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Best way to mentally deal with partner suffering psychosis?

Speechless
Community Member

Hi ,

my partner or best friend who has schizophrenia has recently gone into psychosis and I’m now starting to learn just how terrifying that experience is for him and how powerless I am to help him.

before this happened he was unwell and i suspect was taking illicit drugs. He also had a lot of stress build up since last end of year and depression.

Up until a week or more ago we were like always on the phone every night and messaging everyday. We’ve been doing that for nearly over 4 years.
usually he liked to come over to my place every afternoon as a place to escape to and have company but once this pandemic happened and I live with my parents over 70 , it resorted to limited time hanging out for an hour or less every now and then at a park for a talk.

I hadn’t heard from him within a week expect that he would ring up to go for a walk once and then later tell me he couldn’t with no explanation. Or he would hang up on me when I rang him.

a bit about me, I have social phobia and anxiety and have a history or agoraphobia for a few years in my youth. I’ve basically been a hermit for most of my adult life but my best friend was sort of my life line out of the loneliness and helped me gain self identity.

up until yesterday I didn’t realise what was going on. I thought he was being cruel to me during his illnesss and I didn’t educate myself on it.

but then he rang me and sounded like a terrified young boy and told me he was terrified and his breathing was so laboured. When I asked what he was scared of , he told me He couldn’t explain it but that he wanted to die. He mentioned he felt like the whole town around him was swirling ready to get him or something.

he is not in hospital, his mum is looking after him and his sister who recently went through the same thing but was recently hospitalised and returned home.

 

I miss my best friend it hurts quite excruciatingly esp during this pandemic as I haven’t anyone else I talk to. except my parents.

i am lucky I am seeing my psychologist today but I am desperate to know what should I be doing to help and how should I healthily be thinking and feeling in this time, I feel such agony for him and his family and just want to help but I can’t really and yet I can’t relax or stop thinking about it as it’s distressing. I am educating myself on psychosis but I scare myself into a spiral of loss. Esp during civil 19 and lack of social support.

4 Replies 4

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Speechless~

There is nothing worse than seeing someone you love in deep distress and being powerless to help. Your best freind is in a very bad place due to his mental condition and there is little you can directly do unless he contacts you, in which case giving comfort and assuring home it will be OK is probably the best you can manage. He needs competent medical care and if you were able to help him seek it that would be great.

Perhaps you might have a conversation with his mum along those lines, perhaps he had medical support already and it needs adjusting.

You too need support, as you are in a highly stressful situation, and at the same time have experienced social phobia, anxiety and agoraphobia. I'm glad you are seeing a psychologist.

May I suggest the best thing you can do both for your best freind and for yourself is to concentrate on getting yourself well, please concentrate on that in the consultation, and continue to seek therapy for your conditions.

Life confined by current circumstances is one thing, to have your life curtailed by agoraphobia and anxiety is quite another.

Apart from your parents do you have any other friends you can talk with on the phone or video? Even just chatting can be a help.

I do hope you come back and we can talk some more, we would like to know how you get on

Croix

Speechless
Community Member

Thank you for responding.

I do have some friends and family I could talk to online but I’m not intimate socially with them and have avoided being social for some time, but they know I’ve always had my social anxiety.

im in a crisis at the moment with my friend as his persona changed over night to being quite aggressive sad and ultra paranoid. It’s been very very stressful for me.

i am out of my depth with it all. We went for a walk and he was abruptly talking about how his sister (who recently went into psychosis herself) was acting strangely and the mother acting strangely. And then the whole street acting strangely.

he says I’m the only person he trusts. It’s a lot of stress on my part.
his sister does say odd things because she isn’t well and he reacts to those things and the mother has to deal with it all and it’s a very toxic household.

He’s adamant he can’t trust them and doesn’t want to talk to them and he keeps ringing me and we’ve been for a walk twice and he’s been acting unlike himself that he cannot calm down and yelling about things going on he thinks are crazy and suspicious.

im not sure what the mother is going to do but the last time my friend rang me he said he couldn’t cope with his mother and sister and then the sister was yelling in the background as she was having a bipolar schizophrenia psychotic episode or something and that he was going for a drive because he doesn’t feel safe where he is.

he Had been having his doctor visit him and give him medication and I suspect going to try and visit again today I’m not sure but my friend is very erratic and won’t calm down.

he says he just wants to move out and he wants a future with me.
this is very hard for me as I’m just trying to deal with my own anxiety over what’s going on.

ive tried ringing my therapist for advice but she’s been unavailable as yet but hopefully get her soon.

my friend won’t visit my place because I live with my parents in their 70s and it’s a risk. But I am anxious he could come over and make a scene.

i feel so alone in all of this. How can I help him? I’ve suggested he ring his doctor, I’ve mentioned to him maybe he can go to the hospital .

my view is that I think it’s a futile environment where he is at the moment and he needs to be hospitalised as he could be a threat to himself or others, u never know.

i just don’t know what to do and my anxiety and stress is through the roof.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Speechless~

I can understand your very great desire to help, however the plain fact of the matter is that you only have limited options (I"m sorry to be o blunt, but I want to be fair to you).

When your freind is talking about the people and things in the world acting strangely there is no way to persuade him otherwise just by talking, as to him they are genuine beliefs.

So being soothing, encouraging and ensuring his doctor or medical team knows of the current situation is probably the best you can do. I hope his doctor does visit him.

There is nothing to stop you ringing his doctor and saying what is happening from your point of view. The doctor will not be able to reply due to patient confidentiality but can certainly bear what you have said in mind.

I'm sorry I can't give you another path to follow, it is a very difficult situation, particularly as he says he relies on you. Hopefully he will not come over and make a scene, your parents are at a vulnerable age, even if healthy.

In relation to your own conditions, which will really be made worse by these circumstances, was that visit to your psychologist yesterday of any help?

I find when in a really difficult situation I try to do things that take my mind way from it all for a while , this breaks the continuous circle of anxious thoughts and has a soothing effect. If really bad I start wiht the free smartphone app Smiling Mind. It takes a bit of practice but even the 20-minute demo is useful. Then I might try reading or watching a movie.

This is not being selfish or 'running away' it is to give you perspective and help you cope.

Please let us know how you get on

Croix

Hello Speechless

Good on you for having the strength to post as well as you have

You are obviously a close friend and care a great deal..Croix did mention helpful tips above re looking after yourself and he is spot on. My big brother suffered from schizophrenia and I did everything I could to help him for some years..This is a very difficult place for you to be in.....and there is only so much you can do in a situation like you are in

I understand you re the anxiety issues.....Ive had the same on and off for nearly 40 years and they can be crippling to have Speechless

Your health (and your parents) come first here..

we are here and listening

my kind thoughts for your family and your friend

Paul