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hiya-

many of you know that i'm on SSDI and have a part time job at a gas station.

i always work a shift with one other person, and we're alone behind the registers during our shift. we work together in the evenings.

one of my coworkers, who will be 17 for a few more months and will graduate from high school in june, was talking about her depression a little bit the other night. she knows i'm bipolar, and her brother is also bipolar. this was the first time she ever talked about this with me. she showed me her SI marks and her slashed wrists, right up her arms, from when she tried to commit suicide during the summer. thankfully, one of her friends saved her life. she never went to the psych ward.

but this leaves me feeling like i should be there for her and not necessarily bring it up, but talk about it when she does bring it up, or maybe bring it up in a round-about way, i don't know. i'm at a loss. i don't know her well enough and i'm not "friends" with her, so i can't exactly just start quizzing her about her emotional state. on the other hand, i feel some kind of obligation to help other people when they have MI issues. i don't know if this is a misplaced feeling, but it is one i have regardless.

she said she's very depressed, showed me her arms, and then a customer came in, so we didn't continue that conversation. it is possible she could bring it up again, i don't know. i could always talk more about being bipolar and see if that gets any response from her.

i just want to tell her about treatment options, and how she doesn't have to suffer, and how common depression is, especially in teens and during this time of the year (though she is obviously depressed even during the summer).

help! i don't know what to do. as i said, i'm at a total loss. i want to help, but don't feel it's my place. i don't know how to help, or if i should try to at all, unless she brings it up. help!

loon

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Loon:

She has invited you to broach the subject with her. If talking in person seems awkward, why not write her an email? Print it out, hand it to her, and then be on stand-by to talk it through if she wants.

Do her parents know about her self injury? Her current state of mind?

She is a minor. I would at least consider whether or not you need to contact them directly.

"Helping" is tricky. I would offer that you can only point her/her parents in the right direction with great empathy; she is responsible for finding her own way through the obstacle course of mental illness, yanno? Perhaps that sounds cold, but I mean it in a most caring way.

Sometimes less is more.

DG

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what about the old 'you know, i hope i'm not intruding here, but we got interrupted (whenever) when you showed me your scars & i wanted to be the first to tell you that it doesn't have to be this bad, that there are a lot of things you can do to feel better'.

she may have been looking for an opening. and at 17, she doesn't have the life experience to know all of the above, so why not play experienced older sister substitute and give it whirl?

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i was starting to talk about depression and meds last night, with no particular emphasis on her, but she did seem to take it as being about her...i hope this is going in a positive direction. she had another fight with her boyfriend and they broke up (again) and she was suicidal, but they got back together the next day. i'm pretty sure she may actually be bipolar, because she can get super hyper and super sad. she said her brother is bipolar, so it wouldn't be surprising.

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