Hi everyone

Firstly - this will probably be a long post as I have a tendency to go on and on so thanks in advance to those who read it! Also trigger warning for self harm.

As the title says - I’m really struggling and my mental health is plummeting. Let me give you some context first…

I care for my best friend. We have known each other for 25+ years. We have spent a lot of our lives being single at the same time so ended up being each other’s 'partner in crime and in a lot of ways filled the gap of not having a partner eg we have travelled lots together, days out, we’ve been each other’s plus one at weddings, she taught me to drive, I painted her bathroom etc etc.

So when she had to move house quickly because of an issue with the neighbours it was obvious that she would move in with me while she sorted things out. We had lived together once before at university and thought it would be okay. Plus I appreciated the help to pay my rent. And mostly it was, although it was a big adjustment for us both to be living with someone else as we were both independent people and she hates where I live - I’m in the middle of a busy, noisy town and she finds that hard work to be around.

Then covid hit. So suddenly her plans to move house were stalled. And then a few months later her ongoing bad back was diagnosed as fibromyalgia and her health quickly deteriorated. She now struggles to drive, walk very far, lift a plate, wash her hair etc. And she’s my best friend so of course I am happy to look after her and give her the support she needs.

But I’m struggling. She has a REALLY bad temper and she keeps taking it out on me. I totally understand it’s the frustrations of her condition and panic about the future and grief for what she has lost but it’s pretty bad. I keep suggesting she speaks to someone but so far she’s not willing to do that. She feels she is entitled to be angry because of what has happened - I don’t disagree but I wish it wasn’t aimed at me so frequently. And although I try really hard not to spark an argument and just be supportive, we argue practically every day and have a huge, horrible argument at least once a week. I cry every day. I want to be a good friend but feel like I keep getting it wrong.

She keeps shouting that no-one understands how awful her life is now - but as it stands today my life has completely changed too. I used to have a job where I was out all day every day, but I now work from home so I can support her more. During covid it worked because I preferred to work from home to stay safe, but now I’m missing my old life. I used to be in a theatre group and a choir and we used to both go to dance lessons together - I can’t do any of that now. I don’t see any of my friends any more. There are no holidays or trips planned because we would have done those together and although I could go on my own, I feel isolated and my mental health is poor. I have self-harmed a couple of times (only superficially) and I’ve accessed some free counselling but to be honest that’s not helped very much. I can’t do anything without making sure she is okay first - and that’s fine - I really do want to be there for her - but she doesn’t make that very easy.

Easter is around the corner and so I’m planning to visit my family, I haven’t seen them in months. However that means leaving her alone. I’m so torn - I feel terrible leaving her to have a horrid and difficult few days but meanwhile my family are pestering me to visit longer etc. Although they know my situation they aren’t very sympathetic to it all and if anything, are frustrated that I’ve ended up in this role. I’ve tried to make plans to try and help her survive - work out meals, arrange for someone to come over etc - but she’s angry and upset that she is facing such an awful weekend. So part of me thinks I should stay at home, but then I’m letting my family down including my dad who has just had to have an emergency heart operation and I’ve desperate to see him.

We are trying to move to the countryside - financially I’m in a bit of a mess so the plan was always that if she got a house I would move in there and help her try and get back on her feet, while I save a some money to finally get my own house deposit. In theory that means we’re helping each other so that’s all good. And once we are living somewhere she feels safe and happy in that will help me be able to leave the house. But at the moment that is still some time away.

Anyway that’s it in a nutshell. This is definitely not what I thought my life would be at 45. I feel so sad about what has happened to my friend and I miss who she was. And I know that sounds so selfish - it’s way worse for her. I totally understand why she feels angry and frustrated. I just don’t know where we go from here.

Thanks again to anyone who read through this :frowning:

Nowhere is big enough for you to live together, you need your own separate homes.
The words of a Sunday School song “You in your small corner, and me in mine” come to mind.

She has to take her own responsibility for her own disability.

Forget the idea of “when we are in the countryside she will be happy”. No she won’t.
Time to make a stand. Tell her that you work well as friends.

I have a best friend of 57 years. We get on well, went through school together, then did our degrees as mature students together. We spend our days when we get together chatting and laughing non stop, but we could never ever live together. We’d drive each other up the wall.

Her place is so tidy, mine’s always chaotic in comparison, because if I can grab a spare moment to sew, I will.
This morning I cut out a sleeveless top when I ought to be doing other things!!

Easter is always busy for us, with both adult sons and grandson here.
Monday I’ll hopefully have a quiet day, sewing to recuperate if there is any energy left at all.

When were you last happy and content, quietly enjoying your home without a care in the world?
Home is supposed to be our sanctuary, isn’t it?

You are not a punchbag for another persons frustrations.
Your friend needs to somehow come to terms with it, is there any counselling she can have?
There’s no guarantee she will ever stop lashing out and/or it could take a long time for her to come to terms and her anger to settle. It is awful and the future looks bleak, I can’t begin to imagine, but it will be even bleaker if she drives you away.

You need to be your own best friend and ask that although she feels justified in her actions is it justified for you to be her punchbag as it isn’t your fault and you are helping her. Lay it on the line that you are at breaking point and she is on the brink of driving you away. It is time to be honest and courageous.

Maybe record her outbursts on your phone, and say that unless she stops, immediately, you will have to ask her to leave? Then it places her future in her own hands.

Fibromyalgia is extremely debilitating and many people who have it are also diagnosed with depression. It’s understandable if you think about it: for everything you do, you pay a price and the depression locks in.

That affects motivation and it affects relationships. Depression can make people unreasonable, too!

Taking it out on you is understandable but wrong, and you need to discuss that. Be honest with each other, because any plans you might make are going to go horribly wrong if they’re not made with honesty.

Does your friend look at facebook groups for fibromyalgia support/solutions?
Does she go onto the websites for it?

Is she getting CBT, counselling and/or medications?

I know someone who has got on top of fibromyalgia through meditation, life coaching and gentle exercise, but each body, personality, severity and reaction to it is different.

Thanks for your reply - it’s actually great to hear that someone got on top of it because so much of what I read predicts a bleak future. She’s on medication but that’s all, considering CBT but is resistant to it for some reason.

I’ve lost perspective on it to be honest. Half the time I genuinely don’t know if I’m making it worse and she is right to be angry with me. I don’t think I am but it’s hard to know sometimes. You’re right though - any plans are going to go badly if this continues

I hope you had a nice Easter and managed to do some sewing. Your comment about when I was last happy and content actually made me upset because it’s been so long since I felt that at home. If I go out I dread coming home and quite often I dread getting up in the mornings to face it all again. Thanks for replying :slight_smile:

Maybe you wanted someone to say what you were feeling?
You must look after your own needs before dealing with anyone else.
Live separately, still be friends if you want to, but have a sanctuary of your own.
Don’t let your friend destroy your joy for living.

That’s such a really tough situation. To be honest, I think that your friend is going to need ongoing long term care. That’s the reality of the situation. Would she be eligible for a care assistant to help her maintain her independence in her own home? This would allow you to live somewhere else and visit her to socialise and be her best friend, rather than her sole carer. I think that you have to make clear what you feel able and are happy to do.