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Anxiety amd advice for a friend

(6 Posts)
LucyRaggyDoll Tue 13-Sep-11 17:20:55

I would appreciate your thoughts and advice, please. I am concerned for a friend of mine and do not know the best way to help her.

I have only known her a year and she has always been the same way, so to some extent I always thought this is just the way she is.

She is very very anxious and almost manic in herself. She will talk to me about an issue or problem and just when I think I'm giving her a reasonable answer or help, she comes up with a whole load more problems. Now, I have always tried to be sympathetic, but it seems every other month there is a new drama or problem. And there is always a reason why what you're suggesting isn't going to work.

She seeks advice from everyone she knows, but then ends up with lots of opinions and cannot make a decision. Her parents (she is mid-20s, living alone) have actually taken her to the GP as they were concerned that she was changing her mind all the time. Over summer she had to decide what to do come Sept and she has swung violently from one extreme to the other. Blood tests were done and she is awaiting results (not sure what blood tests will show?).

It is impossible to really convey what someone is like, isn't it? I get the impression her head is all over the place and she cannot enjoy anything or commit to anything or live at all. Whether this is due to worry or her nature, or what, I don't know. She seems so agitated and on edge all the time.

Does this sound like a mental health issue, or am I reading too much into it?
And if so, how does one even begin to suggest she seeks help?

One more thing to add (sorry this is so long!) - we met when she became a Christian and joined my church. She has had lots of councilling and met with all sorts of people. I almost feel that she wants a spiritual answer, when actually it is her mental health. Although I do believe that God can help people, I also think that we must be honest about where we're at.

Thank you for reading all this.

LucyRaggyDoll Wed 14-Sep-11 15:09:03


NanaNina Wed 14-Sep-11 15:41:44

Well this sounds like a mental health issue to me (though i am no medic) suffer depression and anxiety from time to time and am on meds. It sounds more like an anxiety problem as you say she is so agitated and there are some good meds around to treat anxiety. Can't think why the GP wants a blood test, but there may be a reason.

You say her parents "took her to the GP" surely this isn't normal for a young woman in her 20s needing to be taken to a GP. I wonder if this is part of the problem - maybe she has is still emotionally immature and is flailing around all over the places in her quest for - something - she doesn't appear to know what it is she actually wants.

She also sounds like she needs attention (very often people are called attention seekers - when actually it is attention needers!) - there is a theory called Transactional Analysis and one of the themes is "Games People PLay" - (unconsciously of course) and the one I am thinking of here is Player 1 says "oh this is happening in my life di da di da di da" and Player 2 says "Why don't this, that or the next thing" and Player 1 says "Yes but......................." Surprisingly this "game" is called "Why don't you-yes but!" And it can go on and one as player 1 says "well what about XYZ" and player 2 says "Yes but..............................people needing attention often create new dramas so that they can ask more and more people about a new issue and subconsciously get the attention they need, but it isn't enough - it may never be enough - she may be so emotionally needy that this is her way of trying to fill that need. Thing is where did that gaping hole of need come from...........that's what needs to be worked on.

Presumably her involvement in the church is her way of seeking the "answer" - but sadly she doesn't know what the question/issues are. My best guess that there are some childhood issues that are buried and your friend would need a good therapist to help deal with these. However this is unlikely to happen bcause of Yes but......

You cannot change the way your friend behaves - you can only change the way you respond to her behaviour - maybe you can be more confrontative, doesn't really matter so long as it's something different. If you do what you always do, you'll get what you've always got! Also remember that we are all responsible for ourselves and you cannot solve your friend's problems, be they real or imagined.

madmouse Wed 14-Sep-11 15:49:07

It sounds like it could be a MH issue but I'm not at all sure it is anxiety, although NN is spot on with what she says about the TA games.

The things I'm thinking of are complicated and need to be diagnosed by an expert so not sure it's a good idea me writing them down, especially as she is not here herself to explain how she is feeling.

By the way NN blood test is good practice if someone is very jittery/on edge, to rule out a physical problem such as thyroid or other gland problem.

OP - even if we diagnosed your friend it would not help. She's seeing a doc, all you can do is encourage her to be honest with doc.

LucyRaggyDoll Wed 14-Sep-11 22:52:56

Thank you both for your thoughtful replies. I really appreciate the time you took.

NN, what you describe is spot on!! That is exactly what she does! I actually spoke to our counsellor tonight, and she said my friend has contacted at least 20 people with variations on the same issues! She wants everyone else to make her decisions. The counsellor is in touch with her daily and is also encouraging the medical route.

Her parents took her to the GP as they were so concerned. My friend does not think there is a MH problem. Her parents are funding a course for her and part of the agreement was that she saw a doc. I just hope it gets followed through. As you say, she is responsible at the end of the day.

If I may ask another question. Do you think it would help to suggest there is a MH issue, or is it necessary for this to come from the individual? I don't want her to lose trust, but I don't think she has joined the dots about why she had to go to the GP!

Thank you again.

NanaNina Wed 14-Sep-11 23:19:44

It's difficult because presumably you don't know what happened during the GP consultation, unless of course your friend has been "doing the rounds" with this issue. She has obviously told you she saw a GP - maybe you could ask how the consultation went, was it helpful etc. but I don't think it would be wise to suggest there is a MH issue, because we don't actually know that.

I am still surprised that a GP was willing to have a consultation with an adult and her parents, though I suppose if your friend was willing then there wouldn't be a problem. Presumably she will have another consultation when the blood tests are back, and you could again ask how she "got on" at the GP consultation.

I don't think it would be very wise to suggest to your friend that she has a MH problem, because we don't know if she has. This can only be diagnosed by a GP or Psychiatrist, preferably the latter. Maybe you could talk to her and encourage her to talk about her early life experiences, her attitudes towards her parents, and get some idea from that as to whether there is something in her childhood that has caused her problems. That's where most of our difficulties arise isn't it and then in adulthood they get played out (again at a subconscious level) - you may learn more about your friend's need to behave as she does if she is wiling to talk about her childhood experiences - I don't mean in a therapeutic sense, but just as an informal chat. I think friends often talk about such things, so she may be happy to do so.

Does your friend work and does she have any close friends who she has known for some time as I think you said you have only known her for 12 months. Is she able to listen to others, show empathy and be considerate towards others.

Some people are diagnosed with a personaity disorder and there is not a great deal of treatment for this condition as far as I am aware, but again it is quite a dangerous thing for us non medics to try to diagnose others - a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

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