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Girlfriend Mental Health Issues - Advice?

(14 Posts)
Priceliss Mon 09-Sep-13 15:15:38

I just wanted to reach out and ask for some advice on my fairly new girlfriend's mental health issues.

To give some background 2 years ago my gf had a massive mental health breakdown. She cut, took medication not recommended or subscribed to her (diazepam) and tried to kill herself. She stopped taking care of herself cut up all her clothes, threw everything away as she said she thought she was going to die and was intent to.

She was given strong anti depressants which made her actually worst and put her life in danger as she crashed her car. That was 2 years ago and since then she has come off anti depressants and has worked very hard to get better and has made progress. However in the past yr and half she got into an abusive and self destructive relationship that has left massive scars on her.

Since being with me I have pushed her to go into see a counselor (even though she claims this makes her worst) which I believe is normal at first. She has an incredibly hard life with lots of trauma and abuse and it doesn't help that her mum is extremely emotionally abusive and has been her whole life and she lives with her so she is going through this with no support except me living with a mother which has a narcissistic personality disorder and treats her awfully.

It's really taking a toll on our relationship as her behavior is so erratic one minute she is normal the next she argues with me and says she wants to die. Bare in mind this is only a 3 month relationship and I feel completely overwhelmed by it all as it is so new. She holds down a job but barely in my eyes and honestly I think she needs to check herself into hospital but she refuses to do this. And she is eating, drinking normally holding down and job and seeing a counselor but life is still extremely difficult due to her manic depression.

I just wanted to ask advice on how to deal with this. I do care about her a lot and when she's not depressed she's such a wonderful person so kind and loving and funny and I love that side of her but this other side is so self abusing, abusive to our relationship and a nightmare honestly. Most days I end up spending half my day on the phone at my work talking to her and dealing with her which I really don't think is acceptable. Part of me thinks maybe I should step back from the relationship but she doesn't have anyone else and I'm worried for her but she is extremely stubborn and won't do anything she doesn't want to even if it's best for her. And part of me cares for her a lot and see's so much potential if she rid's this depression. Has anyone been in this situation? If so what have you done about it?

Thanks for advice in advance.

I am sorry you find yourself in this situation and that your GF is so unwell and unhappy.

Here is my one and only bit of advice with regards to a loved one's mental health issue: Your love will not cure her. You cannot make her better. You can make yourself ill trying to make her better.

You can support her. You can be there for her.

But she needs to engage with therapy/make changes in her life to get better/agree to inpatient treatment if that's on the cards.

You cannot make her better sad.
It says a lot about you that you would like to, but you cannot sad.

The above is my professional experience and bitter experience in my nearest family.

Very best of luck to you both - I hope she finds a way to get better.

Priceliss Mon 09-Sep-13 15:30:29

Hi Pacific,

Thanks for your reply.

She does want to get better I think she does say there is hope for her but then she'll have other moments where she say's she wants to die and wants to cut. She say's she will never ever harm herself again which is good but the fact she even thinks these things is really scary and really overwhelming for me. I'm assuming if a person is not a harm to themselves or others they cannot be put in hospital I'm hoping counselor will help or maybe she might check herself in on her own intention. She suffers from severe paranoia and think's if she get's checked into hospital she will lose her job and since her mum works in MH (how ironic) that she would make her life even more hell for her so a lot of fear in regards to that also.

Latara Mon 09-Sep-13 20:21:11

Is your girlfriend under the care of the local CMHT (Community Mental Health Team)? If so, you (preferably she) could contact them.
Does she have a Psychiatrist? - she sounds as if she should do.

Her GP would need to refer her I think if she doesn't have access to those people.

Latara Mon 09-Sep-13 20:22:18

People don't usually get sectioned very easily so reassure her on that one - there just aren't the beds available at the local Psychiatric hospitals.

superstarheartbreaker Mon 09-Sep-13 20:37:27

OP ; you sound absolutely lovely and very supportive. My mum had bipolar and it is not easy. I would definately continue supporting her but a cpn/mental health team can help. You cannot do this all alone.

JaceyBee Mon 09-Sep-13 20:39:58

Yeah you can't just decide you want to check yourself in! It is bloody expensive keeping someone in hospital, they will do their best to support her at home.

But, you have to put some boundaries in place now, she cannot be calling you at work all day it's not on. She needs to learn some distress tolerance/self-soothing techniques. She definitely needs to see the GP who can make a psych referral.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 09-Sep-13 20:44:40

I agree with Pacific's excellent post.
To add to that, imho, she may never become totally "well" regardless of the amount and quality of care she receives. It is up to her to decide to participate (or not) in her own recovery, as well as to maintain that participation.

To protect yourself, I recommend setting boundaries regarding your relationship with her. For example, do not spend company time on the phone with her, (unless the most dire emergency which you'd then hang up and call emergency services to go to her aid, iyswim) or you may find yourself without a job.

CairngormsClydesdale Tue 10-Sep-13 05:06:34

Tbh, I don't think it sounds as though it's bipolar, given her history I'd be looking more at "Borderline Personality Disorder"- although they don't seem to go down this diagnosis route too often - too "difficult" to diagnose and manage, as opposed to throwing meds at someone with alleged bipolar.

This book might help Stop Walking On Eggshells

Therapy will make her feel worse in the short term, she's obviously got some serious history/baggage and before any of us can heal we need to peel back the layers to get the root - which of course is painful.

jchocchip Tue 10-Sep-13 05:44:09

She was given strong anti depressants which made her actually worst and put her life in danger as she crashed her car. This happened to me 12 years ago. Anti depressants and bipolar don't mix. I had drug induced auditory hallucinations that led to the car crash. I ended up sectionned but there were more psyc beds 12 years ago. In the short term anti psychotics helped me recover. I weaned myself off them after discharge and have been med free since. Ime, not drinking much alcohol, plenty of exercise and sleeping at night help.

onefewernow Thu 12-Sep-13 23:05:37

I agree with Pacific. You cannot cure or control other people. In this context control means doing things for them, or overly encouraging them to do sort things they are not ready to sort.

If you have been in the relationship too long I suggest you have a long think about whether it us likely to work out.

onefewernow Thu 12-Sep-13 23:08:12

I notice it is 3 months. In my view it isn't long enough to merit pursuing the relationship. You have yet to build a proper foundation, after only three months, yet are already giving more than you are getting.

NotAFixer Fri 13-Sep-13 08:40:07

OP I started a thread earlier this summer on whether I should get involved with someone who had mental health issues (recent breakdown). You might find some of the discussion useful.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/1810918-How-big-a-red-flag-are-mental-health-issues

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