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pshizzle's avatar

My friend suffers from extreme paranoia. How do I help her?

Asked by pshizzle (1100 points ) August 11th, 2011

She is paranoid about everything from animals, health, stalkers, cars, family, and the Internet. Her paranoia brought her to delete an account for her favorite website. She can’t even log in again with the same user name. She won’t even sign up again. Help?

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13 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

@pshizzle Personally, if you think her paranoia is controlling her life, you won’t be able to help with out getting a counselor, therapist and/or a parent involved. It seems to me, if she wouldn’t even stick around here long enough to listen to other jellies, she probably won’t listen in real life either.

pshizzle's avatar

She said that she respects me and my words. She won’t see a therapist. Fluther is her getaway, and she found it to be ruined. Her and her mom aren’t exactly best friends, and her dad doesn’t live close. I really want to help her, but she doesn’t seem to care about most of my help.

asmonet's avatar

How was it ruined? Did someone leave her any inappropriate messages? Did someone in her life gain access to the account? What is her reasoning?

I’m trying to figure out if her fear is rational or not. If she honestly has no stalkers, no sick animals, etc. She may just have an anxiety disorder. It could be more serious though. She may need professional help, or she may be a drama queen – we need more.

But beyond that, you should use your best judgment in helping her. Know your limits and what you’re capable of handling and find her outside help if her needs exceed that. That’s all you can do.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

You can’t “push a rope” and YOU can’t make someone well if they will not see a professional.

pshizzle's avatar

@asmonet Her mom found out, and she didn’t want her knowing.

asmonet's avatar

@pshizzle: Well, she can request a name change from the mods, and be more careful from now on. But unless she knows her mom is now watching her every move and is that deeply interested + has the time to be it should just blow over.

JLeslie's avatar

Sounds like she has very high anxiety, which probably is connected to not getting along with her parents. I think if at all possible she should try to have better communication with her parents.

Does she hear voices, or see things that are not there?

wundayatta's avatar

There is little you can do. Just be there for her as a friend. Try not to judge her. Don’t tell her she’s wrong for being paranoid. You can tell her how you see things—give her a reality check. Urge her to see a therapist from time to time, but not so much that she gets tired of you. Ask her about her reasons for doing things. Ask her questions that may get her to think about the truth of her convictions, but don’t challenge them She perceives what she perceives. You can’t tell her otherwise.

linguaphile's avatar

Do you think her paranoia and anxiety comes from trying to please her mother and be her own person at the same time? If that’s the case, she does need to talk to someone to help her develop autonomy, and again, if that’s the case, please be patient with her—it’s a profoundly scary feeling to be enmeshed with a parent and struggling to be your own person.

Hibernate's avatar

She needs to deal with these in time. Being there to support her is the best thing you can do.

pshizzle's avatar

@JLeslie Her mom treats her like dog poop. My friend wants better communication but her mom won’t give it. I see it firsthand. She doesn’t hear voices or see things that aren’t there.
@linguaphile She doesn’t try to please her mother. The exact opposite, actually.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I just found out about this. Will you please tell her we say “hi” and that we want her to come back? She can use a different name if she wants.

JLeslie's avatar

@pshizzle Well then, it sounds like her mom is a big part of her problem possibly. I think your friend should get some therapy so her situation in her family does not affect her for many years.

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