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Old December 29th, 2018 (8:46 AM).
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I'm in an awkward situation and I don't know what the best thing is to do.

I'm armchair diagnosing but I think my friend is bipolar and has depression. I'm not an expert so I really don't know but he's generally very hyper and peppy when happy but then extremely low and wallowing when sad. Take tonight: I texted him and then he sent me some really silly happy audio messages of him having fun with friends...but then like an hour later he called me crying and didn't really speak, just cried for a quarter of an hour and cried even louder whenever I said anything.

He's also got a lot more aggressive and short tempered recently but has realised this and says he really wants to work on that.

I told him I'm really not qualified to tell him what's wrong or what he should do to get better. I've told him a few times now I think it's best he goes to see a doctor. He said he is considering it but also says he doesn't want to share his feelings with anyone he doesn't know so he'd prefer to just talk to me about this stuff as I'm the "only one [he] feels comfortable sharing these feelings with". But his outbursts are getting more frequent and he's just trying to put paper over the cracks. That being said China, generally speaking, is of the philosophy that mental illness isn't a real thing so I don't know what the facilities here for this sort of thing are like. He did say he's considering going to see a doctor though so I assume there are facilities here for mental issues.

I'm really worried about saying the wrong thing... but then I can't just say nothing to him about it.

We don't really have mutual friends and he said he doesn't really like his family (I know he doesn't live with them since they're in a different city).

Right now I think I should really push the idea of him going to see a doctor.

Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?
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Old December 29th, 2018 (9:57 AM).
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UndertakerFreak1127 UndertakerFreak1127 is offline
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    Yeah, you said it a bit yourself there. You can only do so much as a friend, and you're not qualified to dole out medical advice. If he's truly exhibiting concerning signs of mental illness, the best you can do is be supportive and suggest some form of professional help.

    As someone who was misdiagnosed as bipolar (hooray, mukty American health care) it really irks me when people try to diagnose others without the proper education. Please don't be that guy.
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    Old December 29th, 2018 (9:20 PM).
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    Firstly, Thank You for being 'that' friend who cares so much they'd post to a forum for advice. That's the kinda friends I'm talkin about!

    I agree with undertaker, don't bother diagnosing. Who cares if they are? How 'you' be their friend will be the same, except if you suspect something less controllable on their part maybe you'll be more resilient and understanding through the process as it can be difficult to be the listening ear friend who is saught for advice too which is never actually acted on.

    How you actually respond really depends on the specifics. You said he cried a lot? But didn't say much specifically? Surely you at least know their subject of angst? What's weighing heavily on them from your perspective?

    P. S. If a friend ever shuns legit advice in liue of more comfortable advice from me, I'm going to point out that it's a mistake to box yourself into being limited to 1 person for support. Of course it's not comfortable. That's expected. So go find a doctor especially if you have insurance, and just plan ahead for what you want to say. But do not limit yourself to only me because of 'comfort'; especially considering you'll never gain new comfort until you start somewhere. If it's only me then you'll just make me your crutch, and when I'm not available then what? Know what I mean?
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    Old December 29th, 2018 (9:36 PM).
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by UndertakerFreak1127 View Post
    Yeah, you said it a bit yourself there. You can only do so much as a friend, and you're not qualified to dole out medical advice. If he's truly exhibiting concerning signs of mental illness, the best you can do is be supportive and suggest some form of professional help.

    As someone who was misdiagnosed as bipolar (hooray, mukty American health care) it really irks me when people try to diagnose others without the proper education. Please don't be that guy.
    Yeah I only mentioned about that specifically because he himself has mentioned it as something he possibly might have also, and to give an idea of (possible) symptoms he's showing for a condition in that direction. I'm definitely not going to give out medical advice or out and out diagnoses to him.

    I'm usually very blunt and honest with him about what I think which is I guess why he wants me to be his "therapist". But now I'm kind of afraid to say the wrong thing for fear of him not being able to take my honesty and possibly then do something drastic.

    I guess I'll just push forward with constantly telling him to go see a doctor.
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    Old December 29th, 2018 (10:11 PM). Edited December 29th, 2018 by ash_pikachu_98.
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    Are the subjects and situations your friend is conveying to you, shareable in some level of detail here, or you're not necessarily looking for that particular kind of advice? I ask since in my mind, bipolar or not, diagnosed or not, I'm going to approach personal needs of friends in a way no therapist ever could. They get an hour at a time. I'll still use the days and weeks of my time with them to become intimately aware if whatever their daily or weekly issues are.
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    Old December 29th, 2018 (11:06 PM).
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    He says he doesn’t really know why he feels the way he does. He doesn’t know why he’s happy one minute and extremely sad the next. There’s not a specific trigger he’s sure of himself but he says being preoccupied helps his mind not to wander to dark places.

    I’m mainly just asking for advice for the most appropriate way to talk to him when he calls me to talk and be his shoulder. I want to be there for him but then if there is a bigger issue I don’t want to enable his thinking speaking to someone more professional isn’t a good option to consider.
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    Old December 29th, 2018 (11:16 PM).
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    You sound like a really great friend. Just genuinely and unconditionally be there for them no matter what. One of the toughest things about talking to anyone is the vulnerability of transparency. Imagine, what if he has thoughts about hurting animals, or people? What you may hear details on could be just the tip to tease a reaction so they can gauge your potential level of judgement. Or maybe they've been a victim of something they've never told anyone, so beyond current day issues, there may be a thread rooted deep that perhaps only 1 other in the world knows. Hard to grasp how certain secrets can weigh on the heart and mind of a person. Be open for literally *anything*. You may be shocked by what you eventually hear so just be prepared for that possibility too.
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    Old December 30th, 2018 (4:08 AM).
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    Yeah he's hinted that he didn't have the nicest childhood but I didn't ask why since I think that's something he shouldn't be prompted to share.

    I think he'll react badly if I constantly push the idea of him going to seek help, especially with his current temper. But, and I hope this doesn't come off as selfish, it's also taking it's tole on me being the go to person he wants to breakdown to. I felt really horrible last night after I listened to screaming and literally nothing else for a long enough period of time that I didn't really sleep at all last night.
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    Old December 30th, 2018 (6:40 AM).
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      Hiding from the problem will not make it go away, it will keep getting worse until he (or you) reaches breaking point, he needs a professional to properly diagnose him so he can get the help he needs.

      You can't be his therapist, no matter how much he wants you to be. All you can do is be a good friend to him and you're already doing that. Just don't forget to look after yourself too and be your own friend. If he leans all of his emotional problems on you then you will buckle under the strain and then you'll both be in a bad place.

      If you are truely the only person he feels comfortable sharing with then perhaps you could go with him when he does see a therapist - which he really, really needs to do - that way he could talk to you about his issues while the therapist observes. A familiar, comforting figure can make a huge difference to someone with mental health issues. I think he would soon feel comfortable enough to deal with the therapist directly.

      I wish you the best, I hope it all works out well for both of you :)
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