This is a complicated issue, so I would love my followers’ input on this as well.
I start with: You must keep yourself healthy and safe and you must respect yourself. I don’t advocate for you to keep yourself in a position where you feel unsafe. However:
It would be difficult for me, as a person, to condone shunning someone for existing with a disorder. I will tell you that it takes great courage to come forward to describe mental health issues. Please respect the courage it takes and honor the trust they have bestowed on you.
This is not to say you must serve as their Atlas. If you feel you are not equipped to help them in the way they need or that in doing so you would be sacrificing your own well being, don’t hurt yourself. Thank them for coming to you, respect their struggle, and please direct them to resources. Do not leave them without outlets. Point them toward blogs, hotlines, counseling services, community advocates, and outreach initiatives.
I know as someone who struggles with mental illness, it is further debilitating to feel my worst fear of being burdensome confirmed. I also know as someone who is sought out regarding mental health struggles, I cannot always be what I wish I could be to the person confiding in me.
So my recap is this: respect and support doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your well being. Direct them to resources if you cannot be that resource, but never invalidate.
Again, followers weigh in! If you need clarification on anything or wish to continue this discourse, I am available.
I get where Anon is coming from, I experience something similar. What I do is I listen to my friends with depression, I help them if they ask for it, but otherwise I just listen. If I start feeling like it’s affecting my well being, I take a break.
Learn to find your boundaries, and listen to those without shunning or hurting anyone.