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How to support this colleague

(20 Posts)
rainbowsandsparkles Thu 02-Mar-17 18:39:23

Name changed for this one as sensitive topic and don't want to out myself or person involved.

There's a girl at work sits beside me, early 30s, fairly introverted and quiet but just generally a really lovely person.

The last few weeks its been clear that things are not OK. She's completely gone into herself, won't speak to anyone and is short tempered (not in a shouty way just in a very silent, throwing pen on the desk and disappearing for ten mins way)

She did make reference on Facebook to suffering with depression and does go through bouts of being very quiet but not like this. Work is busy at the moment and a little stressful but I think there is more going on than that.

I would consider us to be quite close but when I've tried to strike up a little conversation I get one word answers or no reply lately.

She's very isolated as it is and is estranged from her parents and siblings. She doesn't really go to social events (which is fine cos I can be like that too) and lives alone.

I'm just really really concerned about her at the minute and its breaking my heart to see her like this. My manager and other colleagues are equally concerned but she just won't talk.

I know you can't make someone talk if they don't want to but I think it might help if someone could listen

I'm on a work related course with her tomorrow (just the two of us, she volunteered herself a few wks ago and then asked me to come with her) and I don't know whether to try approach things or let it be. I want to help but I don't want to be a pain or overbearing.

Any help, advice, tips would be much appreciated.

I am just so so worried about her.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 02-Mar-17 18:43:43

Baby steps I think. Be nice - make her a coffee. If you buy yourself a kitkat get her one. She will see you being nice and may open up in her own time.

Mrsglitterfairy Thu 02-Mar-17 18:45:39

Aren't you lovely? Just the fact that you've noticed says a lot about you. I go through periods like this and most of the time no one notices and if they do, they don't show it. And sometimes all I want is someone to show that they care. It would be so nice of you just to maybe buy her a little bunch of flowers or a box of chocs and ask her if she's ok. Even if she doesn't want to talk, just knowing that you care will probably mean the world to her. Other than that, there's not much you can do. As you say, you can't force her to talk and don't want to be overbearing but by doing something small, you're leaving your door open for her

Moanyoldcow Thu 02-Mar-17 18:46:47

Do you work in an environment where you could email her? I've used it in the past to say something like 'I hope you're ok, I've noticed you seem down at the moment and I'd really like to help if I can. Please let me know if you'd like to talk of if you want to grab a coffee and have some time out'.

She can ignore you if she wants but the ball is in her court and it's very low pressure.

You're very nice to think of her like this.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Thu 02-Mar-17 18:50:43

Make sure you give her your mobile number.Maybe she might manage a text conversation to begin with.

londonloves Thu 02-Mar-17 19:05:54

I was going to suggest emailing her. Introverts sometimes prefer to communicate in writing, and also if she is very anxious she might find it hard to even speak without fearing that she will cry, I find that I hold it in my throat and it's hard to get the words out.
But in terms of the course tomorrow, I would go baby steps too, just try and get her chatting, ask if she's doing anything nice at the weekend, see if you can get some low level chat going. Maybe if you are driving you could offer her a lift home and ask her in the car if everything is ok? The worst that can happen is she blanks you, but you will have tried.
I think you sound really kind and amazing and the sort of person she needs right now. Sometimes just having someone notice makes a huge difference when people are in a bad way.

rainbowsandsparkles Thu 02-Mar-17 19:15:13

I bought her a silly wee present which I left on her desk last week. The smile it raised was incredible but then she was sad again.

She did wordlessly hand me a sweet under the desk yesterday before I went home.

I'm kind because she's kind to me (and everyone else). And I know what its like feeling alone and lost and like no-one understands. I have been there, albeit maybe not to the same degree.

Gatehouse77 Thu 02-Mar-17 19:16:44

I'd be inclined to say that you've noticed she seems to be quieter than usual and wanted to check that everything is okay. Offer her an ear if she wants to talk and/or a shoulder to cry on if she doesn't. If it seems appropriate, jot down the contact details for Samaritans and offer them as an alternative suggestion.

If you can keep the door open then she may come back to you once she's had time to mull it over. Meantime, small gestures, as someone else suggested, such as making/offering a cup of tea, inviting her along for lunch or a drink after work here and there will let her know you care and then she might feel more comfortable talking.

In my experience, don't be over enthusiastic or over share about yourself. Let her come to you knowing that you're there for her.

And, lastly, you sound like a lovely colleague smile

Loopytiles Thu 02-Mar-17 19:19:35

sad So you're not her manager? Is her manager kind?

rainbowsandsparkles Thu 02-Mar-17 19:22:55

No I'm not her manager. I just sit beside her.

But yes, manager is lovely too, manager has tried to talk to her and yes, she admis that she's not okay but no she doesn't want to talk about it.

Flypaperforarseholes Thu 02-Mar-17 19:30:14

You sound lovely!
I would get a little card, write something along the lines of "Just wanted to let you know I'm here if you want to talk." and your mobile number. Then just pop it in her bag before you/she goes home. That way, she knows you care and are willing to listen but she isn't under any pressure.x

SealSong Thu 02-Mar-17 19:39:51

I think your sentiments are lovely, and by all means let her know she can talk to you if she wants, but she's indicated to her manager that she doesn't want to talk, and may really value her privacy at work and simply not want to talk about what are very personal things with a work colleague. Maybe work for her is a distraction, even if she is struggling, and she wants to keep work and personal life separate.

picklemepopcorn Thu 02-Mar-17 19:41:36

A little card left on her desk saying 'I'm worried about you. If I can help, just tell me. I'll listen if you want to talk'.

MummaGiles Thu 02-Mar-17 20:04:15

I've been going through some things which has affected how I've been at work. My boss emailed me about it (although slightly different situation as he knew what was going on). Email subject just said private, and he just wrote a few lines to say he wanted to make sure I was ok, that he was there to talk to etc. It really meant a lot to me.

Craftyoldhen Thu 02-Mar-17 20:17:15

I think if she has said she doesn't want to talk about it you need to respect that. There's nothing worse than well meaning people trying to get you to open up when you dont feel like it. Especially in work.

Keep on being caring and thoughtful in other ways though.

Vaness80 Fri 03-Mar-17 12:30:03

Does anyone know a good talk Therapist female for post natal depression and say on Skype.
My daughters best friend (I am god mum) in short she has this massive leaving home panic attacks, and other anxious post natal thoughts things- She is taking meds under her GP and big wait for any other help as social worker next steps lady is lovely caring but she feels needs more specific help.
also what natural remedies may help aside from st john's wort:
many thanks

redexpat Fri 03-Mar-17 12:37:11

What to say to someone who has depression

rainbowsandsparkles Fri 03-Mar-17 16:44:08

Thank you all so much for your input.

Today went well.

It was all so very quiet in work this morning and me and her were just having a little chat about work in general, she admitted that she had been having a tough time of it lately and Ive said that if she ever just even needs someone to listen or talk to, I am here.

She nabbed me at lunchtime and asked if I wanted to take the stairs with her and while walking, there wasn't a lot of massive conversation but it was just clear that she needed company.

She's also sent me a message this afternoon (I had to leave work early for a medical appointment) just updating me on how things were in work this afternoon and wishing me a nice weekend.

Its baby steps I know but I think now she knows that the door is open and that makes me (and hopefully her) more contented.

maddiemookins16mum Fri 03-Mar-17 16:47:35

Yes, baby steps. From what you've said there has already been a glimmer of opening up and I think she trusts you.

LivingInMidnight Fri 03-Mar-17 17:16:57

You sound lovely! Seems like progress too. flowers

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