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Friend with mental health problems

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:08 pm
by Bee345
My friend had a serious mental breakdown a year and a half ago; she was stressed out with work and it led to her being hospitalised. Obviously as her friends, we all supported her through it and thought we were helping her get better. In June this year, I came home from uni to see that she was out of character again; she was really manic and talking in a way that felt more like a stream of consciousness than an actual conversation. She was also being quite rude to some of our friends, she would take the lemonade out of friends (which we do to each other), but when anyone did it to her she would snap and shout. In the week I came home she was fired from work for being rude, had recently been dumped and was displaying some worrying symptoms. I found out she'd stopped taking her medication 4 months after coming out of hospital, so it means she's spent just over a year without meds because she was convinced she didnt need them. For about 2 weeks, all I heard about was how her parents were always shouting at her (not true), how one of our mutual friends had been horrible (not true) and how nobody understood her. She also ran away and we were pretty much convinced she'd be back in hospital. Anyway, after this, she went on more meds, but I'm pretty sure she's stopped taking them again. She's resentful of any of our friends recent successes and seems to be obsessed with having a boyfriend. We all have our own worries and stresses, but she's never interested. I understand she has mental health issues, but this is wearing me down so much and I don't know what to do. I've spent the entire summer worrying about her and I dread being near my phone incase it's her and she wants to see me. I don't know how to be honest with her without upsetting her(one of our friends did and know they're not speaking) but its getting to the point where I dont want to care. I'm so resentful because the reasons she started getting ill again were down to her own choices, including not taking the medication. I know she's my friend, but at the minute all I feel is obligation, not a friendship. I spent the entire year counselling another friend over her issues and I feel completely drained, to the point where I keep crying spontaneously (kinda awkward on a night out).

I know I need to tell her how I feel, but how do I do it??

Thanks x

Re: Friend with mental health problems

PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:35 pm
by spacegirl
This is a tough situation to be in, my best friend (A) is manic depressive and has been in and out of hospital for the past ten years. I know how draining it is and you have to draw a line somewhere. when your friend is feeling well, you need to sit her down and explain that she needs to take her treatment seriously and get well, otherwise there won't be anyone left for her. Tell her that you and your friends are there for her but unless she takes her treatment seriously she'll be turning people away. The problem about this illness is that it makes people very selfish and it can be hard to get through, but you just have to be honest. make sure you're not the only one who helps her, all of your friends have to play their part. over the years A's so called friends have all disappeared one by one and i'm the only one left to cope with everything. she has family, but while they are there for her in terms of financial support and practical support with her treatment, i'm the one she comes to to offload all of her worries and i'm not going to lie to you, it is exhausting. Between crazy boyfriends who take advantage of her vulnerability, worries about her medication, and then when she's having a bad spell - paranoia and severe mood swings... I am also always on the lookout for symptoms and spend half my life making sure she's not drinking too much or that she's taken her meds properly.

If I were to do it all over, I would ensure that my other friends took more responsibility in looking out for her and that you support each other. try not to take harsh words too seriously, it must be very scary to be in that situation and she's probably just lashing out. I also think that you should speak to her family and try and get support from them as well.

Don't turn your back on your friend, there will be tough times but great times too when she's well - just don't try to do it on your own.

Re: Friend with mental health problems

PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:23 am
by Bee345
I decided to tell my friend how I was feeling (but as delicately as possible) and that although I plan on being there for her I was finding everything hard to deal with because I felt like I couldn't talk to her about anything. She did say that if I'd said how I felt on the wrong day she would have stormed off, but at least we talked. She said that she knew she had to control her temper more and maybe keep some things to herself (part of the problem was that I always felt we only taked about her). I'm still abit confused because it still seems like I won't be able to say anything about how she's acting if she's in a bad mood, but at least she's more aware of how her friends might be feeling.

Thanks a lot for your advice, its really helped knowing that its normal to feel how I've been feeling recently and that you know how hard the situation is. I definately think all of us friends have a responsibility and hopefully that means one of us won't feel all the pressure.

Thank you! O:) x

Re: Friend with mental health problems

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:01 am
by Bel Bel
When she is in a good mood agree tat when she is in a bad mood you will just walk away and not spend time with her. Hopefully this will be an incentive for her to bahave as you will not be rewarding her bad behaviour by helping
Ultimatley she has to help herself and if she won't it isn't your responsibility to put up with her outbursts. Maybe she has to lose some more friends until she realises she has to stay medicated. If she lost you as a friend but came back later understanding the need to medicate I am sure you would be able to give her another chance but don't waste your lif and enrgy running round after her when she is misbehaving