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Want to help a friend. No idea where to start.

(4 Posts)
HolidayArmadillo Tue 25-Mar-14 10:26:43

I've never posted in this section before but I'm desperately looking for some advice or insight into what I can do to help a friend who appears to be having some kind of breakdown.

Friend is early 30's, mum to 4 with a husband who she has been with for many years. She's always been highly strung and needy for want of a better word but since the beginning of February her mental health has taken a real nose dive. For informations sake her dad has what she has referred to as a 'complete nervous breakdown' in the past although seems well now.

It came to a head in February when she went on a weekend away against her husbands wishes, she had been staying out late and drinking etc regularly and he asked that she not go on this weekend away especially as it encompassed one of the childrens birthdays, we said that it would be absolutely fine for her not to come we could understand the request and that her marriage and kids deserved the attention. She went anyway, got hideously drunk, knocked a tooth out whilst drunk and pretty much alienated everyone with her behaviour, both drunken and the subsequent self loathing. She returned and her husband said he wanted to seperate.

They managed to patch things up but then her mental health deteriorated, she recognised there was an issue and went to her GP and he prescribed some anti depressants and gave her a sick note. She recognised she had pissed people off at the weekend away but in all honesty everyone was just concerned about her, she became very paranoid and refused to talk to people except me. I thought we were doing ok but she developed panic attacks and anxiety. The GP changed her meds.

She contacted me last week asking to meet up today and then again this morning confirming it. I went to pick her up this morning and she was wild, acting erratically and irrationally, slurring her words, insisting we went out but shutting herself in her room saying she was soo tired. I was left stood at the top of her stairs unsure of what to do. She eventually reappeared and I said along the lines of she didn't seem well enough to go out, she got upset and said we were ganging up on her and she was fine. She so obviously wasn't. I told her I loved her and cared for her and wanted to help. Long story short she pretty much fell asleep mid row at the bottom of the stairs.

Her husband is at a loss. He says she has voiced suicidal thoughts is erratic and irrational all the time but won't access any help. She doesn't seem delusional but is so obviously not night and I just want to be te best friend I can and get her help and make her well again.

Any ideas?

HolidayArmadillo Tue 25-Mar-14 16:30:16

No one?

NanaNina Tue 25-Mar-14 17:01:06

Your friend sounds like she very clearly needs medical help right now. You say she was slurring her words - could she have been drunk this morning do you think, or maybe taken too many meds. Is she a big drinker as many people with mental health problems self-medicate with alcohol but of course that just makes things worse, because you end up with alcohol addiction and mental health problems. Also as you probably know alcohol is a depressant after an initial burst of euphoria.

I can't really work out from your post how long you have known this friend and whether she has only been exhibiting symptoms since February although you say she was always "highly strung" but that can mean different things to different people.

If as her husband says she is voicing suicidal thoughts, and is erratic and irrational all the time, this could mean that she is suffering from a psychotic illness (as in being out of touch with reality) I am no medic incidentally but do know a fair bit about mental health because of my own problems. IF your friend is out of touch with reality then she won't realise she is mentally ill of course and this is when they need to be seen by a GP and possibly referred to a psychiatrist. If she refuses to see the GP, then her husband actually has to contact the GP and tell him about the way his wife is behaving, and request that he/she visit. Also he has the right to contact the local Community Mental Health Team and request an assessment of his wife's condition. Often a GP will refer a patient to the CMHT in any event.

Suicidal thoughts are very common in depression and can be suicide ideation, in the sense that we think of suicide as a way out but at the same time don't actually think we will carry out our threats. Having said that around 25% of people with severe depression do commit suicide.

There is a psychiatrist on the thread about "The Village.........." it's at the top of the list on the threads, so she may be able to help.

Incidentally who is caring for the 4 children? Her husband sounds very unsupportive if he is telling her he wants to separate from her just because she went against his wishes, especially as she clearly seems to me mentally ill at the moment.

HolidayArmadillo Tue 25-Mar-14 17:42:48

Thank you for replying it's really appreciated.

I've known her for a long time. Most of my life in fact albeit we haven't been in each other's lives all of that time, I'd consider us to be good friends. I'd never previous to around the beginning of this year noticed her behaviour to be anything other than plum 'normal' for want of a better phrase, near the beginning of the year she was voicing that her marriage wasn't happy, going out more often, drinking to excess, staying out, but still I wouldn't have at that time attributed it to anything other than difficulties in her relationship which I was trying to support her with. It was in February the weekend away happened, her husband was already very aware that she was unhappy but she had not been willing to commit to sorting it out (her prerogative I guess and you never know what goes on behind closed doors so I don't want to comment too much on the nature of their relationship and who was at fault as I genuinely don't know), it's only with hindsight I can attribute her behaviours at the beginning if the year to the beginning of a more erratic and irrational time.

Her husband is in the family home and being supportive as he recognises she isn't herself and leaving her won't help matters. I only found about the suicidal thoughts this morning so I don't know what form they have taken or how they have been voiced. Her husband seems paralysed and doesn't know what to do for the best.

She has been under the care of her GP but I don't know how much she has disclosed however I wish there had been a professional there this morning to see her.

I don't know whether to contact her mum and see if she can help.

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