I’m wondering if anyone can offer any advice on how best to help a friend of mine.
Slight background - there is a group of 4 friends and we’ve known each other for most of our lives, haven’t always been best friends but over the last decade or so, we’ve been very close.
The friend I’m concerned about has always had a difficult relationship with her mum, including my friend (let’s call her C) moving out of the family home to stay with other relatives and her not speaking to her mum for long periods of time, including missing important birthdays. A couple of years ago, she moved back into the family home and things seemed better. A few months ago, she told us that she was moving in with her boyfriend as her mum asked her to leave but didn’t give us any more information but still seemed on good terms with her mum. A couple of weeks ago, her mum has been hospitalised (voluntarily) and has, I believe, been diagnosed as bipolar. C isn’t being very forthcoming with what has caused this to happen, or what is going on but we know she has moved back to the family home to help her younger sisters and has had to dig her mum out of a financial hole.
C suffers from anxiety and is on the strongest dosage of whatever anti-anxiety meds she has and I know also has diazepam for when she is struggling. Before her mum was hospitalised, she had mentioned that she has Pure O but I have no idea if this is an actual diagnosis or based on her own research and she is very evasive when asked. I know there have been times where she has ‘forgot’ to take her meds and suffers from extreme intrusive thoughts as well as panic attacks.
She is not meeting up with anyone, and is cancelling at the last minute for any plans which tells me that she’s suffering at the moment (understandably!) and is ignoring very straight questions. She is sending messages with a bomb of information and then disappearing. For example, she said her mum was threatening to discharge herself from hospital and if this happened, she wouldn’t be able to stay at the family home. 5 days later, we still had no idea whether this happened or not.
We are trying out best to be understanding and patient but it’s very difficult when you have very little information, but what you do know is worrying. We have thought about showing up at her home but we don’t know where she is staying! I messaged her two sisters as we hadn’t heard and one of them said C was totally fine and the other said C had the flu?! C did respond after that to say she hasn’t been sleeping properly. None of which adds up and is only causing more concern.
From the pieces of information we’ve got over what has been happening with her mum, it’s sounding very similar to how C is behaving at the moment (or has in the past) - hypochondria, erratic behaviour, hiding things and telling people different versions as well as pushing those closest to her away.
We want to help and have offered this several times and offered different kinds of help from emotional support to practical help such as housework or financial support but it’s very difficult when the person chooses to ignore texts (but is on social media frequently) and is being very evasive as well.
Does anyone have any ideas on how we can support her through this? Our fear is that she is not looking after her own mental health and that it is deteriorating and that’s causing its own issues such as fighting with her family and who knows where it could lead.
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