am going to hazard a guess here. It sounds as if your friend may still have depression. She may also be affected by the few times she was fired from her jobs. That in and of itself can cause someone to not want to try again for fear of the same thing happening and they would be fired again.


You can talk with your friend and see if you can spot some of the signs of depression. Signs of depression include down mood, a general sense of sadness, tearful, decreased pleasure in most or all activities, trouble sleeping or too much sleep, feeling tired all the time, and possible thoughts of dying.


If your friend has signs of depression, you can offer to talk with her. Listen, but don't judge. Offer some solutions if appropriate, but don't try to problem solve for her. If you want, you could suggest counseling. Offer to help her find someone to see. She mostly needs someone who will understand her and listen. However, if she expresses thoughts of hurting herself and seems to have a plan, get her help immediately. You can contact your local mental health center or an ER for guidance.


Here are a couple of books that may help you- Talking to Depression: Simple Ways To Connect When Someone In Your Life Is Depressed by Claudia J. Strauss and Martha Manning and The Real Friend's Guide To Depression by Mr. XXXXX XXXXX. has these books available or your local library may be able to get them for you.


Besides being a good friend, there is not much else you can do for her. She has to figure this out for herself. Just be there like you already are. She is blessed to have a friend who cares.


I hope this has helped you,




Edited by Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC on 12/27/2010 at 10:14 PM EST
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