Mentally ill relative won't get help

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Bob McLaughlin, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    Over the past few years I have watched my wife's 22-year-old nephew descend into something bordering on insanity. At first he just seemed to have anger management issues (he got mauled by a pit bull as a teen, then his dad disowned him when his parents separated), but later he began this muttering to himself in nonsensical syllables. His condition worsened when he moved out of his mother's house and got his own apartment, and he went further downhill after his beloved grandmother died of cancer.

    Basically, he acts like one of those "crazy" homeless people you see in the streets: babbling to himself constantly, sometimes laughing and swearing, or waving his arms and making sound effects. He never stops. He sometimes claims that he can speak fluent German, which is a complete and total lie: he just babbles with a German accent.

    This came to a head a few months ago when his landlord tried to get him evicted, presumably because the neighbors were sick of hearing him talk to himself (he claimed it was because he turned up his stereo too loud 2 years prior!) He was able to talk the landlord out of it (probably because he pays his bills on time). But he threw a huge tantrum because he wanted to move in with us and we said no. He also threw a huge tantrum at a mall when his mother wanted to go to a different store. He was screaming at her in the mall at the top of his lungs.

    He won't admit there's anything wrong with him, so he refuses to see a counselor or a shrink. His mother offered to pay for one and he wouldn't do it. My worry is that he will eventually hurt himself or someone else (his tantrums and babbling are pretty scary and he gets very angry a lot).

    He is functional: he can drive, feed himself, bathe himself, show up to work on time (he works for UPS), pay his bills, but if you saw the way he constantly mutters to himself, you would assume he is insane.

    Does anyone want to make a diagnosis? Is there any way we can force him to get some help? It's a shame because he used to be a nice kid, and we've watched him slip away over the past few years.
     
  2. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    It sounds almost like Tourette's Syndrome. As someone who has gone through mental issues (and has seen those with them), the first major hurdle to get over is "acceptance". Ignoring the problem won't make it go away and (unfortunately) with mental diseases, forcing them to get help won't make it any better.

    I wish there was an answer, but it's a tough situation to be in...to see someone go through a mental disorder and not realize it.

    Good luck with everything and hopefully he'll, one day, realize he needs help.
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Well, even a doctor could not make a diagnosis based on a written discription of some symptoms. A physical exam and probably some lab work would be needed, at a minimum, and a psych eval by a qualified person as well. All you're going to get here is guesses, more or less educated ones depending on who replies.

    As to what you can do - you say he holds down a job, and that is obviously important to him as it allows him to live independently and gives him some control over his life. I can't believe that his behavior has gone unnoticed at work - and I'd be astonished if there hasn't been at least a complaint or two from people on his route. You and the family might not have much leverage, but his employer and co-workers may. Is he friendly with anyone from work? Do you know who his supervisor is, and how they get along? The people at work may have similar concerns, but feel even more constrained about meddling.

    Still, an intervention along the lines of those done for alcoholics or drug users, especially one that involves his supervisor as well as family and friends, might be one way to go. If there have been complaints at work the supervisor may be able to make counselling a condition of the young man's continued employment. (Frankly, if I were his boss I'd be worried about liability with him out on the street in the company's truck and uniform, and the public relations problem that a verbal outburst, let alone anything more serious, would create. I would not mention this angle to the supervisor should you meet. [​IMG] 1) You don't want to plant ideas in the guy's head and 2) he/she may conclude that the simplest solution is to fire the guy.)

    Good luck,

    Joe
     
  4. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    I used to work for UPS, and if he works in a hub handling packages instead of driving a route, I honestly doubt people would notice much or care, especially if he is unloading or loding trucks all day. I used to work with guys that would scream and bellow when unloading-kind of a psyche themselves out thing.

    But yeah, if he drives a delivery route, I would think people would complain eventually. But based on his age, I'm guessing he's a package handler. Full-time jobs driving a delivery truck for UPS require decent seniority-at least they did 10 years ago.
     
  5. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    "You can lead a horse to water ........"

    Really there is nothing that can be done without his consent. Unless he commits a violent crime or attempts suicide a court can't force him to be evaluated. Since he is no-longer a minor.
     
  6. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    Thanks guys. Interesting, everyone on this thread uses their full name as their user name!

    Andrew hit the nail on the head about UPS, he works in a hub and loads/unloads trucks all day. I am not sure what degree of human interaction he has at his worksite and whether he suppresses his muttering when other people are around. I doubt he can anyway, he made no attempt at normalcy at a party I had this year, and there were lots of strangers around who didn't know him. After he left, everyone wanted to know what the deal was with the guy who was talking to himself.

    I will see if his mother knows anything about his co-workers/bosses, but he never talks about anyone. He tends to be very private and secretive and resents anyone just asking simple questions such as "How has work been?" He is a little paranoid too, I think.
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I know it was a requirement back when I joined. I noticed HTF has become a little less stringent since then.

    As to the original post, there are ways for his next of kin to have him declared a danger to himself or others by going through the courts. Laws vary by state and locality, but if it is this severe, his immediate family could look into having him admitted against his will; if he fits the criteria.
     
  8. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i noticed too. when i joined, i wasnt allowed to use CJ Reynolds, even though 99% of all people who know my name call me that, i was told it was a nickname, and not my 'real name'. looking at some of the other usernames, i wonder when the policy became more lenient.

    bob, you said he can be scary when he talks to himself, is he violent in any way?

    CJ
     
  9. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    You mean they gave you grief about CJ, yet they let you slide right throught the screening process as "Christ"? No questions about delusions of grandeur or requests for a "miracles performed" resume? [​IMG]
     
  10. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Probably because he used it as his first name. [​IMG]
     
  11. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Just use somebody elses name. I got mine off his tombstone.


    JK[​IMG]!
     
  12. Brett_B

    Brett_B Supporting Actor

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    Bob,

    Which "hub" does he work at? I know someone that has a high-ranking position in Pittsburgh, and keeps in contact with people from New Stanton.
     
  13. Chris Souders

    Chris Souders Stunt Coordinator

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    Does he have visual or auditory hallicinations that he fesses up to? Sometimes people talk to themselves constantly to drown out the voices in their head.

    Is he paranoid about things? Thinks people/gov./police are after him, watching him, etc? Thinks the radio/tv is giving him secret messages?

    If so, these are classic signs of schizophrenia and besides, he is in the age range when it typically manifests itself initially.

    If not, then he may just have some vague psych personality disorder like oppositional defiant disorder or some other dsm diagnosis.

    As for getting him help...if he is out of control schizophrenic, you could take him to the emergency room somewhere and they have to evaluate him. If he doesn't want it, they would have to at that point judge if he is psychotic or not, and if they think he is they can hold him against his will for the evaluation.

    Otherwise, he might just be weird and there's no law against that...

    chris
     
  14. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

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    Brett, he works at the New Stanton hub. I don't want too much attention called to his situation at work, though. I assume they are happy with his performance since they have not fired him. The last thing he needs is to get fired.

    Chris, he has not spoken of any hallucinations but does go off about the government a lot. He is convinced a lot of technology that we have was given to the government by extraterrestrials. He talks about this quite a lot.

    CJ, he gets scary when he starts on a swearing jag. He doesn't say anything specifically threatening about anyone, but often refers to "Those m*therf*ckers". I'm not sure who he is talking about. If I ask who he is talking about, he says "Oh, I'm just talking to myself".

    Good news: his mother talked to a counselor herself and the counselor gave her some advice for talking to him about his behavior (hopefully) without making him hostile. Hopefully this could be the start of something.
     
  15. Jay Taylor

    Jay Taylor Supporting Actor

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    I think we can get an excellent diagnosis for only five cents:

    Lucy: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.

    Charlie Brown: I don't think that's quite it.

    Lucy: How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.

    Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I'm not sure.

    Lucy: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?

    Charlie Brown: What's pantophobia?

    Lucy: The fear of everything.

    Charlie Brown: THAT'S IT!
     
  16. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    well, the same amount of people call me christ compared to chris, zero. and is there a question about a delusion of grandeur? i thought it was obvious [​IMG] also, i perform miracles here daily, no need to show a resume now. i am able to make someone a little less intelligent simply by having them read my posts. it's true.

    CJ
     
  17. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    " ...but if you saw the way he constantly mutters to himself you would assume he was insane"

    And it maybe those things that eat away at him, the shit that he ruminates on in his head, that drove him insane.

    Only in Wonderland do you find the grin without the cat.
     
  18. Colton

    Colton Supporting Actor

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    Maybe you should video tape him while he is chatting it up with himself and show it back to him. Does he know what he is doing? His behavior is definately neurotic, but as long as he doesn't hurt himself or others - what can you do?

    - Colton
     
  19. andrew markworthy

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    This is a classic case of a little learning being a dangerous thing.

    Talking to oneself can be a symptom of a great many illnesses and conditions, or may be indicative of nothing at all. It depends on its severity and what other symptoms a person presents with. I'm a psychologist and I can list scores of other possible reasons for the symptoms, but I won't because I don't have all the facts about the case.

    However, just for the moment, forget about any labelling of mental illness. If a friend or relative was doing something that caused offence (e.g. body odour, playing music in their room too loud), but they were unaware of it, what would you do? You would tell them in some way. In this instance, a first step is being made via the person's mother, and this may set the ball rolling. If it doesn't then I'm sure that there are voluntary organisations that may be able to help you and offer advice on how to deal with the situation. Phone or email them - that is what they are there for. I can't suggest specific sites, because I'm from the UK (as you can tell from the spelling) but there must be similar ones in the USA.
     
  20. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I would hope to GOD that no one EVER commits to a diagnosis based on an internet message board! [​IMG] Ugh, if that were the case, then there's another issue that would need to be addressed. [​IMG]
     

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