I need help with a friend

I’ve been meaning to write this for a few weeks, but I never posted it because I thought it contained too much information about her, even though I used a fake name for her to keep her privacy. She’s a good friend of mine so I don’t want to pour out too much information that she trusts me with—she doesn’t use websites like this in the first place, but I want to respect this. I’m also on my phone at school so I can’t really write too much either since it’s not as easily manipulated as a computer keyboard. [Update: Currently at my house so I have access to a computer.]

Also, mods, if you feel that this thread should be locked, by all means, do so.

My friend, who I’ll be calling Abby, has been having pretty strange beliefs since last year. Abby has been getting interested in spiritual things, such as witchcraft and all that. While I have some spirituality in me myself, I personally don’t believe in this part, but I didn’t mind that this was interesting to her. Before she fully started getting into this, she told me that she knew that she had past lives, one of them being a witch, so it’s kind of inevitable that she started getting interested in this. I brushed it off at first, but as time went on, her beliefs started becoming worrying. I don’t know if it’s a weird phase that she’s going through, but these beliefs of hers are rather deep-seated.

Since I don’t want to divulge too much information nor do I want to spend the current time I have talking with extra details, I’ll provide a list of some of the things that I recall that have worried me the most.

  • Amidst some boy drama earlier this year, she told me that she was going to put a temporary curse on the boy in question.

  • While her brother was sick, Abby thought that he had leukemia because of a dream/vision she had, when in fact he only had the flu because it was flu season at the time. Abby genuinely believed that he had it and thought that he got it from due to her intense dislike of him. This is probably one of the more worrying examples for me because she genuinely believed that he was going to die and that it was ‘her fault’.

  • More recently, she asked me if I could hear/see a ghost behind me. She then proceeded to tell me about the ghost’s life and her personality, with Abby also believing that other ghosts followed me around. As much as I hate to admit it, I went along with it because I didn’t know what to do in the moment.

I’ve talked with another girl friend who has mental health issues for some help and she told me that I should try and offer Abby some resources to help her, but that if she refuses it, there’s not much I can do. Today I looked for some websites that offer help for psychosis and whatnot, but I’m picky about them since this situation is difficult for me and I don’t know how to go along with it since Abby’s beliefs are ingrained in her head and she has a friend who seems to have the same mindset as her. I’m just frustrated because Abby is an amazing person and friend but all of this worries me because she is mentally ill herself and she doesn’t realize what’s happening. I want to help her but at the same time I feel as if I should give up (both because I’m afraid of confronting her about her delusions and because I’m exasperated, especially since I’ve never been in a situation like this before).

Since we’re all on this forum for an obvious reason, I want to get advice or literally just anything in regards to this. Resources would obviously be helpful, but I’ll accept anything.

All that can be done is try to convince her to go see a doctor or counselor.

You may try to convince her but it wont out right happen. more like find a way to throw doubt at what she thinks is true.

Even then she might not go. people with delusion are a stubborn bunch.

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First of all a disclaimer: Some people are just religious. It sounds possible your friend could be mentally ill but there are people who claim to put curses and have visions who do not belong in a mental hospital.

If she is, I believe she will have to be the one to ultimately make a choice. It is very difficult to force the realization on a person that they are schizophrenic. No one wants to be this way. Well to be perfectly honest, once I was on meds I felt better knowing what was wrong with me but it took being on the meds. Unless she is dangerous to herself or others she can not be committed against her will in most areas.

As to resources, I don’t have any direct experience with this group. But I’ve been seeing some information about them:

Reaching out to a friend about their mental health is important. Learn about these tips and warning signs that can help start a conversation around depression and anxiety.

I wish I could provide you with more actual resources. But in my personal experience, no one saw what was going on until I was in a full blown episode. I don’t have any direct evidence but I think that might be true of most people like me because there are not as many people like you looking out for them. So I’m going to talk a little about how I wish it had been handled with me.

It is very important you be as supportive as possible. Be sensitive and honest. If she thinks you are going behind her back and talking about her, it might make her paranoid and make her cut off all contact with you. You need to hear her talk and listen to her. Maybe she is also worried. Let her know your concerns. If you are willing let her know that you will be there for her even if she is schizophrenic (if that is something you feel you can do. Just be aware it is a commitment you need to be somewhat prepared for). Being there for her so she knows you are part of her support structure is paramount. Do not try to convince her ‘Hey you are a crazy person!’ Read up on schizophrenia or mental illness because you can’t be sure it is what she has. some other disorders can mask as Sz. Understanding about things such as positive vs. negative symptoms, what a hallucination is, what a delusion is, disorganized thinking, etc will help her and you if or when you have the conversation.

I hope that was a little help.

But I would like to say, if she is Sz and if she can’t say it. Thank you for being a friend to her.

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It doesn’t sound like she has a mental illness. It just sounds like she is making personal choices. Although unusual I don’t think there is anything to worry about.

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Thank you all for the responses. While I have psychosis myself, I’ve never been in a situation like this before which is why I decided to post here. She does have mental health conditions that are a little severe than mine, but I’m still not exactly sure if her behavior is a part of that factor or if she’s going through a phase. Apart from everything, she’s an amazing person, incredibly kind and loyal; I’m just worried for her. My other friend also said that it’s kind of me to be looking after her.

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