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This Dying Friend of Mine

Okay, so this is a long and complex story that I have significantly simplified, so hang in there with me.

Just a trigger warning also, I’m going to mention self-harm and suicide. If these will seriously affect you, please take care of yourself and stop reading now.

A little background on me. I've grown up a relatively easy life. We've never had a whole heap of anything but my family is really close, we get along really well and I've never really gone without anything essential. I'm well known in my school community, been a leader among my peers since about Year 9. I'm in Year 12, so everything is about to finish in less than six weeks. But Uni is pretty much settled with a conditional offer so no worries there.

I've known I'm attracted to girls since Year 7, which I suppose technically qualifies me as gay, as I was born a girl. I'm not too fussed with labels but they help people around me understand and I suppose that's for the better. I've never been bullied or anything. My cohort has been awesome, often joking along with me. In fact, some of them actually forget sometimes. That's how little they care. Recently, however, I have begun to (internally) identify as androgynous/gender neutral. I've only told a couple of friends. It's been a bit of an ordeal this year, as originally I was afraid (not meant as an insult, just internal fear) I was Trans* and the repercussions of this were pretty dramatic. However, I've come to identify as neutral rather than opposite, which has been very significant for me. It wasn't about building myself as it is for some, it was about finding and establishing myself. As a result of this and some pretty serious other stuff I won't go into here, I had depression for about a year but never got medication. I'm back into my own mind now but I'm always afraid I'll sink back.

Obviously on top of this, Year 12 is the most ridiculous thing that ever happened to education and Stress is the Word of the Day, every day.

Now, this friend of mine. She is completely wonderful. Very intelligent, incredibly compassionate, community minded, a natural leader among peers, a talented singer and dancer, has an amazing work ethic, has a great sense of humour, and of course, to top it all off, she is completely gorgeous. I wish I was exaggerating but I'm really, really not. She's the whole thing.

But... (and this is a very big qualifying clause) she is monumentally screwed up. Her parents and step-parents are either dead, alcoholics or complete sociopaths, and she has pretty much had to raise herself. As a result, she's also learnt to manipulate to get people's affection. So she's also a liar. I see right through her lies but she doesn't know that.

And now she's dying. She needs an organ transplant. She's on the waiting list but we all know what it’s like getting organs these days. She needs a transplant because her body has trained itself to stop absorbing nutrients after she starved herself for weeks. She tried to kill herself again after the doctors told her she needs a transplant.

And this friend is more than a friend. We have a really complex relationship. Basically I had pretty strong feelings for her for a while and I told her. Gender isn't an issue, but she has a boyfriend. I know, I’m a terrible person, telling someone in a relationship to leave it for you. Believe me, I know I’m a dick. I stepped back once I came to my senses. However, this means that our relationship is pretty precarious, as we both have feelings for each other but agreed nothing would happen.

But now she’s dying, and that pretty much means I will absolutely not back away . There is also a chance that if I do try to ease off on the friendship that she'll try and kill herself again, and I will not be responsible for that.

Everything between us has all happened within the last month and a half.

Please, somebody give me advice on what to do. My friend is dying, but I must also take care of myself. How do I deal? Does anyone have a similar experience?

- ForeverWaiting

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Re: This Dying Friend of Mine

Hi there @ForeverWaiting,

First up, welcome to ReachOut. It's a pretty supportive bunch here, you've found a good place to get support and advice. Smiley Happy

Sounds like you are having a really full on year. And of course it happens while Year 12 is going on!!

It sounds like you're asking 'how do I be close to someone who is dying, while not getting (more) hurt than I will be by them dying?" Of course it's never easy to be there while someone you care about is dying. But especially when other stuff is complicating things like you want to be with them, but they have a partner, etc etc. But the great thing is from the way you've explained the situation, you are already thinking about how to manage your personal boundaries, instead of just taking on all her pain. That is really smart.

Here's a fact sheet on Being there for a sick friend, which you might find helpful. It's got some tips for you and for your friendship. I guess one really important thing to remember is that if you're not looking after yourself, it is really REALLY hard to be there for someone else. 

Also, while it's scary to think that someone else might try to kill themselves, you are not responsible for anyone else trying to take their life. That is a responsibility you cannot take on yourself. (I *have* been in this situation before). Here's some more info on that: My friend is suicidal. Do you think your friend would be receptive if you suggested she talk to someone like her family or doctor about feeling suicidal?

Do you have someone in your life you can talk too about all this stuff? You need support too. Smiley Happy

 

Cheers
blithe

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Re: This Dying Friend of Mine

Hey @blithe, thanks so much for those links. They were both really helpful.

I'm sorry I was a bit unclear. Basically I just feel like I'm stuck. There's no way in and no way out.

The school doens't actually know yet, so I definitely plan on telling a teacher, who also happens to already be informed about the situation with her family. They don't know that she tried to commit suicide (again) and to be honest I don't think they know about all the other times.

There are people to talk to, but words will only get me so far. Actions speak louder than words, I just have no clue what action to take.

Anyway, thanks again blithe.

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Re: This Dying Friend of Mine

Hey @ForeverWaiting,

I'm glad there's a teacher you can talk to about your friend. I'm sorry you feel stuck. Don't give up on the idea of talking about what you're going through, sometimes the process of talking can help you figure out the right thing to do. Wishing you and your friend all the best. Smiley Happy

blithe