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    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

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Phoenix

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
2
Location
Bristol
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this, so please be gentle with me!

My best friend of over 20 years has been clinically depressed for most of her life. She has been hospitalised and has tried pretty much every type of anti-depressant known to medical science.
Since the last time she was sectioned, she has been on a kind of level which she has been able to cope with, but she has suffered 2 recent bereavements and has gone downhill very rapidly in the last couple of months.
I'm at the end of my tether with constant worry. Her GP and Psychiatrist have both run out of ideas and although she is receiving counselling, it doesn't appear to be helping much. She's been talking about giving it up, which will leave her without any support except for me.
She has a large family, who have never actively supported her and although we have other friends, they seem to leave any practical support to me.
I have suffered from mild depression myself in the past, which was treated successfully but I'm frightened that if I allow myself to get down again, I'll be absolutely no help to my friend.
I feel constantly under pressure and bearing the weight of all her problems on top of my own is beginning to make me feel like I can't cope.

I've spent our whole friendship being the strong one and the emotional prop but I am only one person and I feel so guilty that I should be doing more but I don't know what else to do. Nothing I say makes her feel any better and I'm terrified that she'll do something stupid and I won't be able to prevent it.

Can anyone offer any advice? Thanks for listening and sorry for venting.

Phoenix.
 
Emily-Rose

Emily-Rose

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2009
Messages
159
First off, welcome to the forum :)

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and about your friend. Is it a possibilty that your friend could be depressed because of a previous event (e.g. something traumatic) that could have triggered depression? If so, anti-depressants may not work as much as counselling and tackling the problem head on. Some mental health professionals are quick to jump over this solution and quick to jump to a solution of medication. (Not to say that the diagnosis mental health professionals have given her is wrong or that their choice of medication is wrong, because they have more training than me, I'm just going off experience).

It might be a good idea for her to get counselling for the recent bereavements. Personally, I don't think medication works much with things like bereavements, I think talking and getting all your feelings out helps much better as medication just covers up the problem that needs to be tackled.

I would strongly encourage your friend against giving up the help she currently recieves. Assure her that even though she feels it may not be helping her, it is in her best interests to have as much help as she can, and encourage her to talk to her GP about maybe getting a counsellor, and trying out counselling sessions to see if they help. Although, I'm not saying they will as counselling doesn't work for everybody, especially if an event hasn't triggered their depression.

It can be hard if your family don't actively support, but it's nice that she has friends who do support her.

I'm sorry to hear that you feel under constant pressure. Maybe you could assure your friend that you are there for her, and point her in the direction of counselling or another positive route and say although you are there for her, you need to take a short break yourself asyou are not feeling 100% yourself. That should give you a short time to relax, especially if she is getting the help of a counsellor.

Of course, I'm not telling you to ignore her completely for a few days, because I know, as a friend you cannot do that, but I am only recommending you take a step back for a while and have some room to breathe.

Have you considered maybe talking to a mental health professional about how you are feeling? Counselling might be helpful as you can get all the pressure that is on you off your chest. I remember being told many times, "it's not just the patient that needs help, any carers need help too, as that's a lot of weight to carry on their shoulders with no-one to confide in."

Try not to feel guilty about anything, you've been a rock to your friend and you've been there as much as you can. Reassure yourself of that.

Don't be sorry for venting at all, we're here to help you, and venting can help so much to get a weight off your shoulders so vent if you need to, I'm listening :)

Emily.x
 
P

Phoenix

New member
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
2
Location
Bristol
Thanks for replying Emily, it's nice to know there is someone listening. :)

My friend has experienced pretty much every tragedy going, she has been a carer for her mum, who is wheelchair bound, since the age of 3, when she was about 10 she lost a very close grandparent who lived with them and actually died in the next room, she's had weight issues her whole life, she experienced a severe childhood trauma, I recently discovered that while I knew she was a self harmer, she actually began cutting at 13, I could go on but it would take me a year to describe everything she's ever been through, but the above is the essence.

After she was first hospitalised about 10 years ago, her Psychiatrist found her a therapist who she saw for over 6 years, but this ended badly when (I believe) the therapist realised she was getting a little too involved and basically told my friend that she wouldn't be able to see her anymore. My friend had told this woman EVERYTHING, she opened her heart and then felt like her trust had been trampled on. No other assistance apart from medication was offered after this.

After her third bereavement in the space of 2 years, about 3 or 4 months ago, she started to experience anxiety and panic attacks worse than ever before. She was having continual palpitations and finally things came to a head when she had a terrible week at work, then her mum came home from a prolonged stay in hospital, she had a massive panic attack which lasted for several hours, and was clearly on the verge of a serious breakdown.
I began going to all her doctors appointments with her, even speaking to our GP on her behalf when she was unable to talk on the phone. I helped her organise bereavement counselling and drove her there. I took her to see her Psychiatrist and actually went in with her to see him. But although the bereavement counselling is helping, all her other problems just aren't being dealt with.
The local Mental Health Crisis Team was called in by our GP, but the CPN missed 8 out of 10 appointments by phone and in person, plus didn't even give her a number to contact her on, so now she feels let down by them too and frankly who can blame her!
We have always joked about OCD, like a lot of people do, but we recently had a conversation about it and it became obvious that she's been suffering from that too for many years without either of us realising. The OCD is getting worse and beginning to control her. She got something on her hand the other week and scrubbed it so hard that she left a wound bigger than a 50p piece, which was noticed by the GP. So now she has OCD to deal with on top of everything else.

She saw our doctor the day before yesterday and was told that she had been put on a waiting list for a new therapist, but it's going to be at least a year before she reaches the top of the list.
Her Psychiatrist actually said the last time they met that he just doesn't know what to do with her, which beggars belief because I refuse to believe that she is beyond help. She needs treatment and she needs it now, not in 6 months, not in a year, NOW! I wish I could win the lottery or come into some money, then we could afford to go private and get her the help she so desperately needs.
She told me the other day that the only thing she's found really helpful was my suggestion of joining one of these forums where she could speak to people who are in the same boat. How is it that all the so-called "medical professionals" have nothing to offer, but me a complete layman has been the only means of giving her hope.

I am totally consumed with helping her at the moment (as you can probably tell by the above), I'm taking time off work, which I can ill afford and my bosses were understanding to begin with but are now getting annoyed about it. My Mum is really concerned about me and keeps telling me I have to worry about myself, but how do you change the habit of a lifetime? We've been friends since we were 5 and I've spent my entire life being there for her and propping her up, she relies on me and being that it would appear that I'm the only one who is actively helping her, I just can't add myself to the ever-growing list of people who keep letting her down.

I am going away for a month to New Zealand in November and am worried about how she'll cope when I'm away, although I am looking forward to it because I'll be staying with a friend who I haven't seen for nearly 20 years. It means I will get a break from everything, which if I'm honest is much needed.

Thanks again for hearing me. It is a huge relief to know that I'm not alone and even just writing it all down is helping.

Phoenix. xx
 
M

maudikie

Guest
From Maudikie.

f your friend is not already in contact with the mental health Team try topersuae her to contact them. Or suggest that she has a talk with her G.P. as she may need a change of medication. There are a lot of new ones on the market now, and they seem more efficient
I think you should have a break away from her, just for a bout three sessions a weeek. Take up a hobby which will give you a good reason, and join a group.


You should not feel gulty.as you have done your best, and guilt can make you ill. so just be grateful that y ou have so far had the strength yo cope, and DO take a break. This is importyant for your own health.
 
Neferakhet

Neferakhet

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
86
Location
Beyond the Styx
Apparently you tried very hard for your friend.Unfortunately the inadequency of modern psychology is most likely the reason why she couldn't come out of her clinical depression.Most psychologists and psychiatrists are devoid of the skill required to utilize enough empathy with the patient and resort to misuse or overuse of antideprassants.

As harsh as it may see.No matter how close you may have been and regardless of the fact that she is your oldest and best friend..you are not her.So you should put your own health,life ahead of hers.Everyone follows their own paths in life afterall.. She may have come to a deadend.My suggestion is to not exert further effort to help her.Call her when you feel like it.. but don't forget that you have a life as well.Don't force yourself to do what you don't want to do.
 
M

mrscjh12

Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
5
Hi I can relate to you. I have the same with my mother. I can't do it anymore. I have tried for years and years, but i have had to come to the decision to let her go, cause I've started to get panic attacks myself and I have my own children to look after. Its so so sad mental illness leads to this, but what can we do??
 
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