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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: paranoid, less talkative, spacy, loss of weight ...


 eddieisme - Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:08 pm

Hello, I have a close friend who's gone thru alot in the past year and a half.. from a miscarrige, to a breakup, to her mom getting breast cancer, to moving out and breaking up with new boyfriend. About before the last breakup she started hearing things like people in the apartment next to her spying on her, thinking she was being chased in a car.. to episodes of blank stares, hearing music that I just turned off thinking it was still on and said had a pain on back of her head. Formed some habits of constantly fussing with hair. Can notice quick movements of eyes.. like alots going on in her head, will be really quiet then all of a sudden make a quick movement to for example pick something up or turn something off. For the most part when shes "there" we can have a deep conversation but I don't pry.. Kinda goes back and forth, but for the most part its back. She has not let herself go.. fixes herself up, still dresses up and puts on makeup but has lost alot of weight but job has suffered. Sometimes her speech slows down. I realize the stress may have triggered something and Im trying to be there for her in this time making her feel comfortable getting out and doing things, relax. She Has gone to an appointment which im not supposed to know about.. but do from family.. so I can't bring that up to her. What do you make of this? What can I do as a friend to help? I really want to help her snap out of this.. in the event of bi-polar or what have you.. do these tend to be something to be delt with for the rest of her life,or something short term that can go away? Thank you in advance
 Dr. E. Seigle - Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:41 pm

Hi eddieisme,

I can't know what condition your friend is experiencing, except to say that it does sound like it is rather serious. It is common for people to have significant depressive episodes after long periods of marked stress, so this is possible. I gather you think she has begun to receive treatment. As a friend, you could consider saying something like, "it looks like you are having a hard time" and see if she wishes to talk about it with you. If it feels like it "fits" with your relationship with her, you could ask her how all the stresses she's experienced has caused her to feel. Another alternative, if it "fits" for you and she, is that you could acknowledge that she's had a lot going on in her life, and as a friend, she can talk to you about it if she wants to. Another way is that you might, at a time that feels "right", talk a little about a time in your life when you sought help (not necessarily professional help, it could be help from friends or family) for a time you were "stressed-out". This may help her to feel less ashamed or less of a need to hide her problem, if that's what she feels.

If she really dosn't want to discuss any of it with you, she'll let you know somehow, and you can accept that that's how she feels and not ask further. But by bringing up the issue in a sensitive way, you've let her know that you care about what's happening for her and that she doesn't need to hide it if she doesn't want to.

Hope that gives you some ideas.

Good luck. -Eliot Seigle MD
 eddieisme - Mon Apr 28, 2008 3:30 pm

Thank you very much for your response.. and yes it does help. One more question... Is it not good for someone in this condition to go on vacation, out of their environment? I was planning on getting her away maybe a small trip just to get her mind relaxed... Her brother thinks she should not, but I think it would be good to get away.. she seems to be opening up more to me and think if we get out she would even more so....

Thank you so much..
 Dr. E. Seigle - Fri May 02, 2008 7:03 pm

Eddieisme,

That's a hard question to answer without knowing your friend and her condition. She may need to be near the people and professionals who support her (besides you). It's also important that while you clearly care about and want to support your friend, you don't want to try to "fix" things for her. Sometimes, being well meaning, one can take on too much responsibility for someone we care for, and unintentionally create unforeseen problems. Sometimes, when trying too hard to help, we can intrude or take over. However, your idea and concern is very caring. You might consider some of these ideas: asking her what she thinks, ask yourself if it is consistent with what your relationship has been like in the past, and think about whether there might be any underlying romantic motives or results for either of you (which probably is not a good thing for her right now).

Good luck, Eliot Seigle MD

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