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How can I best help my friend (PND)?

(27 Posts)
dizzymama Tue 31-May-05 09:48:20

A very good friend is about to go to the doctors this morning and I'm 99.9% sure that she'll be told she has PND. I'm really not sure how I can best support her. Any ideas? I don't want to push myself on her (offering to go over etc) if that's the last thing she needs but I really don't know

Evesmama Tue 31-May-05 09:50:37

just make yourself available to her..give her a ring when she's not expecting it...pop round for a cuppa and a chat..ask if she fancies going out with or without children..park/pictures/pub etc..it'll give her chance to talk and open up..plus if she can come without her little one/ones, she will relax more and hopefully share her problems and you may be able to help...best of luck for her...wish i had a friend like you

dizzymama Tue 31-May-05 09:56:20

Thanks Evesmama,I really want to help but am very aware that she may just want to be left alone sometimes. Wonderful advice thank you.

expatinscotland Tue 31-May-05 09:57:04

Offer to look after the wee one to give her a break! When I had PND, I wasn't really in the mood for entertaining visitors. It meant putting on a show that I was allright. But I jumped at any offers to look after DD. With my PND I had a lot of anxiety - I could hardly sleep for listening for DD's cry, so my ILs would come and take her for long stretches and then my mum took a room near them and would take the baby overnight.

If she's put on ADs, they may take a few weeks to kick in.

Any help doing errands would be nice. I felt like I was doing everything whilst dragging a millstone around my ankle. Someone bringing groceries, meals, even helping with the cleaning and washing was a real bonus. It helps when she doesn't have loads of housework piling up. That can seem overwhelming to a mum w/PND and add to any feelings of despair she has.

Bring her some magazines - stuff like Bella, Women's Weekly, Closer, etc. Light things like that.

You're a very thoughtful friend!

expatinscotland Tue 31-May-05 09:57:47

Even if you offer to come over and take her baby out for a walk in the sunshine for an hour or two, this can be really helpful.

dizzymama Tue 31-May-05 10:06:30

Brilliant ideas expat, I'm beginning to feel like there's more I can do than originally thought. I have a dd same age as hers but think I will ask another friend if I can borrow her double buggy then I can take them both out. Cooking is a great idea (feel really bad that I hadn't noticed small signs such as housework left undone either )shall make them food for tonight!

fisil Tue 31-May-05 10:09:38

When I had AND earlier this year I had 2 friends who were just brilliant. They would ring regularly (about once a week, maybe a bit more) and somehow make it clear that I had every right to say that I just didn't want to talk right now, or that I equally had the right to drone on for ages about how I was feeling. Sorry that I can't help with how they did this - but I really appreciated it. Don't wait to be asked, dialling a number was too much for me to do. Answering a ringing phone I could usually cope with. I found decisions exceptionally difficult to make, so be specific in your suggestions, but don't force anything - if she doesn't want to, she doesn't want to. For example, one of these friends phoned to say did I want to meet for lunch (always make short term suggestions, anything in my diary for more than a couple of days I got worked up about and cancelled). I paused and said I liked the idea. She said she'd come over to mine and we'd go out to a local restaurant. Suddenly I said no I couldn't, because it would mean me having to make choices about parking spaces, restaurants etc. She seemed to understand and suggested I drove to her house, parked on her drive and she would drive us to a place near her house. That I could cope with. But if she'd phoned up and said "right, you're coming over here and i'm taking you out" I don't think I'd have coped. I suppose what I'm saying is that people with depression are very difficult to deal with, but the people who got it right were the ones who listened to me (and not necessarily to my words) rather than doing what they thought was right for me.

DP did sometimes get strict and tell me stuff ("you're going for a walk now" etc) but that kind of role is strictly limited to partners, I think!

HTH, and I hope your friend feels better because depression is a horrible illness, and it is made worse by the guilt and blaming yourself for being so crap.

dizzymama Tue 31-May-05 10:12:03

That's so true fisil, she has been cancelling stuff we've had planned for a long time. It's allmaking much more sense suddenly. More great advice, thank you so much x

adrift Tue 31-May-05 10:20:19

You sound like a wonderful friend.

Another tip: when I had PND I was very conscious that I was so overwhelmed by what was happening to me that I could not summon up any energy to take an interest in any of my friends. This is one of the reasons why people with depression often cut themselves off from friends and family. They're so lost in their internal misery, they really can't handle the normal social niceties. Of course, it makes the sufferer feel even worse: guilty, a bad friend, terribly isolated.

I remember ringing up a friend who had some professional knowledge of PND to pick her brains and cry a bit, and at the end of the conversation I said, 'I'm sorry, I don't have the energy to ask you how you and the kids are, but I'll catch up when I'm better.'

She understood. That felt like a big relief.

Evesmama Tue 31-May-05 10:25:24

she'll genuinly want to do things with you, but has cancelled because sometimes when you wake up..you cant face it
tell her you'll babysit her little one while she pops into town even just for a window shop, just so she can feel 'normal' again..
one of my 'so called best friends' only ever wants me when she wants to go out drinking because she has a million minders for her little one, she thinks it can all be like it used to be, but i dont have the help..so i would appreciate her popping round, ringing to see how i was and not winging about not being able to go out 5 times this week!
just basically being a friend and her knowing she can 'be herself' with you..you sound fab..she's lucky to have afriend like you and im sure with your support, and the medical help she may need she'll be ok

dizzymama Tue 31-May-05 20:10:54

It's definitely PND and she's been given ad's . She still seems open to talking and visits though so I'm seeing this as a huge positive.

Evesmama Tue 31-May-05 20:51:32

thats good
good luck to her from one who knows!

Evesmama Thu 02-Jun-05 14:02:30

how are you and your friend dizzymama??

dizzymama Thu 02-Jun-05 16:48:57

Hi EM, she seems ok, she wants to see me tomorrow so I'm going to see if she wants to go out or stay in when I get there. Seems able to 'joke' about it but I'm not sure how much of that is a front to be honest. Had a good chat over the phone yesterday and she shared some things that have really been worrying her. I'm just going to have to play this one step at a time I think, I feel I'll know more what I can offer her after I see her. Thank you so much for asking, it's great to know I have support on MN

Evesmama Thu 02-Jun-05 20:45:29

glad things are going ok..by joking about it, she may be trying to lighten up a more serious matter and thats her way of doing it so it doesnt seem like such a big deal?

hope you both have a lovely day tomorrow whatever you decide to do

dizzymama Thu 02-Jun-05 20:56:28

That's very true,I think she feels a bit guilty about having PND but then I suppose that's a normal reaction? I'm just hoping I can be as normal (ha ha) as usual, don't want to seem any different to her but then if I'm trying to be normal I always seem to be anything but!!!

expatinscotland Thu 02-Jun-05 20:58:30

Dizzy
As someone who had PND I can say guilt is VERY, VERY common among sufferers. I felt guilty about everything! Even banal, trivial things that were completely beyond my control. I even felt guilty about the state of the world and bringing my daughter into it.

You are a good and true friend for sticking by her and being understanding of her feelings.

dramaqueen72 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:12:40

just wanted to say wish i'd had a friend like you when i had PND. what a lot of lovely effort and thought you are putting into this.
hope you have a nice time

dramaqueen72 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:12:41

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Evesmama Thu 02-Jun-05 21:15:45

with you around..just being there and supporting her she will be on the road to recovery much quicker now..half the battle is keeping it to yourself, but having such a good friend means she can share her problems/offload and you can provide a new perspective...although it pays to be caustios as 'we' take everything literally when in the depths of PND, she 'will' appreciate you honest but tactful opinion too

dizzymama Fri 03-Jun-05 09:22:32

Just wanted to say how much I really appreciate everyones advice and how youare willing to share your own experiences. I can honestly say it has made me open my eyes and see things from her point of view and hopefully that will help her too. Thank you- will post after outing to say how it all went.

dizzymama Fri 03-Jun-05 17:06:35

That went fairly well! Infact, if anything, I was the one getting stressed out by my niggly baby and she was really calm!

Evesmama Fri 03-Jun-05 21:41:36

...maybe she keeps it in while you tear your hair out..or hopefully, she was so much happier having her lovely friend round and wanted to do normal stuff instead of feel down..glad it was a good day

Evesmama Sun 12-Jun-05 22:40:23

hows it going???

dizzymama Mon 13-Jun-05 10:54:51

Hi Evesmama! She seems ok, just sometimes a bit scarily hyper! Continuing to do practical things to help (looking after pets, popping over for coffee, going shopping etc) which is going well, she really doesn't seem too different which I know shouldn't suprise me, think I was expecting her to wear a sackcloth and hit herself with a stick or something!!

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