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Friend is getting depressed over A levels

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    I'm not sure how to start this, so I guess I'll just launch straight into it. I have a friend who is smart, pretty and kind, yet she doesn't see these things. She has numerous medical issues and chronic pains which painkillers don't always fade away. She also has mental issues, such as depression and ADHD, and mild autism, although she manages her autism so well I couldn't tell she had it, and most people can't. She was recently diagnosed with migraines and sinus problems, also rapid heart rate (she was put on beta blockers but had to be stopped as they were making her way too tired to function) which she was put on new meds for, but they cause memory loss. She's also on 5 other meds for her medical issues, which also have variety of issues. Now, she takes Spanish as an A level, and the meds have caused her to lose quite a bit of her language recall and revision is almost impossible for her- the speaking exam was a disaster as she actually forgot where she was in the middle of it! She paused a lot, forgot words. She forgets everything due to that med, she forgets to eat sometimes, or drink water when warm, or I'll catch her starting to fall asleep standing.

    The teacher's are not very sympathetic-her frequent hospital visits-just yesterday she had an MRI, and in 3 days she has to get her eyes checked as part of the treatment for migraines, as an example of her schedule-cause them to bother her about booking hospital appointments in term time, and one even suggested she "just come off the medication whilst doing exams". She still struggles. It's not due to lack of revision, or lack of motivation, she spends 4 hours every day revising, but it just doesn't stick, and it makes me so sad to see her tear herself apart because of it. She's calling herself stupid, how she should be able to manage because other people with worse problems do, she's close to just breaking down and it's so sad. She's on track to achieve A*BD, with the D because she blanked out so badly in her speaking exam that she honestly can't pull her grades up now. She has received an unconditional offer for university, but she is prideful, and is worried that the bad A level grade will hinder her job prospects. She wants to study abroad at some point, and is worried it will follow her there, the bad A level results.

    She's even thinking of resitting her Spanish during University, which I think is terrible for her! It's not like she doesn't know Spanish either, she has a group of Spanish friends from Madrid to Barcelona she talks to and one she meets up with every couple of months, and she has visited Spain 3 times and didn't speak English once. She's so down I'm concerned she'll do something stupid. She will never admit she's feeling down, she's too prideful for that. I'm at my wits end-what can I do to support her? Will her A level grades hinder her job prospects abroad? How can I convince her she's not stupid, it's the meds, because she's such a bright girl, you could see the change when the meds started. She can't stop them, as the pain is too much. I don't want her to keep pulling herself down.

    Sorry for the long post. If it's in wrong category, please move, I'm new here

    TLR Friend on new meds, loads of health issues, friend blaming herself for A levels dropping, how do I convince her she's not actually stupid it's the meds.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Is she receiving any support with the mental health side of things? It sounds like she could probably do with it, you can't do everything. I'd probably be inclined to suggest could she take a gap year, she can take the time out to get her health under control, earn some money and even travel or something if she's well enough and if she really wants to retake some exams in the summer to improve her grades. That or withdraw from these exams, reapply to uni in the autumn and redo the year in september. Both of these means she's likely to have a better time at uni when she gets there- unfortunately these health problems won't go away when she moves so she really needs to sort them out as best she can before she goes. I did the first option for similar reasons so if you or her wants to talk to me you're welcome to!

    Other than that, I'm not too sure what to suggest. In terms of supporting her, just make sure she knows you're there for her to listen when she needs it but remember to look after your own health too. If you're concerned she might do something, then please tell someone, be it her parents or whoever. Suggest the samaritans as someone she can talk to too or email, they can be amazing. Her A levels shouldn't make a difference to her job prospects particularly if she explains te circumstances, things like her degree will far more so she's much better focusing on that when she gets to uni. Persuading her she's not stupid, try using proof of how much her grades went down when she started meds, or her GCSEs and AS levels? I'm not sure, sorry.

    Hope things work out for both of you, you're an amazing friend! Good luck in your exams too

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