shoutout to everyone with social anxiety or really bad/low self esteem who gets themselves up and goes to school everyday, or musters up the courage to leave the house, y'all are the real mvp and i love you
fun fact for neurotypicals: a suicidal person can laugh and make jokes and do things that they enjoy and live and work and function all while still being suicidal. stop erasing our mental illnesses just because we don’t constantly act like we’re mentally ill.
Disclaimer: I am not every schizophrenic person ever. I am just one person. I’m writing this using my own personal experiences with my hallucinations and what others can do to help. Feel free to add your own suggestions.
-Move the person to a different location. It should be relatively quiet without sensory overload or crowds of people. Sometimes the person will refuse to leave their hallucinations, in which case you have to find a way to make them. If they are refusing to leave but clearly very agitated, they are entering psychosis and need to get out.
-Stay with the person. Sometimes my hallucinations give me intense fear and anxiety in which case I’d rather not be on my own to hallucinate terrifying things. Also, spoiler alert, but sometimes psychotic people hurt themselves. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re doing it. If you leave them completely alone, there’s a chance self harm will occur.
-Reassure the person. Tell them that what they’re experiencing is not real. Tell them you’re staying with them. Tell them it will be over soon. Be calm and kind.
-If the person is having auditory hallucinations, the best thing you can do is to actually get them away from noise. Don’t try to make them listen to music or bring them into loud areas. That will likely cause them to hallucinate more. Take them somewhere quiet and wait for it to pass on its own.
-If the person is having visual hallucinations, likely they will be looking up, at least in my experience anyway. When I hallucinate, it’s usually something I need to raise my head to see. I have a friend who will notice when I’m staring up at something she can’t see and will raise her hands to block it. That way, I see her hands which distract me, and then I look down at her instead of at whatever I’m hallucinating. Distractions are great for visual hallucinations.
-Touch the person (if they’re okay with it). Touching me when I’m hallucinating helps in two different ways. It helps to ground me. If I can feel you touching me, I know that I’m still in reality. It is also calming. If I’m very agitated or fearful, it’s nice to have a reassuring hand touch my shoulder to calm me down.
-Often when people are hallucinating, they get very antsy. Try giving them something they can fidget with, or ask if they want to squeeze your hand.
-Don’t let the person focus on their hallucinations. Even if it’s terrifying, my natural urge is to look at or listen to the hallucination. I once was having quite a disturbing hallucination and every time I turned my head to look at it, a friend of mine would gently guide my head away from it and make me focus back on her.
-Ask them if there’s anything they specifically need. Everyone is different. Don’t bombard the person with questions, just ask them what they need. A question I’m often asked is if food or water will help, to which I reply, no, it doesn’t. (Except if the hallucination is causing me to panic, in which a case drinking water will help calm me down. Some people like to chew gum or suck on a candy to help ground them but I haven’t really personally found that helpful for me.)
-Don’t panic. You’re not the one hallucinating. You have nothing to fear. Psychotic does not mean violent. A hallucinating person is not going to hurt you. The person likely will be quite fearful themselves, so you need to do your best to remain calm for them. Panicking will just make the situation worse.
Me, working on math homework that I understand:
Yes! This is challenging and fun, and it feels great when I check my answer and am correct! Why aren't I majoring in mathematics?
Me, working on math homework that I don't understand:
What is this, greek? Who is supposed to understand this trash? It is offensive to my eyes. I'm going to drop out. I don't care anymore. It's time to consider a different career path. It's ridiculous that any student is expected to learn this filth.
Psychosis for me, started out pretty slowly. The negative symptoms came first, then the positive symptoms. Negative in this connotation means to take something away, while positive is adding something that shouldn’t be there. Examples are loss of energy, and delusions, respectively.
Recently I made a Tumblr post that contained a list of actions you should undertake when someone is hallucinating. This article is going to be a bit different from that. See, the tricky part is, just because someone is hallucinating, doesn’t mean they’re in a state of psychosis. A person with a psychotic disorder can hallucinate and be fully aware of it, or, in a psychotic state, no part of their brain will be telling them that what they’re experiencing isn’t normal, therefore, they won’t know they’re hallucinating. This article will focus on what steps you should take when someone close to you is in a psychotic state.
The first thing you need to do is clear the area of anything the psychotic person might harm themselves with. The urge to harm oneself is a positive symptom of psychosis that is very common. On top of the urge, it’s also common to hear voices demanding self harm take place. Remove sharp objects. It’s best if there’s no objects in their hand either. You may need to grab a pillow or cushion in case they start to punch themselves. If you are near a road, try to gently guide them away from it so they don’t give in to any voices that may be telling them to jump into traffic. Close windows if you’re up high. They may be told or have the urge to jump.
Stay with the person. This should be obvious. Don’t leave them on their own.
Talk to the person. They may not respond or be confused by what you’re saying, but try to bring them back to reality by talking to them. Use their name clearly and often. Tell them where they are. Tell them what the date is. Tell them anything about what’s happening right then and there to keep them in reality and not in their head.
Offer food or water to the person. This is a grounding technique. The taste or sensation of eating food will likely give them a clue about something that’s real and remind them what’s happening in the now.
Don’t agree with their delusions or hallucinations. This is a common mistake people make when they don’t know what to do. Don’t act like their delusions are real or you are also experiencing their hallucinations. If you don’t know how to respond against this, just simply tell them no.
If needed, call 911 or take them to the nearest hospital. Hospitals normally have psych wards. They may need to stay there for a period of time to get some help or new medications. Do not feel bad about doing this. Even if they’re resistant, it’s for their own good.
I cannot express how much I hate having this stupid personality disorder. One of the worst things for me is the emotional permanence. I do not have that and I wish so much that I did. I can’t even explain it. We all love and care for someone or multiple people. Imagine not being able to feel their love back. When you are with them things are ok but the moment they leave you can’t grasp the concept that peoples feelings towards you can stay constant and don’t disappear when they are not around. Even when you are with them sometimes just the tone in their voice or the way they said something can rattle your bones and send you into a state of sadness that no one understands. It’s not just a typical brush it off sadness. Every sadness is a rock bottom sadness. To you, once they leave the room, so does their feelings towards you. If they are not loving you loudly then they don’t love you at all. I have to constantly remind myself that people don’t have to express how much they care and love and appreciate you all day every day. People can be neutral and still love you. People don’t have to talk to you everyday for them to still love you. And if you have a favorite person and you feel threatened by others in their lives and afraid that they are going to leave you or change their mind about you or that they don’t care about you as much as they do them, just remember that someone else’s presence is not the absence of your own. I have to remind myself that not everyone has this personality disorder so not everyone has the feelings I have. Other people don’t have a favorite person. Other people have emotional permanence. They know you love them without you having to tell them constantly. They have no fear that you are going to abandon them. And they know that with other people in your life that your love for them remains. They know you haven’t forgotten about them. They don’t have the black and white thinking and the splitting. See I know all these things…but my disorder won’t let me feel that way. No. My disorder destroys me every single day. Everyday that I wake up I feel like I have to win everyone’s love back.
three years ago I gushed with all the love I could muster
about how lucky
and cared for you were
to have a mother who would drop everything
just to protect her daughter from harm
I wish you had forgotten everything I said
but I know that it may well be burned into your thoughts
on the days when you say “all anyone ever sees is a happy family”
and each time you come
to explain in a shaky voice what name your mother has called you
each fight it seems to be different
lazy, pathetic, weak, dramatic
a new word for each new day
a word to replace each diagnosis from the psychiatrist
because your mother likes her words
“your mother would do anything to keep you safe”
my old words rattle in my skull when you repeat what she told you
“I will do anything to keep you safe
and sometimes safe means keeping you here”
and you cry because after that she told you
no money of hers would go to college tuition unless you lived at home
and did not leave her
three years ago I told you how lucky you were
to have a mother like her
and I am so sorry for the words that must have stung
coming from a person you trusted
when you went home later that night and listened to your mother
scream until tears exploded down your cheeks
you were never lucky
or cared for
but you were also never any of the names your mother called you
and the one name I did not call you until I understood how wrong I had been
you survived a battle I knew nothing about
and no other word could give justice to what you have
Miriam K, you should never have had to be so brave