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5 year friend has disappeared


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Old 29th October 2014, 8:14 PM   #1
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5 year friend has disappeared

Hi all,

I have been friends with a girl for 5 years. We are early 30s. She has some issues with depression, and can sleep through an entire weekend. She lost a job because of her sleep issue. And on occasion she will completely miss a social commitment with no forewarning, usually because she doesn't get out of bed. Her bailing on a commitment happens maybe 1/10 times we have a plan...I've seen her miss plans with other people due to her sleeping, so it's not just me.

I have come to accept who she is. I still value her friendship. We are both single, totally platonic. We aren't best friends but over the years we have shared details of our lives and breakups etc. I will not "confront" her about her "no-show" episodes because I don't want to make her feel bad and contribute to her depression. I try not to take it personally. She always comes back around with a smile and an apology.

Recently I invited her out to a group thing. She said she would get back to me. The day of the event I did not hear from her. That's not that unusual, I let it go. A few days later I invited her to a second group thing. She did not reply. This is slightly unusual because she normally replies to a second prompt. Still, I'm trying not to take it personally. I finally called a few days later to check on her. She did not answer.

I finally sent a text just saying it was unusual not to hear from her. No response. I know she made one post to facebook a couple days ago, so she is not incapacitated.

Thoughts?

I am not going to reach out again. Two attempts at contact would normally be my limit, but I made three attempts because she takes a little more prodding normally.

When we do hang out we always get along and there is no issue.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by couchcushion; 29th October 2014 at 8:18 PM..
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Old 29th October 2014, 9:02 PM   #2
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I can relate to this because something similar happened to me a few years ago. I think what happens after a certain age is people only have so much energy, for whatever reason. Hers was depression. So they drop a lot of people and activities off their agenda. Most of it is not at all intentional or a conscious decision. They just don't do something unless they have to or really really want to.

Me and this woman were meeting up and it was a bit of a drive because of the traffic here. We'd do lunch and occasionally a concert or party. She seemed upbeat and fairly energetic for her age. All was well. Her mother went into assisted-living close to where I live. My friend had a grown daughter and 5 grandkids and she picked the grandkids up from school. I had done this with her once before because she'd ask me to stick around for that and then ended up stuck at her home because by then it was rush hour.

Well, things began to tilt to where all she ever wanted to do was me come there and babysit her while she babysat the kids. She didn't want to go out to eat anymore. She never wanted to drive to my town and was asking me to do all the driving to her place. Then I found out she'd been to her mom's place near where I live and not took that opportunity to do a quick lunch or anything.

I eventually found out she was staying in bed all the time. She had gone off her pills for her bipolar and was depressed. She didn't want to take her pills because it made her gain a little weight. So she only got up when she had to to pick up the kids or go see her mom. She basically quit anyone that wasn't family.

Anyway, don't give up on your friend if you know she's depressed. I offended all but the most stalwart of my friends isolating myself during my long depression. I would only go to them if they said they needed me. I wasn't very good company, of course, at that time. I had no joy except what joy I borrowed from my good old dog. Keep checking in with her and find some excuse to get her out of bed.

funny story:
During my depression, one friend of mine told me he had hemorrhoids and needed me to drive across town to where he lived and go to the drug store and find something to help him. When I got there, I went to the drug store, asked the pharmacist what all to get, and one thing was colloidal oatmeal, which is a packet of some weird oatmeal you add to a tepid bath and once it's just right you can tell because it looks exactly like vomit floating on top of the water.

So I brought that home, ran his bath, put the oatmeal vomit in, and told him to get on in there. He stoicly sat down in the vomitous mess. When he got out he made me drink a highball and fixed dinner for me and made me stay and eat. I later realized he orchestrated all that just to get me to shower and leave the house. He was a true friend. He forced me to have some recreation and gave me a good story to tell for decades.
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Last edited by preraph; 29th October 2014 at 9:10 PM..
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Old 30th October 2014, 1:25 AM   #3
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Hi preraph,

Thanks very much for taking the time to write that out. I loved the oatmeal story and that friend did a really nice thing for you.

I am definitely trying to stick by this friend of mine. Normally, if someone blew me off like this for two consecutive invites (not even bothering to reply), I would stop inviting. But I try not to take it personally from her, and try to reach out more than I normally would because I assume some of her MIA behaviour is due to the depression.

I guess seeing that she made a post on facebook to another person a couple days ago made me worry this time that her silence actually is personally directed toward me. I mean, how can you post on facebook but not respond to my texts?

I don't think I have done anything wrong, but who really knows?

Anyone else have comments on similar friendships?
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Old 30th October 2014, 3:48 PM   #4
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I don't think you can take it directly personally. As I said, she may only have so much energy as depression is very draining. She may overall feel she has little to contribute because she's feeling so negative. In my case, I avoided one whole set of music friends because music was all tied in with my problems, and I felt most comfy around my nonmusic friends, mostly gay guy friends. It's all too internal and mostly unconscious for you to try to sort out her reasoning, so as long as she isn't asking for space or being downright nasty, just do what you're doing. That's a good friend.
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Old 30th October 2014, 6:47 PM   #5
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Thanks, preraph. It's nice to have the perspective of someone who was once in a depression. I'm going to back off for now for my own sanity (don't want to be rejected for a fourth time) and try my best not to take it personally. Hopefully she will come around at which point I would be willing to put it all behind us.

I'm thinking maybe I will try to be only positive next time I'm with her, assuming I see her again. Sometimes I say whatever is on my mind, good or negative, and maybe she is more sensitive to it. For instance, last time I saw her I might have been a bit sad because I just ended a relationship. Did you find you were turned off by friends who were too negative or maybe too positive during your depression?
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Old 30th October 2014, 6:56 PM   #6
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Send your friend a private note - Let her know that if she needs any help when she's feeling down or not feeling well, you'd be glad to bring her a meal or just hang out with her, watch a movie. I can relate a bit to this because at times when my anxiety acts up, I prefer to be in smaller groups, and not out with tons of people. She probably is a bit embarrassed and thinks that people are judging her. She isolates, not on purpose but because she doesn't want people to see her at her worst. Asking for help is hard enough, double/triple that when you're feeling depressed, nobody wants to be a burden which is why so many suffer in silence.

Don't give up on her. If she doesn't reply back, just give her some space and try again another time.
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Old 30th October 2014, 7:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by whichwayisup View Post

Don't give up on her. If she doesn't reply back, just give her some space and try again another time.
Thanks, WWU. I'm going to give her space for now, but not give up overall. It's just hard for me to keep being rejected, as I have my own issues with anxiety, rejection, and a recent break up! A fourth rejection would be too much right now.

Is it not strange though, that she was on facebook a few days ago but is not replying to my text messages?

I guess the reality is it's impossible to know what's going on in her head. Maybe it's the depression, maybe it is something about me. All I can do is to try to let it go. I will be sure to update if/when she ever contacts me.
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Old 30th October 2014, 8:08 PM   #8
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I'm not buying the excuses, sorry. I suffer from bad depression, but if a friend contacts me, I always reply and am courteous. It's about how you're brought up, your values.

Why is it that people post crap on facebook to get vague attention off associates/acquaintances anyway, I see it every day on FB and it boils my p-ss!!!

Depression is very very difficult to deal with, but affirmation from friends to your existence should be a bonus, not a hindrance.
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Old 30th October 2014, 9:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by couchcushion View Post
Thanks, preraph. It's nice to have the perspective of someone who was once in a depression. I'm going to back off for now for my own sanity (don't want to be rejected for a fourth time) and try my best not to take it personally. Hopefully she will come around at which point I would be willing to put it all behind us.

I'm thinking maybe I will try to be only positive next time I'm with her, assuming I see her again. Sometimes I say whatever is on my mind, good or negative, and maybe she is more sensitive to it. For instance, last time I saw her I might have been a bit sad because I just ended a relationship. Did you find you were turned off by friends who were too negative or maybe too positive during your depression?
Well, I think if you can get the attention of someone depressed and you're lucky enough that their depression isn't the only topic they are talking about, then you have the obligation to try to find something entertaining or fun to discuss to lighten her mood. Her favorite tv show or just anything. Ask her what she's watching lately and then if you aren't familiar, start watching it just so you can banter back and forth about the plot. Depressed people desperately need a little joy and no pressure. Pressure is one thing you just can't handle when you are too depressed to even handle yourself. You can't expect a depressed person to take on any pressure or guilt or make them feel obligated. Just try to give them a little joy and get them out of the house if possible. If she has a pet, always check on the pet. Depressed people can forget to take care of not only themselves but others. For me, my pet was my only joy at the time, and I would talk about her to anyone, depressed or not. Ask her what she does to cheer herself up and then take that ball and run with it.

Ask her if there is anything she's needing or been wanting to do or go see. Since depressed people have trouble functioning, be sure there isn't something falling apart around her house or apartment and that the bills are getting paid and all that. If she's got any problems with utilities, offer to make the call or whatever to ease her load.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 9:55 AM   #10
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Preraph, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think maybe my two invitations were too much pressure and made her feel obligated, then guilty that she didn't respond or attend.

It's been just over 2 weeks now since I last heard from her. If she does get in touch again I will try to keep things more upbeat.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 10:44 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcnulty View Post
I'm not buying the excuses, sorry. I suffer from bad depression, but if a friend contacts me, I always reply and am courteous. It's about how you're brought up, your values.

Why is it that people post crap on facebook to get vague attention off associates/acquaintances anyway, I see it every day on FB and it boils my p-ss!!!

Depression is very very difficult to deal with, but affirmation from friends to your existence should be a bonus, not a hindrance.
I agree with this. A depressed person avoiding a social engagement is one thing. It might just be too much for them at that specific time. However, to ignore a text or message on Facebook or anything else that is a different matter. It's not hard to respond briefly to a friendly, "reaching out" message - even if it's just to say "sorry I'm not being very sociable at the moment, but thanks for thinking of me."

Depression doesn't dictate a person's entire personality. A polite and caring person will still be polite and caring even while they're suffering from depression. They might well withdraw from others, but in doing so they'll probably take pains to do it in a way that doesn't leave others feeling rejected. Unless their personality is generally that of an ignorant *******, in which case they'll probably expect others to be endlessly tolerant of every bit of bad behaviour they unapologetically indulge themselves in on the basis that "I'm depressed, and this is how depressed people behave". No it isn't. Not unless they've a tendency towards rude, selfish behaviour in the general course of events.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 12:48 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by couchcushion View Post
Thanks, preraph. It's nice to have the perspective of someone who was once in a depression. I'm going to back off for now for my own sanity (don't want to be rejected for a fourth time) and try my best not to take it personally. Hopefully she will come around at which point I would be willing to put it all behind us.

I'm thinking maybe I will try to be only positive next time I'm with her, assuming I see her again. Sometimes I say whatever is on my mind, good or negative, and maybe she is more sensitive to it. For instance, last time I saw her I might have been a bit sad because I just ended a relationship. Did you find you were turned off by friends who were too negative or maybe too positive during your depression?
I think more by ones who were too positive! It seemed insensitive.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 7:08 PM   #13
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You know what would help me more than anything to get out of my depression and face the **** i have to face head on? Having friends support me, that simple...it gives you strength, affirmation and a sense of belonging.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 10:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Taramere View Post
I agree with this. A depressed person avoiding a social engagement is one thing. It might just be too much for them at that specific time. However, to ignore a text or message on Facebook or anything else that is a different matter. It's not hard to respond briefly to a friendly, "reaching out" message - even if it's just to say "sorry I'm not being very sociable at the moment, but thanks for thinking of me."

Depression doesn't dictate a person's entire personality. A polite and caring person will still be polite and caring even while they're suffering from depression. They might well withdraw from others, but in doing so they'll probably take pains to do it in a way that doesn't leave others feeling rejected. Unless their personality is generally that of an ignorant *******, in which case they'll probably expect others to be endlessly tolerant of every bit of bad behaviour they unapologetically indulge themselves in on the basis that "I'm depressed, and this is how depressed people behave". No it isn't. Not unless they've a tendency towards rude, selfish behaviour in the general course of events.
This is really interesting. I looked at some of our old messages. A couple months or so ago, I invited her somewhere, and she responded that she wasn't feeling very upbeat, low mood, but thanks for the invite. So she is totally capable of doing this, and she obviously has been honest with me in the past. Which makes me wonder what is different this time.

I know this is the internet, and we're all anonymous. But you'll have to trust me that she is normally quite considerate and thoughtful. For example, she will bring me small gifts when we get together, even if it's just a can of pop that I like, or a candy bar.

I am left wondering if there is a problem with her phone and not getting my texts. One of the last text messages she sent was asking me to repeat what I had written because she could tell not all my texts came through.

I hope I will be able to update you all if/when I hear from her again.
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Old 2nd November 2014, 10:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Mcnulty View Post
You know what would help me more than anything to get out of my depression and face the **** i have to face head on? Having friends support me, that simple...it gives you strength, affirmation and a sense of belonging.
I totally hear you on that.
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