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Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

I have joined this group to help me understand schizophrenia and  how I can support my friend.

 

A dear friend was admitted to hospital last Thursday evening, she fainted. But what has come out is that she had psychotic episode and fainted.

 

i went to see her on Sunday - she looked so tired but seemed to hold it together, she asked me if we could go dancing when she gets out!! Funny and sweet ... but she isn’t well.

she has been moved to the mental health unit where doctors are assessing her. 

 

They are suspecting schizophrenia.

she has said and done some very confronting things as a result.

its still so early and I am only getting second hand information from L & S 

M doesn’t want me to come and see her ... it makes me feel sad, I understand but I don’t understand, it’s a strange feeling ... 

 

her family live overseas and so there is only a small handful of friends - 2 of our friends (L &S) who are in the thick of it.

 

our friend M, asked L &S to be point of contacts/next of kin instead of her husband - M has seperated from him and is afraid he’ll hold it against her when they divorce. She is a wonderful mother of a 9 and 11 yr old. They are now with the father full time - they had been sharing custody...

 

What i hope to get out of this group is some guidance, advice, a space to share feelings and so on. 

 

This is new territory for me and I am anxious about what M’a situation will be when she Ian discharged ... 

no husband (in the formal sense) no blood relatives, no job 

 

M has us but we also have our own families and everything that comes with that... 

 

this Reads like a novel!! So apologies but thank you for reading - listening 

12 REPLIES 12

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

hi @Frog2005 and welcome
it sounds like a really tough situation to be in. im not sure what might help but I wanted to welcome you.
your also welcome to join in with any other thread you feel comfortable in doing so and a little forum tip is to put an @ before a members name itll tag them for you.

I hope others may have some suggestions for you. @Darcy @Smc @Determined @Shaz51 maybe could offer some advice for you

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

Thank you @outlander 

between posting that and now my friend has been discharged?!! No plan other than medication and an appointment with her GP tomorrow 

 

i don’t understand, none of us do... is it normal protocol? My understanding is her case was quite serious ... 

 

I just don’t get it ... our friend dropped her home and now she’s on her own for the night ... 

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

oh dear @Frog2005
hopefully her gp will be able to help her more then the hospital has.

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

I hope so too

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

Hi @Frog2005 

 

You mention "possible" schizophrenia, this is because psychosis can occur with a number of medical conditions as well as with a number of psych disorders.  Sometimes it takes observation over a period of time for a psychiatric diagnosis to occur especially in the absence of overt symptoms. When acute (and often even when not acute) some patients are not good historians and it came as a surprise to me that my husbands behaviours were in fact symptoms. (He had psychosis but has a bipolar ii diagnosis).  Observations from family and friends is often crucial and can help bring forward a diagnosis and I can understand the concerns you have for your friend.

 

Friendships can be difficult for people with mental illness. Patients with Sz can withdraw, are sometimes afraid that others are conspiring in some way against them, they can speak in strange or confusing ways. 

 

Common to a number of psych disorders is self medication. With depression self care can be affected, personal hygeine can suffer and sleep patterns are disrupted, motivation goes out the window. 

 

If treated adequately, people with MI can cope well, having appropriate family or other support makes for a better outcome. Usually treatment and care teams are multifaceted and involve a pdoc, a therapist, a case worker - depending on need this can be a psych nurse or a social worker or other. 

 

Sadly things have to deterioriate to a critical level (ie patient is suicidal) for involuntary treatment to provided and it is not unusual for patients to believe nothing is wrong with them despite evidence to the contrary; even when presented with concerns they will often not seek or accept help. Accepting a psychiatric diagnosis is a difficult thing even when you know that something is not quite right.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Darcy

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

Thank you @Darcy for elaborating,

because i am on the outer and she doesn’t want to see me, I am trying to make sense of things myself with little information... it is possible, like you have said, that symptoms can be every day behaviours... she has always been eccentric and her house has always been full of stuff ... the place she’s renting is full of stuff ... my froend whose heavily involved described her flat as a ‘cat lady’s flat without the cats’ ... I don’t know.... I haven’t checked in today with my friend who has been heavily involved ...  I did email the link to the tips ... the hospital sent her home on  a medication starting with an O  ... I don’t know how often I should check in with my friend whose now involved either ... it’s all a bit confusing ...

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

@Frog2005 

I find texting to be fantastic, send funnies / heartwarming pics etc. to both my carer friends and those with MI. Not less than once a month, ideally fortnightly. Let's them know I am thinking of them, carers tend to reply more, but appreciation is expressed by both at various times. Carers are busy, those with MI often withdraw but when it is possible, going out for coffee/lunch/day trip together can be enjoyable.

 

I have found that friendship is what is needed, I keep out of the MI aspect of things and keep things very general if they mention their diagnosis (as I do when speaking with my SIL and her cancer treatment). Will acknowledge /empathise / mention how tough it is as appropriate but try not to make it a primary focus. A carer might need to vent, but often just wants to be heard, not given advice on how to fix things.

 

On that note, there is support available through the carer gateway and I often direct carer friends to this resource.

 

https://www.carergateway.gov.au

 

 

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

Hi @Darcy 

what you say seems so straightforward I hadn’t thought about those small text messages, thank you, very sound advice ... when I sent her a ‘I am here for you’ message she made it clear she’s not wanting me to physically see her at the moment ... so texting might be a good way for me to remind her I am near and present when she is ready ... I hope we don’t become estranged ... but who knows right?! 

 

I touched base with my other friend today (who is right in the thick of it with our friend) ... she said our friend was in ER again last night - but now at home - she was going to visit but I haven’t heard any more ... I have a feeling there will be a lot of these scenarios... is that your experience too? 

 

 

Re: Hello - new to this forum - have a friend who has possible schizophrenia

Allowing space important @Frog2005 ,  this may mean friendship is different, keeping contact light whilst seeing how things develop would be my suggestion. 

 

Yes, Mr Darcy had a number of ED presentations, was in and out of hospital for 3 years when acute. Am grateful for his present stability.

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