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I'm scared that she wont stop!

Dear Caroline,

I have a friend that is going through some really hard times right now and is extremely depressed. She has a huge history of parental abuse (physical, sexual, and psychological). She is going to counselling for her problems, however, I fear that her counsellor is unaware of the entire situation. Some one recently tried to rape her, and now she is having many flashbacks from her childhood. Sometimes when she's sleeping, and others when she is sitting on the coach watching TV. Most importantly when she begins to feel really bad on the "inside" she feels the need to feel bad on the "outside" I'm just scared she is going to cause serious harm to herself. I have in the past witnessed her biting, scratching, and hitting herself.

Now that she is so depressed I'm scared that she wont stop with those things. (not that any are good) Questions:What are the warning signs that someone is going to commit suicide? If you think someone might cause them self harm what should you do? (I didn't see a number on your list for that problem) Is there anything I can do for her?

Thank You,


Hello Worried

Right, you are indeed a good friend to this girl, there aren't many like you who would help out.

If you look on the list at the beginning of my agony page there is a number for the Samaritans they usually take all calls for suicide attempts, they are really there to listen and maybe give you other telephone numbers to contact.

What I would also suggest is that if you can arrange for her to see a GP and get her to take you along for moral support and talk to the doctor about what you know that has been going on e.g. the self mutilation, biting scratching, etc. , that way she will feel a little easier having it discussed without her actually talking about it herself, you could suggest to the Gp that you think she should be on medication i.e. antidepressants, they really work!

If he disagrees then go find another Gp who will help. If she's already seeing therapists etc., then she must continue if it is having only temporary effect, the longer she goes the better it is, in time she will heal inside and it will show on the outside. The good thing is she's trying to get help, but there is more on offer out there, Samaritans should be able to help out, Please ring them yourself, or ask your friend to. they can help out. She's obviously going through alot right now, but having a good friend like you will help her get better faster. And she will get over it , it really just takes a lot of time, and one day she will be herself again, you must encourage her to feel better about herself, build up her self esteem, get her out and about she needs to trust someone right now, and well it seems to be you, it may sound like a hard task for you and she has to rely on someone but she will never forget what you did for her in time to come.

As for warning signs well, you've seen them, and done the best thing you can by finding help, ring the Samaritans, go to the Gp or get a second opinion for her, you may have to do all the talking and it will seem like hard work, your a good friend,and she's in good hands if you take the lead and help her on her way back to a normal life. There will be a lot of tears, tempers upsets, traumas, but that's the road to her recovery.

And remember if you want any more advice get back in touch and let me know how she's doing, OK?