Top 4 Tips: “How to help”

truth.jpgMay I add a Prelude: As much as I wish I had a list of things that would cure the situation, I am not a miracle-man, and unfortunately do not profess this post as medical advice, or promise that these tips will rectify any specific situation you may be in. Please use prior-restraint before taking this post as gospel.


I compile this list below, as part of the ‘Sharing the truth about insanity’ series I plan to run on this blog. It’s main focus will be lists, mainly explaining certain aspects of ‘Schizophrenia’. This particular post focuses on those forgotten soldiers, the families and friends that try their best to understand and accept – only to hit wall after wall. The aim of this list is to show simple things that would help me, as a sufferer.

Top 4 Tips: “How to Help”

1. When he/she doesn’t seem to trust me, how can I show I am trustworthy?

The basic premise of Schizophrenia (in particular, and in my case), does not lay a foundation where techniques you would use with ‘sane’ persons will be rendered useless in this case. Imagine how you would approach the situation had the person not be a sufferer, and try and apply the same method here. You feel like nothing you do will make them trust you? In a ‘sane’ person’s case I personally would show I trust them. I would suggest showing them you trust their actions, and adjust so their trust for you grows side-by-side.

2. When he/she is anxious and cannot calm themselves, how can I help?

Again, the premise is to approach them as an individual, and not a schizophrenic. Calm them how you would calm someone who does not suffer from Schizophrenia, respecting their preference on physical contact and personal space. Speak in a relaxed tone, and try to get them to sit down and breath slowly if you can.

3. When he/she is ‘catatonic’, unresponsive and unable to converse appropriately, what can I do?

This, to me, is trickier (but by no means impossible). As much as possible, attempt to retain eye-contact and speak at a reduced speed. Speaking too quickly may ‘overload’ them, as at these times it is quiet hard to understand anything faster than your own thought (if, indeed, thought is there at all). Try and use expressive words, but try using them in the same, slow(ish) voice. Fit as many words such as sprint, on a roll, running, zip!, fast-paced, moving – into your sentences, and if nothing seems to be working, slowly increase the speed of your voice, and movements, in the hope their reactions will reciprocate yours.

4. I, myself, am feeling weak and out of control of the situation. Why me?

I asked my Mother what she did when she felt this way, I felt it more appropriate than me trying to guess. Her advice resided along the lines of concentrating on the positive steps to happiness you can see. If you can’t see any, look harder. Your needs are vital, just as much as the sufferer’s – and looking after yourself needs to be a priority up their with your existing ones. It’s hard to help others, when you cannot help yourself.

She also suggested getting in touch with Mind or Rethink, and asking about Carer Support Groups. You can also ask about these through any health / social services members you see.

I hope these help somehow. Please do leave a comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions, and feel free to get in touch if you feel you want to (via e-mail).

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One response to this post.

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