Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.
I am sorry to hear about the problems your friend is experiencing. It can be very frustrating to care about someone who refuses help for themselves. While I cannot make a diagnosis without seeing her, it is possible that depression may be playing a part in this in that individuals who are depressed often lack the motivation and energy to seek help. There are certainly medical issues that could be causing these symptoms, but would need an evaluation to determine the cause. You may try sharing the following information with your friend:
What to do if you may be depressed.
1. Identify that you want to change this pattern of negativity in your life. This is a powerful and courageous decision. Have a thorough assessment from a qualified clinician (medical doctor, psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. Some good resources are: your HMO, local mental health agency or hospital, Primary Care Physician, or a professional source that you trust.
2. When necessary, begin the process of therapy, which can be short term or long term. Therapy is a partnership between an individual and a therapist, a shared experience of mutual trust and confidentiality. The therapist is a good listener and support person. The process of self reflection in therapy enables a person to sort out both positive and negative feelings. It can help improve communication and encourage expression of hidden feelings that have caused sadness. As a person becomes aware of the problems causing the depression, develops solution strategies, has more self understanding and compassion, the door is open for a change in belief system.
3. Learning what triggers negative thoughts is a key factor. Depression can be experienced in cycles, with different intensities. Cycles of the seasons, holidays, and aging cycles can trigger depression. People prone to depression may get more depressed when their life changes (i.e. a move, job change or a loss) or when there is a health or relationship crisis.
4. Changing one’s habitual thinking patterns is important. Recycling the negative thoughts over and over also reinforces the depression. Continually thinking that “Life will never get better.” Or “I will always be a failure.” influences the depth and length of the depression. Therefore, changing one’s thinking patterns from self judgment to compassion, from hopelessness to hopeful is necessary. Therapeutic techniques that reframe negative thinking i.e., cognitive exercises, positive reinforcement, breathing, meditative and relaxation exercises, as well as other therapeutic techniques, all seem quite beneficial.
5. Understanding how to “empower yourself” by taking responsibility for your own health and well being, while not blaming others for your problems is critical. Disconnecting from the negative patterns which keeps you powerless and focusing on positive life patterning helps to increase self esteem, i.e., healthy diet and exercise regimen; fulfilling and joyful connection to family and friends, a sense of humor, involvement in hobbies, music, theater, dance, art; relaxation techniques, positive affirmations, yoga, TaiChi; having someone to confide in, asking for help, reaching out to help others, joining a support group, improving communication within relationships and learning to problem-solve. And there are many more. You can use your own creativity to bring the positive into your life. Sometimes you just need someone to help light the way.
Unless she becomes a danger to herself or others, she has the right to refuse treatment. If she does threaten to harm herself or anyone else then you can contact the authorities to have her hospitalized for safety reasons. Short of that, one thing you might try is a letter to her letting her know how much you care and how concerned you are and asking if she will seek treatment for you. Also, an intervention in which you and her friends and family all get together to let her know how concerned you are and encourage her to get help could be a way to convince her to take care of herself. I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I can help further.