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My Friend Is Being Sent To A Psych Ward


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#1 loobielouthepiemaker

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:51 AM

So my friend was diagnosed with Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder about 8 months ago, and recently I found out that all the scars on her arm were not from her cat, but the fact that she's been self harming since she was about three. I guess it was a bit naive to believe her really. She's been on a few different meds and different doses since her diagnosis but none of them have really made much difference yet. The other day, she told me that she'd tried to **** herself but failed. This was the first attempt that I've heard about, but there may have been more. Today she wasn't at school because she had a 'headache' (she told me later that it wasn't true, but I'm not 100% sure what happened) and then she told me that she's being transferred to a psych ward soon. I have no idea what to do. The weight of all these secrets is just building up on me and I'm getting really stressed. I feel really selfish for feeling like I'm suffering when I know that whatever she's experiencing must be worse, but I really don't know how to react when she tells me this stuff. I need to keep her hanging on until she finds the right meds! Please help!

#2 Trace

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:29 AM

Hi loobielouthepiemaker

Your friend is so very lucky to have a friend like you. I think she is in the best hands right now, going to the psych ward will enable her to get the help that she needs. They can adjust or change her meds and monitor her to make sure that they are working and that she is stable. The hospital may be a really good thing for her.
I know it is really hard on you too, as you don't know what is going on, but just know that it is very hard for someone with any form of mental illness to talk about it with others, as they fear being judged, stigmatized and ridiculed.
Just be there for her when she needs you and let her know that.
She will be fine in the psych ward and they will get her stable.

Trace
Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind.... Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world. - A course of miracles.

True beauty must come, must be grown, from within.... - Ralph W Trine.



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#3 StoniumFrog

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 05:40 AM

loobie,
First off - sorry to hear this news.
Secondly, while this news about your friend is hard to take, at least she is being taken care of. I have had no experience of this so it would be no good giving advice, except be patient.
More importantly, take care of yourself - this is obviously stressful for you too. Keep in touch with us on the forum and let us know of how you are feeling as well.
Sorry couldn't be more help
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#4 kermit1966

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 06:40 AM

Hello,
I remember how hard it was for my wife when I was admitted to the psych ward. She never told me. She just made sure to visit me and bring me treats. It is embarrassing to be in a psych ward in a society that has yet to fully accept the sick people need help. We are not lesser human beings just because we are sick. So a headache may have been her way of hiding her embarrassment. All but a few of my friends thought I was in the hospital due to severe headaches, getting tests and care. Only a handful of people know that I see a therapist and that I am on medication. This is strange for me, since I have always valued honesty in relationships.

Depression is very personal. Just like when another part of our body is in pain, we protect it. We can get defensive in many different flavors. This is all compounded by shame and intense privacy that often goes so deep, the person feeling the depression is sometimes out of touch with their feeling as the pain is too much to handle. It is far more complicated, but regardless, no matter how many people stay in touch, its a sensitive, very tricky, private and lonely experience.

If you can, visit your friend. Find out what is aloud as far as visiting hours and what you can bring. Maybe you can bring some sweet treats or books and magazines. Give her something to stay connected to the outside world. Possibly give her a journal and pen, if pens are allowed. And ask her if there is anything she needs. The supplies the hospital gives for personal grooming are terrible in quality. Usually, a patient can have their own, but they are locked up for safety,

Having her just know that you are there for her without judgment and seeing you at visiting hours will go a long way, even if she does not always show it. Getting used to new meds is always a tricky process. If you can not make visiting hours, you can write her letters and see if you can call her at certain times, depending on the ward's schedule. The phone calls I got always lifted my spirit.

You are a wonderful friend for caring and not being afraid to post and find help. She is very lucky to have you.

Best Wishes,
Michael



#5 dusk25

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 07:04 AM

Wow, what an awesome friend you are. I think the best thing you can do for her is keep letting her know that you are there to support her.

#6 swimfan93

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 08:31 AM

Your friend is lucky to have you. Here are a few things that have helped when I've been in the hospital:
1. Write letters. I still have some of the letters friends sent me when I was in the hospital 4-5 years ago. Be honest, and express how much you care for your friend. Try not to make it sound like you are disappointed, blaming your friend, etc.
Letters/care packages are great because they are something your friend can keep reading over and over.

2. Talk to the friend about visiting. the hospital policies, if he/she wants to be visited, etc.

3. Ask your friend what do to if someone asks where he/she is. Is your friend comfortable with the full truth? Is there a "cover-up story" (mono, pneumonia, etc) that they want to use?

4. If they have them, you might want to attend sessions for family/friends of people with mental illness. You might gain a better understanding of what your friend is going through.

5. When your friend is discharged, try to spend a lot of time with them. Show them how much you care, keep them busy/distracted, etc.

Best of luck to you and your friend!

#7 Liliah

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:57 AM

Hey there,

WowI sure wish I had a friend as wonderful and caring as you! When I was admitted to the psych ward, I lost several friends forever (via the silent treatment) because they were either embarrassed or outright afraid of having "someone like me in their lives." It was horrible. You are providing an indelible service to your friend by being concerned and not talking about something that is incredibly private with others (without her consent, of course). You can call the hospital and see what the visiting hours are, and that way you can arrange one. It might not be permitted immediately, but the hospital will be able to give you that information.

And remember: it's just a hospital. Would we be as embarrassed about a friend being taken to one because they broke a bone or were diagnosed with another chronic illness? Not a chance. Your friend is going to a place that can and hopefully will help her, and she will be healthier and more in control of her life after she leaves. If it helps to allay your fears at all, I have been in several psychiatric hospitals, and it really is not as terrible as popular images and culture have lead people to believe. Your friend is going to be safe now, and learn how to remain so. She will be okay.

If this is weighing very heavily on you, you might want to consider talking to a therapist yourself. You have to take of yourself in order to do so for others. So, do right by you! You obviously deserve it so much.

Thank you! :smilingteeth:

Love and light,
Liliah


#8 darcness

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 04:25 PM

I just wanted to say, like others have, that you're a wonderful friend. It would do all of us here well to have a friend like you who genuinely cares and is there no matter what. I make sure to thank all of those who help me cope with my anxiety as much as I can because it's not often that these kinds of people bless our lives.

I think the best advice I can give is to just, well, be there. She's going to need some one to talk to, to confide in, and just know is there for her no matter what. That's a HUGE part of anyone's support system for sure. You're doing a great thing right now just being a close friend to her. If you'll notice many of us struggle with isolation issues and long for a true, long lasting friendship. You've done that for your friend and that's something you may not even realize is so very important. Thank you for coming here and sharing your story and I hope your friend can find the help she needs and get well. Just understand it's not a quick fix and it will take time, probably lots of time. She'll need you more than ever in the coming days, months, and years. Stay with her and show her she has a true friend, which as we all know, she does.

Some of the greatest advice I've ever received on DF: "Always remember that recovery is not linear"
Such a simple phrase, but so easily forgotten...


#9 MommyofPrecious

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 09:49 PM

Dear friend: I hope you will check back with this forum, and know that having a friend like you is a gift for someone in your friend's position. I know from experience that people often are "dropped" by friends (and family, too, unfortunately) due to discomfort or fear or disapproval (!!) at a time when they need friends the most. I hope you are able to continue to be there for your friend, but also keep your boundaries so that her illness does not become an intolerable stressor for you. Best of luck, M of P




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