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to worry about my friend?

(15 Posts)
spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 12:29:05

And not know how to help without making it obvious I have noticed, and I wouldn't want her to feel I am judging her IYSWIM, because I just want to help if help is needed, but I am unsure how to go about it.

Friend is single, has a FWB, but is single and lives alone.
She virtually never leaves her flat. She has 2 friends. (I am one of them.)
She ventures out of her flat 6 times a month, 4 times to go shopping with other friend who takes her every week, and once a fortnight to sign on.

She has increasingly begun to blame the govt for everything that is wrong in the world, and there's only so much I can sit and listen to before I doze off glaze over. I'm talking hours and hours of hating the govt.
Yesterday, I went to see her for the first time in about 2 weeks, and upon entering her flat, the smell was so strong, it made me gag. I began coughing and heaving. I know this sounds awful of me, but I really couldn't help it.
The flat is tidy but it smells. I asked if she could open a window, but she didn't really want to because she is cold and can't afford the heating to be on.
I didn't want to stay because I felt like I could chew on the smell. I didn't actually say anything because I don't want her to think I am judging, and honestly, I'm not, I just think she might need some help, or be depressed. I think she would be completely mortified if she realised her flat was so pongy. I don't think she realises because she rarely leaves the flat, and I noticed my home smells much much more if I have been outside and then go back in.

Anyway, yesterday, for the short time I was there, I began wondering how I could help without her realising I was helping IYSWIM?

I apologise if anyone thinks I am being a bad friend. I like this friend, but I want to help and I can't help thinking no one would choose to live this way, would they? Or should I just leave well alone?

Xroads Wed 15-May-13 12:37:01

Could you make up a reason to go round so you're there before she goes shopping and then ask if you can wait at her flat til she gets back? Then while shes gone open the windows, empty bins, have a clean round and then when she gets back say you wanted to surprise her?

bollockstoit Wed 15-May-13 12:38:44

What's causing the smell?

BrainSurgeon Wed 15-May-13 12:42:37

YADNBU to worry about her. It all sounds very worrying to me. Not sure what to suggest though.... But I'm sure someone much wiser will turn up with some ideas
Good for you for trying to help!

spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 12:48:24

Xroads, she would think it odd if I wanted to stay at her flat while she was out. I don't think I have ever been there while she was out, and the flat is already tidy, no overflowing bins.

bollockstoit, I suspect the smell, which is like a tangy sour morning breath smoky oily smell is caused by lack of ventilation, the flat being small, along with the rabbits she has in cages in the living room, the weed she smokes with her FWB and the ahem activity that goes on with no ventilation.
I know she does the best she can to keep her place clean, but with limited funds, she has to rely on cheap cleaning things to clean.
For example, she uses sponges to wipe surfaces and wash dishes, but can't afford to replace them, so they smell a bit, and she only washes clothes once a week.
I suppose the lack of ventilation is the biggest culprit, but even when windows are open, although it's not so bad, the smell of the cooking oil, fryer and smoke clings to the sofa and furnishings.

I wish I could afford to help her financially, but apart from the fact that I can't as I am on a tight budget myself, at the moment, I don't think she realises just how bad it smells, so she would wonder why I was bringing anything to help with her cleaning and it would feel a bit like I was insulting her, I'm worried she would be offended and that's not my intention. I don't want to actually tell her the flat stinks or smells or any kinder way of telling her because I think she would actually cry, and I don't want to upset her, just help.

toomuchtoask Wed 15-May-13 12:48:43

It sounds like she's not coping with life. Would contacting social services for advice help do you think?

I wouldn't ask her to open the windows. I'd just do it without asking tbh. Would she come round to yours if you invited her? It might help her to see a house that is well kept (sounds like she'd verging on agrophobia so getting out would be a big step).

Also you are allowed to disagree with her. If she starts ranting about the government and it's something you don't agree with - tell her. Also change the subject a lot otherwise she'll get into habits that that is all she can talk about (especially if she doesn't see many others).

Do you know her other friend? Could you contact them to see what they think?

spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 12:50:12

Also, if she is happy to live this way, then I will bow out, so please say if you think she may not be depressed and just prefers to live like this.

BigBlockSingsong Wed 15-May-13 12:52:26

I think you sound like a nice friend,

I live in a flat and If I cook the oily, warm smell gets musty and stinks and seems to linger, like you say there's no ventilation and newly built ones are crap.

I agree with the above poster , challenging gently is a good thing.

spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 12:52:33

She does come to my place sometimes. I think it will have to be that way at the moment, because I really felt ill for the short while I was round hers yesterday.

Xroads Wed 15-May-13 12:55:53

Having the windows open will help, as the nicer weather comes she will open them herself.

Agree with other's who say she needs to get out, it's not healthy to be couped up like that all the time, if she is depressed it will only make her feel worse (been there and done that) can you encourage her to go anywhere with you? Swimming, walks, bike rides etc just say you are on a health kick and need her support?

spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 13:30:02

Xroads, The windows are not opened, even in the height of summer.
I don't know if she is depressed, I just thought that I would probably feel depressed if every day was the same, with nowhere to go and nothing to do but watch the same repeats on television.
I have asked her to come on walks before, and come out with me, but she looks extremely uncomfortable about it and says she doesn't want to, and I don't feel comfortable pushing the issue.

Xroads Wed 15-May-13 14:29:17

I don't think you can help someone who doesn't want to help themselves tbh.

You are better off just waiting until she decides she wants to change her life.

spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 15:47:17

It is so sad though. She must be unhappy to be hating the govt so much. I could kind of understand it if she had no options, but although her options are only a few, she wont entertain the idea of helping herself, and instead prefers to blame the govt for absolutely everything.

She is poor, and that's part of the reason her flat smells, because she spends so much time in there, with no ventilation, but she wont go out, and I have suggested that she could see the dr if she felt it would help her to get out and enjoy life more, but she has no trust in drs. No history she says, just that drs don't give her what she wants so there's no point in going to see them.
She is just so defeated and beaten by life itself. sad

LEMisdisappointed Wed 15-May-13 15:52:33

Does she have family? She sounds like she is in a rut and the drug taking really isn't helping

spongebobandpatrick Wed 15-May-13 19:52:04

Yes, she has brothers and sisters, mum and dad, but only sees one brother regularly, maybe once every couple of months. He doesn't take drugs, but is just as disillusioned with the govt, but is more resigned to how the govt have messed his life up, rather than my friend, who actively hates the govt.
Her other brothers and sisters lives couldn't be more different. They all have families, a life, get out of the house, participate in life.
According to my friend, they are lucky they haven't ended up like her. None of it was down to determination or hard work, it was all down to luck.
She doesn't see her other brother or sisters unless necessary, because she has asked them to support her financially in the past on a week in, week out basis, and they have offered her ways of supporting herself instead, which would not have made my friend any better off she says.
Besides, work is not something she will do unless she was forced, she then goes onto say she would rather kill herself than go to work, simply because she cannot see the point of working when she doesn't have to, bosses at work are bitches or bastards who lord it over you, and tells me she will hang herself in a small woodland area near our houses instead.
At this point, I said that I hoped it wouldn't come to that, and that she should see her GP if she felt that way, but she is defeatist, if that is the right description. She says the dr can't help her because he wont give her what she wants.
I also said that children go to that small woodland area, and she said she wasn't going to do it, but she wouldn't care if a child found her, because hopefully she'd be dead by then. shock
I am struggling to believe she is happy to live this way, and wish I could do more to help her to see that life isn't all bad, and I wish she hadn't given up on life already. sad

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