Dear Jess: I want to support my depressed housemate, but I need my own space

Q. My best friend (who is also my housemate) has depression. Her moods and behaviour are extremely unpredictable and quite often she takes her frustrations out on me. I know it’s not her fault but I find myself walking on eggshells in my own house. Is there a way I can get the space I need without hurting her feelings?

A. Gorgeous Gal Pal, your housemate is blessed to have you in her life. It can be exhausting living with someone who has a mental illness. There is no easy answer but it’s important you carve out some time for yourself. You already listen to and support your best friend but it’s important to understand that it’s not your job to “fix” her.

Sometimes when people are mentally unwell, they’re not terribly pleasant to be around. I draw on the words of the marvellous Stephen Fry, who says, “It’s hard to be a friend to someone who is depressed, but it’s one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.” 

Q. I’m a 41-year-old builder, happily married, with three young boys, but my wife has recently started doing something odd. She is big on recycling waste and energy conservation (which is terrific), however she gets cross when I don’t flush the toilet after having a wee. She flushes it before she goes, and then again after. Surely this dual flush is wasting water?

A. Harried Husband, I’m relieved the main point of contention between you and your wife is flushing the toilet! My husband is just like you, and I’m also a flusher; it just seems more hygienic. However, your wife and I could both learn from the advice, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”

According to conservationists, older toilets use up to nine litres of water per flush. Try telling that statistic to your wife. And remember to put the seat down. My husband forgets – and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself slipping into the toilet bowl in the middle of the night!

These answers are simply my views, and I am far from perfect. I struggle through some days better than others with the help of my family, cats, chocolate and antidepressants. Unfortunately, I cannot personally reply to questions.

Contact me via [email protected] Instagram: @jessjrowe. Twitter: @JessRowe.

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