Trying to help a friend

Greetings,

Hope this finds you well!

I’m writing on behalf of a dear friend of mine who is yet undiagnosed with any particular disorder but who has, over the past two years, had a series of… what I, to the limits of my understanding, would call nothing-short-of psychotic episodes accompanied by extreme religious overtones which culminate in suicide attempts.
One was very close to successful.

The person in question is within the 28 – 32 y/o range.

The family is unwilling to face the potential realities of the situation and writes it off to depression/confusion and proceeds to hope things would go back to normal “now that the situation has calmed down”.

So does my friend. They lack a certain level of self-reflection and are very firm about their narrative, believing that they are given some sort of special sight, etc. Even when I manage to break through to them – they revert back to their narrative within the next day or so.

So, the boiled down version of my question is: How do I get them to seek care?
Both my friend and the family.

Are there any books/guides/YouTube channels and/or any other kind of resources on good practices for talking to a person about the potential reality of them needing care?

Also, are there any good resources on helping someone calm down during an episode?

For the record, I am not in the US, I’m in Eastern Europe and there’s not much to go on here when it comes to situations of this nature.

Thank you in advance!
Best wishes!

Welcome to our forum, within the old threads you will find a lot of resources are referenced, I hope they help.

In my opinion, the best way to help your friend is Dr Amador’s book “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” Available on Amazon and there are a lot of Amador and his LEAP method of communication on YouTube.

I am sorry about your friend’s family and their unwillingness to realize the situation. Often family members “normalize” the situation - there can be denial involved, but if you don’t know what schizophrenia looks like, schizophrenia can be hard to recognize. Normalizing is more dangerous than people realize, it actually can affect the family members’ mental health. Already you are seeing how your friend and their family are tilted off balance and they don’t realize it.

You will read the word “anosognosia” a lot in Dr Amador’s material. More that 50% - some sources say 60%- of people living with schizophrenia have the symptom “anosognosia”. Anosognosia is a symptom of schizophrenia, it’s an actual part of the illness. I think your friend might have anosognosia. A terrible symptom, it makes your friend unable to realize their thoughts are not correct. One way to put it is, your friend is too sick to realize they are sick.

To me it sounds as though your friend has the symptom anosognosia. Be careful about challenging their thoughts and beliefs. You can’t fix irrational thoughts with rational and attempting to do so could cause your friend to lose trust in you. Dr Amador’s LEAP method of communication will help you understand how to hold conversations with your friend.

Helping your friend can take a long time. These communication methods aren’t a “talk for an hour” and it’s a done deal. You have to communicate using LEAP all of the time, forever, with our family members to help them feel safe.

Your friend might be persuaded to see a doctor for an anti-anxiety medication. You have to listen carefully for clues how to help them - they are usually telling you- but often no one is listening or disagrees. Some of our family members will take meds for what they believe is a problem.

An old friend on this forum would want me to say that you must be especially careful with episodes that focus on religion. As you have learned, they can present a great danger.

Reading different threads on this forum can be a way for your friend’s family to begin to understand.

In the search box above enter “Is my mom suffering from schizophrenia?” that particular thread has links to a couple of Dr Amador’s youtube videos.

Good luck and keep reading. hope

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Welcome to the forum.

Yes. Be calm yourself.

Listen. Empathasize.

Dont make comments. Dont challenge their false beliefs. Dont argue. Remain neutral.

This can be an incredibly hard thing to do when someone is telling you the stop sign is green and means go.

Take Care

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Thank you both for your input!

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Do try to learn as much as you can @poorrichardsson from the past posts on this forum. If you are in a location in Eastern Europe without much help for those with severe mental illness or support groups for family members, this forum is probably the best way to learn what to do and what not to do. @hope has recommended the book and the doctor whose information most helped me to help my daughter. @Frodo has mentioned the most important thing to do when an episode is happening: be calm and listen without challenge.

My daughter has been much improved for the last several years but she still tells me about her voices, which are real out-of-body persons who communicate with her in her mind. Your friend has a similar situation, and you cannot “talk” him out of those feelings/experiences. You can help him by listing and remaining calm yourself. My daughter’s solution was to put those voices “in a little box in her head where they can’t control her anymore”. It took years of learning how to handle the voices plus staying on her medicine for her to get back to a “normal” life.

Good luck, it is so very hard to help someone with schizophrenia.