Friday, November 11, 2016

"Dear Ellen, My friend doesn't make sense..."

SOS Courtesy of Geralt on Pixabay

Note: this is a transcript of a private Facebook discussion that I'm putting here with permission of the person I was talking to. I removed all the information that might identify the people involved. 

Hi Ellen

I need to ask your opinion on this issue I have with a friend. I'm just clueless on how to help her. I'm not close to her but her recent live videos on fb has been disturbing. So my other 2 friends and I feel like helping. Her family doesn't know what to do. So your advice, I'll pass it on to her mom n dad.

The videos don't make sense. It disturbs everyone who cares I guess. And for some it's like a live drama. At first we saw as funny n we kinda laughed about it coz it doesn't make sense.

She got dumped so at first we thought all this was her own way of getting attention.

But recently it's weirder. Just a few days ago a company was circulating her ic and statement about her wandering around. Carrying luggage n keep waiting for someone n she doesn't carry money.

She posted a video where a restaurant didn't allow her to eat if she didn't pay first. And security was there. Also she was at a shopping mall and security didn't allow her in. She is running around saying that a man has been caught under black magic and went off with an Indonesian girl that looks like her.

So we aren't sure what's going on as her family have no idea how to get her back. That's the complicated part. Her parents ask my friends and I to help bring her back. As we have never dealt with such a thing before... not sure how to approach her.

I believe she needs counseling or therapy.

I’m so sorry to hear this. If your friend is irrational, meaning she's not living in the real world, she needs to see a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who specialises in mental health problems.

There are a range of conditions that can cause this kind of behaviour, and very often it needs some kind of medical treatment to get someone back on track again. Counselling or therapy is something that will come later.

Hopefully you can get her to listen to you. If so, you need to go to a public hospital, in KL the University Hospital is excellent, as an emergency patient. They will assess her and make suggestions about treatment.

Do be careful.  Delusions are very frightening, and your friend is likely going to be scared. Be gentle talking her into going for assessment.

If she won't go, there's a problem because we can't just force adults to do things. If she isn't seeing she needs care, then her family might consult a lawyer to see what the proper procedure is.

Alternatively, and this would be my first move, I would go to your local police station.  Speak to whoever is in charge and ask what normally happens.

The reason I suggest the police is because I once had neighbours who had a son who was mentally ill. He went off his meds, and got into trouble.  The police came round to pick him up and take him to hospital, to the psychiatric unit.

The police were super nice, very gentle, and awfully good about the whole procedure. The university hospital was excellent too. They kept him in a few days, until the meds kicked in, and then released him.

Also, let me make a few discrete calls to find out what others recommend. (I made some phone calls here)

Good news!  Apparently University Malaya Hospital might be able to help too.  Your friend’s parents need to call the direct line, explain what's going on and take it from there.

Do let me know what happens, please. I hope she's safe and gets proper treatment.

Have a question?  During November 2016 I'm offering a free agony aunt service. Email me!