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Helping a friend

#1
Hello everyone!
A very close friend of mine has mental health issues (most likely anxiety or/and panic attack disorder). However, because of the anxiety, she is afraid to tell anyone besides me. I have some second hand experience with anxiety and panic attacks, and I read about them a lot in literature. However, there is only so much I can do...

Do you have any ideas how I might be able to get her to seek a professional help, if she doesn't trust anyone?

I talked about it with her and she acknowledged that might have a serious issue and should seek a doctor. She keeps saying that it is enough for her to have my help. It's not been very long since her panic attacks started to be serious, but she's had some kind of anxiety for a very long time, it just got worse in the last few weeks/months.
 

Luoma

Need someone to talk to? I'm here!
SF Supporter
#2
Have you told her that she needs to see a therapist as soon as possible? By explaining that therapists are there to help her and that she can open up to them knowing they sign a form of confidentiality she might be more willing to go in there and talk. And who knows? She might actually want to speak to someone new so that she doesn't have to worry about what they think. Therapists tend to be rather relieving to those with trust issues because it's like they can finally just let things out. But, she might be different.

Could you perhaps go in with her during the first few sessions? She might be more calm then and during consequent therapy sessions she will be able to open up on her own. I hope she can get the help she needs!
 

yozhik

Well-Known Member
#3
Yeah it's not really fair to put you in the position of a professional. How do you think she would feel about maybe opening up first on an anonymous online forum and potentially hearing about people with issues similar to hers who are in therapy? I'm sure one exists; lots of people have anxiety of varying severity. I know I have serious trust issues and sometimes I frustrate my therapist because I just stare and give sarcastic answers when I'm uncomfortable. But they can't make you say/reveal anything that you don't want to. If they ask a q you don't like you can say you're not ready to talk about it (or you could just stare at a wall like I do but option 1 is prbly better). It's not overly efficient, but as long as you go in willing to share something it's better than nothing and theoretically you build a working relationship. But yeah I think it might be helpful to talk to someone with trust issues in therapy. I'd talk to her idk if that would be weird but whatever. Just throwing it out there; don't feel obligated to respond. While I 150% understand that therapy is unappealing, it seems sad to suffer so much when it's a problem with a treatment.
 

Luoma

Need someone to talk to? I'm here!
SF Supporter
#4
I'm not sure! I have anxiety myself and I find it very easy to open up to people online, hence why I'm on SF. it's very relieving! So I'd also say suggest that, but to be totally honest, I think we both know that nothing compares to in-person therapy treatments.

And you've got it right; even if she stares at the wall or says no, by being there she's forming a relationship with the therapist. it's important to remember that therapists are her friend and are not out there to hurt her, you know? I think your best course of action is to just suggest to see a therapist or ask if she's interested in seeing one, and then move on from that point.
 

yozhik

Well-Known Member
#5
I'm not sure! I have anxiety myself and I find it very easy to open up to people online, hence why I'm on SF. it's very relieving! So I'd also say suggest that, but to be totally honest, I think we both know that nothing compares to in-person therapy treatments.

And you've got it right; even if she stares at the wall or says no, by being there she's forming a relationship with the therapist. it's important to remember that therapists are her friend and are not out there to hurt her, you know? I think your best course of action is to just suggest to see a therapist or ask if she's interested in seeing one, and then move on from that point.
I agree the Internet does not replace a professional by any means. I didn't express myself very well but I meant more as a sort of stepping stone where she could learn more about how therapy really is and maybe become more open to it. Sorry if I came off sounding like she should use the internet as a therapist; that's not what I meant at all.
 

Luoma

Need someone to talk to? I'm here!
SF Supporter
#6
I agree the Internet does not replace a professional by any means. I didn't express myself very well but I meant more as a sort of stepping stone where she could learn more about how therapy really is and maybe become more open to it. Sorry if I came off sounding like she should use the internet as a therapist; that's not what I meant at all.
Nah, it's okay, I totally understood what you meant, and trust me, I agree with you. I personallg love this forums because it allows me to get help even when I am not in therapy, and I love that! Plus, being online is less scary, of course.

Just to add a little point; therapy can be a LOT different than online help, since sometimes people can be a little harsh and say the wrong thing (totally not their fault!) BUT all things considered, I think it would be a great first step. :)
 

Walker

Admin
SF Social Media
SF Author
SF Supporter
#7
If she's a similar age than you then you guys are kind of trapped. I feel like you should make your efforts to get her to tell her parents what's going on instead of concentrating the efforts into finding a way to get her to talk to someone else. Do you think that's possible?

Also, sometimes we have to choose a path in life that is kind of sucky if we're worried about someone. You may need to tell someone on her behalf and let them start dealing with it from an adult side. Even if she's mad then at least she's getting help and she's still alive too, you know?
 

Petal

~*Mod Extraordinaire*~
Staff Alumni
SF Supporter
#8
Hi there, if she is in the UK/Ireland she could ring the samaritans and they could offer her support. If she is in the U.S she could ring a hotline and go from there. It IS scary to seek help at first, would she agree to you going with her to see a counsellor, that way it would be less scary, I think?
Or even show her this forum and she will see that she is far from alone in her thoughts. Does her family know she is suffering from these panic attacks? It would be great if she had their support too. Best wishes.
 

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