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Has my friend got a mental health problem?

(11 Posts)
purpleshortcake Wed 26-Apr-17 23:44:38

I have a friend whom I have known for 5 years. She is well educated and has always been quirky / eccentric - fun but terribly disorganised and headstrong.

She has had a terrible few years, one of her children died and her others were taken into care, she is fighting to her them back and this could happen in next few months.

We have supported her emotionally and financially during this period when many friends have deserted her (she has virtually no family)

She has recently come into some money and after years of living hand to mouth she seems to be spending irrationally and without a plan - large sums of money. On things that seem to be complicating and making her life even more messy and disorganised (think multiple conservatories piled up in a garden)

At the same time her behaviour has become even more erratic - losing keys, locking herself in a van, filling tank with wrong fuel (all in a 1 week period)

She tells these stories laughingly as "silly old me....look what scrape I've got myself into now"

I want to support her and have gently suggested she enjoys some of her money and plans what to do with it but puts a big chunk aside for the future (she can't work at the moment).

Does it sounds like it could be a mental health issue (her mother died of dementia) / some of the stress she's been under surfacing in strange ways.

DP is getting frustrated with her and feels he'd like to sit down and be very frank with her and explain things will need to change if / when she gets the children back.

Hope I don't sound like a shit friend, we've really been there for her over the last few years and tried to include her as part of our family but I don't know how to help her with this behaviour. Should I just butt our?

DalaHorse Thu 27-Apr-17 00:07:36

I don't know what you could do, in real terms, except gently chat and suggest (as you have done) that having money aside for a rainy day is a good idea. You can't stop her spending. And she is an adult, even if her choices or actions are immature at times.

I don't think you sound like a shit friend, far from it. you sound very patient, far more so than I would be!

123MothergotafleA Thu 27-Apr-17 00:16:52

Yea she sounds a bit unhinged or something bless her. She's fortunate to have a good friend in you, but I would be getting somewhat alarmed at the series of disasters that seem to be happening with her.
God only knows how you should proceed in supporting her in future. Would she even listen if you were to sit her down and spell it out?
The children are likely to be in some danger with someone who is this disorganised.

Patriciathestripper1 Thu 27-Apr-17 00:23:36

You sound like a good loyal freind.
Try and talk to her and steer her in the right direction regarding saving the money. No more consevetories,

purpleshortcake Thu 27-Apr-17 00:50:06

Thanks for the feedback everyone. 123 I don't know if she would listen to me, she's fallen out with loads of friends who haven't seen eye to eye with her in the past few years. She does seem to respect DP's opinion - one of the only males in her life. He has had some awkward conversations with her in the past and she says he talks sense.

Part of the reason her children were taken into care was that SS deemed her living conditions unsuitable / unhygienic. She does have a pattern of not taking care of herself and letting chaos build up around but recently managed, with some help, to get her house into an uncluttered, clean state for a planned SS visit which went well. If she was to have an unannounced visit at the moment I fear she would be in big trouble as she has hinted that virtually every room is starting to fill with "stuff". She's stopped inviting us round and when I pick her up she doesn't want to let me in. She said it was lovely to come home to the house when she'd got it tidy a few months ago. I'm wondering if the erratic spending is giving her a temporary "feel-good" high but will actually lead to a huge crash when she runs out of money and has to face the fall-out of her chaotic lifestyle. She had originally suggested spending a bit of money on new clothes and having her hair done etc which I encouraged as she has really neglected herself - she asked if I would go with her to help her choose and I readily agreed but if anything her appearance if getting more dishevelled and I feel SS will pick up on it in contacts soon. She now says she doesn't want to spend money on clothes etc when she has a lot of weight to lose but maybe it would help her self-esteem a bit? Arghh I know she's an adult but her decision- making has been terrible just lately confused

NolongerAnxiousCarer Fri 28-Apr-17 20:01:53

Would she agree to see her GP, or even to let you or DP to go to the GP with her to discuss these concerns. It does sound like she needs some more support, but not sure what to suggest.

tideishighbutimholdingon Fri 28-Apr-17 20:18:34

I've got PTSD and this presents as doing dumb stuff like losing keys/locking myself out/forgetting things as I am in a state of hypervigilance all the time and so my executive functioning really suffers.

I also present myself in a ditzy 'oh silly me' kind of way because people judge whatever I do so I may as well get the laughs in first before they start taking the piss out of me.

Feeling/being like this is absolutely shit. If you can support your friend non-judgementally, then great. If you can't, then don't even try.

tideishighbutimholdingon Fri 28-Apr-17 20:21:23

Sorry, that last line sounded harsh, I didn't mean it to. You sound like a good friend.

Just hit a nerve, because I know I am pathetic at managing things that come naturally to other people and I know it's due to trauma that I could not help. It hurts to know that others can do things naturally that I just cannot, because of things that happened to me that I couldn't help.

purpleshortcake Fri 28-Apr-17 21:01:05

Nolonger I don't think she'd entertain the idea of a GP. SS have hinted in previous reports that they think she has MH issues so I don't think she'd want to open a can of worms there. If the children are returned to her care it may be an option at that point.

NolongerAnxiousCarer Fri 28-Apr-17 21:46:10

I suspect that her asking for help and support with any MH issues would put her in a much better position with SS. I would imagine they will be keeping a very close eye onvthings when she gets the kids back, and if there are already signs of her not coping before shes got them back, its not looking good. If she was showing that she was willing to get help for any mental health issues and accepting any support offered, I think it would look better than trying to muddle through on her own.

greyishblue Fri 28-Apr-17 21:50:41

Could be ADD-related, sounds familiar.

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