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How can I help my SIL? Suspected psychosis

(8 Posts)

My SIL was diagnosed bipolar 2 years ago after having a breakdown and probable psychotic episode. I am not clear on what treatment she had, but I know she stopped taking any medication a year ago and I don't believe has any ongoing therapy. She does not believe she is bipolar and has attributed some of her anxiety and behaviour to 'post traumatic stress' although she cannot be specific as to what this trauma was.

Anyway, she seemed to be muddling along ok, except at the weekend she wanted to talk to me, my DH (her brother) and their dad. She told us how her life is threatened by a v powerful man, that he raped her sometime in the autumn, and he has hacked her computer and will target her family if she speaks out. She is clearly terrified and refuses to go to the police. This is not the first time she has told us such things and always she is v vague with details.

We suspect that this has not happened. We have not told her we disbelieve her, and I pray it isn't true. The story just doesn't make sense.

So my (long, sorry!) question is, how can we help her? She refuses to accept that there is a mental health problem. We have tried to encourage her to visit her GP about her anxiety, but I fear they won't have the time to delve and she won't allow them to find anything out.

We feel powerless to help her. Thank you if you made it through to the end!

apermanentheadache Wed 26-Mar-14 10:05:21

I saw your post was unanswered. I don't have advice but I wonder if an organisation like Mind or Rethink would be able to help?

Maybe you/ your brother could see your SIL's GP and explain your concerns, if she won't go herself. Or, you could call the local Community Mental Health Team to see if they can offer guidance?

How worrying. It does sound like she is unwell.

Thanks for your reply. It is not knowing how to help that is so frustrating. And worrying that she may harm herself in some way.

I'll try and give Mind a ring in my lunch break. I don't feel comfortable ringing her GP behind her back. Although if that's what Mind suggest, obviously I will

Preciousbane Thu 27-Mar-14 00:03:09

She may have been attacked or and this is likely she hasn't but she totally believes she has been attacked. I have a dsis with bipolar she has been unwell for about 34 years. She is on the more severe end of the illness and has been sectioned a number of times.

She improved when she started to believe she was actually ill and started to co-operate with meds and therapies.

MIND are very helpful. Good luck it is very upsetting watching someone you love go through the turmoil of a very serious MH condition.

buttonortwo Thu 27-Mar-14 00:36:12

Regardless of mh issues, what if it is true, isn't it with getting to the bottom of that first? Perhaps she is trying to reach out but is scared at the stage with details? He may seem powerful to her, he may have threatened her following rape. He may have hacked computer. Fwiw, I'm suffering from depression, but my ex boyfriend did hack phone, did threaten me and my family ( to me) as he was emotionally abusive... Maybe the PTSD following rape? Why does her story not make sense?

I have a dear friend with similar problems. Sadly I don't have much useful advice as my friend remains very ill and either won't engage with therapy/take meds or agree that she needs help.

You may be able to get help from her GP as you are actually a family member, but as you are her SIL rather than her parent or partner they may refuse to discuss her condition with you. It might be better if your brother is the one to make the call to the GP as he is her next of kin.

Much sympathy. Not only is this type of mental illness horrible for the sufferer and all who love him/her but it's very hard to treat, as well.

Blueuggboots Thu 27-Mar-14 04:53:28

Unfortunately, not taking medications, believing you are not ill, ignoring dr's advice and believing things have happened when they haven't are all symptoms of bipolar.
My brother is bipolar and has episodes fortunately rarely where he believes he has fathered children (he has not) who have been hidden away from him, that God is telling him to contact people etc etc.
She needs help. Bipolar needs constant medication. She needs to see her GP or CPN or mental health team ASAP.

Thank you all. It is concerning. She said today she is feeling better so doesn't want to go to the GP. We're seeing her and the rest of the family again on Sunday so may try and chat to her more then.

Button...you're right in that it may have happened. And tbh that was my first concern rather than her mh. However, her father and brother have seen her through more episodes and recognised the signs. She is very vague. She only mentioned the rape a long way into the conversation. She couldn't recall when...'autumn, maybe nov or dec'. She said he knew she had a Compaq computer and since he didn't know the number 'he took out all Compaq computers so he could access hers'. This was after her hard drive broke. She was in a bus accident and she was sure it was deliberate and targeted as she was on it. She won't name him and won't go to the police. I suggested writing down everything she could remember in case she changed her mind and it would help in a witness statement. She said she couldn't do this as he'd find the paper and make it worse for her.

So it may be true. I am unsure how we can help when she won't speak out any more. However, my gut says this is another episode. The comment about PTSD was related to previous incidents, not this one.

I appreciate you all taking the time to reply. I will chat to her and the family more and see if we can find a way forward.

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