Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Friend is threatening others and talking about wiping out the world


#1

For the sake of this post I will call this friend Andrew.

This old friend of mine who I have been friends with for going on 12 years has gone through so much. He was often teased growing up because he could not express himself. He has always had a habit of cracking jokes to relieve awkward tension and has assumed he has powers for years. He is very paranoid of other people and assumes most people hate him or are out to get him. Most people aren’t aware of how bad this is as I am and most people who know him, including his own parents, seem oblivious to the fact that he is suffering from schizophrenia or schizotypal disorder. Almost everything lines up perfectly with the latter personality disorder.

He hasn’t been able to hold a job for years and habitually smokes marijuana, more than anybody that I know as I know people who smoke it for medicinal reasons. Whenever he smokes this he becomes increasingly more paranoid and suspicious of others. He has been trying to get lawyers involved to sue the health care system where I live as he claims they refuse to give him surgery for a physical disability that he claims that he has that has been preventing him from being normal. I know deep down that he has fixated on this disability, while showing no signs of having one, to take away from the fact that he is severely mentally unwell. He spends countless hours on the internet sending people hundreds of messages through Facebook and reading conspiracy theories as well as watching war based movies. He is very fixated on swords and the way that things used to be when justice and revenge were legal. It is all quite alarming.

The reason why I’m making this post is because he has turned on each and every one of my friends, which were once his friends. He is constantly sending us messages claiming we’re evil, selfish or weak to each other, behind each others back. Three days ago he messaged me going on about how he loves me and how he can only trust me and that our other friends are cowards. Following this he began to go on a grandiose self-righteous rant about how humanity has failed and only he is capable of helping it, and that he will kill whoever he needs to and start an army. He stated several times how he wants to wipe people out.

I tried to communicate with him and talk some sense into him but he barely acknowledges anything that I say and types paragraph after paragraph. He believes that his bullying and struggle has shaped his perspective greatly and that he is above everybody else. Anyways, me and my other friend, the only two people who he associates with as he’s too afraid to leave his apartment and has pushed mostly everybody away from him, made the decision to block him from Facebook and remove him from our lives after this barrage of threats and severely paranoid behavior. We no longer trust him.

His parents won’t help him, and he hasn’t done anything yet so I know for a fact that the police where I live will do nothing. If they approach him he will most likely know that me or my friend are responsible.

I live very close to this guy, though he doesn’t know exactly where I live but he has a rough idea. I’ve moved locations frequently in the past year due to work and my own issues. I have to admit that there are times where I have been looking over my shoulder lately. I know that he hates me now and assumes that I betrayed him, as he messaged an old friend in a rant yesterday about how me and my other friend are now his mortal enemies and that he will “wash his hands of all of us”.

Even though he has made such large statements, this isn’t the first time. He has been physically and mentally bullied by people in the past and reacted in a similar way, though I fear with age that he’s reaching more of a breaking point. He lives alone and can barely survive as his parents threw him out of their house after he punched his Dad in the face and has made their lives a living hell. When I blocked him from Facebook I told him clearly that he is stressing me out and in the nicest way possible I told him that I’m taking time for myself and that I cannot handle to be apart of drama anymore and that he has been obsessing over me.

I know that he fears going outside or interacting with others. For this reason I don’t fear for my own life or anything, as he has had a tendency of begging for forgiveness. I mean, even though he is a friend, he has asked out all of my ex-girlfriends, harassed the ex girlfriends of other friends and then blamed it on liquor that he drank, which we believed as we’ve always viewed him as rather innocent and docile. He has repeatedly had massive paranoid delusions about people and often stands in the mirror pumping up his muscles and swinging katana swords claiming he is good at combat, when he is in fact extremely skinny and fragile.

I suffer from Bipolar Type II myself and have dealt with far more abuse than most of my friends so I know that I can relate to him, but at the same time for this reason I need to avoid him for my own mental health. Communicating with him has made me a little manic lately and I just couldn’t handle it anymore.

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated, even if somebody can relate. Thank you so much.


#2

Sadly, all this behavior is very common in schizophrenia - and I know it can be really hard. I recommend you try to “work” with your friend to help him get the help he needs - but it will be a process. I would type up all the details of what you think supports the idea that he might be diagnosed with psychosis or schizophrenia share it with his parents (or try to arrange a private meeting with his parents and communicate these issues with him and communicate that you really care about him and want the best for him.

The marijuana is a big issue too - as its strongly linked to increased risk for schizophrenia (in people predisposed to it).

I recommend you also review this list of “first aid” for schizophrenia and psychosis:

http://www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/005561.html

Here is the format you can think about as you think of things that make you believe he may have schizophrenia - and provide this evidence to his parents. The important thing is to get treatment as soon as possible - earlier treatment means better recovery. The longer he waits, the worse the long term prognosis.


Schizophrenia involves a range of problems with thinking (cognitive), behavior or emotions. Signs and symptoms may vary, but they reflect an impaired ability to function. Symptoms may include:

Delusions. These are false beliefs that are not based in reality. For example, you’re being harmed or harassed; certain gestures or comments are directed at you; you have exceptional ability or fame; another person is in love with you; a major catastrophe is about to occur; or your body is not functioning properly. Delusions occur in as many as 4 out of 5 people with schizophrenia.

Hallucinations. These usually involve seeing or hearing things that don’t exist. Yet for the person with schizophrenia, they have the full force and impact of a normal experience. Hallucinations can be in any of the senses, but hearing voices is the most common hallucination.

Disorganized thinking (speech). Disorganized thinking is inferred from disorganized speech. Effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. Rarely, speech may include putting together meaningless words that can’t be understood, sometimes known as word salad.

Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior. This may show in a number of ways, ranging from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation. Behavior is not focused on a goal, which makes it hard to perform tasks. Abnormal motor behavior can include resistance to instructions, inappropriate and bizarre posture, a complete lack of response, or useless and excessive movement.

Negative symptoms. This refers to reduced ability or lack of ability to function normally. For example, the person appears to lack emotion, such as not making eye contact, not changing facial expressions, speaking without inflection or monotone, or not adding hand or head movements that normally provide the emotional emphasis in speech. Also, the person may have a reduced ability to plan or carry out activities, such as decreased talking and neglect of personal hygiene, or have a loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal or a lack of ability to experience pleasure.

Symptoms in teenagers

Schizophrenia symptoms in teenagers are similar to those in adults, but the condition may be more difficult to recognize in this age group. This may be in part because some of the early symptoms of schizophrenia in teenagers are common for typical development during teen years, such as:

  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • A drop in performance at school
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability or depressed mood
  • Lack of motivation

Compared with schizophrenia symptoms in adults, teens may be:

  • Less likely to have delusions
  • More likely to have visual hallucinations

When to see a doctor

People with schizophrenia often lack awareness that their difficulties stem from a mental illness that requires medical attention. So it often falls to family or friends to get them help

Source:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizophrenia/basics/symptoms/con-20021077


#3

I agree with @SzAdmin about the marijuana. My son self medicates with it too and it only becomes him more delusional. Marijuana and schizophrenia do not go well together.

My son was diagnosed at nineteen and now he is twenty. He did similar things with social media - involved his sister and basically ostracized himself from all of his friends.

I think it’s very commendable that you are reaching out on his behalf. Thanks to the media, people with schizophrenia get stigmatized with a violent profile which isn’t helpful, however, if you feel threatened then you need to do what is best for you as well.

Another resource is NAMI (National Alliance Mental Illness). They have local chapters if you want to get more involved, but in the meantime, they could give some guidance as to what they feel might be helpful right now.
https://www.nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-HelpLine

Keep us posted.


#4

I agree that getting his parents or other family members involved would be a way forward.

You obviously care about your friend and you have good boundaries. In the long run, this is a big help to him.

And I agree with you about not calling the police unless there is danger to himself or others or grave disability. That is the only time it would be a potential path to treatment.