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SUEzie

Did I behave rashly?

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I'd appreciate some feedback from people who are BP, on whether or not I did the "right thing"

I have a friend who is BP 1. From her own description, her illness is severe (it is; I've seen her on and off meds.)

A couple Summers ago, after her mom died, she was having apparent problems with her meds. They weren't working for her.

Her erratic, insane behavior that Summer ended up alienating a bunch of our mutual friends. I tried explaining to them then that she is BP1. Very few understood; a few did.

Well, apparently, she is having another "medication crisis" now, and I've really had it. She resists all help.

She knows enough to get to a doctor when this happens. But she's not doing it.

I've had 3 phone calls from mutual friends in the past week, asking: "What should I do about her?"

She is phoning these people at 2 a.m. describing her nightmares. She is phoning some people, and then hanging up on them without saying anything.

When she does talk to them, her conversation does not make much sense.

I covered for her 2 years ago & she is allowing this to happen again. She knows better than this.

I asked her about it - of course she said she's "fine" and doesn't know what they are talking about.

I just wrote her an angry e-mail, telling her I prefer not to see or hear from her - unless she stays on meds that are working.

Was this bad? I am plain worn out by her. I told her in the letter that staying on meds that work is her responsibility, not that of other people.

I tried to help, to no avail. Now I feel gulity I wrote that e-mail - but not enough to take it back.

- suzie

Edited by suzie

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I don't know. I have gone over to her house and said "We are calling your doctor NOW." And if she did not cooperate then take a harsher step. It takes some people a loooong time to figure this out. And of course once she is manic she has poor judgement - such as calling people at 2 am.

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It's very difficult to deal with, and agreed lots of irrational behavior. That would be what can be heartbreaking about BP, damaged relationships that can, and frequently occurr. Sometimes meds don't work. In a perfect world they would, but a person may have to experiment with different "cocktails" to find what will possibly be effective. And sometimes meds will work for a period of time, but then lose efficacy over time and need to be changed. I happen to be of a smallish percentage who most meds do not work on (I have tried dozens over many yrs). I hope you have the strength to help your friend, but I agree that it may take some strong will to be able to do that. It's understandable if you're unable to help her in that way, so plz try not to feel guilty about it. Take care.

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I really appreciate the feedback, you two. My friend is one of the few people who cannot take Lithium, so she's had some times when she's had to try several different meds. It's possible this was one of the times they simply stopped working.

I'm just so worn out trying to deal with her, when she's like this; I hate to admit it, but I am. I will try to take a break from her and then see if we can get together again; she does have several good qualities I appreiciate - she will not isten to any advice from her friends, when she's in this kind of mental state - and we really do care about her.

As of this afternoon, (I just found this out), her 82-year old aunt (whom she is putting through Hell with all of this, btw and she's too old to have to deal with it, IMO ) had to call the police to go get her - because she was trying to fly out of state to a "college class reunion" (which is NOT taking place.) She was at the airport, and had bought a ticket to Massachusetts. It's pretty clear she's psychotic, at this point.

I'm going to say some prayers for her.

Thanks for the feed-back. - suzie

Edited by suzie

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Well, apparently, she is having another "medicatiion crisis" now, and I've really had it. She resists all help.

She knows enough to get to a doctor when this happens. But she's not doing it.

I just wrote her an angry e-mail, telling her I prefer not to see or hear from her - unless she stays on meds that are working.

Was this bad? I am plain worn out by her. I told her in the letter that staying on meds that work is her responsibility, not that of other people.

Not technically BP, but this is totally up my alley. Jenn (BP 1) is my best friend sine 3rd grade.. so I've seen her go though all of this and have always been there for her. And, although she has never phoned people up and all (which is very inappropriate in that the only thing she wants is sympathy rather than real help & as such just causes people to worry), she has been refusing to take the appropriate care for herself. She'll get things rx'd and says nothing at the office, yet comes back and never takes what was rx'd.. and then she mopes around and goes on and on about how she can never get better. I live with her, so I am there for her.. but it's not the ideal circumstance. You can only give so much to a person until you're tapped out. Making barriers is a healthy thing to do.. after all, you owe yourself more than you owe her. I don't think your response was at all inappropriate. Hopefully she may take this as a wake up call.. but you can't live her life for her. She has to make her own decisions.. good or bad. You did the right thing.

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Guest Vapourware

I hope your friend gets the help she needs. It sounds like she is in a bad way.

As for whether you behaved rashly or not - I think there are times when you have to say to someone, no, I cannot help you anymore. When the cost of helping someone starts to hurt you, then it's time to set boundaries. I think it's understandable that you wrote her that email. Maybe a part of her is still rational enough to realise that something is wrong about her current state of mind.

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I appreciate the repsonses. I may write an addendum to that e-mail I wrote to her - and tell her I do definitely care about her; it's just so hard to watch her when she's this uncooperative, and it makes me feel totally helpless.

I don't know if it will matter to her in her current state - but maybe when (if) she gets better, it will.

- suzie

Edited by suzie

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I think that it is very hard for a person who follows medical advice to tolerate someone who won't get help. But sometimes its easier to deal with these issues than others. And sometimes there are valid reasons why their behavior is out of control.

What's important is that you do what you need to in order maintain your mental stability. If you cannot assist her through this without detriment to yourself, then you did the right thing. And thats all that matters.

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That makes a lot of sense to me, gizmo. I also find it comforting to read - because I was starting to feel guilty. Thank you.

I also just realized that this person has never apologized once to me, for any of the times she's been rude to me, when her meds were starting to not work so well, and I politely tried to warn her about it. And she's had plenty of chances to do it, believe me.

I don't care that she was "in the throes of her illness" - once she recovered, it would have been nice to hear from her, something like: "Thanks for trying to help" or at least an aknowledgment that she hadn't "been herself."

All I ever got from her, was either her ignoring completely that there was ever a problem, or some kind of guily-provoking behavior from her, meant to make me feel guilty for pointing out to her that she was not well.

-suzie

Edited by suzie

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As someone who, during high school, became wrapped up in a tumultuous friendship with someone who has borderline personality disorder, and a few other problems on top of that, I can say that setting boundaries is the best thing you can do around someone who demands this much of your time and energy. People like me too often try to be parents or therapists to people who have it worse off, and it's a huge struggle to maintain a healthy friendship when neither party knows how to set boundaries. I hope that you and she are able to continue to be friends and that she gets the help that she needs--if she is psychotic, it really doesn't sound like there is much that she can do about her mental state, but once she is more stable, it would be good to continue to set those boundaries and clearly lay out the limitations of the friendship.

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Guest Annemarie

I appreciate the reply. I used to call myself suzie - but just changed my name on here, because when I tried to sign in under the old one, it didn't work, for some reason - then I couldn't remember my password, and got a long substitute one, that would not go through. So I re-registered completely (then I decided to add my pic. ) But I am definitely the OP (original poster)

I visited this person in the hospital this past Sunday. That hospital is okay, but fairly depressing an atmosphere, as far as hospitals go. I went with 2 of our mutual friends. We'd sent her some flowers, which she had displayed in the meeting room (central room) there. She said she liked them a lot. Glad; I was hoping they'd do some good.

I ended up talking to her for 15 minutes; then the other 2 talked to her, too. She seemed glad we came to see her.

She made very little sense during the conversation; the topic seemed to change for no apparent reason, but then there were short moments when she seemed to be clear. I just nodded my head and kept listening - I didn't know what else to do.

I am hoping very much that her new meds kick in soon, for her sake. It was also jarring to see her be this sick. I knew she was sick, but not this sick.

I ended up crying about it, in the car - I hate seeing her this way; it's heart-breaking, and has to be much worse for her.

I felt a bit guilty for criticizing her - I am not altogether clear on: How much she could tell she was getting sicker, before she got to this point. Several people suggested it to her. In any case, she is totally psychotic right now.

She definitely can be a pain, when she doesn't keep on top of her med-taking, but I did reallly feel sorry for her. I hope she gets better, because it doesn't appear she can get worse. I have no idea how long she will be in the hospital.

I had a few revelations after I talked to her (which I kept to myself) am now thinking perhaps her meds have never worked that well; her speech has always been rambly and she never stays on a topic well - it was just noticeably worse these past 2 weeks. Maybe she needs much stonger meds, and always has.

She has a hard time telling her doctor things like this; but I'd hope it would have been clear to her doctor that she was way off these past 2 weeks. For some reason, she now has a new doctor in the hospital.

She can try to be really manipulative, even if she's not in "the throes of her illness." For the last couple of years, this can still really irritate me, but I've gotten better at just saying what I mean, when she does it.

Like:" You're trying to manipulatie people, and it shows." She still does it, and she' s 67 and may always do it. But she does have several good qualities, and only one living relative (who is elderly and sick herself.) So I guess I am aorund her when she's well, mostly, and otherwise in small doses. She's not always tough to be around, and we have some mutual interests and several mutual friends.

She really needs to assign herself a legal guardian for times like this, because she has nobody who is really in charge of her affairs, if she gets really sick. Her aunt isn't really up to it, and can't be expected to do it. It's up to her - but having no guardian leaves her friends guessing what to do, when things like this happen (she gets very sick), as far as "Do we/Can we get her to a hospital, or not?"

Thanks for the feed-back, and the ear.

- Annemarie

Edited by Annemarie

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Your old login didn't work because you were suspended for 48 hours and you were told this.

I thought guest posting wasn't allowed anymore? (sorry to butt in with an OT question)

I do want to respond to something the OP wrote about her friend being "one of the few people lithium doesn't work for" because it's just not true. Lithium is awesome when it works, but it doesn't work for everyone, or even most people. My pdoc, who has done a huge amount of research about meds, told me that the numbers are more like 40-60% of people respond well to lithium according to studies that have been done. In his practice, he said that the number is much closer to the 40%, which means that about 60% of his patients can't use lithium.

So anyway...

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Thanks for the information, dedoubt. Good and interesting to know.

Actually, she told me that. Guess it's not true (about Lithium.) I would have researched it, but I figured she knew.

She says she's BP, so I took her word for it. She could have been mis-informed (or lying.) She can also tend to rely on medical "facts" that are decades old, in some cases (depends on the topic.)

She said: "Unfortunately, I'm one of the very few people who cannot take Lithium."

Glad to get correct information, though.

-suzie

Edited by suzie

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