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Author Topic: Worried about a friend and can not help, what to do?
Gavida
Deck the Malls


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Hello, Snopsters.

I have a huge problem and I don't know what to do right now. I have the urge to punch a wall until my knuckles bleed and then some more.
Never mind that, here is what is bothering me right now.

I have a very good and dear friend. Actually she is my ex-gf from 14 years back. We stayed friends after we broke up and she is very very close to me.

She is married, has two daughters (4 yrs and 1 1/2 yrs). There were some problems in her marriage during the last year and a half, starting with complications after giving birth to the second girl. She had to go through surgery two times after the Ceasarean Section and had to stay in hospital for some time. Her husband had to care for the daughters, get the older one to kindergarten in the morning, the newborn to his parents-in-law, go to work, pick the daughters up again from kindergarten and PIL, drive to the hospital to visit his wife, return home, see that the kids get supper and put them into bed.

After several weeks of this going on, he lost it somehow. He was so stressed, that he forgot to do important stuff, he didn't do any important paperwork. He was close to a breakdown.

At the second half of this year everything started to rain down on the two, when overdue notices started to flood them.

My friend, who already was mentally worn down because of her health and the prompt notes from earlier that year started to show symptoms that worry me. (She started showing them already at the beginning of the year, but with every month that prompt notes and overdue notices started showing up in the mail it got worse).

I read a lot on the internet about the symptoms.
I am no medical person, just a worried friend and therefor did a lot of searching before making my mind up about her condition.

I think (like I said, no medical person here) that she suffers from
"Emotionally unstable personality disorder"
(IDC-10 F60.3 Impulse Typ)

I know she sees a psychiatrist already, but from what she told me she is treated for stress and exhaustion.
Since I do know what psychiatrist she visits I wondered if I should call there and tell the Doctor what happened in the last few weeks, because it starts to get worse, she loses control more often, now even when I am visiting the family. Smashing plates on the kitchen floor, pulling everything from a shelf and throwing it to the ground, breaking DVDs from her husband in a fit of anger, cutting his clothes with a pair of scissors.
And she even neglects the children (the 4 year old had to throw up yesterday evening, she was laying on the couch on her back and she sat right next to her and didn't even help her up, the husband had to make sure that the girl didn't keep vomiting while laying on the back), shouts at them and punishes the older one very hard for minor mistakes. I do know that she loves her children, but when she gets one of those fits of rage/anger she overreacts in a way that makes my heart ache.

Ok, this was a lot longer than I planned it to be and I apologize for that.
But if you read until hear, maybe you can give me advice what I should do, since she starts to become a danger not just to herself but slowly to the children as well.

If I talk to her about it she probably will be mad at me and not talk to me anymore, I couldn't go over for a visit and that is not acceptable for me (the little ones are very important to me)

If I call the psychiatrist and tell her about what is going on and what I think my friend suffers from, then I probably will be ignored anyway (doctor-patient-relation). Or the doctor will tell my friend about my call and this would result in the first outcome.

Her husband has no idea what to do as well, since very often he can not talk to his wife, she either ignores him or eyes him with open hostility. (I can understand some of that with his lying during this year about the financial situation)

I feel so helpless, I have no idea what to do right now.

Sorry again for this long post and thank you for reading, getting all this off my chest at least made me feel a little bit better. And if you can give me some advice, I would be very grateful.

Gavida

--------------------
"He looked bigger when I couldn't see him" - Jayne Cobb

Posts: 359 | From: Essen, NRW, Germany | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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The doctor cannot tell you anything about his patient. However, he can, if he wants, listen when someone else talks about her. At least that's the way it is in the USA.

The family needs help with everyday things. Are his and her parents aware of how bad things are? Can they provide [more] help with childcare, housekeeping, bills? Do you know any of her other friends? Can one friend take her out and another friend watch the children and do some housework?

And I have to say it, someone should check any medications she is taking for psychiatric adverse reactions. Is she taking medication for pain or depression or steroids? I'd start with them.

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Page Three
Deck the Malls


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I wouldn't dismiss talking to her completely. Sometimes that's exactly what's needed: Someone to acknowledge that something is wrong, and is taking notice, and cares. Even more so if you're good friends.

Even if she gets mad at you -- assuming that she will get better, whether it's as a direct result of your intervention or not -- in the end, she might be grateful that you cared enough to take action.

If that doesn't help, it doesn't necessarily hurt to talk to the psychiatrist or psychologist, even though you will not get feedback and will not be involved in the healing process without the patient's consent. For the patient, it's good to have the support of friends when going through therapy as well.

At the same time, if you have offered all help available, don't beat yourself up. There are some things you can't directly influence. In the end, the best you may be able to do is simply to let her know you're around if she needs you.

I wish you the very best of luck.

Posts: 315 | From: Berlin, Germany | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
dawnda
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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This is why you should not make medical determinations without training. EUPD is a lifelong disorder. If she acted like this when you broke up 14 years ago I doubt you would still be friends. What you are describing sounds like a serious but classic case of post-partum depression, which certainly can last a couple years, coupled with serious financial issues which are causing stress & depression. Not to mention the usual exhaustion from having several kids.

I agree with Sara that her meds should be checked. Since you are not in the US I don't know what legal issues there are in talking with her therapist, but the person who should be talking to him/her is her husband. The therapist even then may not be able to discuss her issues directly with him, but it will help with her sessions & be taken more seriously.

Family can offer to help with chores & childcare too, but so can you. I would certainly feel overwhelmed in her situation, and someone offering to help with something, even doing the dishes, would be better than just telling me what I'm doing wrong.

--------------------
Behind every good man there is a good woman and behind that another
man looking at her rear end.

Posts: 35 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
dawnda
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Oh, also, something to add about post-partum. It is based on hormones, which are all out of whack during & after the pregnancy.

I have PCOS, & take the pill for it, which I call my 'keep me from being a raving homicidal maniac' pill. When things are off I actually want to inflict bodily harm on people & have stayed home because I was afraid I actually would. I have a friend who, once when hormones were out of whack, got so mad on taking her dogs for a walk that she picked them up by their collars & dangled them over a bridge. These are 60-80 lb dogs, one in each hand, something most women I know are physically incapable of normally, & she loves those creatures.

Just to give you an idea of what goes on with messed-up hormones. She may not be able to control what she is feeling.

--------------------
Behind every good man there is a good woman and behind that another
man looking at her rear end.

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Oh yeah. Run the vacuum, do the dishes, cook a meal, take the kids to the park, do the wash, fold the wash, put toys away. You would be amazed at how insurmountable those tasks can be in her state of mind.

And make sure the blinds are open during the day.

--------------------
Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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LongTallBlonde
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I agree with the Post Partum Depression supposition. It fits all the symptoms that you described in your original post. There have been cases here in the US in the past few years where women with PPD have actually murdered their kids. This is nothing to shy away from. Her OB/GYN and her psychiatrist need to be made aware of her symptoms. Her husband should be the one taking charge of this information flow, but if he is exhausted and on the verge of a break down himself then anyone who has knowledge of this situation should let all the medical personnel involved know about how her true state really is. One Dr might not be considering the mental state and another Dr might not be considering the hormonal state. They need to be aware of what is called the WHOLE PATIENT CONCEPT.

Good Luck sugar and I hope your friend appreicates what it is that you are trying to do.

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A woman needs a man like fish needs a bicycle....People don't care how much you know, but they know how much you care.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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What's your relationship like with her husband? Can you bring your concerns to him?

And yeah, do anything you can to help, especially getting those kids out of the house for a while. Is she home alone with them all day?

--------------------
How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gavida
Deck the Malls


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Thank you all for your replies.
I am glad I posted my concerns and thoughts here, this way Dawnda pointed me into the direction of post-partum depression. Snopesters are amazing! I do not think that PPD is less serious than an "Emotionally unstable personality disorder" but I hope that it can be treated more efficently.

Now for the questions. I can go into some detail, just didn't want to do it in the OP since it was long enough already.

The husband's mother is... uhm.... let's just say "strange". You wouldn't want to have her taking care of your children.
Her parents aren't up to helping in the house or with the children, health and age being an issue here.

The older daughter is in kindergarten from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The little one is with a child minder once a week at the same time.
The rest of the time she is alone with the youngest. Because of the tight financial situation she is at home most of the time.

The husband works 8:30 am to 5:00 pm sometimes doing overtime. Due to the situation he is in right now he is close to a breakdown himself.

I am not sure if the husband should talk to the therapist, since his wife told her that he is the reason for her stress and exhaustion, the therapist told him to go to a different psychiatrist to get treatment himself.

The husband is a good friend as well. (I know it seems like a strange situation, but it is this way [Wink] )
He knows of my concerns for her health and the children's safety. We talk about it several times a week.

I will give it a try and call the therapist tomorrow, hoping she is in her practice between Christmas and New Year's Eve.
I know her gynaecologist as well, or better, I know who it is. I will try to contact him as well. We visit the same internist, so I think I will refrain from calling him as well, this could be a conflict of interests for him.

I will have the first week in January off from work, so I will try to pack the kids in my car and take them out a bit.

Gavida

--------------------
"He looked bigger when I couldn't see him" - Jayne Cobb

Posts: 359 | From: Essen, NRW, Germany | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Gavida:
I am not sure if the husband should talk to the therapist, since his wife told her that he is the reason for her stress and exhaustion, the therapist told him to go to a different psychiatrist to get treatment himself.

For treatment, yes, because the therapist may have been concerned that treating them both would present a conflict of interest. However, that doesn't mean that the husband can't call the therapist with his concerns about his wife's condition and her treatment. What the therapist chooses to do with any information he gets from the husband is outside the husband's control, of course, but at least he will have done all he can.

--------------------
How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

Posts: 8322 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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