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Any mental health professionals around? I'm worried sick about my sister ...

(13 Posts)
needanamechangeforthisone Fri 25-Jul-08 15:25:36

I have a younger sister, who has many and various physical problems, and who, for these, has to take various very strong medications - she has also been battling with depression for many years, but seemed to be turning a corner.

This morning, at 6am, I had a phone call from her - she asked to speak to dh, rather than me, as she didn't want to worry me. I spoke to her myself in the end, and what she told me was this:

She was in A&E at the local (to her) hospital, as she'd taken an overdose of diazepan (sp?) - she'd done this because there had been a man banging on her door, and for some unknown reason, she'd opened the door without looking through the spy hole. The man had then barged in and demanded that she give him all her drugs out of the fridge - she drank the liquid d., as she thought it would be safer for her to take it than for him to give it to somebody else, who it might kill.

Her partner wasn't at home last night - he was dog-sitting, and when I got to the hospital, she was telling me that she thought that he was behind this attack.

When I spoke to her partner, he was incredibly confused and very worried about her, and told me that the neighbours had found her crying in the back garden of the block of flats where she lives, and that they had called the ambulance, but that there was nobody else to be seen.

However, details of what she's said are different to different people, and she lied to me about how much she'd had to drink, and she's been reticent about phoning the police to report the incident.

The details just don't add up - I believe that they're very real to her - could the combination of the medication she's on for pain management issues, and alcohol have produced some sort of hallucination?

She is adamant that this really happened to her, but there are just too many inconsistencies.

She's also trying to blame our mum - she laid a real guilt trip on mum when she got to the hospital, so much so that mum broke down on me afterwards. My dad will not believe that sis is in any way in the wrong - he has always looked on sis as somebody who is very hard done by.

Any hints and tips on how I can support sis, mum, and dad (and sis's partner) would be very much appreciated.

J2O Fri 25-Jul-08 16:24:20

hugs not really sure what you can do otherwise than be as supportive as you can to all concerned, Maybe help with practicalaties, such as cooking some meals to freeze..etc
is she still in the hospital? what have the doctors said?

yousaidit Fri 25-Jul-08 16:35:47

Have you tried ringing the mental health unit to see if they have a counsellor that they can put you in touch with just to give you some guidance and support? What general area do you live in? Our local church deacon is the head of mentalol health councellor support (there is no religious slant on this, btw) he is just a very very very good person with endless patience and support. because he is more of a support worker he can become involved with patients and family on a more 'informal'basis and can give guidance n these situations, both practical and emotional. Hope this might help?

needanamechangeforthisone Fri 25-Jul-08 17:43:33

Thank you for your support on this - things have moved on somewhat, and sis has been evaluated by the psychiatric team this afternoon, and they've told her what we believed all along: that she had a very vivid dream, and acted it out.

Where we go from here, I don't know - the idea of getting in touch with an outside cousellor is a very good one: I'll try them on Monday - she's in Rhondda Cynon Taff - does anybody know if they have that sort of service there?

J2O Fri 25-Jul-08 18:17:44

I don't know of it, but will keep bumping for you xx

alicet Fri 25-Jul-08 19:31:20

Hugs - must be really stressful for all of you...

ALcohol and strong pain killing medication can certainly cause hallucinations especially in combination and especially if she is also tired. Or it might be responding to a vivid dream as you suggest.

Or hallucinations can form part of the more serious types of depression.

Either way she is hopefully getting fully assessed by the psychiatric team and will hopefully get the help she needs.

I think as far as the rest of the family it depends a bit on how close to them you live. Are you in Wales too? If at the end of the phone only then let them know that you are there for them if they need to chat / let off steam. If more local practical support like meals for the freezer is an excellent suggestion. As is suggesting that they contact counsellors for themselves - it's very stressful when someone you are close to has serious mental health problems - my sil had puerperal psychosis last year and was in the mother and baby unit for several months and it was a tough time for all.

Good luck xxx

ScottishMummy Fri 25-Jul-08 19:51:14

was she seen by on call psych? has her mental state been assessed?

does she have a cmht or Community psych nurse, that can support an who know her and her presentation

what Discharge plans and follow up provision (if any) have been made

has she ever had a psychotic episode before?

essentially she needs an Ax, and if necessary treatment

support her if you feel able

this may be turbulent time, and mental health crises can be stressful for pt and their family

this may not have a short term resolution

Mind can offer support

alicet Fri 25-Jul-08 20:08:37

Just remembered that when my sil had her puerperal psychosis we sent them a load of ready meals (we live at the other end of the country). Not cheap and can't remember which site we used but there are loads if you google. For about £80 we sent about 5 meals for 2 and a couple for 4. Bil said it was one of the most helpful things anyone did.

If I get a chance later I'll try and find the site we used as the food was superb but a bit busy having a clearout now (Oh how Friday nights have changed!!! grin)

J2O Fri 25-Jul-08 22:25:11

how you feeling now needanamechange? any deveopments?

Arabica Fri 25-Jul-08 23:24:25

I used to work on a helpline www.sane.org.uk/SANEline which, as well as being a support to people with mental health problems and their families/friends, has a database to tell you about local facilities. I used to work an 8pm to midnight shift, so they might be open now.

needanamechangeforthisone Sat 26-Jul-08 13:07:45

Thank you for all your support: she was assessed by the on-call psych team yesterday afternoon: they are giving a definite diagnosis of an REM Sleep Disorder, and are questioning whether she has undiagnosed bipolar - if she does, it would make a lot of sense, as her behaviour is erratic to say the least!

This was the second overdose she had taken: they are now thinking that the first one could have been down to the REM sleep disorder as well - but the last one was much worse, as she was in intensive care for several days, so what had actually happened was never really tackled.

She has been discharged from hospital, and is waiting for a referral to the pysch team at Royal Glamorgan.

She was so ashamed when she phoned me last night to tell me that they had managed to persuade her that it had been a dream - I'd been trying to tell her myself, but she just hadn't wanted to believe me!

Thank you for the links to the organisations: I shall try them today.

alice - I like the idea of the ready meals - she and her bf are stony-broke at the mo' - the link for that would be great!

alicet Sat 26-Jul-08 13:14:21

I think it was this site banquet in a box - can't be 100% sure but looks very similar if it's not the same one!

Glad to hear she's been properly assessed and that she's getting the help she needs. Good luck x

Boco Sat 26-Jul-08 13:18:30

My dp was diagnosed wit REM sleep behaviour disorder about 3 years ago. Can be triggered by anti-depressants. Is a bewildering illness.

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