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Concerns about a close friend.

G

Greenshank

New member
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
3
Location
United Kingdom
Hi everyone,

I've joined this forum as I'm seeking some advice regarding what to do regarding my best friend's mental health struggles. He is a 26 year old male and we have been best friends since we were 4. We grew up together and at one stage even lived together. Around 4 years ago his girlfriend ended their long-term relationship, causing him to enter what I can only assume to be a state of psychosis. He cut himself off from our friendship group and repeatedly told us to leave him alone. As I am very close with him and his parents, I went around the house to see him. He was in a very bad way - dishevelled and not at all himself. He was convinced that the police had come to the house several times to try and arrest him (his parents verified that his was untrue), that all his friends had always hated him (he made references to this being a racial thing) and that another of his close friends had tried to get his father, a lawyer, to begin legal proceedings against him. He also disclosed to me that he had several visual hallucinations.

I urged his parents to seek immediate help, but they were scared that this would lead to him being labelled and subsequently being able to lead a 'normal' life in the future. In the coming days he continued to shut himself off, accused one of our friends who visited of trying to intimidate him, and continued to suggest that we all secretly hated him. Over the next month or so he gradually came around, but it was clear that he had changed quite significantly as a person. He finally saw his GP and was

As soon as we knew it, he and another friend were leaving to teach English overseas. They were gone for around two years. We talked sporadically due to the time difference and things seemed relatively calm, except for two incidents where our other friend had to contact me to tell me that he had become depressed and withdrawn again. After ringing, my friend told me that he had stopped taking his medication and didn't want to continue as he didn't feel normal.

Early last year they returned to the country. He immediately became withdrawn and seemingly entered another delusional phase, with similar themes of persecution arising. I continued to visit the house and he disclosed to me that he had realised why he was feeling so strange. He accused childhood abuse by a parent, something I am almost certain never happened. When I visited next, racism was the reason for these feelings. In particular, he had come to the realisation that I was a racist and that I disliked him for his skin colour. He seemed almost defeated by this. We had a very emotional conversation where I assured him that this was not the case, and that I was sorry if I had ever done anything to make him feel like this. He seemed almost resigned to the fact that I was racist and that this could not change. The next time I visited he believed that it was his misdeeds in the past (treating people badly in school, for example) that had led to him feeling this way. He also claimed that he had focused too much on trivial things (working out, fashion etc) and not on what really counted. I noted that he had been watching lots of spiritual material (Eckhart Tolle, Alan Watts etc.). During this period his drinking spiralled out of control. He confessed that he is now an alcoholic and drinks from the moment he waits up, both at home and at his local pub. He told me that he sees a psychiatrist, but I fear that his somewhat believable delusions (that he is a victim of racism and abuse) mean that his potential psychoses have not been spotted.

He gradually began to speak less and less to me, and mutual friends relayed to me that he had mentioned me being a racist. He also accused me and another close friend of sitting in my house and being racist. I met with his parents who seemed resigned to the fact that they had lost him.

Late last year, my friend and another close member of our group left to teach English in Europe. They intended to stay for several months then move back out to the far-east for a couple of years. Unfortunately, due to COVID and Brexit, their stay was cut short and they made plans to come back at the start of the year. In the final weeks of December my friend began to drink very heavily. At a party, he accused our other friend of looking at him and plotting against him. He raised the issue of me and him sitting in my house and being racist, and became incredibly cold and dismissive. One morning, my other friend awoke with him standing at the foot of his bed, staring at him. At another party, he accused a flatmate of being inappropriate with a girl he is friendly with, becoming very angry and kicking everyone out of the flat. On a separate occasion he smashed up the kitchen. After a few days he seemed to snap out of it, becoming incredibly emotional and professing his love for us.

A few days ago, on the day they were due to return, I received a message from my friend stating that I was the reason for his issues, that I was a fundamentally unpleasant person and a racist. He threatened to out me on social media if I attempted to come round the house or if he heard I had been saying anything racist. He then ended our friendship, blocking me from everything. At the same time, he messaged my partner telling her that he needed to meet to get stuff off his chest. He has done this several times since. This was all very out-of-the-blue, as until then we had been speaking very normally, exchanging memes, funny videos and chatting as normal.

The recent events, especially (and admittedly, selfishly) his treatment of myself, have really got to me. I am concerned for my own well being, as we live very close and move within the same social circles (when he has not cut himself off completely). I know that my fear may be somewhat irrational, and stems primarily from the media's/society's treatment and negative coverage of mentally ill people, but I feel very anxious nonetheless. He has never threatened violence towards me or (as far as I know) anyone else, but I am genuinely concerned. I am unsure what to do now. Should I attempt to reach out to him, or should I respect his decision? Should I inform someone about what has happened? I feel very strongly that his parents are unable to deal with the situation and that they will not take action until something goes very wrong. I feel that his drinking is getting out of control, which is making his mental health issues and delusions worse. Please could you offer me some advice on what I can do to help my friend and deal with the situation?

Thank you
 
Siegfried

Siegfried

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2021
Messages
504
Location
South America.
I say you need to extricate yourself from him and the whole situation as much as you can and as quickly as possible.

Whoever your former friend used to be is now gone and he has made his choice in life by quitting his medication.

A friend has no ability to help someone with a clinical issue like this one, there's no shame or misdeed in moving away from somebody that its at the very least incredibly toxic and possibly in the future maybe even dangerous.

The fact that his delusions often portray you in a negative or antagonistic manner is also alarming. So don't hesitate, do everything you can to cut any and all links to him and hope he focus his attention elsewhere, if he doesn't and his behavior continues to deteriorate then maybe it would be wise to contact the local authorities to maybe seek some guidance.
 
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