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Helping Friends with Mental Illness and Maintaining Boundaries

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have a friend that is in a bad situation and I would like to help but I also cannot compromise my family by doing so. Here's the situation:

 

My friend and his fiance have multiple mental illness diagnoses: Bipolar, schizophrenia, paranoid delusions, and so on. Anyway they have two children (7yrs and 16 months) and she is 5 months pregnant (supposedly, I haven't seen her to confirm). Currently they are homeless, no car, no phone, no meds. Their families are tired of dealing with them (there is accusations of lying, illegal drug use and stealing, which is not unusual for people with their illnesses when they go out of control). The grandparents took in the children but left the adults to couch surf at friends homes where they quickly wear out their welcome and then walk the streets. She has had no prenatal care and openly admits to smoking cigs. They called me recently and wanted to stay at my house. I had to say no. Both my husband and I work full time and we have 5 kids, one of which is special needs, so even though I wanted to say yes, it just doesn't seem safe. I have called Catholic Services and a few shelters and such to try and give them options. Almost everything has a waiting list. I am really concerned for the unborn baby. I want to offer to drive her to Doc appointments and help her get set up on WIC, food stamps and so forth but I know how time consuming it could be for me. So help me out. Where do I draw the line? Also, I know this is going to be very controversial, I want to recommend they seek adoption counseling. I am a birth mom so I don't say this lightly. They have two children already and not only can they not take care of them, they cannot take care of themselves. Any suggestions?

 

Thanks! 

post #2 of 3

Just wanted to give some insight because my brother sounds like your friend (but he doesn't have kids). There is a reason our family, close and extended, have all finally stopped being able to help. It was after years of giving and never got us/him anywhere. He is still in the same position (by choice, or mental issue, drugs, who knows). We've repeatedly spent the time to take him to rehab, get setup with food stamps, find an apartment.. He always let it fall through after "getting back on his feet". Anyway, since he can't turn to family anymore, I'm sure he is trying to use the resources of every last friend he can find. I feel bad thinking he is out using those friends. It's dangerous on many levels. If your friends can't turn to their family anymore, there are reasons, and I think you're right in all your reasons not to help. I do think the adoption suggestion would be a good idea, if there's a way to kindly bring that up. I'm glad to hear the grandparents have taken in the children.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks SimpleLove, it really is sad that there seems like there is nothing anyone can do to help these people. It's such a hard call determining what is free will and what is being driven by mental illness which is beyond their control.
 

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