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  1. #1
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    Default Possibly Suicidal ENFJ Friend

    I have an ENFJ friend I met in first grade. We've known each other for over twelve years now, and every year she, I, and another grade school friend of ours invite each other to our birthday parties, which usually include sleepovers. The third in our group (an INTJ) just had her nineteenth birthday party, and the ENFJ friend (we'll call her S) seemed so distant and removed from the whole thing, even though she did attend.

    Let me list a few of her recent behaviors that have started to perplex me:

    She seems promiscuous. By that I mean she seems to be dating a new guy every time I see her, and she's had a few pregnancy scares. All her relationships with guys seem remarkably shallow and brief, and she recently had a pregnancy scare with a male friend of hers whom she said took advantage of her while she was drunk.

    She recently (over the summer) received forced treatment for an eating disorder. She said her parents and high school counselor put her under a sort of "house arrest," but I don't know if you'd call that treatment, per se.

    She has body image problems and doesn't pass up the opportunity to lament something about her body. She definitely feels bad about it.

    She admits to taking tranquilizer pills, i.e., pills that will make her tired. I heard this through our mutual grade school friend. This worries me the most.

    She admits to drinking regularly. I see this, as well as the pills, as an attempt to self-medicate herself and relieve herself of a negative effective state. I would not be surprised if she became addicted in this way.

    She says she has a social anxiety disorder, which I don't doubt.

    She admits to having cut/mutilated herself in the past.

    I do think she's depressed. It seems as though she thinks she has no control over her life, and it seems possible that she also sees no end in sight for her pain, and no hope for a brighter future. She seems to minimize the good things that happen to her, and maximize the bad things.

    Last semester, when she and I had a few classes together, she would bring up her problems out of the blue, in normal, pleasant conversation, without any warning. I'm talking heavy stuff, like pregnancy scares, being taken advantage of sexually, her social anxiety issues, her body image issues, her worrisome monetary issues, etc, etc. I was usually so startled by the sudden change to a dark topic, and by her casual, light way of talking about it, that I really didn't know how to respond, how to make her feel better. It seemed to me that any advice I gave her was not really the purpose of bringing the topic up; she seemed to discard my advice as having no merit, and never used any of it. It seemed like she wanted to get all her hurt and anger and fear out, and I respected that, but I didn't know how to respond, especially considering we haven't been close since grade school (but we have remained old friends).

    Tonight I realized that I would not be surprised AT ALL to get a call from someone saying she had committed suicide. And I realize that if I would not be surprised AT ALL, she has to be going through a pretty horrible, horrible time. That, coupled with how tenuous life can be, is worrisome.

    Reading about the recently-publicized death of Heath Ledger made me tonight realize how quickly someone can die, because they think suicide or heavy self-medication is the only way to get relief. I do worry that she will take her own life, sooner or later, by accident or by choice, and I want to help her steer clear of that showdown.

    I'm looking for advice. I'm looking for responses from people who have been depressed and maybe even suicidal before. If there were something I could do to reach out, to make her feel like I care, to give her hope or comfort, could I? What could I do? What would you recommend? It's a serious topic, I know.

    Thank you,
    Mempy

    p.s. I gave her the MBTI in the past year or so, and she tested ENFJ. I agree with that assessment. She also tested as a six on the enneagram at V's birthday party, but I don't know about that assessment. My first and best guesses were that she was either a one or a three (or, less likely, a two), but given that sixes actually behave like threes when they're unhealthy, she could very well be a six, for all I know.

    This is just to give you more background. She's eighteen and a freshman in college, and she was raised Catholic. She's working long hours as a waitress. And by long I mean, /long/. We're talking 40 hours a week as well as being a full-time student. At the same time, those things have to be staggering. I'd wager calling her "overworked" is an understatement, but she refuses to work less and focus on school, and it makes me passionate that she puts herself through that kind of stress. Last semester, her grades severely suffered, and I bet that was a low blow, especially because she's always received good grades, and I know how much my grades matter to me (and how much they matter to others).

    She's going through such a rotten time. Give me some advice. Can I help her? How?
    Last edited by Mempy; 01-23-2008 at 04:16 AM.
    They're running just like you
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  2. #2
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    answered by PM
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  3. #3
    More human than human MetalWounds's Avatar
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    I think that perhaps, she has lost, or failed at something that is dearly close to her. The fact that she admits to such things only affirms that she is seeking help from those around her. I think that most ENFJs need a higher calling/moral cause to devote themselves to. It seems as if a recent event has left her crushed, with no purpose, perhaps she feels that humanity in a whole "hates her". I would attempt to reconnect the forces and influences that really motivated her in the past, keeping in mind that something among them made her feel as though she is worthless. The biggest factor among these is the fact that she is admitting detrimental habits to you, which means she wants your help, and she really does not want to kill herself. You know her better than any of us ever will, and will be the only person who can figure out why she has engaged in such behavior. The point that I can not stress enough is that she does not want to die, she would have done it already if she really did.
    I'm doing science and I'm still alive

  4. #4
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to hear about this.

    She's very bad off. I don't know what to say, really. She needs to realize that something is wrong with her, and that she needs to find some kind of meaning rather than just letting herself fall apart. You know? Other than that, I trust you to make the best choice of her and yourself in this situation. Just trust your own judgment here and I don't think you'll go wrong, okay?

  5. #5
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    This person definitely needs some psychological councelling. She could be suicidal but I don't see that much signs of it in your writing. But you are in better position of seeing her behavior than I so you know more than I do.
    Last edited by alcea rosea; 01-24-2008 at 03:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalWounds View Post
    The point that I can not stress enough is that she does not want to die, she would have done it already if she really did.
    I second this. I believe that no human being truly wants to die (or rather, to not live) unless they feel they have been pushed beyond a certain threshold. That your friend is still living is proof that she is, for the moment, safe.

    I have a good ENFJ friend myself and the behaivour you're describing seems to show me that she does want you to help her in some way. And frankly, you're one of the few who can. Talk to her about the problems she's having and feel free to be "refreshingly direct" should she actually deny having any problems (though personally, I would not be so hasty to classify her as "suicidal"). It does work. Let her vent if she looks like she's going to. Companionship really does help before actually giving any sort of advice. I can't tell you what kind of advice to give because I don't know the person at all myself and don't know the true reasons for some of the things you're saying she's doing. I usually rely on my intuition ("gut feelings") to give advice to others and I think you'll be able to do the same once you speak with her about how she's faring and get a better view on her situation.

    Good luck!
    Not really.

  7. #7
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadir View Post
    I second this. I believe that no human being truly wants to die (or rather, to not live) unless they feel they have been pushed beyond a certain threshold. That your friend is still living is proof that she is, for the moment, safe.
    Actually when very depressed people commit a suicide they do not want to die they just want a solution for their nightmare. They see killing themselves as a solution for a problem. They are not in their usual state of mind so they are not thinking rationally.

  8. #8
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alcearos View Post
    Actually when very depressed people commit a suicide they do not want to die they just want a solution for their nightmare. They see killing themselves as a solution for a problem. They are not in their usual state of mind so they are not thinking rationally.
    Yes, that is true. But if they want a "solution", and if by solution they mean death, would that not mean that they simply want to die?

    *waits for the sentence to be dissected by Ti experts! :)*
    Not really.

  9. #9
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadir View Post
    Yes, that is true. But if they want a "solution", and if by solution they mean death, would that not mean that they simply want to die?

    *waits for the sentence to be dissected by Ti experts! *
    No it's not. And I haven't made this up and it's not even my own idea. They do not see it as death because they are not in the normal state of mind. They see it as a solution. Basically the solution is dying but they do not see it that way. And by them I mean the deeply depressed people committing a suicide and they are the majority group of doing such terrible deed.
    Last edited by alcea rosea; 01-24-2008 at 03:55 PM.

  10. #10
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    Alcearos: I see what distinction you're making, (the difference between the "observer's point of view", thinking the depressed choose death; and the "doer's point of view", the depressed thinking of death not as death, but as a solution) but I wonder if it truly does matter? I too don't believe that their state of mind is a rational one, but the solution they choose involves death. It is what we, as the observers, see. That the doers don't see the solution as "to die" can't refute the truth that the solution they choose isn't "to live". (based on what we currently know about life & death, of course)

    I don't wish to continue this -- IMHO -- semantical discussion any further because i) I feel it's trivial ii) I feel I might offend you in some way or I already have, in which case I apologize. If you'd like me to edit that portion of my post to something that is more suitable in your eyes, PM me and I will consider it.
    Not really.

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