Hi Friends,

I'm turning to you out of a certain desperation. Someone I live with had to go to the hospital (nonvoluntarily) while having a manic episode after being off his medication this morning. We were afraid he was going to hurt himself. He's still there now, but presumably he has to come home within the next three days, because the hospital can't hold him longer than that.

We're afraid he feels like we betrayed him in calling for help. We're not sure how to help him when he comes home.

Has anybody been in a similar situation? What did you do? How do you love someone in this kind of situation, and keep them safe without treating them like a 6 year old?

Please, Friends, if you have any advice or sympathy, I would love to hear it.

I have been praying nonsensical prayers that pretty much translate to "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH" all morning. Please hold our housemate (his name is Evan) in the Light, and please, if you have any words of wisdom, share.

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Dear Syd

I'm so sorry to hear of your troubles.

You did the right thing in seeking help for your friend and you did it for the right reasons, out of love and concern, so you must hold onto that knowledge even if your friends condition does not allow him to see this for himself at this time.

Would it be possible to speak to his family or Doctor before he comes home?

Jeff Lucas in his book 'how to pray'  states that the best prayers are those that are heartfelt, his favourite being 'HEEEEEEEEEEEEELP'. God understands nonsensical!

I shall hold you and Evan in the light.



Thanks so much, friends (and/or Friends) for your replies!

We learned that he's under the care of his family now, and they've transferred him to a hospital near home, and his parents will be taking care of him until it's clear when he can come back to school/our house.

So, for the moment, things are working on being okay.  It's still unclear on whether he feels betrayed by us, but we've become more comfortable with that if it means he's otherwise okay.

The only way forward it seems is to watch and pray. Many, many thanks to you for your responses, from me and my household. And thank you for holding Evan in the Light, he surely needs it.

Hi Syd,

Sorry for the late reply--am glad your friend is getting the care that he needs.  As a child psychiatrist who has cared for many persons with bipolar disorder, I know from experience that it is important to remember as a friend or family member that you are working with someone who is ill and because he's ill the person you see isn't the person he used to be:  a different state of mind is arising, one that is full of suffering even if it looks like exuberance and happiness.  I also know this from personal experience as many years ago my youngest sister's husband had a manic episode, which quickly switched to depression and he committed suicide a day after being discharged prematurely from the hospital. You may have saved Evan's life.  Severe BP in mania, mixed mania and depression, or BP depressed  can be a life threatening emergency--y0u did the right thing to help him get the expert care he needed.  

Now what you might ask--well it turns out that the supporting environment is the key to staying well for folks with bipolar disorder.  Though the disorder is heavily loaded genetically, it is exactly the fact that it is biologically driven that makes the environment so important.  If even comes back to you and I hope he does, you might want to read and work with Evan around Dave Micklewicz's wonderful book:  http://www.amazon.com/Bipolar-Disorder-Survival-Guide-Second/dp/160... .  It is sort of an owner's guide to BP and will  help you and your friends and Evan figure out how to be of help if BP reasserts itself and his judgement starts to be compromised and he goes off rather than up on his medications.  

Thanks Syd to you and your friends for your kindness, compassion, and generosity--folks with severe mental illness are the most discriminated against group in our country. Quakers have a long history of compassionate evidence-based work with the mentally ill and yours is one of a long like of helpful and compassionate actions....

I am sorry to hear from your distress. I was in a relationship with someone who had to be hospitalized after a suicide attempt. Let me tell you that you are not alone. Many people have walked this path and can be there for the love and support you need. 

You will have a lot of decisions to make, some of them will not be easy. But I have always believed doing the right thing is not necessarily the easy thing. Take John's advice and get the Survival Guide. Choose a counselor now for YOURSELF. Someone you can go to when you need support and advice. 

Remember, in your attempt to help someone do not let them ruin your life. You do not have to suffer or become a martyr. Living with a mentally ill person is a challenge but it should not ruin your life. If it is ruining your life, you need to talk to your counselor and figure out how to do things differently.

My mentally ill partner made a series of very bad choices due to his illness and I was unable to live with him anymore. While I continue to wish him well, I know that I have made the right and loving choices, given the circumstances. 

Dear Syd:

Definitely do not allow him any sugar. .  or junk food . .  which will make his episodes MUCH worse. .   A diet of fresh green vegetables, at least 50% raw is best and then over time increase it to 80% or more of fresh, green leafy.  He won't like you for it. .  but you may even get your old 'true' friend back again. 

Nothing with caffeine, nothing with sugar, nothing processed, no alcohol or cigarettes. .  lots of fresh and raw. .  that will be very healing for him and will restore to him his own true nature.

When he comes home express that you did what you did out of love for him as you feared he would hurt himself. .  which is what he is doing. 

I wish you peace and comfort. .



I too had to consider the dangerousness of someone I loved when he went off his meds. He was not normally violent, despite a bad temper.  But off his meds, any anger he felt put him put of control and he did become violent, mostly destroying objects, but sometimes shoving females in our family with great force.

He got recruited into a religious cult who actually sent scouts to hospitals for vulnerable people like him. He met one of those scouts while being discharged. No law could keep him hospitalized for more than 3 days, so he got indoctrinated into thinking those people knew the only true way to God and were the only people who loved him. They convinced him that his family didn't love him and couldn't be trusted. They persuaded him to sign his house over to them, or sell it for a nominal price. When he stayed on his meds long enough to realize he'd been taken in, he got the house back through the courts, but they took a hatchet to the walls and did other damage. He had to get rid of the house cheap.

Although he broke from that cult, he kept their version of religion and those notions fed into the delusions he had when not medicated.

Any time he went off his meds, he did dangerous things in line with his delusions, not threatening us, but being reckless in ways that endangered others without targeting anyone.  For example, he went on a "religious pilgrimmage" that required him to crawl along  the broken line on an interstate highway at midnight in a loin cloth. He left the family home, announcing that he was going to do this.  Can you imagine driving along an interstate in the middle of the night and coming upon such a sight?

This was the umpteenth time he'd gone off his meds and my parents were in tears on the phone with me for as many times, wringing their hands, unable to call the police. I called the police and he was picked up before any driver on the Interstate swerved to their death at the site of our Jimmy.

He resented me for this and for other incidents where I had to call the cops for the sake of others' safety. We tried to transport him ourselves on one occasion, but sitting in the back seat, he shoved my mother's face right up against the dashboard as he ripped the bucket seat up from its moorings.

Because kept going off his meds, he was in and out of the hospital every few weeks. After about two years of this, none of us would let us live with us anymore.  It was painful to turn him away, but we couldn't take it anymore. My biggest regret was waiting so long to bar him from our homes.

While he did not ask for this disorder, it is a chemical imbalance that does have medication which would allow things to go better. Not taking that medication is a choice the person makes. If they don't take it, you cannot help them, and they cannot help themselves.

If I could go back in time, I would tell Jimmy, after his second time off meds, that he could not come back if he went off his meds again. I had young children back then. So did my sisters. The upheaval and torment for them should have been my first priority.

Marianna Boncek said:

 . . . Remember, in your attempt to help someone do not let them ruin your life. You do not have to suffer or become a martyr. Living with a mentally ill person is a challenge but it should not ruin your life. If it is ruining your life, you need to talk to your counselor and figure out how to do things differently.

My mentally ill partner made a series of very bad choices due to his illness and I was unable to live with him anymore. While I continue to wish him well, I know that I have made the right and loving choices, given the circumstances. 

Well, he came home somewhat unexpectedly tonight, as we'd thought he'd not be back until a couple weeks from now.

We did our best to welcome him with open arms, and so far all is well. Hoping that stays true. Hold us in the Light, Friends!

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