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A friend and anxiety problems.

Anonymous RobotAnonymous Robot Registered User
edited August 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm going to try to be brief here. I've got a friend whom I know rather well, and she is a very sweet girl most of the time, with nothing but the best of intentions.

However, in the past few months I realize that she suffers from some kind of very severe mental illness. Being a person in treatment for Schizophrenic Bipolar, I am a bit more sensitive to recognizing these things.

She says she has extremely violent dreams with consistency.
She, recently, has begun to have miserable self-esteem.
She is so afraid of the dark that she won't go out in it, and so afraid of sharks that she won't go into water.
She's stabbed her boyfriend with a pen. (In regards to her boyfriend: He seems capable of pacifying her, but lives in England now and returns only once in a while...)
She can't sleep.
She's obsessed with studying the Holocaust to the point where it interferes with her life.
She worries about everything, including but not limited to family, friends, her job, school, having her teeth ripped out, falling from a great height, etc.
Despite being afraid of blood, she can't stop watching horror movies and writing prose that is basically nothing but descriptions of gore.
She complains of chest pains.
She has no capability of standing up for herself, and because of this creepy men hit on her at work.

Of course, I'm extremely concerned with my friend. I can tell that her constant worrying and violent thoughts are ruining her. I'm afraid that she might hurt herself.

But there's a limit to what I can do for her. I listen to her for hours on end, and I try over and over to tell her to seek professional, outside help, and she agrees that she needs it. She puts more trust in me than anyone, outside of her boyfriend, and I can't help but feel a certain responsibility for her.

I told her to talk to her mother about getting help, but she's so cripplingly timid that she can't confront the woman. When she finally did, her mother told her it was just her imagination, that she was being bad, that it was her fault.

I then spoke to her mother directly, listing the concerns above. Her mother told me that I was getting in their business, that I was making her act this way, and that she was a nurse and knew better than me. (This is strange- she is a nurse that works with therapy patients.) I think that maybe she attaches a stigma to the whole thing.

So, what can I really do? Is there anything I can do, or do I have to let her sort it out for herself? She's so meek that she will let anything happen to her. I know that I can't be her guardian angel or anything, but her family is not going to help her, her boyfriend is gone, and she's incapable at this point.

Anonymous Robot on
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Posts

  • CryogenCryogen Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Thats really sad that her mum is a nurse and would have that reaction. You'd think she of all people would have an insight.

    There is still a stigma with mental health issues, as i'm sure you are well aware. I dont think theres much anyone can really tell you that you dont already know. She clearly needs professional help as you said.

    The best advice i could give would be to continue to be there when she needs you. How old are you both? Can you help book her in to see a therapist without getting her mother involved? If you assist her in setting it up, and go in with her while she waits for the appointment, that might give her the strength she needs to attend. If you're too young for that is there a school counsellor she can speak to, even just for advice as to how to proceed? If you go that route, be careful not to get personally involved in that discussion because the mother sounds like she is trying to pass the buck on to you. If the concerns come from an adult in a position of relative authority she might give it more credit.

  • Anonymous RobotAnonymous Robot Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Cryogen wrote: »
    Thats really sad that her mum is a nurse and would have that reaction. You'd think she of all people would have an insight.

    There is still a stigma with mental health issues, as i'm sure you are well aware. I dont think theres much anyone can really tell you that you dont already know. She clearly needs professional help as you said.

    The best advice i could give would be to continue to be there when she needs you. How old are you both? Can you help book her in to see a therapist without getting her mother involved? If you assist her in setting it up, and go in with her while she waits for the appointment, that might give her the strength she needs to attend. If you're too young for that is there a school counsellor she can speak to, even just for advice as to how to proceed? If you go that route, be careful not to get personally involved in that discussion because the mother sounds like she is trying to pass the buck on to you. If the concerns come from an adult in a position of relative authority she might give it more credit.

    We're both seventeen. She has spoken to her school counselor, who she claims did not have much at all to say to her. However, this was last year, and I have definitely seen her take a drastic dive since then. I will advise her to speak to the woman again. She starts school tomorrow, and is petrified of being late and getting lost. She thinks she's stupid, despite the stellar marks that she earns.

    As for her mother, I think she has a lot of problems of her own that are interfering with any rational judgement of her daughter. She told her that she's fat, and I'm not even sure if the girl is a hundred pounds.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Cryogen wrote: »
    Thats really sad that her mum is a nurse and would have that reaction. You'd think she of all people would have an insight.

    There is still a stigma with mental health issues, as i'm sure you are well aware. I dont think theres much anyone can really tell you that you dont already know. She clearly needs professional help as you said.

    The best advice i could give would be to continue to be there when she needs you. How old are you both? Can you help book her in to see a therapist without getting her mother involved? If you assist her in setting it up, and go in with her while she waits for the appointment, that might give her the strength she needs to attend. If you're too young for that is there a school counsellor she can speak to, even just for advice as to how to proceed? If you go that route, be careful not to get personally involved in that discussion because the mother sounds like she is trying to pass the buck on to you. If the concerns come from an adult in a position of relative authority she might give it more credit.

    We're both seventeen. She has spoken to her school counselor, who she claims did not have much at all to say to her. However, this was last year, and I have definitely seen her take a drastic dive since then. I will advise her to speak to the woman again. She starts school tomorrow, and is petrified of being late and getting lost. She thinks she's stupid, despite the stellar marks that she earns.

    As for her mother, I think she has a lot of problems of her own that are interfering with any rational judgement of her daughter. She told her that she's fat, and I'm not even sure if the girl is a hundred pounds.

    Please don't take this the wrong way.

    It sounds an awful lot like emo attention grabbing. About the right age, and the story sounds awful standard. Not saying that's what it is, but have you really examined it with the perspective of someone who isn't so involved?

  • Anonymous RobotAnonymous Robot Registered User
    edited August 2007
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Cryogen wrote: »
    Thats really sad that her mum is a nurse and would have that reaction. You'd think she of all people would have an insight.

    There is still a stigma with mental health issues, as i'm sure you are well aware. I dont think theres much anyone can really tell you that you dont already know. She clearly needs professional help as you said.

    The best advice i could give would be to continue to be there when she needs you. How old are you both? Can you help book her in to see a therapist without getting her mother involved? If you assist her in setting it up, and go in with her while she waits for the appointment, that might give her the strength she needs to attend. If you're too young for that is there a school counsellor she can speak to, even just for advice as to how to proceed? If you go that route, be careful not to get personally involved in that discussion because the mother sounds like she is trying to pass the buck on to you. If the concerns come from an adult in a position of relative authority she might give it more credit.

    We're both seventeen. She has spoken to her school counselor, who she claims did not have much at all to say to her. However, this was last year, and I have definitely seen her take a drastic dive since then. I will advise her to speak to the woman again. She starts school tomorrow, and is petrified of being late and getting lost. She thinks she's stupid, despite the stellar marks that she earns.

    As for her mother, I think she has a lot of problems of her own that are interfering with any rational judgement of her daughter. She told her that she's fat, and I'm not even sure if the girl is a hundred pounds.

    Please don't take this the wrong way.

    It sounds an awful lot like emo attention grabbing. About the right age, and the story sounds awful standard. Not saying that's what it is, but have you really examined it with the perspective of someone who isn't so involved?

    I would believe you, if this girl's mother didn't clearly have a few screws lose, and my friend was not showing very physical symptoms of anxiety (rushing, dizzying thoughts before her head hits the pillow for bed, inability to sleep, chest pain, nervous jittering).

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  • LewishamLewisham Registered User regular
    edited August 2007
    Emos aren't constantly worried of irrational things like sharks in water. Emos just write bad poetry.

    Can you talk to a GP or the counsellor? I don't know how easy it is to talk to a GP in the US seeing as you're charged for every visit...

    It may also be worth talking to the school headteacher if you think he/she is a straight-up and tactful person. If you think they're going to flip-out and bring her in and lecture her on not having a crazy in their school, then don't, but if you think they can handle it with care and attention, it might be worth a shot.

  • Anonymous RobotAnonymous Robot Registered User
    edited August 2007
    Lewisham wrote: »
    Emos aren't constantly worried of irrational things like sharks in water. Emos just write bad poetry.

    Can you talk to a GP or the counsellor? I don't know how easy it is to talk to a GP in the US seeing as you're charged for every visit...

    It may also be worth talking to the school headteacher if you think he/she is a straight-up and tactful person. If you think they're going to flip-out and bring her in and lecture her on not having a crazy in their school, then don't, but if you think they can handle it with care and attention, it might be worth a shot.

    I don't go to her school, so it might be frowned upon for me to intervene on her behalf, but this is an option.

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  • vytroxvytrox Registered User
    edited August 2007
    If you are in treatment for bipolar then you should ask your therapist or physician for advice. There is more than likely free or reduced price therapy available in your area for people in need. Your doctor can give you these names.

    Also school counselors should be contacted, and most colleges offer free or reduced price therapy to students. That would be more for future reference. Although if your friend took some running start classes (community college classes while in high school) she might be eligible.

    It sounds to me like you are doing everything right. You are encouraging her to get help as well as informing her mother. You also seem to realize that it's not your job to 'save' her.

    edit: Another thing you could do is convince her to go to the doctor for her physical symptoms. The doc should then recognize the mental health issues and refer her. Unless the mother is totally unreasonable, a referall from a trusted physician should convince her that her daughter needs help. This could backfire though as the mother may want to treat her daughter herself with the medical knowledge that she does have. This is what got me personally to see a therapist; I went into the doctor's office complaining of physical symptoms and she sent me to mental health services.

  • Anonymous RobotAnonymous Robot Registered User
    edited August 2007
    You mentioned college- this is one of my concerns. I do not want her going off to college in this state. She's a nervous wreck all the time, obsessed with perfectionism in her work, and socially isolated. Without someone to support her, I fear that she will do something drastic, be it hurting herself, getting into alcoholism, or sleeping around. I don't want her to fall into some bad spot because she's entering a possibly jarring situation with nobody to rely on.

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