Mentally ill friend


Mentally ill friend


your avatar   Lacc

My friend is 20, a college dropout (apparently), mentally and emotionally unstable and also possesses traits of schizophrenia. He hasn't left his apartment in 3 years. I visited him a few days ago. He's doesn't work or go outside, unless he needs food or cigarettes. From what I remember he was quite the narcissist and had schizophrenia at school. As of now, he's a wreck. He writes stuff; strange, abstract stuff which worries me about his depleting mental condition. Here's one of the things I found on textbook paper:

"Look at that long, thin neck. It somehow supports the weight of your head. The angels above have blessed you with that elementary neck. Those little baby-esque figures, with their faces descending to my window, my room, to humiliate me. Why have they given you the blessing? I can only imagine it's the work of the C.U.T.P (Complex of Unofficial Therapists and Psychiatrists), continuing with their sublime conspiracy to end me. What a fool I was to let those baby things come to visit thee with hidden guns and thorns. I never remember taking my prescribed pills. Did they take them? They're trying to mess with me. The angels, the psychiatrists, the walls, the humanoid things in my ear…they're parasites - sadistic little bugs, trying to hand me over to the organisation. They were fake diagnoses. I don't have NPD, I'm not schizophrenic, how would they know, I haven't left my apartment in three years, they can't label me anymore. They're sending the angels. More parasites, all from the ground up. The furniture in my room is being manipulated, I don't want to talk to them anymore, not anymore. It's just the wood on the floor."

This was hard to type because his handwriting is equivalent to that of a 5 year old. Since I've recently found his address, I want to find a way to help him somehow. Obviously, he isn't going to step out of the door to seek any help. He doesn't believe he has any serious mental problems.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Lacc,

You are a good person. Well done, wanting to help this unfortunate young man.

That quote from his writing is all the information I need to tell you that he is definitely suffering with schizophrenia. He is in a bad way. He definitely needs professional help, more than you can offer. At the same time, he is clearly in complete denial. He refuses to admit his problem, but puts the blame on "them." This makes him stuck in his problems. Arguing with him, trying to change his mind, will automatically put you in the enemy camp, together with the psychiatrists.

I have two questions that can guide what you should do.

1. Is he violent? Has he done anything to harm anyone, damage property? (Before he shut himself in his room.) The quote from him doesn't indicate any wish to hurt anyone, but other things he writes, and things he says, may. If there is any risk that he may attack you, then you need to look after your own safety.

2. Is he unhappy with his misery? That may sound odd, but many people define their very existence with some form of suffering, and if they didn't have it, they wouldn't feel like themselves. They can be content with their condition, even while shouting against its unfairness. It sounds to me that he may be in this situation. He has established a steady lifestyle that horrifies you and me, but he may be contented to be there.

He still needs friendship and companionship. If you are sure you are safe from an attack, you will be doing a good thing to befriend him and visit him, bring him food (but NOT alcohol or recreational drugs). Avoid any attempt at amateur therapy, and don't disagree about his hallucinations and delusions. Regular contact with you may actually lead him out of his black hole.

Most schizophrenics are not violent. As long as he doesn't see you as part of "the enemy," chances are you will be safe. But be aware of the possibility, and check things out carefully.

Thank you for being on this planet.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:

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