I am new to this forum, and this is my first post. I am close friends with a person who was recently involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital because her untreated schizophrenia was slowly killing her. She had dropped out of her prestigious academic program, withdrawn socially, and recently, stopped drinking water and feeding herself. When she was admitted to the hospital, she was about 30 pounds underweight and dangerously dehydrated. You get the picture.
My friend’s family and her closest friends (including me) all agree that she is ill and needs treatment. We fully support her treating physicians, who are in the midst of a legal process with the end goal of court-ordered treatment. However, my friend has no insight into her condition, and she has assembled a group of casual friends and acquaintances who believe that she has been wrongfully detained. In addition to being severely ill, my friend is incredibly bright, articulate, and likeable (when she is not having violent episodes). She can be very convincing. She has managed to convince these people (I’ll call them “the enablers” for the sake of concision) that her family and close friends are basically monsters who have locked her up in an effort to harm her. I do not think she has convinced the enablers that she is not ill (given her current state, that would be next to impossible), but she has managed to convince them that we are jerks for pursuing involuntary treatment in a psychiatric facility.
This group of enablers has now formed an anti-psychiatry cabal. They have begun meeting in secret, holding conference calls, and even surreptitiously recording phone calls with my friend’s close circle of care in an effort to undermine us. Some of the enablers have taken to calling and emailing my friend’s mother and berating her for attempting to have my friend treated involuntarily. In addition to devoting almost every waking hour to helping my friend, my friend’s mother now has to contend with a group of enablers who make her feel harassed, undermined, and deeply hurt.
My friend is gravely ill, and this fact is abundantly obvious to me and most other people who have interacted with her. I do not understand where the enablers are coming from, but I do know that they are very harmful to my friend and to her circle of care. A few days ago, one of them was visiting my friend at the psychiatric facility and encouraged my friend to cause a huge scene. That particular enabler also recorded the entire episode on video, thereby violating the privacy of other patients in the facility. As a result of all this, the hospital revoked my friend’s passes to go outside for the rest of the weekend and possibly longer. My friend previously had passes to go outside for hours at a time, and I think that was good for her.
Anyway, has anyone else experienced this sort of thing? Is it common for family and friends to face this kind of criticism (and even vilification) when they attempt to get help for a person who is suffering from schizophrenia? Does anyone have any insight into how to manage this situation?
I believe that the enablers are harming my friend. Any insight into this situation would be helpful and greatly appreciated.