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    Anon so my friend can't be identified please.

    My friend is worying me a bit. She is on pills for everything going and won't try and help herself before going to the doctors etc.

    Ever since she was about 15 she has been on and off sleeping tablets - both prescribed and bought. I am worried because she doesn't help herself at all. She get's up around 8am every morning (she is a hairdresser and has always lived close to work, now she lives at the salon), so it's not unreasonably early. She works till around 5 and is in bed every night by 9/10pm.

    I know hairdressing is a standing on your feet all day job but I wouldn't say it is significantly more tiring than the average job. Should she try exercising or something? She rarely goes out or socialises so almost never has a late night. I just feel she could try these kind of things before jumping to pills.

    Also, she text me not long ago saying she was ill and was worried she might have swine flu. Later on she text me saying she didn't have swine flu she just had a virus and was really relieved. Next thing I know she's saying she can't come out with us because she might infect us (about 10 days after she came down with the virus) and she has only just finished taking tamiflu. I'm not sure that she was even on tamiflu, but obviously it's quite possible. She is now taking pills everyday because she is still feeling 'bunged up'.

    She text me the other day saying she was a bit pissed off with someone 'being off' wth her and that her boyfriend hadn't helped make her feel better. I had a good chat with her etc and she seemed ok just a little bored (she was in on her own, but I couldn't go round as she was in bed). The next day she told me she had been put on antidepressants and was gutted.

    I have never had depression so I'm not 100% sure how it works but I know very close people who have been clinically depressed. From what I've heard, people have to show a lot of symptoms before they are prescribed antidepressants due to the risks. For example a woman I know had literally had a breakdown before she was described antidepressants, even though she'd been seeking medical help for weeks, the doctor apparently was not convinced that putting her on them was worth the risk until she showed severe signs. Is this normal? Or can you really be put on them just like that?

    I am so worried. I really want to help. But because I don't actually know what is wrong - what has caused her to need antidepressants? - I'm not sure what action to take?

    Surely different help/advice would be more appropriate for someone who is depressed, rather than down in the dumps? But how can I tell if she really is depressed? I see her fairly often and I have not noticed anything unusual/worrying about her, but obviously I'm not a doctor. Should I be advising her to get out/exercise/socialise more to perhaps help make her sleep better at night? Or is this just her choice? Would it even help :confused:

    I really want to do something for her but I want to understand first. Advice from anyone who has experience with depression is greatly appreciated - or any similar situation.
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    Just be there for her. Like you say you're not a doctor so you can't say whether she has depression or not so don't bother trying to diagnose. Make sure she knows she can text you/call you/meet up with you if she needs to and that will probably help her. Getting out, socialising and exercise, particularly the latter, can help combat depression so gently encourage but don't force her if she's not ready for it.
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    Often doctors do prescribe anti-depressants relatively quickly if they think someone can benefit someone. When I first went on them in 2002 I was given them after a normal five/ten minute appointment.
    To be honest, her sleeping patterns don't seen excessive to me - when I've been on placements I'm often falling asleep by about 9pm, chances are it could be because she is on her feet all day. This may also be a reason why she doesn't go out much socially, I used to hate going out on a Saturday after work because I'd be exhausted so I just wouldn't have a good time.
    You should just let her know that you are there for me, and she can talk to you. Encourage her to be honest with her GP so she can get whatever she needs if she is suffering from depression. Do you know if she would consider counselling?
    There could always be physical reasons for her behaviour, like anaemia or a thyroid problem, or she might have something on her mind that you don't know about. She will open up to you if/when she feels able/ready to.
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    In terms of the sleeping if she is depressed I guess she could be stressed and that could be affecting her ability to sleep at night. She might also have insomnia. Although I find pills helpful I do agree with you in that she should perhaps try something else first, but if she is on prescribed ones they may be addictive and hard to get off.

    I agree with above- sometimes doctors give out AD's because they're the cheaper and easier option if they think someone is depressed. So she could very well have them.

    I also think you should just be there for her right now. Sometimes when you're depressed you often don't want to show too many signs at first and try to fake your way through things. It can be quite hard to spot with some people if they're genuinly down. My doctor didn't have a clue how bad I was for months.
 
 
 
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