WHAT TO DO IN A CRISIS CONCERNING A MENTALLY ILL PERSON. When our son was ill, we discovered that it was a good idea to:
- Slow down when we spoke to David due to his schizophrenia.
- Give him space and avoid making him feel trapped.
- Remain as calm as we could and give him all the support and concern we were able to give.
- We knew that it was a good idea to speak slowly and quietly.
- We used short, clear and simple sentences.
- We avoided sudden, quick movements as if he were startled, he became angry.
- We were as helpful as we possibly could be.
- When replying to one of his questions, we gave firm, clear directions. Of course, learning to do all this took time.
- We were told to respond to hallucinations or delusions by talking about his feelings rather than what he was saying.
- We showed him that we were really listening.
WHAT NOT TO DO IN A CRISIS CONCERNING A MENTALLY ILL PERSON:
- We learned not to take control if we didn’t have to.
- We knew better than to argue when our son was psychotic.
- We never looked him straight in the eye as he considered that staring, and he became aggressive.
- We tried not to confuse him; rather, we tried to interact.
- I hugged him very seldom as he did not like being touched. It was better to ask first.
- It was always a bad idea to raise our voices.
- We never gave him multiple choices.
- We didn’t whisper, joke or laugh as that would have made him think that we were laughing at him or joking about him.
- We never told him an untruth. We were honest at all times even if we had unpleasant news to impart.