I have a friend who trusts me, deeply, with her personal memories and problems. I am honoured by this, and always hope to be worthy of it.
But what do you say when they simply stop listening? Her boyfriend committed suicide two weeks ago and she has been struggling ever since. I think she guessed that something like this might happen but simply blocked all thoughts away, both blocking her own fears and his closest connection to life. Her guilt is tremendous, although not totally justified. She has never been the most practical, down-to-earth sort of person; although she has suffered greatly, her mind resides wholly in her past and her future, in what she might one day change in the world.
She misses the present completely, because she fears that that will hurt more than her memories. Each time she is in the present, she is in her imagination, in her own world that allows for liberty to create and break the rules. She needs grounding in the present, settling into an experience of the real world that is ambivalent, not coloured by such strong emotions that rock her each time she moves.
I don't know how to help. I have stopped knowing what to say to her, because I know she won't listen. Or at least, I didn't listen. I am fairly sure that I am a terrible listener anyway. But beyond being there, I don't know what to do.
She is missing her life by reaching so far into her imagination or into her past - and she is such a fantastic gift to this world.
Sometimes, people are confused by my personality too - so I can try, and of course, fail to understand. I am often my happiest when I appear most stressed, or upset, or alternatively, most boisterous and active. I find great joy in sitting, on my own, quietly contemplating - it took me a while to learn joy in this. I love being with my friends, but I always have a streak of melancholy. Yet that is a joy to me. It helps me to see the world in balance, as clearly as I am able. I have even lost friends because I appear quiet and melancholic, when their enjoyment is derived from clubbing and activity. I must have seemed, and still seem overly depressed, saddened by the world. I understand the difficulty of others to see this as joy.
I hope she may be able to find some joy, even in melancholy.
I wish I knew how to help.