Friend with diagnosis of BPD (possibly triggering) Friend constantly self harming
Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:32 PM
Recently, she has had to contend with a number of very difficult life events, including divorce, being raped and losing custody of her children due to her erratic behaviour. She has started to severely self harm, take enormous risks with her personal safety (inviting strangers into her home for sex) and regularly attempts suicide.
She often will text or phone me to tell me that she can't carry on, or telling me that she has drunk an enormous amount of alcohol and is about to kill herself, has taken pills, injected substances, put items into her arms etc.
She was recently sectioned for a month but is now back home.
My dilemma is, that although I want to support her,I fear that by phoning, inviting her over for coffee or asking about her health, I may inadvertantly be compounding her attention seeking behaviour that is part of her illness.
Does anyone have any personal experience of either having this type of mental health need or supporting someone with one? I want to be her friend but should I (as I have been advised by a professional working with her) withdraw my friendship until she is more stable. This professional implied that I needed to 'keep myself safe and keep my children safe' from my friend. I know she has been violent in the past but has never shown any violent behaviour towards me and I would never leave my children alone with her anyway.
I know she dearly values our friendship and has told me that she fears losing it if she 'oversteps the mark'.
Thanks for reading and any thoughts greatly appreciated.
Posted 30 November 2011 - 01:56 PM
Of course you want to be there for your dear friend that is obviously really going through a very difficult time right now but also as you say above, you have to look out for yourself and your family too.
Should she really be home again if so unstable? it seem rediculous to me that she could be a danger to herself and yet is let back home to fend for herself.
I think you should contact Rethink and speak to someone, it could be better than leaving messages here. I think that your dear friend needs some more help than she has at the moment.
Hopefully others will be able to advise you better than I.
Do take care.
I live in my own little world. But it's OK, everyone knows me here.
Posted 06 December 2011 - 08:04 PM
Anyway, thanks again. it really helped to read your words.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:41 AM
I think Mias advice is really good. If you phone the Rethink advice line they may be able to help you provide your friend with information about getting better services and you can deal with the situation.
I've had friends who have behaved as you describe your friend behaving. One friend frequently rang me up at 3am saying she wanted to take an overdose. After a while I told her that every time she did that I would send the ambulance straight round to her house (which I did even though she didnt like it) and talk to her in the morning and she gradually stopped doing it. I don't know if she just started to phone the ambulance directly though. I felt my solution was quite good as it meant that services couldn't ignore the state of crisis she was frequently in and would have to come up with better long term management situations, and it also meant I stopped feeling responsible for her well being.
I think the professional is a bit sick telling you to withdraw your friendship from her. I know its the popular thing at the moment to emphasise that we have to look after ourselves, but life isn't a L'Oreal advert and I don't think much of a country that encourages people to ignore friends and neighbours in need. I know that for their own safety sometimes people do have to withdraw contact as a last resort, but in general I think the whole 'have to look after myself' line is overused to justify being fair weather friends who abandon people in need and I really hope that the callous role model set by the professional doesn't lead you down that route or make you feel guilty that you arent 'looking after yourself' if you stick by someone.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:48 AM
If she has a diagnosis of BPD maybe you could buy a book about DBT so you know distress tolerance methods and can share them with her if she is very distressed. You do need strong boundaries but I think you can have them and stay friends. If she has done any self harm or anything just refer it straight onto the doctor/cmht/hospital but I think just asking about her health, going out with her for coffee etc.. are normal things to do that won't increase negative methods of seeking attention. And with BPD it is the negative ways of getting help/attention seeking that are the problem, not attention seeking in itself as it is healthy to seek attention if you are in pain as she clearly is, so allowing her to let off steam to a friend over coffee would actually reinfore healthy coping methods.