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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman's Nightly Drama Becomes Too Much For Friend To Bear

DEAR ABBY: A friend I have known for about 10 years messaged me again tonight saying she was going to commit suicide. I tried to get her to go to a hospital, but she refused. When I told her I was going to contact the police, she backed down a bit. This has become an almost-nightly occurrence.

She's going through a rough patch right now. She's breaking things off with her drug-addicted longtime partner. She is also underemployed, in danger of being evicted and has cancer.

It is tough on me to talk her down from the ledge every night. Many of her problems are of her own making, but she can't seem to see that. She can't afford therapy. I have taken her to Al-Anon, but she quit after a short time.

I don't know what to do. I hate to break it off with her because I'm afraid she will kill herself. I am the only friend she has left. How much longer do I hold on? -- SUCKED DRY IN KANSAS

DEAR SUCKED DRY: Because your friend is calling nightly threatening to harm herself, it appears she is using you to vent. That's all right if it's consensual and you have the emotional strength to handle it. If you don't, and because you describe yourself as emotionally depleted ("sucked dry"), I'm advising you to start screening your calls. I'm not advising you to shut her out completely, but to allow yourself not to answer your phone unless you are feeling up for it. And if she threatens suicide again, follow through on contacting the police.

Read more in: Mental Health | Friends & Neighbors