I would agree that something may be wrong with your friend’s behavior. She does seem to have certain obsessions that change over time. It’s not clear why she becomes obsessed or what prompts her to change her focus on to something else. Her behavior is unusual and may be indicative of a mental health problem.
Mental health problems need to be treated by mental health professionals. This is not something you should try to handle on your own. As her friend, you should support her in seeking treatment but you should not try to treat her yourself. You might say something like this “I’ve been worried about you and how upset you can become (at times) sometimes. I want you to be safe and to not continue to suffer. Counseling could help you. Have you considered it?”
If you believe that even the suggestion of mental health treatment would cause her to become too upset, then you may not want to make the suggestion. However, even if it does upset her, it might still be the right thing to do. You can judge this for yourself since you have a personal relationship with her. It is difficult for me to predict how she will react since I do not know her but suggesting that she seek help, in a gentle and caring manner, is the right thing to do. The key is to say it in a way that will be the least upsetting. Try to think about how you could approach her with your suggestion about seeking professional help.
Another approach to this problem could be speaking to her parents. It would be good if you made them aware of your concerns. Tell them about the behaviors you have observed. In all likelihood, they are likewise concerned. Alternatively, they may not know how she behaves with you or how upset she can become. It would be good for them to know. If they know that something is wrong, they may be able to help. If you’re not comfortable speaking to them directly, you might send them a letter articulating your concerns. much like you did here with us at Psych Central. Do what you think would be the most helpful.
In terms of interacting with her, you may want to keep your distance. How long you want to stay her friend is something only you can decide. That is a very personal decision. One way to be a supportive friend is to encourage her to seek help. A mental health professional would be in the best position to help her.
Hopefully this problem can be resolved in a satisfactory way. With luck, she will consider your suggestion and follow your advice. With the right treatment, this can likely be corrected. If she’s open to treatment, it significantly increases the probability of a positive outcome. Thank you for your question. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle