At The Risk of Losing Everything

I haven’t wanted to talk about it publicly because it isn’t my story to share but I am at a loss and I honestly don’t know what else to do to help this person whom I care about so much. I have a friend, who I will call John, who is suffering from Depression. He has stopped going to work, he doesn’t come out of his room until his roommate goes to bed at night or leaves for work for the day. He doesn’t seem to eat much during the day, because he hasn’t gone to work in three weeks, and therefore has no money for groceries. He just stays in his room. He has kept his phone shut off so that no one can reach him. He doesn’t respond to emails except to ask to be left alone. He doesn’t open the door when someone knocks, he responds only to tell the person on the other side of the door to go away.

We1 have discussed calling 911. We worry that he will be combative, and/or try to run away. If he is combative, we worry that the officers will need to use force or sedate him. We have discussed giving him an ultimatum – get your shit together or move out. Except he won’t have anywhere to go. In theory, I would happily take him in but part of the problem is that he doesn’t trust anybody… making it hard to get him to cooperate in any activity that would get him the help that he needs.

How do you help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves? I would listen to the advice that I’ve been given and just leave it alone but I can’t wait for the worst to happen. I can’t sit around and wait till things get bad enough and I end up getting that call that he has tried to kill himself.

Changing gears, and talking about myself for a minute: I have been stoic. Up until a couple of days ago, I have been able to practice stoicism and keep my cool about everything, but after a week and no change in behaviour, my anxiety has exploded in my gut and I can only manage to take shallow breaths. I reached out to the Toronto Distress Centre. They suggest calling 911. I tried reaching out to a mental health advocate who I admire, but I haven’t heard back from him yet. He’s a bit of a celebrity so I can understand the delay. I just hope he gets back to me eventually.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been pretty good about being patient… but a switch has flipped. I want something to change now, and I want to do something drastic to make it happen. Those are all the things I want… but this isn’t really about me is it?

Please, please send positive vibes to my friend. He needs all the help he can get right now.

Footnotes:
  1. his roommate and I[]