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mental health question-

I live in a big city with a large transit system.
one day at a train stop I sat down in a empty spot on a bench next to a guy. He was shocked that I did so, and told me he was appalled by my rudeness. I finally realized that he was upset at me because he thought that his imaginary friend was sitting in that seat already. Pointing at thin air insisting that I forced his friend to jump up when I forced him out of the way!

I told him this "OK, I'm just going to tell you the truth- sir, I mean no disrespect, but you need to go see a doctor for either a neurological or psychological evaluation. Because your friend does not exist."
he looked confused and asked me if I was blind because he was 'standing right there, and getting very upset that I was saying he didn't exist'
put out my keys and told him to tell his friend to hold my keys.
he said that his friend didn't want to.
I told him that I was sorry to hurt him, cont


Asked by Anonymous at 3:14 PM on Jul. 15, 2010 in Health

This question is closed.
Answers (17)
  • I thought it was a great idea with the keys. I would be curious if you continued to say...I will believe you, he exists if he takes my keys. Of course with a mental condition like his he would not have agreed to it, but it would still be interesting to see the response. In my opinion, it is true that unless he wants to be helped he will not seek it. But one does not know what will trigger it for him. You may have planted a seed and make him realize he may have a problem. However, sometimes they develop such conditions as protective mechanisms so why would he ever want to give that up.

    Answer by AmyLynn5398 at 3:50 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • op cont- but that his friend was just in his mind. that no one else saw him.

    mostly the guy just looked shocked and confused. Many of the other passengers couldn't believe I would tell him that. They were of the feeling that if someone was hallucinating, then you just play along and tell them that you see it too.
    I've always been taught that you NEVER do that .

    something like that happen years ago too- was in a store and the next lane someone kept threatening to 'hit the crap out of you if you don't stop it' then went on to threaten other horrible things. When I went into the next lane to make sure they weren't threatening child like that, he shouters mother got mad, telling me I should stay out of someone's business. told her that when I suspect a child is being threatened like that as far as I'm concerned it IS my business.
    I didn't say anything to the guy- just made sure he wasn't threatening a child. thoughts?

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 3:19 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • you we trying to reason with crazy? does it cont?

    Answer by surfcitymom at 3:19 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • His friend probably is real, but dead...
    You cannot reason with someone like that and its best you do not argue with him he could get violent....
    Just say "I am so sorry I didn't know," and move...

    Answer by ABusyBee at 3:21 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • we would be proud of you on hidden camera!

    Answer by surfcitymom at 3:21 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • And yes, play along...

    Answer by ABusyBee at 3:22 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • Logic absolutely will not change a person's hallucination, anymore than my telling you that your name is not your name will make you believe it. It's absurd.
    And to tell a stranger that they need to seek medical/psychological assistance? Wow. Just Wow.

    Answer by aliceinalgonac at 3:22 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • I would have apologized for sitting on the first guy's friend and left it at that. These days you have to be careful to protect your own safety and move away from such people. You were right to make sure the second person was not threatening a child.

    Answer by elizabr at 3:22 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • I agree it's best not to engage anyone with obvious mental illness.


    Answer by Gailll at 3:23 PM on Jul. 15, 2010

  • You see the problem with mental illnesses is that unless you ACCEPT that you have an illness that needs to be addressed you will not seek the psychiatric help you need, nor will you take any prescribed medications regularly!!!

    My own mother is mentally ill, and she doesn't see anything wrong with her behavior. How can I help her? At 65 years of age, and owning her own home (she is financially well off, via property rentals and a significant teacher's retirement pension), it's not like I can commit her or anything--since she's only a danger to herself, and has alienated everyone from her life, including me, her only child!

    Answer by LoriKeet at 3:26 PM on Jul. 15, 2010