Immature pot head or actual illness?
January 9, 2014 5:00 PM Subscribe
I am really good friends with a woman who has schizophrenia. I am having a hard time understanding traits she has and whether or not they are her illness or just her quirks. And if I should help her with the things she wants help with?
First off she is completely aware of her "craziness" (her words not mine). She is under a doctor's care. Has community nurses that ensure she receives her medication and is willingly wanting her medication. She sometimes says things that are illogical but recognizes that they are. She hears voices and says they try to torture her but she says she has trained them not to and doesn't let it bother her anymore. So for all intents and purposes she has it under control and is doing pretty well.
She is sweet and tender hearted and caring of her friends. Just an all around great woman.
However there are things that she does that confuse me and I do not know if it is just her personality or her illness. Forgive me if it turns out any of this is buying into the stigma of mental illness. I have suffered from depression since I was five so am usually pretty aware of it but have no experience with this illness.
BTW NAMI doesn't exist in my country and the local similar organization of the CMHA does not run any groups on anything here and just runs a Clubhouse where she is a regular and I would feel it being an invasion of her privacy to ask people that are her mentors and friends about her.
She smokes a hell of a lot of pot. I have no problem with pot use. Do it myself and find it fun. But it is the only time I ever see her excited when there is some around and she is going to get some. When she is off it or tries to quit for a few days she says her energy gets too crazy and she gets too happy. I just see it as her being more engaged with people - more talkative - more alive. Frankly, I like her more when she is not high but am leery to say it in case there is real proof that pot use does benefit her condition. She says she wants to quit but the being too happy bothers her.
She is completely disorganized. She lives independently. Pays her rent. But can't seem to do things like keep a clean apartment or pay her bills. She will if given motivation by me and friends but can't find it herself. She says she wants to change this but never learned how and no one will tell her. She implies that there is some secret to being an adult that people keep from her and it upsets her. Which results in her asking me to help her remember to pay her bills and then lying to me when she doesn't out of fear of disappointing me and shame.
She believes that emotions for herself are bad and that she is lame for caring about people. She has kind of a flat affect that I recognize from my depression.
She complains that certain nurses aren't as good as others at giving her her injection but when I suggest she ask for the nurse who is best she says she doesn't want to hurt their feelings. She doesn't know what medication she is on but is afraid to cause a fuss and ask. She wants to be able to go to her doctor by herself instead of having a nurse who says nothing sit in with her because she talks to her doctor more when they aren't there but she thinks it will hurt the nurse's feelings. She has side effects from her med that she wants to ask about but feels they are too embarrassing to ask.
She wants to change her life and improve it but when I tell her that she could get a rehab therapist she says she has is too shy.
She sometimes says things that she knows are "crazy" and has told me I can say they are to her but when I do she gets very upset that I don't believe her.
When talking to people who do not have a mental illness she gets a very little girl voice.
Basically I am trying to figure out if she's just a shy immature pot addict or if these are symptoms of schizophrenia and if her pot use is a real way of managing her feelings. Also if she tells me to tell her when something she says is "crazy" and then gets upset when I do so... What do I say?
More and more I am feeling like I have to be the one to teach her these things that she wants and as a friend I don't mind but I don't have the training to tell if it is her disease that makes her this way or just her personality. She basically seems stuck in the age range of a teenager. Is this a common symptom? And should I keep encouraging her to be the person she says she wants to be but gets upset she can't find the code to?
She feels comfortable asking me for help but I don't know if that's responsible for me to do so or if I am going to make things worse if something happens like I move out of town, etc...