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How do I help my friend?

(8 Posts)
hoppershopper Mon 22-Nov-10 18:15:13

I will keep this brief as I know my friend would be upset if she were to come across this, but I need some help in helping my friend.
Friend has been ill recently and in hospital, and althought she isn't completely better, she is at least home.
She was in hospital for well over a week and at home was her DH and 2 DCs.
Her DH told me a few days ago that her bad asthma attacks had been triggered by panic attacks. She was very ill with the asthma, she nearly died during these attacks.

Today I visited my friend and she has completley broken down. My friend by her own admission doesnt do emotions, so i know it took a lot for her to tell me how she was feeling.
She is the sole bread winner in the house, manages the house, works ridiculously long hours and cares for the children and all their needs. Her husband really doesnt do much at all to say he is at home. And he isnt particularly supportive to her either. I know she was stressed when in hospital about her DCs being looked after.

The thing is my friend is on the outside so strong and jolly. Shes a boss at work and the the organiser etc at home and now everything has got on top of her and shes in such a dark place now, I dont think she can pull herself out of it.
Clearly being ill has made her evaulate her life and she thinks shes failed, she doesnt provide enough in terms of material things for her DCs, that she isn't a nice person. none of this is true and she is a lovely person. But she doesnt see any of that.

She had a pretty crap childhood, and I think much of her feelings at the moment may also be down to her childhood experiences with her own parents which she isnt able to bottle up any longer.

I dont know how to support her, I dont want to be patronising but I have no real experience of how she feels. I talked with her about getting some help from the docter and such.

I know she needs professional help but I guess what I am asking is, what could one of your friends have done or do for you to help?

hoppershopper Mon 22-Nov-10 18:51:23


CrawlingInMySkin Mon 22-Nov-10 18:59:55

I am a unemotional person I don't show it very often that is not because I don't get as hurt or as upset as other people just that I believed that no one listened and anyone who did would use it.

I think just listening and showing you care will help her more than you realise, you are being a really good friend smile

Vanillacandle Mon 22-Nov-10 19:36:43

Hi hoppershopper.

First of all, I agree with Crawlinginmyskin that the best thing you can do is be there - to listen, hug, make soothing noises, and provide cups of tea, chocolates etc. Most people feel better knowing that there is someone listening who takes them seriously and does not judge them.
On a practical level, perhaps while she is recovering you could drop round a couple of meals (eg cassrole, shepherd's pie etc) that she could heat up for tea on the day or freeze for another day when she's short of time.
Longer term, try to persuade her to talk to a professional - maybe a counsellor if she doesn't want to go to her GP - because opening up to a third party about your past is sometimes easier than telling someone close to you.
Above all, just let her know that you are always there for her no matter what, and take the lead from her as to how involved she wants you to get.
I can see that you are a great friend from your concern both for her and to do the right thing by her, so don't do yourself down either!
Keep in touch, and good luck to both of you.

hoppershopper Mon 22-Nov-10 20:41:04

thanks for your replies, i think she is going to see the docs this week about her asthma and i did suggest she try and talk to them about how she feels inside too. I just dont want to iritate her and be in her way, and of course ive told her that i will be here for her, but i want to make it more than words and show her that i do mean it. I thought about sending her some flowers but then im worried that she'll think im trivialising her feelings as if im saying that flowers will do the trick sad

Vanillacandle Mon 22-Nov-10 20:57:23

I don't think she will think that - I would send a card with them to say you're thinking of her, and wanted her to know you think she's special.

I'm sure you're not irritating her - just tell her that if there's anything you can do to take the pressure off her for a bit etc. Did she agree to to talk to the doctor about her feelings?

Like I said before, just being there to listen and hug is the best kind of friendship, and it sounds as if you're great at that.

CrawlingInMySkin Mon 22-Nov-10 23:52:29

I think flowers sound lovely smile

madmouse Mon 22-Nov-10 23:54:29

The best thing my friends did and do for me is knowing when I'm hurting inside even when I can't cry and comfort me regardless.

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