Posted by: Sanet | 2013-02-12

Depressed friend

Hi, a good friend of mine that I studied with is struggling with depression and I think she is anorexic. Since 2 years ago when I visited her in the UK (she''s now back in SA) she already admitted to being depressed. She only sleeps 4 hours a night. She can''t fall asleep and then stays up until 1-2 am. And needs to get up at 5:15. She also has some compulsive behaviour , that she says is getting worse with age. When we studied she was very perfectionist and constantly had migraines, and in my opnion it was stress related. She has also lost a lot of weight and her BMI is under 20, but she''s still worried that she is overweight. She looks anorexic, I don''t even know where she finds clothes that fit her, because she''s almost a size 6. She hates wearing clothes that are a size 8. I can see she is going through a difficult time. I have encouaged her to see a therapist, but she is in such a dark place that she won''t gather up the courage to see someone. And she is scared that het family will stigmatize her. I told her therapy sessions are protected by the patient/dr relationship and nobody needs to know about her mood or if she will be taking antidepressants. She is very lonely, having no friends other than me and another friend that stays 5 hours drive away. with my Bipolar I have tried to help her to get to a therapist, but like I said she is scared to go that route. In the meantime she is just working and sleeping. She also very anxious.
How do I get her to go for help. I have told her almost everything about being Bipolar and how well I''m doing on medication. I was hoping that she would realise that she is not alone. I cannot describe everything, there is too many issues she has to deal with. I gave her some books to read up on Depression etc. My hands are tied at the moment. I''d really like to know how I can convince her to get help. My psychologist suggested I offer to accompany her to an appointment and just wait for her in the waiting room. Just to get her started. But she won''t make an appointment. It would be so great if she just accept some kind of help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

One cant help wondering what exactly it i about seeing a shrink tha she says she finds so frighterning. Sadly, this is not a rare situation, in which we see someonealmost clinging to their illness and symptoms, and finding excuses not to get treatment. But it also has to be remembered that not only is depression and anorexia unpleasant but dangerous --- untreated, both condiions have a significant death rate. This is very frustrating for you, especially a you yourself are suh a good example of someone who had the widsom to et help and work with therapy.
Broadly, there's little one can do other than to persist in trying to persuade her, nless her family ( who have some legal sanding ) or her GP, conider there is significant and sufficient risk to her life to seek to arrange for compulsory assessment and treatment, which is legally possible, but often undesirable and capable of causing major problems including a loss of her trust

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