Shown: posts 1 to 5 of 5. This is the beginning of the thread.
Posted by Lisa Simpson on February 20, 2001, at 6:38:02
(Noa, I know you don't like reading long posts at the moment, but if you could possibly read this one, I feel sure your advice would be so helpful to me... as it has in the past to me and so many others. Thank you so much.)
My boss's wife has had mental troubles for years. First of all it was diagnosed as ME. Then they said manic depression. The last diagnosis I believe was bipolar. Well, a few months ago she was put on Lithium, and it seemed to do a power of good. She was much better, although she had stages of mania.
She started having an episode of mania about five weeks ago, which didn't start to level off. Her pdoc tried her on a new drug to calm her down(I don't know the name), and she woke up screaming and hysterical the following morning, so obviously she won't take any more.
Anyway, last Thursday she phoned her husband in the office and asked to meet him in a pub. When he got there, she was completely off the wall. Throwing things around, apparently, shouting and screaming and stuff like that. And she didn't want her husband near her. When her husband phoned me to let me know what was happening, I offered to come down. He agreed, because most of her friends now have little to do with her, because once she starts talking, she doesn't stop, and I'm afraid their patience has slowly dwindled. Also, the things she says are very scary, and she tells you stuff about private things that you don't really want to know. I, on the other hand, being a "captive audience" as it were! as I work with her husband, have always been there to listen to her, and give what little advice I could. Anyway, I went down to the pub and when she saw me she fell into my arms crying. She kept saying that the two plastic bags she had with her had cigarette packets in it, and she said her husband had put a bomb in one. I offered to take the bags from her, and after a very, very long time, she finally agreed to let me take care of them for her. I then tried to get her into the pub to have a quiet drink together, but they refused her entry in no uncertain terms! I took her into a cafe, and she kept acting strangely - saying things you couldn't make sense of. Asking the people in the cafe for a gin, and couldn't understand that they didn't serve alcohol. Walking to someone's table, and helping herself to their cigarettes without asking. And she didn't want her husband anyhwere near her. So he just stayed outside, and followed us as we came out of the cafe and walked for miles together, with a policeman beside us, and one following with her husband in a van. (They had been called an hour ago.) They were waiting for a social worker, as they had no authority to do anything themselves. We finally arrived back at her house, and the policeman suggested we got into the van as it was very cold outside. He wouldn't let her into the house, and she wouldn't go anyway, because her husband was in it. She said she would get in the van if I did. So we both got in. After a long wait, the social worker finally arrived, and after talking with her husband, she came up to her and informed her she was being committed into hospital. She started getting upset, turned to me and said "I thought I could trust you". The social worker quickly said it wasn't anything to do with me, but with her - the social worker - and the pyschiatrist. Then she shut the van door, and we were off. It was awful - I felt so bad.
Anyhow, she is now in hospital, and trying her best to get out. She keeps phoning me. All the time. She keeps asking me to contact a solicitor to get her out of there. (I believe she is initially committed for 28 days.)
My question (sorry about the length of this post!) is what can I do to help her? What can I say to put her mind at rest? I really feel quite helpless, and don't know what to do. Any suggestions? Sorry to lumber you all with all this, but it is all very upsetting, and I haven't known how to deal with my own problems, let along my boss's wife's! And I do really want to help her...
Posted by danf on February 20, 2001, at 9:43:37
In reply to FORCIBLY COMMITTED! (To Noa, and everyone else), posted by Lisa Simpson on February 20, 2001, at 6:38:02
from your description, she is/was having a pyschotic episode. there is not a whole lot you can do that will help her. In general they do not remember details of what happened during the episode very well, later when they are better.
she needs appropriate medication, which takes time to work.
people with manic delusions do not listen to reason, no matter what you say... any attempt to reason is wasted, in general...
it is tough to go thru this... been there & it is worse when it is someone you love
Posted by Noa on February 20, 2001, at 11:43:39
In reply to Re: FORCIBLY COMMITTED! (To Noa, and everyone else), posted by danf on February 20, 2001, at 9:43:37
Lisa, I don't know what you can do. how awful. But you were a real hero for helping out.
Yes, Dan is right. If she is psychotic, you will not be able to reason with her.
I don't know the laws where you are (England?) like, for example, could they extend her stay if she is still psychotic after the 28 days, etc.
Do you want to set limits on the frequency of her calls? Or on her calling you at all? It sounds difficult.
I believe she has the right to an attorney and the social worker should be the one helping her to obtain one. Usually, hospitals have to post the human rights rules for patients, and this, I would think, would be included. But I believe it is probably best for you to not feel responsible for doing that for her.
You can be supportive, but if you start acting on her requests to obtain a solicitor, or whatever she will ask next, it will be much harder to set limits.
What you might want to do is call that social worker and ask to speak with her confidentially, and ask her some tips on setting limits--how to be supportive but protect yourself from constant telephone calls, demands on your time, etc. Ask her not to use what you say against the woman (ask her to keep it confidential). Ask her if she can keep this confidential--before you speak to her about this stuff. If she says she will not be able to keep it confidential, don't speak to her about it, go to another social worker.
Anyway, that is my inclination. I also think you might want to record in writing the entire incident from start to finish, everything you remember happening, being said, etc., including your boss's initial request for your help, etc. Also, record when she has called you, etc. and what she has said, what you have said, etc. Don't want to make you paranoid, but it is always good to have your own account of things, just in case.
Most importantly: You are a good samaritan for helping. You are under no obligation to continue to be involved. It is important to take care of yourself, which includes not having to take phone calls from this woman all the time.
Posted by Lisa Simpson on February 23, 2001, at 7:45:36
In reply to Re: FORCIBLY COMMITTED! (To Noa, and everyone else), posted by Noa on February 20, 2001, at 11:43:39
Thanks very much for your replies. She actually contacted a solicitor herself, who contacted me last night. My friend wants to get out of there, and the next-of-kin has to apply for a discharge. She said her husband cannot be her next of kin as they are separated (which isn't true!), she doesn't trust her father, who is the next next-of-kin, so she wants the solicitor to nominate me as her agent so I can fill in a form to get her out. Aaarrrgghh! It's getting complicated. I'm going to have to refuse. I'm not responsible enough to make decisions on my own life, let alone someone else's!
Thanks again for your help.
Posted by Noa on February 24, 2001, at 12:50:52
In reply to Re: FORCIBLY COMMITTED! (To Noa and Danf), posted by Lisa Simpson on February 23, 2001, at 7:45:36
Get your own legal advice, too, and don't feel pressured by her lawyer. Lawyers are good at that, and I am glad to hear you are planning to take care of yourself and keep in mind what is good for you and your health. Good luck.
This is the end of the thread.
Psycho-Babble Medication | Extras | FAQ
Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, email@example.com
Script revised: October 4, 2007
Copyright 2006-08 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.