Ran into someone who probably was in psychosis

I was sitting at a restaurant having a meal and a beer, doing my crosswords when this stranger walked in the door and walked up to me and said like “thanks for the last time” and put out his hand to shake mine. I told him I hadn’t been introduced to him before and thought it was some kind of mistake. But he shook my hand and then he went on to do the same thing with several others in the restaurant even though he didn’t know them and asked to sit with them and stuff.

Then he ordered a beer and sat down beside me. He was mumbling to himself and kind of half talking to me. He pulled up to my ear and told me they were all just thieves, and something about afghanistan, and that he had the keys to the church across the street. He went on for about 5 minutes. Then he just up and left before he finished his beer and asked me to watch it for him 5 minutes. He never came back.

I must admit that I didn’t quite know what was going on with this guy. I wasn’t exactly hostile to him, but I indicated that he was intruding my privacy. In retrospective I wondered if there was anything I could have done to help him. But it didn’t dawn on me until after he left that he probably was in psychosis. And even if it had I doubt I could have said or done anything. It’s hard to intervene unless you are a close friend or a relative.


I don’t think in the moment you could have figured out the most helpful way to help him. Other than be a listening ear and whoever he thought you to be.

Likely homeless, or sheltered. Did the restaurant have issues with him stiffing his tab?


He paid for the beer, but the waiter came up to me after he went out the door and told me they could ask him to leave if he was bothering me, and when I heard the waiter talking to him when he ordererd they said like: “If you are not feeling well you have to go home”. So obviously they had issues with him before.

He was kind of scary so I didn’t want to engage with him. But I tried not to be hostile at the same time. He didn’t look homeless, just some guy that had lost it. Younger than me. Probably around 30 years old. It’s kind of sad that it’s so hard to help someone in the midst of it.


I’d feel the same way.
I see homeless people in psychosis or other mental state untreated
and think that could be me.


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