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Women's health

Friends ‘mystery’ ailments

4 replies

Originalusernameunavailable · 14/01/2020 07:45

Hello, I’ll try and keep this as concise as possible.
I have a friend of about 6 years who has always been a good friend to me and supported me through a divorce, always remembers birthdays etc.
Her background is she is from ‘old money’ and while she always pleads poverty, she is a stay at home mother who thinks nothing of buying a designer handbag or having a new bathroom fitted but tells us how poor she is. We’ve always just accepted it’s her perspective as she doesn’t know any different, if that makes sense?

Anyway, for a few years now she’s been on antidepressants for anxiety. She’s tried several brands/types as she says none of them work. Fair enough.

The main thing my friend complains about constantly is she always says how she’s in pain. It tends to be her back or her side but never anything specific. She’s been to the doctors multiple times and is even paying privately for CT scans, MRI scans, endoscopes etc, all of which show nothing abnormal. Yet she insists the doctors are wrong.

She also has decided to self diagnose and says she ha multiple food allergies, not intolerances but allergies. These are to specific things like green peppers, lamb, lemons and dairy. As someone who has a food based qualification I tried to explain that if she had these allergies the signs would be different and actually not as specific as she’s making out but she just dismissed it so I didn’t push it.

I guess why I’m posting is because it’s not at a stage where she’s lost and is losing most of her friends because she’s obsessed with this situation. Every conversation, and I do mean every, comes down to her and these issues. Eg - I said the other day ‘shall we meet for coffee?’ And she launched into why she can’t have dairy etc. Another eg - a child of someone in the friendship group was admitted to hospital, her first reaction was ‘oh don’t worry, I’m back at hospital to have another test’ then continued to list her woes again.

We are all finding it incredibly draining, those of us who are left.

I don’t want to defriend her but I don’t know what the best approach is?

Her own husband has told her he finds her draining and boring Confused

I genuinely believe it’s all in her head as she has no physical signs.

Part of me thinks I should tell her straight but I don’t want to upset her and I’m no doctor.

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beautifulstranger101 · 14/01/2020 07:54

I mean, she does sound boring and draining if she turns every conversation into one about her various ailments. Noone likes constant complainers, its tedious.

No, you shouldn't challenge her on it. It sounds like she has hypochondria and is using the physical ailments as a way of getting attention that she doesnt feel she can get in legitimate, or more usual ways. You either accept her as she is and stay friends or just fade her out if you find her annoying. You cant change her and by calling her out she'll just get angry and you'll end up having a row. She clearly enjoys seeking attention in this way otherwise she wouldnt do it- and one quick word with her isn't going to change a lifetime pattern of behaviour is it? That kind of thing needs therapy.

Just fade her out and limit the time you spend with her. She doesnt sound like a particularly genuine friend anyway if she makes everything all about her so I'm not really sure why you'd want to fight for this friendship anyway.

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isabellerossignol · 14/01/2020 08:08

My MIL is like this. I'm convinced she has health anxiety (the reason I'm convinced is because I used to suffer from it terribly myself, so I recognise that your mind can do strange things to your physical sensations). Just to be clear, I don't believe she is lying about her aches and pains. But she refuses to consider psychological help, which is something that might actually help her.

But it is incredibly draining. She has had MRIs, CT scans, X rays, blood tests, physical examinations and hundreds of doctors appointments. It's certainly not the case that she has been dismissed without investigations. And sometimes they have found a problem and treated it, but without exception she always says that she regrets having the treatment because she felt better beforehand. So the doctors can't win. If they treat something, she complains that they shouldn't have done. If they don't treat her, she complains that they don't understand.

Tbh I just try to avoid her because when I had a parent who was dying an agonising death she always used to say 'I know what it's like, my back is sore too' which was just so self absorbed I couldn't cope with it any more.

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Originalusernameunavailable · 14/01/2020 08:17

Thanks for your replies.

I think my personal issue with the situation is I work in a palliative care setting so I see people, who are often not old at all, passing away. I feel it’s changed me personally because it’s given perspective so I think I’m less tolerant of her moaning.

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emmathedilemma · 15/01/2020 13:00

Could be fibromyalgia? Took one of my friends years to get a diagnosis and even then I believe it's very non-specific other than unexplained pain.

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