Dealing with guilt and anger


@tampalizard My advice is to put together all documentation you have of your loved one’s MI and always keep it available and updated. In a situation where the person leaves home or requires involuntary commitment, you can try to determine who/where the person would be evaluated and YOU can give them the documentation ahead of time, or at least at the time of evaluation if you are in the same location. I have done this when our son was wandering, living out of a car, in another state and I proactively made contact with psych hospital units in FIVE different counties where I thought he might show up. And that is exactly what happened. He was committed involuntarily ONLY because of the documentation of his history.

Since then, I obtained an emergency (now permanent) legal guardianship. He was/is an adult. Absolutely worth the money on many occasions since.

I also suggest making sure that your contact information is in his wallet, in his suitcase, or somewhere you can think of, in case he is found. If his ID already shows your address, that will help.

And as soon as possible after you have done these things, start researching the psychology of LEAP (Listen/Empathize/Agree/Partner) which you can read about in a book called I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help by Dr. Xavier Amador (referenced in many places on this site). Our pleas to do (or not do) harmful things are unlikely to make any difference if the person is completely convinced that his ideas are real. Instead, using LEAP, you would say things like “I hear you say you want to go to ______. I hear you say you are concerned about _____. Is that right?” You may be surprised how listening and acknowledging what the person is saying (without agreeing with those thoughts) will get the person to change his attitude. Don’t we all want to be heard? I can’t explain it all here. You have to read the book. I have used it and it has definitely helped us.

You are cared about.


If you can, take the passport, the ticket, and every cent of his money. I’ve had to do that.

Don’t let him go. Good luck.


Great news everyone! I so appreciate all your support. My sister and I sat down with my son this evening and very calmly explained our concerns and told him how much he is loved. He did remain calm throughout the conversation but was still resolute on going. The conversation basically ended with me telling him that, as his mother, I truly felt that I had to take all possible steps to stop him from going. I also told him that it was quite possible I would not succeed and, if I did not, I would still pray for his safe return. I merely wanted him to be aware that he might be hearing from some agencies or MDs needing to evaluate his plan for safety. A little while after my sister left, he came out and stated that he still planned to camp in the Forrest and eat only what he could find on the land…however, he relented to stay within the US and cancelled his airline tickets. It only ended up costing him a $200 cancellation fee. SO…no “suicide forest” in Japan. That is a great relief. I cannot say he was happy about it but at least we are still speaking. If he goes into the forest here and gets really hungry for a couple of days, at least he can more likely make it out. Thank so much for your support.


Great news. Still though, keep an eye out for the passport and be ready just in case he decides to take a road trip. So many people on this forum have lost track of their loved ones.

I don’t know what it is about this illness that makes people want to live alone in the woods. I’ve heard so many similar stories.

Before my son started meds, he wanted nothing more in life than to sleep in the woods in a tent. It didn’t matter if it was 20 degrees outside. Fortunately, we have some woods behind our house, so we were able to keep him local until his paranoia got the most of him and he was too afraid to sleep outside.


Could you reach out to his Neurologist and Endocrinologist? Perhaps they will have advice or even call APS as well. That would probably push his case forward more quickly.


Good news. You actually were unknowlingly using a bit of the LEAP psychology because you recognized his desire to do this thing and acknowledged it as a reality (for him). You MUST read the book. I can’t stress that enough.


I am so glad to hear this @tampalizard. So glad. Telling him how much he is loved had to have had some effect on him. I talked to my son for the first time in a very long time yesterday. We are back to a much better place and I too am going to make sure he always knows that he is loved more than he could ever know. I love good days…


Nicely done! I’m wondering if maybe you could offer to go camping with him instead of him going out in the woods to eat off the land. Maybe just a hike and overnight would appease his desire to go solo. Has he heard about the kid who did that in Alaska. What was that movie - ah Into the Wild. He ate the wrong herb.


Supposedly people still make pilgrimages to the bus from the “Into The Wild” story.

I first heard about the suicide forest recently when some social media person reported about it.


My son did something similar to this and because he was not a threat to himself or anyone else we could do nothing to stop him. So , his wife and I decided to do our best to prepare him for his trip which was Denmark. She insisted that he get a return ticket, and call or email every 2 days or else we would call the Denmark police to pick him up. He did go and came back in a month liked planned and actually did a lot better then we imagine being unmedicated and psychotic . Maybe you could make sure he has enough insulin, and tell him the same things. We also made sure he took out travel insurance in case. Prayers and best of luck


You hit it spot on. Although I did not rule out the possibility, I did not seriously think he would lie to me…but he did. He never cancelled the flight and he left in the middle of the night. He is on his way to Japan. No money, no supplies, no cell phone, no GPS. He left a rambling 4 page note castigating me for not “believing in him”…blaming me for nearly every ill in the world and stating he was going to see if he can “survive without insulin if he eats only natural things from the forest”. He did take some insulin with him, however, if they confiscate it on any of the numerous flights or if he loses it/breaks the vials…he will become ill over a few days…and that is IF he even decides to use it. On the other hand, If he decides to USE the insulin and has no food, he will become incapacitated within hours. Not looking good guys…


Thanks! I completely understood it…so difficult to deal in things that are illogical however, that is how he is seeing it.


Oh noooo Tampalizard. That’s so awful. I’m so sorry. Have you contacted authorities, or the airline?


I sent an email to the Japanese Consulate in Miami and a psychiatrist, in Japan, listed on their web site. There really isn’t anything else to do. There is a typhoon in Japan right now so he may get stuck in an airport for days due to flight delays. If he ends up having a seizure or gets really angry with someone and gets nasty due to low sugar in the airport…he might end up in a hospital or in police custody. Otherwise I guess that’s all I can do


How about the US Embassy in Japan? Have you tried contacting them in case he makes it that far?

I am so sorry, our loved ones can really be quite good at getting something done if they are determined to do it.


Oh no, I’m so sorry this happened. Your son must have his wits somewhat about him in order to do all of this. I am hopeful that along the way he will realize the effects of what he has decided to do OR he will become ill and debilitated prior to isolating himself so that there is a response of medical treatment wherever he is. I’m so sorry.

Your own health, physically and emotionally, are probably compromised by this stress. Try to eat a little bit, drink enough water, sleep as much and as well as possible.

I am hoping for the best for your son and for you.


Thank you. I appreciate that.


@tampalizard - I am sure you are worried. That seems to be what we do best, unfortunately. I hope several good things happen in his favor and there is a positive outcome. Hang in there. I think you’ve done all you can. With the weather over there he may not make it to that forest!


@tampalizard I am so sorry to hear this. Keep in mind that there is always a possibility he never got on the flight. That happened to us. Son flew first leg of flight but never completed the second leg and flew back to our city on a different airline. We thought he was in another state when he was actually about 10 miles from us. We got a phone call (my contact info was in his suitcase) that let to hospitalization…Your son would have to have ID to get on an airplane…do you think he has ID? Is it the same address as yours? I have read that persons with SZ are often very resilient and figure out how to get themselves out of predicaments. I hope that is true for yours. It seems like you have done all that you can do and will be ready if there is anything else you can do. We can’t fix everything. You are cared about.


@tampalizard - have you heard anything? How are you holding up…been thinking of you a lot
I’m sure you already have these numbers but a few I found just in case. hugs

International Social Service Japan (ISSJ)
Tel: 03-5840-4711
Ochanomizu K & K Building, 3F, 1-10-2 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Professional social workers deals with social welfare problems involving more than one country’s laws or customs. Mostly used by Americans for adoptions, but will also assist foreigners with marital and legal problems

TELL Lifeline
Free, anonymous telephone counseling and support across Japan. 9am – 11pm daily