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    I've been with my best friend since I was four, and I've known all along that she's had a tough start in life. I won't go into too much detail, but she's lived with her grandparents since she was three due to home issues. Throughout the years, she's also been bullied and also seriously struggled at school, but she rarely complained- she's the strongest person I know.

    Lately, though, I've started to see a few cracks appearing and i'm really starting to worry about her. Her mother moved into the village at the beginning of the year, and the two are pretty close. Her mother's not a well person: she's got Type 2 diabetes, epilepsy and is disabled. I saw my friend lately, and, rather unusually for her, she looked upset and on the verge of tears. She regularly has to remind her mother to eat, and has to bring her round from her fits, and reckons her mother doesn't look after herself properly. One time, my friend and I arrived at her house to take the dog out, and she'd just had a big fit but was refusing to go to hospital and hadn't eaten. I also went round to my friend's house a while ago, and her grandparents had made the effort to make a barbecue for us, but her mother barely ate anything, and was also delaying getting a broken wrist checked out.

    On Thursday night I was on the phone to my friend, and she'd said something I've heard her say quite a lot lately: "I'm supposed to be her daughter, not her carer, she doesn't look after herself". She's had to give up voluntary work with horses, which she loved. Help has been suggested to her mother lots of times, but she refuses. In the meantime, my poor best friend doesn't have much time to herself anymore. She's beginning to crack, and I really am worried about her, I'm crying about it now. It may sound silly, but I feel I'm beginning to lose my happy friend, someone I admire as a strong person, as this, as well as other factors, is beginning to take a toll on her. We haven't spoken as much lately;yesterday I texted her, then she suddenly stopped texting me after two texts. I found out this afternoon, on her mother's Facebook, that her mother had accidentally eaten something she was allergic to at about the time it stopped, so my friend had gone to check if she was okay.

    I don't know what to do! It sounds like she needs space, and she is someone who doesn't like being crowded. I also want to go over and hug her and have a heart-to-heart. Or maybe arrange a surprise or something that would take her mind off of things, even if it's just for an hour? We've been like sisters for so long, and it's breaking my heart to see cracks starting to appear in this normally happy, bouncy, lovely girl who I'm proud to call my best friend. I know things like this can cost friendships in other people as attentions become focused elsewhere. We've been through so much together. She was the first one I turned to when my grandfather died after a year in hospital, and my little cousin dying three months prior to that, likewise I've always supported her with her various battles over the years. I mean, that's what friends are for, right? I want to be there every step of the way for her, but there seems to be so little time for just the two of us these days, as when she's not dealing with what's happening, she's at college. Whenever I ring or text her, she sounds exhausted. When I give her space, we can go without talking for ten days. I'm off to uni next year, and obviously I want to see her as much as possible and I don't want to see such a brilliant friendship go to waste. We've never fallen out in our 14 years of friendship, and I'd be devastated to see the friendship fade.

    I could really do with some advice right now. I really don't know what to do. I'm so worried about her!
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    Gosh that's a really tough situation. I guess the best you can do is try to stay in touch as much as possible to make sure she's alright. Let her know you're available for her anytime it suits her. Maybe try to spend time together in a way that is easy for her, like visiting her at her house, going over for dinner and helping her cook or something. I think taking her out and organising something fun is a great idea if she has the time.
    It sounds like her mother should really have someone like a nurse coming around to help out at least once a week or something and check she is following good habits. But I don't suppose you can say that. perhaps your friend feels like she has to do this alone though. It couldn't hurt to reassure her that it would be reasonable to have someone else help look after her mother.
    i hope things get better for her, good luck with it all
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    Gosh that's a really tough situation. I guess the best you can do is try to stay in touch as much as possible to make sure she's alright. Let her know you're available for her anytime it suits her. Maybe try to spend time together in a way that is easy for her, like visiting her at her house, going over for dinner and helping her cook or something. I think taking her out and organising something fun is a great idea if she has the time.
    It sounds like her mother should really have someone like a nurse coming around to help out at least once a week or something and check she is following good habits. But I don't suppose you can say that. perhaps your friend feels like she has to do this alone though. It couldn't hurt to reassure her that it would be reasonable to have someone else help look after her mother.
    i hope things get better for her, good luck with it all
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    Thank you so much for your advice. I will never leave her side, it's just that I'm so worried about what this situation is going to do to her in the long run. My friend, her brother and her grandparents have all suggested extra help a lot, but she'll have none of it, and I can't imagine how frustrating and draining it must be for the family. I was thinking about taking her out to dinner as a treat on Friday when she has a day off, or maybe a girl's night in at some point, or if there's enough money when I get back from holiday, take her to one of the local zoos as we both love animals, and animals always cheer her up. Anything to cheer her up.

    Thanks again!
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    Gosh! Sounds like a very difficult situation she is facing. It sounds to me like your friend needs as much support as the world can give her. This is just an idea but maybe invite her round one day for lunch or dinner and after your meal together speak to her. Talk about the situation with her. Even though you know what's going on ask her whats happening. It's better for her to let it all out then her to bottle it all up. Give her lots of support. Give her a big hug and tell her not to worry. Tell her everything is ok and everything is going to be just fine. At school sit next to her in lessons and work closely with her. If you are doing a group activity or need to get in partners make sure she is invited in your group or as your partner. I hope this helped x and good luck x
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thank you so much for your advice. I will never leave her side, it's just that I'm so worried about what this situation is going to do to her in the long run. My friend, her brother and her grandparents have all suggested extra help a lot, but she'll have none of it, and I can't imagine how frustrating and draining it must be for the family. I was thinking about taking her out to dinner as a treat on Friday when she has a day off, or maybe a girl's night in at some point, or if there's enough money when I get back from holiday, take her to one of the local zoos as we both love animals, and animals always cheer her up. Anything to cheer her up.

    Thanks again!
    There are plenty of services that support young carers, so suggest that she visit them or ring them. She's not alone in this and you just need to support her. Barnardos run services all over the uk that are designed to help young carers too, so see if there's one near you.

    This info might help:
    http://www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/young...-can-help.aspx
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    Thanks. I spoke to her this afternoon, and she seemed a lot happier today, laughing and joking like her usual self. Obviously I asked her if she was sure if she was okay (but didn't push her- she's someone who will talk to you in her own time) and we're seeing each other for a quiet day on Thursday. Of course I'm going to keep an eye on her, and she knows my heart is always open if she ever needs me. I will suggest what Shelly said if needs be, and will make sure she knows she doesn't have to do this on her own.

    Thanks so much for everyone's support and advice, it's appreciated.
 
 
 
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