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Advice to help a friend



Active member
Nov 10, 2008
I think i need help to help my friend. He recently graduated and such and came to visit us recently. This friend,... let's say Neil, probably has some form of OCD and other things, to give a small hint:

He will /constantly/ pace whilst constantly fidgiting with his hands (as he says he cannot control them), this pacing will on average, and if left to his own devices, last for hours and hours in the same manner, he will also sit in the dark for hours too, sometimes in the corner, i know he slept on the floor more than a few times when he stayed (he stayed in my room and i had to get something in the morning) - he also paces in the dark, which scared another housemate of mine. When a different housemate of mine and some others took Neil out - they both like ales and stuff, Neil would walk off -on more than one occasion- and end up just sat near the river, on previous occasions he has ended up in fields on his little spontanious walks. He also obsessivly cleans for hours and insists on things being symetric.

well, i hope that gives a hint at it anyway, i basically need help getting him to get help, i don't know how i'd go about it. His former flatmate did try and directly get him to get help, but it only resulted in him avoiding said flatmate for the next few months :/. So i don't know how to do it - there is a chance i'd be able to persuade him to come with me to when i see someone (that'll take forever though as booking is stupidly busy and slow) but there are a few problems in that he is : more cynical than me and so less trusting of these people, more paranoid than me so will suspect i'm up to something and avoid me, more stubburn than me -gurr, and more intelligent than me, he wouldn't put up with people asking him how his day went or stuff, he'd analyse the motives for asking rather than just answer :/

does anyone have any idea on how we can help Neil??? he deserves to get better, he's a wonderful person, but this stuff is just chaining him up.
thank you so much in advance!

(sorry it's so long)


Neil can only get better if he recognizes he has a problem and he want's to remedy it.

You can help by just being there for him and not presuming that he has a, b, or c - his compulsions could be symptomatic as opposed to being the illness.

Let him know in a gentle way that you're there but don't try and engineer situations that get him into consulting rooms - that will only push him further away and lose him your friendship.


Active member
Nov 10, 2008
thanks Dollit,
We just worry that if we aren't able to help him, then pretty soon there won't be a Neil to help, it's been getting steadily worse for the past year or so. The reason i said ocd (perhaps i should've explained :/) is because he himself has used the term and acknowledged it, i suspect he has a formal diagnosis but i'm not sure.
sorry for sounding so pessamistic :/


Don't apologize for sounding pessimistic - though I don't think you were, just obviously concerned.

Sometimes we have to be entirely powerless to do anything before we can help. Just be there and when he's ready Neil will ask and you'll be in a place to help.

OCD starts for a number of reasons. I'm what my consultant terms "sub-OCD" - not there yet. But I have a hard time physically letting go of the door handle sometimes because I'm not sure that I've turned everything off or the door is locked. I have caused a fire in the past and blown up a glass ashtray so there's a reason for it. And I have went out and left the door unlocked also. OCD doesn't just spring up, there is always a need for the control it gives.

I'm glad Neil has you.


Active member
Nov 10, 2008
thanks for your help Dollit :)


hi greysea
it sounds like he has a great friend in you. so can be very frustrating and worrying not being able to help him properly, dollit is correct in that he has to be the one who agrees to be helped.
it does sound like he has had some sort of breakdown and probably does not realise the significance of his actions on everyone around, as you say he is highly intelligent so could feel that he should be able to deal with it himself and while he walks off to find space he may think this is better than letting you see what he is going through. although does he realise how worried this makes everyone. does he ever play it down when you discuss it, or brush how scared it makes you feel off in anyway. maybe you could tell him that you will video it next time so he can see what he is doing and why it is making you so worried. or get some literature to help you both understand what is going on at the moment.
you are doing this because you love him and are a true friend never let him forget that, no matter how far he goes.
we are always here to listen as well.
take care
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