Cecilia from Hungary talks about the difficulties of finding the fine line of being supportive and helpful to a friend who might need help.
Sometimes we are the ones going through a crisis, sometimes it’s someone else. In my case, it’s usually someone else. I had it easy, and for many years I thought that those whiny people just need to toughen up. If I can take it, so can everyone else. I needed some time to see that it’s not like that.
Take my friend for example. He was my high school classmate, and while I was getting over my “really tough” break-ups, he stumbled through his life in a completely different situation.
When I first met him, he was this nerdy person, always sleeping through half a day, spending the other half drawing scary monsters everywhere. This already seems weird for a teenage girl, but I noticed something else too: he had drinking problems at the age of 16. He didn’t know when or how to stop, and when he got drunk, he lost control. Once I saw him with a huge knife in his hands, contemplating murderous and suicidal plans. Scary, right? The only reason him and I became friends was that we both liked Tolkien’s world. I recognised that he’s trouble. I was a bit scared of him, to be honest, so our friendship remained shallow at this time.
Cut to 6-7 years later, there’s a class reunion, and we start talking. We get along well, start chatting more and more often. By this time, I’m over a long-term relationship, and he’s over some relationships and a crazy amount of flings that have all overlapped with each other. The overlapping raised my suspicion: was he still not OK, after all these years? (No, he wasn’t.)
As we talked more and more, I realized that he simply cannot function on his own. No girl=no confidence. No sex for a while=catatonic state. (No, I’m not exaggerating.) In his words: he’s only worth anything if he can pass his genes on. He wants kids badly. But, if it’s at all possible, he wants sex even worse.
Do you see where this heading? No, not to a prudish rant about his random flings. There’s a worrying pattern. The lack of sex pushes him into a hook-up, the one night stand turns into dating, he falls in love, the relationship blossoms. So far so good. Up until last week, I cheered him on every time, despite the fact that the ladies were all in other relationships (or married). The problems start later though. Since the women are in a difficult situation, they don’t want the clingy puppy that he turns into when he’s in love. They start pulling away, gasping for some air, and who can blame them? He freaks out, gets even more clingy. The fights start and turn really nasty soon, with all sorts of emotional blackmailing on his part.
Last time, the issue of self-harm and suicide came up. (Yeah, I get the screenshots of their texts.) Then, of course, the inevitable break-up happens, and in a few months/weeks, when he has enough of celibacy, the circle starts again. Last week he confessed his love to another married woman he hooked up with. I lost it. I told him off, virtually screaming, because I feel he’s driving off that cliff. Last time the suicidal thoughts weren’t jokes. I worry that the story will repeat itself and he’ll end up worse than before.
But now he’s at least in therapy. He’s at least aware of the burden he carried from his family, and he at least has professional help. He asked for it, willingly, and not a moment too soon, he’s diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and just off his antidepressant therapy. He’ll be in good hands. If we let boys cry, probably more of them will ask for the help he barely dared to ask for. Stigmatization is still holding many people back from going to a psychologist.
…and if I can do it, so can anyone: I learnt the importance of professional mental help. So can you.
If you are worried about your friend and live in Hungary or anywhere else in Europe, search here for people you can speak to, to get help: https://mhe-sme.org/library/youth-helplines
Or read some advice here (english) https://www.annafreud.org/on-my-mind/helping-someone-else/
If you know of any other services in Europe that can help young people with concerns of a friend, please let us know who they are.