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Mental Illness is a sad thing to witness

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StankDawg

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I will warn you up front that this is a very personal post and I am using this blog and will continue to do so for some sort of therapy of my own. I have found that typing things up helps get them off of my chest and helps me come to terms with things. I know, I know...take it to livejournal...but fuck that. This is my life and my blog. Yes, I am a hacker and all that, but I keep reminding everyone that I am also a human being. this is the blog of a hacker and a human being at the same time. If that makes it less interesting, so be it.

***

I have been dealing with some personal issues with people very close to me (friends and family) that have really opened my eyes to the reality that is mental illness. I always thought that most mental illness was misdiagnoses of common things that people go through. I still believe this to be true in cases of ADD/ADHD, Depression and many others. Look, we all have bad days, but that doesn't mean you are clinically depressed and have a mental problem. A lot of kids are hyper, this doesn't mean that they need to be medicated. These are temporary conditions and I think they are far too often used as excuses to cover up problem behavior. At the same time, I also realize that when the mental illness is real, it is very much as devastating as any physical illness can be.

It is also especially scary depending on the type of mental illness. Some are "functional" where the person can still function in society. This may require drugs or regular therapy or other way of coping with the illness. It may also simply mean that the case is so mild or harmless in nature that the person may simply be viewed as "quirky" or "weird" to others. Hell, I fall into that category. But sometimes they are much more serious and it is a very sad thing to see up close.

A very close friend of mind...or former friend, as it were...had a problem that I have never really seen up close before. It is called Paranoia and you might think that you know what that is. Calling someone Paranoid is very common, especially to us conspiracy theorists. We hear that a lot. A lot of my co-workers think that I am overly paranoid. This is just using the an word when what they really should be saying is "cautious" or "concerned". True Paranoia is a recognized mental illness. It is also commonly associated with other things, specifically schizophrenia. Both basically describe a person who thinks that everyone is out to get them, but in a very sincere way. In some very extreme cases, the person will hear voices and believe that they are on a mission from a higher power telling them what to do and who not to trust. These extreme cases mean that the person is not in control of their own mind. What I witnessed was not this bad, but it did involve someone who thought that no one was on their side. They feel alone in the world and think that the system is against them. This could be from their family (parents), the government, their friends, their employer, or all of the above. It is very sad because although I can see it very well, they cannot. This is the cruel juxtaposition of the disorder. You want to reach out and hold them and tell them that it is OK and that you are there to help them and you are on their side, but you cannot force them to believe you. If they think that you are out to get them, how do you help them? I offered to go to therapy with this person and they immediately lashed out and said that *I* was the one who needed therapy and we were never able to approach the topic again without me being accused of being out to get them and make them into a bad person. The truth is that I want to help, but I learned that you cannot help some who doesn't want, or think that they need, help. It is a sad situation and it causes families, friendships, and relationships to fall apart and there is nothing that you can do about it except hope that the person come to the realization on their own that they have a problem. It also hurts the ones that care about them more than they probably realize.

My grandmother has Alzheimer's. Now this is a physical disease but it has a mental manifestation in the form of lost memory and communication skills. I have had to watch my grandmother deteriorate slowly over the course of the past 5 years to the point where she cannot even say my name anymore. She recognizes me...sometimes...actually, very rarely. Usually, she is oblivious to everythign including the passing days. She has some "good days" which you may hear mentioned when speaking of Alzheimer's patients. Most of the time, however, are bad days (or normal days for her) where she doesn't acknowledge the passing of time, she doesn't know how old she is, or where she is. Sometimes I think that the bad days, ironically, are the good days in her life anyway because she doesn't really comprehend what is going on around her. On her "good" days I visit her and she has some long term memory, but very broken short term memory. On one good day, she understood that she was in the hospital and knew that she was sick, but not what she was sick with. She had fallen and hurt her arm when she first went in the hospital and she thinks that she is still in the hospital for that. She doesn't realize that it happened 5 years ago. One of the hardest things in the world that I have ever had to do was to look into my Grandmother's face and lie to her when she looked at me and asked me when she would be going home. I lied and told her through my tears "soon Nannie...soon". It makes me cry right now as I write this, but hey...I can handle it. I am "strong like Bull".

And don't even get me started on my own Mental issues...I have plenty. I think that I am pretty functional though. I am usually just "weird" to most people because I think and act differently than everyone else. I chalk a lot of that up to being a hacker, but some of it is probably deeper than that. I know this though, and I do a lot of self-analysis to try and recognize it so that I can overcome it. I think that this is true for most people. What is "normal" anyway? I may have my moments, but all-in-all, I am pretty normal to most people. It just takes a special kind of person to "get me" completely. I thought I had actually found one person who was special enough to "get me" but that didn't work out and that is a whole other story for another post. I think this was more than enough corniness for one post.


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I have also seen firsthand how mental illness can destroy the lives of those close to you. Two very close friends of mine both have mothers that suffered from it. One of my friends actually developed some serious problems of his own. I'm not sure what the actual diagnosis would be, but he, too, was paranoid, to the point that he could not function on a day to day basis. For quite a while, he wouldn't even leave the house. Because of his paranoia, he inadvertantly developed a Vicodin adiction to help him cope. I think in his case, there may have been something in his genetics, because his brother also has issues.

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I would like to temporarily break my self-imposed rule of not commenting on such non-technological or cultural matters here and address a few aspects of this post regarding paranoia. Yes, I entirely agree that extreme, specific paranoia is a serious mental illness, but I would differentiate 'paranoia' and the extreme type of behavior known as 'schizophrenia', entirely. Also, I must say that some (very sincere) paranoia is often in my opinion justified and subjectively defined. Many of us fail to realize the severity of mental illness; by the same token, however, most of us fail to realize the true, ugly nature of many institutions in the world (especially those that claim to exert some sort of authority over others), and the intentions of those who head them. Now, I do not mean to sound excessively 'paranoid' myself, here, (perhaps I am) but I would define paranoia slightly differently. I would contend that one must believe genuinely in the malicious intentions of those around him/her in order to be 'clinically' paranoid, or paranoid to the point of illness. IMHO, many if not most of the major institutions within this framework known as 'society' perpetuate acts and philosophies which I consider mildly misguided at best and truly demented at worst, and I find the patronization/domination of human beings under the guise of benevolence abhorrent, and yes, occasionally maliciously directed. Contemplation of all of this bothers me a great deal, seriously, and like many idealists and philosophers, I often lie awake nights concerned about it. Even so, I would consider myself moderately 'mentally healthy', and I would argue that the main factor differentiating myself from a mentally ill 'paranoid' is my recognition of the fact that the great majority of the people committing such acts of coercion and etc. are genuinely misguided and that they harbor good intentions. Again, I am youthful, a dedicated enthusiast of the 'cyber/postcyberpunk' literary movement/fiction, and a hardcore libertarian/anarcho-capitalist, so if any of this discredits me, ah well. It's simply that this is sort of a 'hot-button' issue with me as there have been cases of people like myself, societial observers/philosophers, and people with my political beliefs, being classified/diagnosed as 'mentally ill' or 'severely paranoid', simply for the purpose of silencing and/or discrediting them, quite unjustly. Heh, that last sentence even sounds excessively 'paranoid'...

Anyway, with that said, another main factor differentiating the cautious and concerned from the mentally ill is the ability to enjoy one's life and the state of one's existence in the face of the realization that malicious intent isn't necessarily specifically directed or extant. Even for all of my quasi-cyberpunk libertarian ravings about the evils of coercion, as manifested in government, education, and so forth, I am able to relax and enjoy my life, existing even within these contexts/frameworks.

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Oh, also, as many people often harbor more mild sorts of beliefs about parents, employers, governments, etc. being 'out to get' them, one action which can prevent them from blossoming into full-fledged, paralyzing paranoia is communicating with individuals with similar beliefs and recognizing that one's perceptions aren't necessarily so unusual. Realizing that one's beliefs and perceptions about the world, in general, are not necessarily 'strange' or so uncommon, can prevent a sense of detachment and isolation which so often leads to insecurity and mental illness, and may be a sort of 'therapy' in itself. Many people seem to believe fundamentally that their bosses/employers are 'out to get them', that government is oppressive, that trusted friends may harbor ulterior motives, and generally that systems in life are stacked against them-it isn't that unusual...recognizing that and coming to terms with the validity, actually, of one's perceptions, can in my opinion be a major step to superior mental health.

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Just a comment about ADD/ADHD. It isn't a temporary condition, it is a permanent condition. What is sad about it is how people misunderstand it. There is this perception that it's just an excuse used to cover other problems, but it's not. I would strongly recommend to anybody having ADD/ADHD to take the medicine. The reason is simple: even though one may attempt to find tricks to concentrate and focus on things, the results are often way insufficient. The funny thing is, I noticed that there are a lot of people that show clear signs of ADD/ADHD in computer science. Computers appear to be ADD friendly for some reason, probably because you can focus on your computer all day without external distractions except the computer itself.

Seriously, I do not understand why people fear medicine like the plague, or think it should be temporary. Ritalin helps someone with ADD/ADHD to focus on things. We often hear that it's given to kids so they can focus on their homework, but my opinion is that it's beneficial to way more aspects in someone's life than just school. It also has a major impact on social skills.

If you can't even focus on your own things, how can you focus on other people? In my case, without medicine, it can go as far as having trouble to focus on what someone is saying directly to me. As for when I'm in a group of people talking, I would totally miss what people around me are saying, unless said directly to me (and even then).

I see there's a tendency for people that have ADD/ADHD to blame their symptoms on themselves not putting enough efforts in what they're doing, and to think of mental illnesses as inventions or easy excuses. This is sad, as they're probably putting way more effort than the average for much less results. Denying the problem doesn't solve it, it makes it worse.

If you know someone that shows signs of ADD/ADHD, and doesn't know or denies it, please try to make him consult a doctor. It often requires a LOT of efforts to convince someone that denies his own problems, but trust me, the person will thank you. I was one of those people, and my life has radically changed for the better since I stopped trying to convince myself that I didn't have ADD. Of course, it's fun to perform better in school, but the biggest advantage for me are the HUGE improvements in social skills.

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Anyway, with that said, another main factor differentiating the cautious and concerned from the mentally ill is the ability to enjoy one's life and the state of one's existence in the face of the realization that malicious intent isn't necessarily specifically directed or extant.

See, this is the problem that I have witnessed first hand. I see a person who has become so afraid of society and everyone being against them that they have withdrawn to live in their little "cave" of an apartment. They go to a McJob every day, dig themself into HUGE debt, and eat fast food every day and have lost the ability to function in every day society as a normal functioning adult. This is where it crosses the line to a mental disorder. I am paranoid on a low level description. I can admit that, but it is just an adjective to describe the thought process of questioning things and not taking everything at face value. This is perfectly fine, I would argue that it is HEALTHY. I get called paranoid all the time, but I still live my life. I still pay my bills. I still get my education and not only survive, but thrive in the world. I don't withdraw and turn into the unabomber. This person is doing exactly that. They are in a serious situation where they cannot function in basic day-to-day life. They hide from it thinking that if they ignore it, it doesn't exist. There cannot be a problem if I stick my head in the sand. This is NOT HEALTHY and dangerous. When they hit 35 or 40 years old and have no savings, and no education, and no family, and no one to take care of them...and they are clearly unable to take care of themself...how long can you survive with no skills and no savings and no family? What about when you get to the point where you physically cannot work anymore for some reason? You have no retirement, so you have to work until the day that you die? It is just a sad thing to see someone so paranoid that they have doomed themselves. You can live like this for maybe 20 years and society will take care of you. You can live off of government programs and taxpayer dollars. You can live off of credit cards and loans and go into debt, but at some point, that runs out. Soon, you will be cut off and you will be FORCED to truly survive. If they think that they are surviving now and so string to be surviving under hard circumstances, they haven't even seen hard yet.

And I have to sit back and watch someone throw away their life because they won't accept help. :sad:

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Just a comment about ADD/ADHD. It isn't a temporary condition, it is a permanent condition. What is sad about it is how people misunderstand it. There is this perception that it's just an excuse used to cover other problems, but it's not. I would strongly recommend to anybody having ADD/ADHD to take the medicine. The reason is simple: even though one may attempt to find tricks to concentrate and focus on things, the results are often way insufficient. The funny thing is, I noticed that there are a lot of people that show clear signs of ADD/ADHD in computer science. Computers appear to be ADD friendly for some reason, probably because you can focus on your computer all day without external distractions except the computer itself.

I didn't mean to imply that ADD/ADHD was temporary. I was saying that young kids being full of energy is temporary. Too many people, as I think you agreed, label it as ADD instead of the basic hyperactivity that many kids have. Kids have a lot of energy! Sometimes it is that simple. They grow out of it. If they do not, then yes, it could be the sign of a larger more serious condition.

And for the record, this person refused to take their ADHD medicine because they "didn't like it" and made them "feel weird". You cannot make an adult take any medicine or get any help that they need. This is exactly what makes it sad. You cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

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StankDawg-

I've studied in the past to become a psychiatrist (but after reading a chapter in one of my text books, I left college since I had to much of a heart to do "that" to people)- though all this isn't the topic here. I mentioned this past of mine only because I can relate to what you posted.

I want to add my idea as to what I think about this issue:

It may be that he/she is only going through something right now but will come out of it fine in time. How they appear to you and others may simply be their way of expressing the fact they're feeling stressed right now but can't/won't say so out loud.

I'll put it this way :

They may only be "just saying" that their fearing society and everyone's against them, as opposed to actually believing it. Much like how some people say figuratively, "I'm so mad, I could slap you"- when these people say this, they don't mean they'd actually do it - even if some are asked, "Do you mean that?" they'll still reply, "Yes I do." and this is because they're still pissed off as hell, but in time that passes.

One thing I've learned in studying mental illness, is that people can go through something like this and not be ill at all. It's like the people I just described who say they're mad enough to slap to someone. The person you've made reference to could very well be only going through something right now and what you see and hear are only his or her expressions of this stress. Even if you asked this person, "Are you seriously thinking everyone's against you?" they may answer, "Yes" but that still doesn't mean they believe it. Their replying this way and acting it may be occurring because they haven't resolved what they're going through yet and until then, they cannot say otherwise to others.

Fact is, many people go through those feelings and behaviors and are not mentally ill at all, they're just "going through something" that may last a while or may not.

You may wonder, "What kind of stress would do that?" The answer is : This person may simply be expressing the fact they feel like they have too much bad luck and this thought has gotten to them so much it's now resulted in what you're seeing/hearing from them. As to why this is so, it's because sometimes people just have things get on their nerves sometimes and after a while it results in stress, hence this is the stress he/she is going through. Sometimes having what one considers "too much bad luck, too many bad experiences" gets to them and they react this way - nothing's up though, it'll pass when it's time.

------------------

However, if they aren't "going through something", they could've simply latched onto a negative perception - a negative way of seeing things - and they don't even realize it. That happens to a lot of people.

This, however, is not an illness either. Just a mistake.

-Just my 2 cents worth.

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StankDawg-

They go to a McJob every day, dig themself into HUGE debt, and eat fast food every day and have lost the ability to function in every day society as a normal functioning adult.

You're letting your upset get to you, calm down (patting StankDawg on back). I understand though.

I think you've let your feelings about this person cause you to think more negative is there than actually exists, meaning this :

If they "lost their ability to function" as you said, this would mean they wouldn't be able to go to work at all nor could they accumulate a huge debt like many people do.

People who have truly lost their ability to function cannot work at all nor go out to get fast food. That's speaking from a psychiatric standpoint. In psychiatry, a person who has "lost their ability to function" literally cannot work at all nor can they get accumulate any debts - this is how a non-functioning person appears.

This is good news StankDawg. It means this person isn't as bad as it seems. Sometimes things just seem that way, I can understand that feeling.

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StankDawg-

They go to a McJob every day, dig themself into HUGE debt, and eat fast food every day and have lost the ability to function in every day society as a normal functioning adult.

You're letting your upset get to you, calm down (patting StankDawg on back). I understand though.

I think you've let your feelings about this person cause you to think more negative is there than actually exists, meaning this :

If they "lost their ability to function" as you said, this would mean they wouldn't be able to go to work at all nor could they accumulate a huge debt like many people do.

People who have truly lost their ability to function cannot work at all nor go out to get fast food. That's speaking from a psychiatric standpoint. In psychiatry, a person who has "lost their ability to function" literally cannot work at all nor can they get accumulate any debts - this is how a non-functioning person appears.

This is good news StankDawg. It means this person isn't as bad as it seems. Sometimes things just seem that way, I can understand that feeling.

I genuinely hope that this is the case. I really do. They are actually a good person at heart. But let me clarify that the reason that I don't think this is something that they are "just going through" right now is because I gave that benefit of the doubt and did everything to alleviate those fears. I was hoping that it was just temporary fear and confusion. Hell, *I* have been going through some things lately. 2009 has been, and this is not an exaggeration, the worst year of my life. But I keep on living and keep on moving forward the best that I can. Sure, some days you get a little down and depressed, but again, it is a temporary condition as I said in my original post. Everyone has bad days. Everyone gets scared. You have to get over it. I have (I think).

The reason I posted this was because I did what you described and thought through those things that you mentioned. I am NOT a psychiatrist and have not studied it, so I am glad to hear your input. It makes me feel a little better. But trust me when I say that this does not seem to be something that they are "just going through" because now that I step back, I see that they have "just been going through it" for 15+ years now. I just didn't see the signs. This person will not ride the subway because they think people are watching them and staring and talking about them. They reluctantly went to school, but will not try to get a job in that field because they don't like being around people. This person doesn't like going out to any public place because they think that everyone there is judging them. They refuse to get real jobs because they they become part of "the system" and the system is so bad and is just a means to entrap them. So I guess you are right to say that they are functional after all...but I would say that they are minimally functional. Doing the bare minimum is not truly functional to me. It is dysfunctional. It is barely getting by. It is wasted potential. This person is smart, capable, and has a lot going for them if they would just stop running away from the world and hiding and making excuses and just LIVE LIFE!

Without going into detail for privacy reasons, I will just say that they have been clinically diagnosed with some issues, so I am not totally making things up here. My only opinion or new thought is that I just think that these smaller specific issues all stem from one bigger issue that has not been diagnosed. Frankly, who the hell am I to diagnose it either? I admit that this is just my opinion and I may be wrong. My God, I hope that I am. I offered to go to counseling with them, but they refused because they didn't think that they had a problem. Maybe they are right, maybe I am the one with the problem. The truth of the matter is that I should stop caring about this person. I think my biggest problem is that I do care about other people...probably way more than I should. In general, I do have concern over my fellow man. Especially if I think that they are good people. I hate losing the "good" ones, especially when there are so many bad ones out there. Maybe I need to see a psychiatrist about that.

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I would have to disagree with you on the medication thing, Aghaster. My eight year old son has ADHD. He has been on an assortment of different medications, Ritalin included. My wife did some research, and found some awful info on Ritalin. There have been a child deaths linked to it. Although it was only a few cases, when it comes to my boy, one is too many. We tried a few of the natural remedies, and they seemed to work. At the moment he is not on anything, and is doing quite well. In fact, I like him much better when he is allowed to be himself. While he was medicated, he would get mood swings and seemed lethargic most days. Sure, he could concentrate at school, but what good is that if he isn't himself. He is a brilliant child with a lot of potential, and I don't want to turn him into "just one of the masses". He still has his bad days, but so does every kid. I may be the one sounding paranoid here, but it is hard to trust a doctors recommendation for a particular medication when she is drinking from a coffee cup, and writing with pens that are emblazoned with the name of the crap she is trying to push on patients. Sorry if I hijacked your thread, StankDawg :)

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I would have to disagree with you on the medication thing, Aghaster. My eight year old son has ADHD. He has been on an assortment of different medications, Ritalin included. My wife did some research, and found some awful info on Ritalin. There have been a child deaths linked to it. Although it was only a few cases, when it comes to my boy, one is too many. We tried a few of the natural remedies, and they seemed to work. At the moment he is not on anything, and is doing quite well. In fact, I like him much better when he is allowed to be himself. While he was medicated, he would get mood swings and seemed lethargic most days. Sure, he could concentrate at school, but what good is that if he isn't himself. He is a brilliant child with a lot of potential, and I don't want to turn him into "just one of the masses". He still has his bad days, but so does every kid. I may be the one sounding paranoid here, but it is hard to trust a doctors recommendation for a particular medication when she is drinking from a coffee cup, and writing with pens that are emblazoned with the name of the crap she is trying to push on patients. Sorry if I hijacked your thread, StankDawg :)

My case is a bit different as I have ADD and not ADHD. The 'H' actually makes a big difference. About Ritalin, there's been a lot of bad publicity and criticism about it, but the medication has only gotten better with time. I've heard about those stories of kids "not feeling the same" or "not being themselves". It may be because I started taking the medicine about 2 years ago, at a time where it was already better than it was when they started giving it to kids. I've been told by my doctor that there are various medicines available to treat ADD/ADHD and that people do not react all the same to them, so you have to find the one that works the best. I started with Ritalin, and it worked, but the biggest problem was that it wasn't constant. I would get a boost of concentration, followed sometimes by a "crush". My doctor recommended that I try Concerta instead, which has the advantage of being slower to absorb but at a constant rate, so I don't get any rush followed by a crush. I have never felt like someone else, or felt weird. I simply feel free, and it's an enormous plus in my life. It's hard to understand ADD/ADHD without having it, but you could see it as if I was seeing blurry all my life and then suddenly someone gave me glasses so I could see clearly. I can still be myself, but I am way more functional. The computer doesn't care if I get distracted. People do. School does. etc. As I mentioned earlier, I felt like I was in a bubble, and in my worst times I could barely follow what someone was saying to me. I have a friend with ADD that denied having it, but I could clearly see that he was experiencing the same things as me. I think the worse feeling with ADD is to be conscious of your state while not being able to overcome it. Imagine yourself being conscious that someone is currently talking to you, but you can't focus enough to really understand what you're being told, and all you're telling yourself at the same time is "fuck, I'm missing most of it, it's so stupid". At those times you really think you're alone to experience such things and it's nowhere near fun.

About the mood swings your son had, remember that medication doesn't cure the problem but simply helps, and it doesn't entirely suppress the problem. Was it with Ritalin? I remember having mood swings when I was in "crush" of Ritalin, which is why I stopped taking it and switched to Concerta which works perfectly for me. To be honest, I would have preferred to be diagnosed earlier in my life, but my parents weren't well informed about ADD and just thought I needed to work always harder on my homework, which I believe and did. However, you may try to get an ADD kid to study longer and harder, when he stops focusing, he stops focusing and it takes a lot of effort to try to focus again. Being able to concentrate for real just makes me a thousand times efficient in all aspects of my life :)

Ok, I sound like I'm totally convinced, and I really am. I was denying the obvious. I didn't believe the first person that talked to me about it, until I realized that all my friends had noticed something. I continued trying to convince me that it was all because of me not working hard enough, even though I already was working really hard and could barely get good grades and it was getting worse as I was progressing in my studies. If I hadn't started the medicine before university, it would have been horrible. I remain a hard worker and still put a lot of effort and energy in what I'm doing, the only difference is that I can do it more efficiently, and I can do more. For most people university is the point where school becomes harder than it was before. In my case, it was the total opposite, as I started taking the medicine as I started university. For me, there is no doubt, it really works.

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naww stank you dont need to go to a therapist for loving your fellow man. i mean you said yourself your a loyalist thats what you do, who you are. its a part of your personality not a mental illness :P.

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Actually, Aghaster, the medication I was refering to was Concerta. That was the one he was on last. But, like you said, it has different effects on different people. What we have done in our situation is just what we feel works best. And Stank, there are too many selfish assholes in the world, and not enough caring people. Don't ever feel like you are wrong for caring for a friend.

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As a complete stranger Stank, the only consolation I can offer is this:

Your grandma is probably quite happy, and it takes the bad times to give the good times meaning. It'll be ok.

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Excellent Blog, Stink...really.

Mental illness is still considered a fiction by many people to the detriment of those who are actually ill, quite ill due to no fault of their own (drug induced mental illness excepted). I'm glad you've made it out from the dark side. It's so hard to accept mental illness as reality unless you suffer from it or have friends who suffer under it. It's like understanding marriage without being married or being a parent without having kids. So to make the leap into understanding is an event that should be recognized and applauded.

I have a friend, Blindrift, just like your own. We both grew up in a wasted environment with abusive families and desperately tried to get the hell out. My friend suffered, essentially, a breakdown that brought out schizophrenia. One of the symptoms of schizophrenia is clinical paranoia just like you described your friend as having; although, paranoia can be its own independent illness this is rare compared to it being part of a larger illness such as and, in fact, primarily associated with schizophrenia. My friend would be unable to hold a job because he thought there were all these "conspiracies" by employees and employers to harm him. Despite both of us being gifted, he could not use his gifts if he were around others since he thought people were eavesdropping on his mind as he was conjuring up a thought, worried that they would steal it, and so his academic progress did not live up to his talent. Our own relationship deteriorated but understanding his breakdown I exercised greater patience with him and would except the insults. Naturally, being poor ghetto kids we didn't know what was actually happening to us, we used the light in our hearts to guide us...only later was he diagnosed...but both of us being the fighters that we were did our best to fight our way of it it. Me by being patient and him by maximizing his lucent states until...some future where the environment we lived in would change and we could grow...essentially living on hope. I eventually broke out of the ghetto...he is still trapped. That's why I always lace my digital wares with "codes" for him so that his beautiful mind while wandering the digital plains can find his pot of gold and reconnect with his friend.

But for you friend, I saw an opportunity in what you posted. You said that he said that you were the one who needed help. If it were me I would have said, "Yeah, I guess your right. Let's see what they have to say," if only to get him into therapy. If this is truly your first time in dealing with mental illness at a personal level then many things your friend will do will seem like insults or affronts. Remember it isn't his fault...much like a computer infected with a "virus" behaving improperly your friend has been corrupted. It is the duty of his good friend to take the blows. Getting him into a therapeutic environment is as great a leap as a person recognizing the truth regarding mental illness, especially, serious debilitating ones like your friends.

Where do you think homeless people come from? Of course, it isn't what the Glenn Beck nuts like to think...that people actually choose to be homeless...they come from the pool of people who suffered severe mental illness and didn't have a Stank to help save them from themselves.

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Stank-

They've been this way 15+ years? Interesting. From what you said in the earlier post dated November 4th, you said this (quoting here) :

"When they hit 35 or 40 years old and have no savings, and no education, and no family, and no one to take care of them…"

Taking both of these pieces of info into account, this must mean this person isn't yet 35, so having been this way for 15 years she/he must've started acting this way at about age 16?, educated deduction on my part.

Now that you've provided much more detail on this persons behavior/thinking, I'd have to add this to my opinion.

Stank-

A question if I may, and I'm asking because these "symptoms" can be caused by other things besides a mental illness. So, my question is : Has she/he been on any medication(s), street drug(s) or street drugs and alcohol taken together during this time? I presume not or you would've mentioned it. I ask because any of that can cause this too which you probably know already.

So, presuming you'd say he/she has not, then I should point out that an underlying physical medical problem can produce this effect, such as a head or brain tumor. In fact, one such common tumor found in many peoples heads (which they usually don't know about but coroners find them later upon death) is called "meningioma" and they press the brain as they get large enough - when this happens, it can produce this problem (mental symptoms). This tumor grows between the skull and the brain, not "in the brain" itself. The reason the symptoms would stick around so long is because this tumor is very slow growing, so it just sits there keeping the brain pushed inward and producing symptoms.

In fact, I know someone who had psychosis off and on, including paranoia, but after the menigioma was removed, he didn't have it return once the brain where it was pressed inward popped back into place (this takes a few months after the tumor is removed). This person, I nearly forgot to mention, had his symptoms go on for 14 years till the tumor was finally removed. It would've been removed sooner had someone made the correct diagnosis, but this just shows how long it can stick around.

As far as other physical medical problems that can cause this, here's a document which is called "Twenty Seven Medical Causes of What Looks Like Schizophrenia" (non-mental causes) which I got off the internet :

HERE

So, I'll conclude by saying :

It's possible this may be caused one of the above I mentioned here. I've seen that happen before, where a person gets "X" symptoms and it turns out to be something underlying that caused it all.

Keep your chin up!, or try to anywho.........

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Right...it could be any of those things. But this is a great way to bring it back to my main point of the post. You see, I was willing and tried to go down this path of exploration and figure out what the problem was. Yes, I do think that it is mental in nature, as I posted originally. I offered to take them to counseling and even attend with them. I was paying for it all. I would also look into medical possibilities as well (even though hypochondria was another dangerous related effect of the paranoia that they displayed IMHO so it is hard to tell what is really a medical issue or what is paranoid perception).

But the main point I am trying to make here is that I was willing to do ALL OF THOSE THINGS TO HELP THIS PERSON! They wouldn't let me. I considered trying to get them into an institution, but you cannot force an adult into an institution (easily) for any length of time, especially if you are not related to them. Believe me, I looked into it.

So my pain is that I feel like I lost. I was not able to help someone who I know needed help. So I feel like I let one get away that I could have saved and that is hard for me. I try to help everyone. I am always there for friends and people around me who are in need. This time, I couldn't help and that hurts.

I learned, sadly, that you cannot help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

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