How can I help a friend who cannot bring herself to take care of life stuff?

O

osonda

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Jun 12, 2019
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#1
Hi,

I am completely new to this web site, looking for advice on how to help a friend who is dealing with (not too severe right now) depression but a very scary anxiety which causes an inability to take care of life needs.

We have been good friends for about 10 years. About 5 years ago she suddenly stopped answering my messages and other friends' as well. I suspected depression but I just could not reach her. A few months ago she recontacted me confirming my suspicion. She has basically been locked at home for all this time. She was a tenured professor and was being paid even without working, but now her contract has finally been discontinued. She has no income, no insurance, and still spends her time locked at home playing cell phone games and reading fantasy novels. She tells me that thinking about reality generates extreme anxiety so she cannot bring herself to do it.

Her savings can cover a few months of rent only and are going away; she lives in a rented house in very expensive San Francisco, so if she does manage to find an income, I am afraid she will have to move to some place far away even from me (her only friend at this time) or even go homeless. Her family lives in New York but she barely talks to them at this point (she tells me she will never talk to her mom again, and she talks to her dad -- who is still married to her mom -- infrequently).

I've been told that all a friend can do to help with depression is to listen, which I do. However, I wonder if I can do more. I do help here and there with small chores, but I have my own life and family to take care of so there is not a lot I can do. I very gently try to prod her sometimes to take care of the most important stuff but I don't nag (she made it very clear that she won't be nagged, which I understand).

What I would like to ask people here is if there is a way for her to find professional help even without insurance. What happens to people in such extreme conditions who do not have local family to take care of them, and not have insurance? I can only think homelessness but I must ask if there are alternatives.

Thank you for your time and attention.
 
Hopeful313

Hopeful313

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#2
Hi @osonda and welcome to the forum.

First of all, I want to say thank you for caring about your friend. It’s very nice of you and very much appreciated.

I am very sorry that your friend is going through hard times.

Your friend needs to see a professional to get a proper diagnosis. None of us a psychiatrist or psychologist. We can only share our experiences and ideas about how to cope when things are going bad.

I suggest she sees a psychiatrist and a therapist. There must be free mental health services/clinics in your area. You can call the human services office, sometimes called the county, and ask them or just google search it. Some public clinics offer medications at very low costs.

If she’s unemployed right now, she qualifies for workers comp. if she was laid of. They should pay her close to what she was making at work.

She can also apply for SSDI ( Social Security Disability Insurance) but this requires doctor’s visits and reports. Through SSDI, she can get Medicare. At the mean time, she can apply for benefits through the county where she’ll get food and cash support plus medical insurance. I think she should go this route and the county will appoint her a public nurse that will help her apply for everything mentioned above. She can even get public housing assistance if she gets approved SSDI or public assistance.

I wish I was closer to help her with going to those places and apply for her. I know you said you are busy but if she authorize you to act on her behalf, you can do all the paperwork work for her.

I hope this helps.
 
O

osonda

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#3
@Hopeful313,

Thank you very much for your kind, prompt, and very informative reply! I will sure act on this information, and I will to do it myself if she authorizes it.

I know very little about what you describe, so I have a couple of questions.

I did not know about workers compensation (I didn't grow up in the US so sometimes I don't know how the system works). From what I looked up right now, though, isn't this available only to cases of injury?

You wrote "human services office, sometimes called the county"; is that really what you meant, or perhaps there was a typo? I would be surprised if a single government office were called "the county". Perhaps it's just an informal term people use?

Anyway, thank you very much again, it's a relief to feel like there is something I can do.
 
Hopeful313

Hopeful313

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Minnesota, USA
#4
@Hopeful313,

Thank you very much for your kind, prompt, and very informative reply! I will sure act on this information, and I will to do it myself if she authorizes it.

I know very little about what you describe, so I have a couple of questions.

I did not know about workers compensation (I didn't grow up in the US so sometimes I don't know how the system works). From what I looked up right now, though, isn't this available only to cases of injury?

You wrote "human services office, sometimes called the county"; is that really what you meant, or perhaps there was a typo? I would be surprised if a single government office were called "the county". Perhaps it's just an informal term people use?

Anyway, thank you very much again, it's a relief to feel like there is something I can do.
You very welcome 🙏

Workers compensation isn’t for injury cases only. It covers lay offs and I think, not sure though, people who can’t work for medical reasons. It won’t hurt search that or give them a call maybe??

I worked as an interpreter at the human services office in my town before and I’ve heard cases workers refer to their office by the term “the county” 🙂 also when you go to clinics and they ask you for your insurance info, they usually ask “is it through the county” meaning the Imam services office. At least that’s what people call it here in Minnesota.

It’s my pleasure to help and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask or pm if you prefer.

I hope everything goes well for both of you🌺
 
Hopeful313

Hopeful313

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#5
I just wanted to assure you that she must qualify for one of those programs. If she gets insurance through the county, she can request for personal care assistance. Her insurance or the county will appoint someone to follow up with your friend to make sure she’s doing well, making appointments, filling out papers for her and help her with medication if she had any. Sometimes, they will even take her to her appointments.
 
O

osonda

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#6
That's amazing! Thank you so much!

I am really surprised to hear these things. Here in San Francisco there are tons of mentally ill people living on the streets and it *seems* like they are not being taken care of.

Also, there are news just this week of San Francisco Board of Supervisors proposing universal mental health care in the city, in part to address the homeless and lower income population, but if all these services you are talking about are already available, I am not sure why they are doing that.

Anyway, I don't want to sound like I am trying to contradict or challenge you, I am just wondering out loud.
 
Hopeful313

Hopeful313

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#7
You are very welcome 🙂

I believe these services are available everywhere in the US with minor differences here and there depending on the economy of the state you live in.

I’ve seen this problem that you mentioned. People usually prefer to be free of any obligations as these programs require monthly reports filled out by the receiver of the services and some of them require getting involved in either educational programs or employment plan programs that require 20 hours a week of going to human services office.

These programs require you to be drug free with no record of felonies or drug charges.

Another reason is that people don’t like to be known or labeled of having mental health issues. It also make them vulnerable for others to take advantage of them or use that against them. Homelessness is enough labor to have and it’s not easy.
 
sadpunchingbag

sadpunchingbag

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#8
You are a good friend but you can’t if they don’t want it. Won’t work sure try as much as you can to push your friend. But If you are not ready it will not happen
 
O

osonda

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#9
My mere mention of her seeking professional help made her angry and she said she didn't have the energy to spend half an hour listing to me all her reasons for not wanting to do it now (but she didn't rule it out for the future, at least).

I let it rest and am focusing now on helping her getting the paperwork for a state pension which will provide her a health plan for life. Hopefully once that is in place she will feel motivated to think about that again.

Thank you once more, finding this forum and the information you provided has brought me much peace of mind.
 
sadpunchingbag

sadpunchingbag

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#10
My mere mention of her seeking professional help made her angry and she said she didn't have the energy to spend half an hour listing to me all her reasons for not wanting to do it now (but she didn't rule it out for the future, at least).

I let it rest and am focusing now on helping her getting the paperwork for a state pension which will provide her a health plan for life. Hopefully once that is in place she will feel motivated to think about that again.

Thank you once more, finding this forum and the information you provided has brought me much peace of mind.
All you are doing is so very nice I hope she appreciate it and don’t put yourself 2nd
 

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