Struggling to Support Newly Disabled Friend

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plantsandworms

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Struggling to Support Newly Disabled Friend
« on: June 25, 2019, 06:28:25 PM »
I have a best friend of many years who I consider to be my chosen family. We both have CPTSD from childhood abuse and do not have contact with our FOO's. Our relationship has been one of mutual support and empowerment and we are both in therapy and working on our trauma.

Over the past couple of years, however, my friend has developed a debilitating disability. She is in constant pain and is unable to work or complete daily tasks. The medication she is on clouds her brain and makes it hard to do even the things that don't require her body. Going through this process has been deeply triggering for her, as a person without a traditional safety net or support system having to navigate all the complexities of being newly disabled. She also feels as if, on top of having her childhood stolen from her, she is now having her adulthood stolen as well. It's a very dark time. I am doing my best to support, however it is also deeply triggering for me as well - feeling like it is once again up to me to ensure the safety and well-being of my loved one or something terrible will happen. I struggle even to care for myself most days due to my CPTSD. And my relationship with this friend is incredibly important to me, and I am so worried and frightened about what will come next and how we will be able to handle it. Meanwhile all the debts she racked up when she lost her ability to work have come calling, and she is being sued in court on top of everything else with no ability to afford a lawyer. She frequently expresses to me that she can't take it anymore and can't keep going like this. As a person who grew up with frequently suicidal parents, I am so so frightened. It feels like this situation has been going on forever and like it will never get better. I don't know how to get us the support we need, and I worry about how to walk the line of supporting this chosen family member and also caring for myself. I want to help her get to a place of stability, but I don't even know if it's possible. We talk about this and she expresses how she understands that I have to care for myself and she doesn't want this to become my life, but it's been hard finding consistent additional support. She seems to be doing everything she can do to improve her situation, but new things go wrong every day. I just don't know where to turn anymore and I wish one of us had a family to help us but we don't.

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Kizzie

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Re: Struggling to Support Newly Disabled Friend
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2019, 08:07:19 PM »
It's tough one to watch a friend going thru bad times, especially so when we're struggling ourselves I know. For me listening & caring would mean so much if I were in the same position as your friend, it means she does matter and that's important at a deep level.

IMO the rest has to come from MH professionals and service providers who can help with her being overwhelmed not just by the trauma from her past but the daily stresses of living that bring all of that to the surface and add to it.

There are many different organizations that can/will help with feeling suicidal, legal aid to help with legal issues, social workers for other issues relating to daily life, etc., it's a matter of connecting with them. Given her state of mind my suggestion would be the first thing needs to be for her to disclose the dark place she is to her T and get some immediate help with that.  Her T (or GP) should also be able to help connect her to services like legal aid, a social worker and perhaps a relevant face-to-face support group so she (and you too perhaps?) has more support.

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: Struggling to Support Newly Disabled Friend
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2019, 02:45:30 PM »
Hi plants and worms... I have had similar with a close friend lately and she has been unwell for about a year..
It was a real teaching for me in terms of taking care of myself and not being the crutch for her. Coming from a foo where I was conditioned to care take and feel responsible still can creep in. Working out what is healthy and what is not is no easy feat sometimes but I'm def getting healing in this area. The thing is my friend couldn't put the boundaries in and so when I reached breaking point I knew I had to change for the good of both of us.
I stopped having the answers so much and pointed to suggesting she contact services. Gave her my experience and gave her back her autonomy to find her own solutions. I needed to step back Stop and know that I was a friend not a nurse, financial advisor, disability worker, psychiatric Prof, social worker or any of the other roles I'd put myself in.
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'I am doing my best to support, however it is also deeply triggering for me as well - feeling like it is once again up to me to ensure the safety and well-being of my loved one or something terrible will happen. I struggle even to care for myself most days due to my CPTSD. And my relationship with this friend is incredibly important to me, and I am so worried and frightened about what will come next and how we will be able to handle it'.

Nope it's not up to me no more than I would want it to be up to her if I was struggling. Adults take care of themselves and seek appropriate support. It's empowering to do this even when things are very difficult.
What I did was withdraw my engagement as I kept allowing her to find her own solutions. I've just met with this friend yesterday and she is in a much better place. We have still had contact over the time but much less intense and she knew I needed to take care of myself and seemingly respected this.

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She frequently expresses to me that she can't take it anymore and can't keep going like this. As a person who grew up with frequently suicidal parents, I am so so frightened'

Living in this fear is not a place I can live in as someone with cptsd and with  my friend I pointed to the mental health crisis line. If I felt she was really in danger I would have made a call to them and given her name.
I know for myself I've had much times over my life when I've had enough and not felt I can cope anymore... But ultimately its been me who has reached out for the right support...

I wish u well worms go gentle.. Its easy for us to end up not coping too esp when it's  relationship based....
Taking care of myself comes 1st today... It has to