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Mon Mar 26, 2018, 11:38 PM

Can I vent for just a few minutes?

So a little background info about me: I'm in my 40's, am a survivor of childhood sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse. I have seen therapists off and on since I was 8. For 15 yrs I was actively self-harming (I still struggle with urges and "relapsed" a few months back) and I have been diagnosed by licensed therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists with major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder and PTSD. For the last 10 yrs I have been unable to work because I basically had a breakdown and I am struggling every day with basic tasks of living.

I say this all so that I can convey that my mental health is a constant struggle ever since I was a child and I understand the stigma and difficulties such as access to affordable care, being believed, getting consistent treatment etc that come with mental illness.

I have a friend who is very wealthy - I say that only because it will be relevant in a second and also because I try to actively check myself from my bias "you are a millionaire-how are you struggling" ...I know mental illness does not see $$ and it's my own personal bias.

My friend is a few years older than me and college educated. But she throws out terms and diagnosis that, in my opinion minimize mental illnesses. Like when someone says they are OCD when they really are just a neat and organized person. She says this about PTSD..first she said she had PTSD about calling a doctor, at first I brushed it off exaggeration. But then she said it again, this time she has PTSD of abandonment because she has had to change doctors.

After internally screaming, I said...I don't want this to come across the wrong way, but that is not what PTSD is. She got defensive and said well I get sick to my stomach so what do you call it..I explained it sounded more like panic (but stating one isn't "better or worse" just treated differently) and attached in a text some explanations from medical websites.

A few days later she was talking about the medications she takes, the cost and that she has "survivor's guilt" that she can afford it. I bit back the urge to say no..that's privilege, survivors guilt is what some of the Parkland students are facing.

The thing is she states she has some serious mental health issues : PTSD, bipolar, bipolar depressive (which I don't think is it's own thing), and some others I have forgotten. But I don't think she has been diagnosed (at least not in the last 15yrs) by her own admission, she has a doctor that she just tells she has a specific diagnosis (never mentions symptoms) and gets some heavy medications that she sometimes takes. It sounds like her doctor is not very ethical..just one that passes out free samples and doesn't do any follow up.

She has been talking about going to a new doctor for medications (not talk therapy) and she needs to get straight all her diagnoses from the last 18 yrs so she can tell them what pills she needs.

I told her to focus on the symptoms of what she is feeling not labels (because it feels like she has a new thing every month). I explained that being on some of the hard core antipsychotic meds if you don't have the chemical imbalance that needs it to begin with, can make things worse.

We have never met in person, we met online in crafting group over 8 yrs ago, but talk nearly every other day via texts and long winded emails.

I am worried that because she doesn't have insurance and can just pay cash, she has had some unethical advice from her pill doctor over the past years. I am frustrated with how flippant she is tossing out diagnoses that she gets from whatever website she was on last because I feel like it minimizes the seriousness of something like PTSD (which I have and is no joke).

Sorry this is so long... I just really needed to vent. I want to be a supportive friend and not judge her.

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Can I vent for just a few minutes? (Original post)
nadine_mn Mar 2018 OP
samnsara Mar 2018 #1
nadine_mn Mar 2018 #4
steve2470 Mar 2018 #2
nadine_mn Mar 2018 #5
MontanaMama Mar 2018 #3
nadine_mn Mar 2018 #6
MontanaMama Mar 2018 #9
Upthevibe Mar 2018 #7
Nitram Mar 2018 #8
JayhawkSD Mar 2018 #10

Response to nadine_mn (Original post)

Mon Mar 26, 2018, 11:44 PM

1. i have no advice to give you...just a (((HUG))))

...what a good friend you are.

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Response to samnsara (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 01:20 AM

4. Hugs are always appreciated

Thank you

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Response to nadine_mn (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 12:03 AM

2. first, my sympathies

Second, I've been known to be flippant about diagnostic words but then again, I know what they mean. I have the greatest of empathy and respect for those who suffer.

A bit of unsolicited advice: you might want to pull back a bit. My guess is she probably won't change her patterns any time soon. I agree, she needs competent counseling and psychiatric care, but will she get either any time soon ? My guess is probably not.

Best wishes, nadine_mn.

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Response to steve2470 (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 01:25 AM

5. My husband basically said the same thing

That maybe she is invested in being "sick" and needs that. So I will pull back...and be there if she needs me

I have a habit of wanting to jump in and rescue, while ignoring my own sinking boat.

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Response to nadine_mn (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 12:10 AM

3. Youre a really good friend.

I think youíre correct in your skepticism about her seeing a doctor for meds without talk therapy. Iím certainly no expert on this however...please be gentle with yourself.

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Response to MontanaMama (Reply #3)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 01:28 AM

6. Thank you. I'm trying to help

But I also know I need to help myself first. It's easier for me to ignore my own crap.

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Response to nadine_mn (Reply #6)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 09:57 AM

9. Right?

Facing our own crap is hard...to say the least.

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Response to nadine_mn (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 01:57 AM

7. I agree with what some others have suggested...

to maybe pull away a little bit...

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Response to nadine_mn (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 09:31 AM

8. You make a very valid point about a tendency to belittle real mental health issues by carelessly

using terms such as OCD and PTSD for common everyday behavior. I think people who do that don't mean to trivialize the severity of real mental health issues. It is lazy, blithe use of psychological terms to exaggerate their own or other people's foibles. Much like the way terms like "retard" and "spaz" were thrown around in previous decades.

Your friend sounds like she is the kind of person who begins to notice symptoms in herself whenever she reads about a the symptoms of a condition or syndrome. There are an awful lot of phony quizzes on the web now, much like the kind you see in magazines, that have titles like "3 signs you might be a psychopath", or "Take this quiz to find out if someone in your life might be a narcissist."

Your advice to her that she should get a thorough examination and diagnosis from a reliable physician or psychologist is very good. Unfortunately, it will always be up to the individual herself whether she just keeps popping pills or summons the courage and takes the time to get a valid diagnosis. You can best help her by being supportive when she needs to communicate about her state of mind, but also by providing gentle and consistent nudges towards a healthier approach to dealing with her issues with a professional.

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Response to nadine_mn (Original post)

Tue Mar 27, 2018, 10:21 AM

10. You are in a tough place.

 

You sound like a nice person. And there's some good advice above.

I would just add one thing. Be careful to avoid adding confirmation to her self-diagnosis. You don't need to argue against such things, doing so will not help her and will alienate her, but be careful not to agree with her and give her confirmation that she is right. Being non-committal and supportive is tricky, but that's what will help her and keep you okay.

"That must be hard," is a useful phrase, for instance. You'll think of more.

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