Serious advice needed: friend with muscular dystrophy

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    Aug 10, 2013 9:24 PM GMT
    Hey guys, could really use your help with something that has been bothering me for a while. I made a friend about 2 years ago who has muscular dystrophy. We went to the same highschool, but it wasn't until going to the same community college that we began talking. I hang out with him now every couple weeks. He has limited mobility throughout his body and uses a wheelchair to move.

    The problem I'm having is I can tell he's severely depressed. The main reason is because he can't find any girls who want to hangout with him. I've heard through the grape-vine that he can get angry with some girls after being rejected. I don't know if that's true though. He hit me up to hangout today because he's upset a girl who he talked about hanging out with blew him off 2 days in a row. He bought her roses... He says he's given up on finding a girl now.

    How can I help? I feel terrible hearing all this and don't want to have the kid feel so alone all the time. I'm not even sure if introducing him to a girl I know is a good idea. I feel it might set him up for a fall and it might be a bad situation if he does end up being too aggressive. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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    Aug 10, 2013 9:33 PM GMT
    Hmmm....there was a poster on RJ with muscular dystrophy awhile back. Does anyone know his screen name? He maybe able to help....
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    Aug 10, 2013 9:44 PM GMT
    Is he going through an angry phase?
    Sounds like it..
    The best you can do is be there for him till he comes to grip with his anger and depression.

    Maybe a girl is not the answer right now.. There is no way anyone can inject anger and depression into a relationship and have it blossom.

    ..Be a good friend.. keep him grounded and smiling the best you can.. Who knows ..maybe you will be the one to help him on his way.
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    Aug 10, 2013 10:12 PM GMT
    Anocxu saidIs he going through an angry phase?
    Sounds like it..
    The best you can do is be there for him till he comes to grip with his anger and depression.

    Maybe a girl is not the answer right now.. There is no way anyone can inject anger and depression into a relationship and have it blossom.

    ..Be a good friend.. keep him grounded and smiling the best you can.. Who knows ..maybe you will be the one to help him on his way.


    I don't think this is a phase. He's had muscular dystrophy for most of his life and his depression isn't a recent development.
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    Aug 10, 2013 10:55 PM GMT
    It takes a special person who would want to be a soul mate to someone in a wheelchair.

    As a secondary solution, a good buddy might help alleviate his depression:

    http://www.cci.org/site/c.cdKGIRNqEmG/b.4011119/k.890D/Service_Dogs.htm
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    Aug 10, 2013 11:19 PM GMT
    Hitm4up said
    How can I help? I feel terrible hearing all this and don't want to have the kid feel so alone all the time. I'm not even sure if introducing him to a girl I know is a good idea. I feel it might set him up for a fall and it might be a bad situation if he does end up being too aggressive. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    To be honest, if he has MD and is already in a wheelchair, the things you can do for him are limited. He needs to work with professionals.

    His dreams of romance with a girl are probably unrealistic. Cruel but true. There might be a .01% chance it can happen, but I doubt you can be the one who can help him.

    Instead, continue to be a friend to him. In the ways that you can. Helping with girls is probably not one of them. Just don't abandon him.
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    Aug 10, 2013 11:47 PM GMT
    Seems you guys are confirming my fear. I definitely don't want to cross any boundaries. I feel like I'm watching somebody drown and can't do anything to help. I know he appreciates friends, but what he truly wants is companionship. Life really blows sometimes. I wish more people got to know this kid. It'd really put their "problems" in perspective. Thanks guys.
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    Aug 11, 2013 3:44 AM GMT
    I think he needs a pro. You can help by being supportive.

    It's a tough spot to be in.
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    Aug 11, 2013 4:16 AM GMT
    There are girls who will date a man with muscular dystrophy. There are girls who will date a man with aggression. There are not many girls who will date a man with both.

    It's sweet that you want to help your friend. Only you can decide how deeply you want to get involved. If you choose to talk to him about his anger, you may or may not be able to help. You won't know until you try. But I wouldn't suggest fixing him up with your friends, unless you can be reasonably certain they will not be in harm's way.
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    Aug 11, 2013 4:28 AM GMT
    He needs some love in his life, he might have an opinion that it can only get through a woman.

    as Lumpynose suggested, a dog might be helpful. Why not take a dog, yours or your friend's god with you while going to meet him. He can play with it for a while & then he may get an idea of raising a pet for himself.

    I appreciate your efforts to help your friend.
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    Aug 11, 2013 4:43 AM GMT
    Harry7785 saidHe needs some love in his life, he might have an opinion that it can only get through a woman.

    as Lumpynose suggested, a dog might be helpful. Why not take a dog, yours or your friend's god with you while going to meet him. He can play with it for a while & then he may get an idea of raising a pet for himself.

    I appreciate your efforts to help your friend.


    I agree with Harry. Either a dog or your friend's god might help. I'm leaning toward the dog, though. It's hard to get someone else's god to accompany you on short notice.
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    Aug 11, 2013 6:04 AM GMT
    shortbutsweet said
    Harry7785 saidHe needs some love in his life, he might have an opinion that it can only get through a woman.

    as Lumpynose suggested, a dog might be helpful. Why not take a dog, yours or your friend's god with you while going to meet him. He can play with it for a while & then he may get an idea of raising a pet for himself.


    I agree with Harry. Either a dog or your friend's god might help. I'm leaning toward the dog, though. It's hard to get someone else's god to accompany you on short notice.

    Oops! Sorry, autocorrect. I meant dog not god.
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    Aug 11, 2013 6:28 AM GMT
    Harry7785 saidas Lumpynose suggested, a dog might be helpful. Why not take a dog, yours or your friend's god with you while going to meet him. He can play with it for a while & then he may get an idea of raising a pet for himself.

    A dog from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) is not just a pet dog. It's a dog that has been specially bred and trained to help someone with a disability. It's a service dog. By law the disabled person can take it everywhere they go; school, work, shopping, whatever. Temperamentally it's just like a pet dog in how it will love and adore the person it's with. The breeding is to produce dogs that are very smart and are stable in public under a multitude of conditions. Out of all of the dogs that they breed only about 1/3rd of them end up becoming a service dog; the remaining 2/3rds weren't up to snuff for one reason or another. Those typically go back to their puppy raiser or there is a waiting list of people waiting for dogs that didn't make it (what they call release dogs because they've been released from the program).

    One of CCI's sayings is "Exceptional dogs for exceptional people" and it really is true.

    It's hard for us to grasp what it's like being confined to a wheelchair but having a dog as a constant companion that adores and loves you and that also helps you is an incredible boon.
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    Aug 11, 2013 6:34 AM GMT
    The other thing is that a pet dog for someone with a disability can often end up being more work that they don't need or have the ability to deal with. These dogs have been trained to help someone with a disability and to make their lives easier, not add to their burden.
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    Aug 11, 2013 7:45 AM GMT
    The dog suggestion is a great idea. The only thing is he lives with his family and they already have 2 dogs and a cat.
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    Aug 11, 2013 9:21 AM GMT
    I was provisionally diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) by the US Veterans Administration (VA) in 1996. It's fatal, and your end isn't pretty. Imagine being told that.

    And all the VA offered to me, other than terminal care as the condition would progress, was a referral to the MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) for emotional support. I looked into it, and they were nice enough, but frankly I was dubious of my diagnosis. I didn't stick with MDA when I didn't seem to be worsening.

    I'd previously been told I was terminal by an Army doctor 15 years earlier for another condition, and that proved bogus. But I was advised my ALS could be slow or fast, and if slow it could be years before the crippling symptoms would appear that confirmed the diagnosis.

    And so for those long years I waited, and watched, and took painful tests. Not knowing what kind of future I had. It partly explains my hard gay partying, the ALS diagnosis coming a few months after I came out. Not only did I realize I had only a few good gay years left at 46, because of gay biases, but I might not have any years left at all.

    Well, here it is 18 years later, and most doctors tell me if I really had ALS the symptoms would have been more definite by now (I still have some). Evidently I was given another bogus diagnosis.

    That's OK. It prompted me to concentrate on having some fun in my life, for the first time. And gay fun, too. Not entirely wild & frivolous, that's never me, but to get my ass out there and shake it for once while I still could. And so I did, and didn't miss that experience. In fact, I still consider that time the best in my life.

    How do you give a guy with MD the best years in his life? Contact the MDA. They have information on how family & friends can help these patients. Don't try to reinvent the wheel - the experts have the answers for you. Explore this site, and don't abandon this guy. He needs friends.

    http://mda.org
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    Aug 11, 2013 12:16 PM GMT
    one of my college RAs was in a wheelchair herself- im sure she would have loved to go on a date w your friend. there is someone out there for 'everyone'- tell him the example. he just needs to continue to believe and put himself out there, perhaps in an organization for people with MD. parallel example: ive volunteered in a down syndrome society/organization before at a sports event (they were playing sports), and im 100% confident they were doing it- shows you that anything is possible! tell him that
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    Aug 11, 2013 12:30 PM GMT
    Just be his friend. That's all you have to do.
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    Aug 11, 2013 5:29 PM GMT
    This is a tough situation to be in; I think the best thing for you to do though is to just continue being a good friend like you are doing right now. I believe that everyone is capable of finding love and I think that eventually your friend will find a girl who loves him as much as he loves her. I know it may be really tough for him now but I do believe that things will get better for him
  • mybud

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    Aug 11, 2013 8:06 PM GMT
    Hitm4up saidSeems you guys are confirming my fear. I definitely don't want to cross any boundaries. I feel like I'm watching somebody drown and can't do anything to help. I know he appreciates friends, but what he truly wants is companionship. Life really blows sometimes. I wish more people got to know this kid. It'd really put their "problems" in perspective. Thanks guys.
    Dude...I work with special needs teens and have experienced this scenario many times.The short answer is,just to be there for him...Be an active listener...Give suggestions..Express your concerns regarding his depressive and anger episodes and the possibility he may need to to seek professional help. I feel he's lucky to have such a concerned friend as yourself and I bet he feels the same way.....Steve