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Blues Qs: My Depression Is 'Too Much' for My Friends


November 16, 2022

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Collage by Ryan Hamsher

Collage by Ryan Hamsher

by Sam Dylan Finch


Medically Reviewed by:

Joslyn Jelinek, LCSW


by Sam Dylan Finch


Medically Reviewed by:

Joslyn Jelinek, LCSW


Blues Qs is an advice column covering all things clinical depression, written by Bezzy Depression community guide Sam Dylan Finch. Diagnosed with clinical depression over a decade ago, Sam has seen it all — from medication mishaps to grippy sock “staycations.” He’s here to help you navigate your own depression journey with a little humor and a lot of heart.

Years ago, when I was experiencing a mental health crisis, I watched as a number of friendships in my life deteriorated. I felt so ashamed, like I was “too much” for anyone to love. It was damaging in a way that I am still trying to untangle.

Believe me when I say that I know how painful it is to realize that the people in your life aren’t equipped to support you in your darkest moments. It’s hard not to personalize it, and hard not to believe that there’s something wrong with you when people don’t stick around.

But the reality is much more complex than “I’m just too broken to love.”

Imagine if you fell off a boat, and no one had a life ring buoy to toss or a vest to ensure they could safely rescue you. It’s not your fault that you fell off the boat — you didn’t want to fall — just as it’s not their fault that they don’t have the tools to help you.

This doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or “too much” for other people. It means that a really tragic thing has happened, and no one was prepared.

We live under a system where mental health resources are difficult to access, community support is hard to come by, and treatments for conditions like depression are still not well-understood. That’s no one’s fault, and certainly not yours.

It’s rare to learn how to support someone in a mental health crisis to begin with. It’s not a lesson we get in school (though it should be!). It requires a lot of communication, empathy, groundedness, emotional energy, and education to navigate skillfully, and this is something some people aren’t able to provide. Spoiler: That’s not your fault, either.

This says nothing of what our friends might be going through themselves — we’re all secretly fighting our own battles, and sometimes we’re only equipped to fight for ourselves and no one else.

The reality is, not everyone is prepared to deal with a mental health crisis, the same way that not everyone is prepared to put out a fire or rescue someone who’s drowning.

It can be so hard not to take it personally, or conclude that we’re just “too much” for the people around us. It’s important to resist the urge to blame ourselves, though. Flattening a complex situation to make it “our fault” may seem like the easiest explanation, but it’s not fair to anyone, especially ourselves.

Not everyone has a fire extinguisher on hand or is a strong enough swimmer. Your friends might desperately want to help you, but not be in a position to provide that, for many reasons — reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not you’re worthy or lovable.

This doesn’t change how painful it is when others pull back when we’re having a hard time, though.

Two things can be true: We can know it isn’t our fault, but also feel betrayed and hurt that the people we trusted couldn’t meet us there.

It’s challenging not to become resentful of the people we care about, and their inability to show up when we need them most. We’d like to think that if the roles were reversed, we would be there without question. And maybe that’s true! But people can only give so much to us, and it’s up to us to respect their capacity.

If you’re unsure of what someone’s capacity actually is, that’s a good place to start. You might consider a few of these talking points:

  • “Hey, I’ve noticed that since I started struggling with my mental health, you’ve withdrawn from our relationship a little bit. I’m wondering if there are some boundaries we need to put into place so we can both feel safe and supported.”
    • What boundaries? Some boundaries you might set together could include checking in before sharing something heavy, taking a break from speaking for a few days, or committing to expanding your support system (finding a therapist or support group, for example).
  • “I really appreciate all the support you’ve given me since I shared about my depression. I wanted to check in and see if there’s anything I can be doing to ensure that our relationship doesn’t feel one-sided.”
  • “I realized recently that I’ve been sharing a lot about my depression, and I haven’t checked in to see if that’s still okay. How are you feeling?”

Being proactive about checking in can help your loved ones feel seen and can ensure that no one is giving more than they have the capacity for. By keeping things balanced, you can protect your friendship and get a clearer picture of what you should and shouldn’t expect from someone.

It’s also crucial to remember that our loved ones aren’t the only forms of support we should be seeking out.

The broader our support system, the stronger our safety net will be.

This can include seeking out a therapist or psychiatrist, but can also include peer support, like support groups and peer mentors. It can also include saving hotlines on your phone for quick access. I can personally recommend the Bezzy Depression App as a great resource for connecting with others who “get it.”

Having a deep support network can offer peace of mind to the people that care about us, to ensure that they don’t feel alone in the struggle. It’s also empowering for us as people who are struggling, giving us a well-rounded team of people that we can rely on, and who consent to be a part of that team.

Above all else, please remember that the capacity of others is not a reflection of your worth or ability to be loved.

A mental health crisis is exactly that — a crisis. And like any other kind of crisis, not everyone is perfectly prepared or equipped. The best thing we can do is be patient with ourselves and others, and continue to be communicative to ensure that no one’s boundaries are crossed.

For additional reading, I’d highly recommend this guide on supporting someone through a mental health crisis. Please feel free to share it with loved ones and use it as a conversation starter!

Whether or not someone can provide it, you are worthy of unconditional love, care, and empathy. Someone’s capacity for this is not about you, and it never was. Remember: You deserve support, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for it.

Medically reviewed on November 16, 2022

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About the author

Sam Dylan Finch

Sam Dylan Finch is a writer and content strategist based in Seattle, WA. You can say hello on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at

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