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How do I help my friend who has extreme anxiety

Audilly
Community Member

I have a friend who I'll call F and I genuinely believe that she has anxiety disorder and antisocial personality disorder, or something of the sort. She's always been a bit more introverted, and only became close to me because we shared a common interest. I've known her since we were like 5, and we've been in the same primary school and last year the same highschool. We're usually in a trio with another friend that I'll call K that has been in the same school as F since grade 2 and left to go to a science school at the end of last year. Now F has never taken the initiative to make friends or talk to people. She'll refuse to socialise unless K or I are there, and I'm already bad at socialising myself. She's also really anxious which has spiralled in recent years. She used to chat with K and me a lot when we were younger. Like almost everyday about memes and stuff. We last hung out for halloween, and it took my mum and K's mum calling F's mum for her to agree to meet up because she never responded to a single message. And I would've been fine if she didn't want to go to my house, but it was also her idea to meet up. It's been almost 2 months since we last spoke, and about a week for K and that was only after she spammed F's inbox for the past month and called F's number, only to receive what sounded like a very AI generated apology. A few months ago, K also had a sleepover with F and said that she was asking F a lot of questions about how to make pancakes since she's never made them before. While answering K's questions, she accidentally broke a pancake and completely flipped out. She started swearing, yelling and just had a meltdown because of it. K has no experience with anything mental health related and didn't know how to react so she just called F's mum down to the kitchen. K left early and received a text from F's mum apologising for her behaviour and that she's just been stressed due to exams lately. I do know that F feels a bit of resentment because both K and I left her at the same time to fend for herself in a pretty crappy school. She's expressed how much she hates that she had no more friends and gets upset if K or I even mention our new schools which are objectively better in most regards.  K and I chatted about this and both agreed that it would be best for F to seek some type of therapy. Only problem is, F's parents are unaware of the impact on mental health and think its not a real problem. 

 

 

2 Replies 2

QLD_JACK
Community Member

HI Audilly,

 

Sorry to hear that your friend is going through anxiety issue.

 

I must share my experience with you: My work colleague her name is Kat and her partner's name is Alex. Since last one year Alex got diagnosed with anxiety, depression and has trust issuea. He is literally inside his home 24 hours a day, and if he ever goes out say 100 meter from his home for walk or supermarket, he can only do that with Kat, no one else, forget about going alone.

 

He lost his job last year and centerlink is diagnosing his mental illness at the moment, and as a result of that Kat is also tense and at least good that she is working to support Alex. So when kat goes to work alex is inside the house whole day.

 

I am good friend of Kat, one day Kat, me and other office colleague decided to go for dinner and knowing that alex has social anxiety, we asked Kat to bring along Alex to join us. First he was so hesitant but then somehow agreed but wont come alone, on that friday evening Kat has to go all the way from office to her place to pickup Alex, like 2 hours round trip. 

 

This is Alex's first time going out with friends, when Kat and Alex arrived we were welcoming both and i was seating next to Alex, i slowly started conversion saying hi and letting him know what i do for work and how much i hate :), kinda try to get him involved and let him speak etc..etc.. and at the end i said to him hey Alex good to see you mate, and i will see you again soon! and he is like yeah sure.

 

Fast forward 3 weeks later, casual after work drinks on friday evening, i told Kat invite Alex and tell him i would love to see him having drink or two, BUT tell him that he needs to catch a train and come to the station (1 hour train) and if needed we can pick him up from station.

 

First he was hesitant but then he agreed, and guess what he came (first time ever since last one year, all by himself alone in the train for 1 hour wow.. wow..), he came we had few drinks and chit chat and we went home.

 

While kat and alex was going back home, Alex asked Kat, i really want to join in next time too... OMG Kat was so happy and said to me man what did you do, she was impressed to see the positive changes in Alex.

 

Fast forward we are arranging after work drinks soon, and he will be there.

Me, Alex, and Kat are really good friend now.

 

So i guess you can get your friend out for any activities she like most slowly and you will see the positive change in Her. 

 

Best wishes!

MissBenthos
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Audilly,

 

F is very lucky to have a friend like you looking out for her.

 

I’m wondering if it reasonable for you and/or K to visit F in person more when she’s hard to contact by call or message? A short drop by for a few minutes if she lives close.

 

It sounds like more than a little bit of exam stress and it’s sad that her mum might be struggling to acknowledge that. Have you expressed your concern about F to her mum? Depending on your relationship with F’s mum you might not be comfortable having that conversation, so another idea would be to explain to your mum that you’re worried for your friend and have your mum relay that to F’s mum on your behalf. I would suggest explaining the changes you’ve noticed in F rather than her potential diagnosis, for example, that you talk much less than you used to rather than your belief that she has anxiety disorder (this is more helpful if her parents aren’t familiar with mental health conditions).

 

Remember it is not your responsibility to ‘fix’ your friend, and if a flip out is directed at you or K it is a very reasonable response to leave in those situations, you are allowed to have boundaries too. Some of the best things you can do is listen when she’s ready to talk and affirm her experience regardless of how trivial it may seem.