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Mental Breakdown?



New member
Mar 27, 2015
About 6 months ago, my cousin died at 60-something, just out of nowhere had a heart attack in the bathroom. He's always lived with his sister and after he died, she (Who is 80 years old) has gone really downhill.

Shortly after, she was simply bereaving, not that she's ever really been a perfect picture of mental health (She always seemed to have a screw loose), but then she got a picture of him and since then she's claimed to physically see him all the time. Not like a split-second hallucination, but actually there, sitting on the couch. Even complaining that he won't eat or sleep. When on the phone with her, I've heard her actually talking to him (Saying things like "You have to eat"), I don't know if she thinks he's responding or not though. She's talked to priests and nuns which basically just enabled her by making her think he's really there. Then after that, she started claiming to see more people. And if my memory serves, even a dancing plant. As far as I know, they did not converse with each other, nor her. Then about a week ago, one of her hallucinations spoke to her and said "If you don't shut up, I'm going to cut your throat with a machete."

Right now she's in a hospital, hopefully she'll actually be able to get some help finally. But I wanted to get some people's 2 cents about this. What would you say is wrong with her? Did she have a mental breakdown from the loss of her brother, leaving her in a state of psychosis? What's the deal with the picture? Could that be triggering her problems? She still has the picture, even in the hospital.



Well-known member
Staff Member on Leave
Sep 12, 2013
It sounds like your cousin is struggling with the loss of her brother. I wouldn't want to guess at whats wrong with her, leave that to the proffesionals. At least she is now in hospital and getting the help she needs to get through this.


Well-known member
Sep 27, 2013
Grief is a powerful emotion, and they have obviously been together for a very long time. It is easy for her mind to play tricks on her, making her see him in a familiar pose that she could easily imagine. But when she is suffering threatening voices and dancing plants I would suggest a deeper problem.

I agree you are best to trust the hospital staff to get to grips with her case.
Some people of her age have dementia. Some can be hit by loss and shock into such fast and deep depression that it can become psychotic depression. However, any normal person who is perfectly well can start to hear and see things that aren't there if they are isolated or sleepless. It may be a combination of circumstances, and could be temporary.
Now she is in hospital she will be offered the help she needs so the time of crisis is passed, so maybe you can relax a bit?