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I Really Need Advice (Preferably From Asians Or Muslims)

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    (Original post by ice_man)
    I don't think you're being entirely truthful here, or you may be unintentionally exaggerating. Calling someone a devil is not allowed in Islam, neither is denying them medical help. No Islamic scholar/imam would allow this to occur.
    Try and find some online psychiatrists, or just call some help line regarding mental problems and ask them about self diagnosis or for a general solution. If all else fails, the school should be able to help her.
    Well. She basically told me that her mother said to her, "it's like you've got the devil inside you". So I guess I interpret that to be: Her Mum thinks there is nothing wrong her and it's more to do with religion. I just don't think her Mum wants it to get worse... That's why she won't let her take the tablets or see someone.
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    (Original post by Lazar Wolf)
    your poor friend obviously has mental health problems. hearing voices is usually one of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia.

    Your friend MUST take the medication prescribed for her by her doctor. These may be tranquillisers, antidepressants or antipsychotics. They will slow down and stop the voices and calm her down. It is counterproductive to say the least that her mother is hiding this medication. Your friend is in torment and needs help and her mother is in total denial about this.

    If she is hearing voices yet her mother is refusing her medication and hiding her medication then this situation is not likely to get better, but worse. I had a friend whose parents were in total denial about their son's mental illness, and refused to let him see a doctor, until things got out of hand and their son's symptoms became so bad and his behaviour so worrying that they could not deny it anymore. Try if you can to get a Muslim GP or psychiatrist to speak to her parents. Not an easy task, but I feel if she hears the truth about her daughter's situation from a person like this then she would be more amenable to cooperate and not hide this medication, which is extremely irresponsible.

    Best of luck to you and your friend. I do hope she has peace of mind.
    It's quite funny you should say that... Her GP is Muslim and he gave her the tablets, but even then her Mum didn't let her take them... I get exactly what you mean... And in theory it should work, but the reality didn't work...

    Thanks anyway.
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    (Original post by >Username<)
    Well, her Mum doesn't let her out of the house and her Mum doesn't want her to see the GP again. And she can't see the GP by herself because it's way too risky.
    As for other family members, they all have the same viewpoint... It's a bit like a dead end really.

    Thanks for the help, though.
    That's crazy and very very wrong.
    Has she tried calling the GP from home?
    How can all whole her family have the same view -_-
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    (Original post by >Username<)
    I'm just worried that if I tell the student advisor, her whole family life will be disrupted and I'll be the causer of that...
    Her mother has already got the local Imam to talk to her and he's tried a lot of religious things on here (I'm not too sure what, the one thing I do know is some kind of holy water...)
    She can't get away for a couple of hours, that's the problem you see... Its almost like she gets back from school, and that's it.

    Thanks for the help.
    No problem, honestly I think getting help is more important for her than maintaining family harmony at the moment. And it doesn't sound like the imam is going to be very proactive about it either :\
    I think there are two things you can do, first go to a GP and describe her condition as fully as you can and see whether they think she needs immediate help. If she does, go to the student advisor and tell her about it. This is too much for you and her to deal with alone.
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    (Original post by >Username<)
    It's quite funny you should say that... Her GP is Muslim and he gave her the tablets, but even then her Mum didn't let her take them... I get exactly what you mean... And in theory it should work, but the reality didn't work...

    Thanks anyway.

    There is one thing you could do. You could go to your friend's GP and speak to him, and basically tell him that your friend's mother is not letting her take the medication. He will keep this in confidence as his profession dictates, but armed with this knowledge he may have the local psychiatric social services see your friend, or perhaps assess her and then admit her into hospital where she will be able to take the medication without any interference.

    This is a very sad situation for all concerned. I know what it is like to see someone have a breakdown and it is awful for the family too. But your poor friend is likely to get worse rather than better if this continues. as a previous poster mentioned too, this is a lot for you to deal with on your own, and it is admirable that you are trying to do so. Ultimately though the spanner in the works in all this is her mother's refusal to have her daughter take the medication which she so clearly needs.

    This is a situation which may have to get worse before it gets better if you know what I mean here, regrettably. all you can do is monitor the situation and be as supportive to your freind as possible. My best wishes to you all.
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    (Original post by >Username<)
    Sorry, I should have said earlier. My friend has already been to see a Doctor and the Doctor and her family are aware of the voices. The Doctor gave her some tablets to take, but her Mum has hid them and won't let her take them. As she thinks this will make the condition worse. She has confronted her Mum about doing something else, but her Mum won't let her.

    I get what you mean about me seeing a GP. However, when I thought about this... I just got very confused. Because if I do that, it'll disrupt her whole family life. I care for her, but at the same time, I don't know her family routine. I guess no one ever knows anyone's family. Getting a social worker involved will disrupt her family...

    Thanks for the help.
    Oh how difficult this situation is. I think your role in this should be to continue to support her as best you can. She will not appreciate social workers and the like descending on her family I'm sure and you have to respect her decisions such as not wanting to tell the school. However if you ever think she is deteriorating badly or in serious danger for her life then you would have to tell her GP or another adult pronto.

    In the meantime she is seriously ill and her mother is behaving very irresponsibly by hiding her medication like this. I do understand, being a mother myself, that your friend's mother is acting out of love and concern but she is very mistaken in her actions. Given how ill your friend is there is a possibility that her illness will become life threatening without her medication.

    I am not a Muslim or Asian so I do not know if there are people in your community who hold a different perspective on mental illness and the medication issues. I'm assuming there must be. I also do not know what is considered appropriate intervention in another family's business. Bearing this in mind though I would be looking to get advice and back up from a senior member of the community or from someone within the family who can talk to the mother and persuade her of the dangers of her actions and the need to allow medical treatment. Can you find someone or talk to someone for your friend who may be able to communicate with her mother? Or can you help her identify somebody and work out how to talk to them? Is there an Asian women's centre or anything like this in your town? The people in such centres are used to dealing with a whole range of issues and would have good advice to offer and they are confidential. They also understand how best to proceed given cultural sensitivities. She could speak to them on the phone maybe.

    If you can't identify such a person then you will have to train your friend what might be the best approach herself to persuade her mum. The mother is probably frightened herself and in denial about all this. She needs someone to explain clearly to her the facts about this illness and why the medication will work. Maybe something along the lines that the illness is easily treatable if caught early enough but if you leave it then serious illness can result. Make it into an illness to do with chemical imbalances that are going to be corrected by the medication rather than something to do with 'the mind' which for some people is something shameful or frightening or, as you say, just made up or even brings to mind superstitions like 'devils'. If someone can talk to the mother about how mental distress like this is actually because of physical things like chemicals and glands and a real illness and so forth she may accept it more readily. Find info on the internet to try to back up this point of view. Avoid talking only about the 'voices'. Concentrate on the way the medication will help with the side effects of the illness like any headaches or poor sleep etc. Anything really to turn her mother's mind to the idea that the medication is not for 'mad people' or even about 'voices' but for a real illness (which she might only understand if put in terms of physical things) Also your friend should stress how it will improve her concentration so she can work better at school and so forth... lots of practical reasons why the meds are good.


    If all this fails and her mother is not persuaded or you can't find anyone to help then your friend could arrange medication herself. If she is sixteen she is able to be treated in confidence by a medical person wihout her mother being told. If she can't get to a doctor in person without her mother then I suggest she ring the surgery and arrange a time to call and speak to her doctor. You could be with her during this telephone call. She can even tell the doctor you have her permission to speak for her. You or she should tell the doctor about the problem with the hidden medication and the fact that the symptoms have not disappeared. Otherwise get to the nearest surgery to the school and ask for an emergency appointment. Tell a doctor there the situation and ask them to talk to her doctor.

    The best result would be of course if her mother could be persuaded to see things a little differently and support the course of treatment.

    The type of illness she has is very dangerous for her and its essential this gets sorted out as soon as you can manage it. Well done you for supporting her.. being able to have a friend who knows the situation is important.

    At the end of the day you may have to move to plan B and involve other people and be more interventionist than you'd like if you think your friend is getting worse or in danger of suicide but hopefully it won't come to that. Its a tough ask for you to deal with all this and you can only do your best so try not to worry too much.

    Good luck

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    Voices in your head tend to happen if you're very idle. I think to prevent this form happening, you'll need to get her to go out more often.

    You mentioned that she's like normal during school time. Try and get her to stay in school longer for after-school activities and such.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I'm Asian and Muslim and I know exactly what it's like. My parents have no knowledge about mental health and think it's a pile of poo. From my observations, quite a few people in my family have some mental health issues but no one addresses it. The problem just gets buried.
    Preach. :congrats:
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    I heard somewhere that suicide rates are the highest in asian women. I wish community leaders and religious leaders would do more about mental health issues. Even the government to some extent have a responsibility to educate BME communities about mental health issues.
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    (Original post by Amandeep_Psych07)
    I heard somewhere that suicide rates are the highest in asian women. I wish community leaders and religious leaders would do more about mental health issues. Even the government to some extent have a responsibility to educate BME communities about mental health issues.
    I know. Just by glancing at my family, I see personality disorders and mental health problems screaming at me! And when I try to talk about it, I get dismissed because I'm too young to know anything.

    Back when my emotions were very unstable, instead of taking me to a doctor, my Mum bought me a necklace with my birthstone because it would bring me good luck or something. I was completely gobsmacked that she thought a necklace was going to sort my life out or something. She know thinks I'm better but my problems are now worsening.

    The other thing as OP mentioned in the jinn problem. My cousin left home last year and married the girl he liked and my family spent a week saying the family of the girl were doing black magic to trick him and went to an astrologer who said he'd be back by the end of last year. Unsurprisingly, he's still not come home.

    There seems to be a fascination amongst Pakistanis (I am one too btw) about dark magic and jinn. Instead of thinking logically, parents tend to think "there's a jinn in my child! I must take him/her to the imam"

    They think they're sorting the problem but in fact, this ignorance is causing more harm than good.

    OP is seriously stuck imo. These cultural values and beliefs are very hard to undo and many people in Pakistan are still uneducated. And most of what Pakistanis know about life and stuff in general comes from loudmouthed Muslim clerics who need to be quiet.

    Sorry for getting too preachy. Again lol!
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    (Original post by Iqbal007)
    That's crazy and very very wrong.
    Has she tried calling the GP from home?
    How can all whole her family have the same view -_-
    I think the issue also lies with her GP. I know from my own personal experience, that I don't really like talking to my GP about anything.

    However, this could work. And yeah, I never actually thought about this in depth, I'm sure there must be someone in her family who has a different view. I guess it's matter of her actually talking to them about it.

    Thanks for your help... I'm definitely going to ask her about the stuff you said.
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    (Original post by >Username<)
    I think the issue also lies with her GP. I know from my own personal experience, that I don't really like talking to my GP about anything.

    However, this could work. And yeah, I never actually thought about this in depth, I'm sure there must be someone in her family who has a different view. I guess it's matter of her actually talking to them about it.

    Thanks for your help... I'm definitely going to ask her about the stuff you said.
    Well maybe it's best to try and get a female Muslim GP to talk to, so she'll understand a bit more.
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    (Original post by zmzm)
    No problem, honestly I think getting help is more important for her than maintaining family harmony at the moment. And it doesn't sound like the imam is going to be very proactive about it either :\
    I think there are two things you can do, first go to a GP and describe her condition as fully as you can and see whether they think she needs immediate help. If she does, go to the student advisor and tell her about it. This is too much for you and her to deal with alone.
    The thing is I have no "proper" idea how much this is affecting her. Like I'll her and she tells me herself that everything is fine and her Mum has "backed off". Plus she wouldn't lie to me, I just know for a fact she wouldn't. She maybe her family is okay atm, in which case I'll be ruining things.

    The thing is my GP isn't the best. And how can I just go to see my GP about someone else's condition?
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    (Original post by Lazar Wolf)
    There is one thing you could do. You could go to your friend's GP and speak to him, and basically tell him that your friend's mother is not letting her take the medication. He will keep this in confidence as his profession dictates, but armed with this knowledge he may have the local psychiatric social services see your friend, or perhaps assess her and then admit her into hospital where she will be able to take the medication without any interference.

    This is a very sad situation for all concerned. I know what it is like to see someone have a breakdown and it is awful for the family too. But your poor friend is likely to get worse rather than better if this continues. as a previous poster mentioned too, this is a lot for you to deal with on your own, and it is admirable that you are trying to do so. Ultimately though the spanner in the works in all this is her mother's refusal to have her daughter take the medication which she so clearly needs.

    This is a situation which may have to get worse before it gets better if you know what I mean here, regrettably. all you can do is monitor the situation and be as supportive to your freind as possible. My best wishes to you all.
    But, how can I see her GP... Because he's not my GP. Is that even possible?
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    (Original post by catoswyn)
    Oh how difficult this situation is. I think your role in this should be to continue to support her as best you can. She will not appreciate social workers and the like descending on her family I'm sure and you have to respect her decisions such as not wanting to tell the school. However if you ever think she is deteriorating badly or in serious danger for her life then you would have to tell her GP or another adult pronto.

    In the meantime she is seriously ill and her mother is behaving very irresponsibly by hiding her medication like this. I do understand, being a mother myself, that your friend's mother is acting out of love and concern but she is very mistaken in her actions. Given how ill your friend is there is a possibility that her illness will become life threatening without her medication.

    I am not a Muslim or Asian so I do not know if there are people in your community who hold a different perspective on mental illness and the medication issues. I'm assuming there must be. I also do not know what is considered appropriate intervention in another family's business. Bearing this in mind though I would be looking to get advice and back up from a senior member of the community or from someone within the family who can talk to the mother and persuade her of the dangers of her actions and the need to allow medical treatment. Can you find someone or talk to someone for your friend who may be able to communicate with her mother? Or can you help her identify somebody and work out how to talk to them? Is there an Asian women's centre or anything like this in your town? The people in such centres are used to dealing with a whole range of issues and would have good advice to offer and they are confidential. They also understand how best to proceed given cultural sensitivities. She could speak to them on the phone maybe.

    If you can't identify such a person then you will have to train your friend what might be the best approach herself to persuade her mum. The mother is probably frightened herself and in denial about all this. She needs someone to explain clearly to her the facts about this illness and why the medication will work. Maybe something along the lines that the illness is easily treatable if caught early enough but if you leave it then serious illness can result. Make it into an illness to do with chemical imbalances that are going to be corrected by the medication rather than something to do with 'the mind' which for some people is something shameful or frightening or, as you say, just made up or even brings to mind superstitions like 'devils'. If someone can talk to the mother about how mental distress like this is actually because of physical things like chemicals and glands and a real illness and so forth she may accept it more readily. Find info on the internet to try to back up this point of view. Avoid talking only about the 'voices'. Concentrate on the way the medication will help with the side effects of the illness like any headaches or poor sleep etc. Anything really to turn her mother's mind to the idea that the medication is not for 'mad people' or even about 'voices' but for a real illness (which she might only understand if put in terms of physical things) Also your friend should stress how it will improve her concentration so she can work better at school and so forth... lots of practical reasons why the meds are good.


    If all this fails and her mother is not persuaded or you can't find anyone to help then your friend could arrange medication herself. If she is sixteen she is able to be treated in confidence by a medical person wihout her mother being told. If she can't get to a doctor in person without her mother then I suggest she ring the surgery and arrange a time to call and speak to her doctor. You could be with her during this telephone call. She can even tell the doctor you have her permission to speak for her. You or she should tell the doctor about the problem with the hidden medication and the fact that the symptoms have not disappeared. Otherwise get to the nearest surgery to the school and ask for an emergency appointment. Tell a doctor there the situation and ask them to talk to her doctor.

    The best result would be of course if her mother could be persuaded to see things a little differently and support the course of treatment.

    The type of illness she has is very dangerous for her and its essential this gets sorted out as soon as you can manage it. Well done you for supporting her.. being able to have a friend who knows the situation is important.

    At the end of the day you may have to move to plan B and involve other people and be more interventionist than you'd like if you think your friend is getting worse or in danger of suicide but hopefully it won't come to that. Its a tough ask for you to deal with all this and you can only do your best so try not to worry too much.

    Good luck

    Thank you ever so much for your advice... I think talking to my friend and telling her to explain to her Mum how the medication is to balance out chemicals in her body rather than the whole voices thing... I that is a really good idea. Thank you so much for your advice, again. I really do appreciate it.
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    sounds like schizophrenia
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    (Original post by >Username<)
    Thank you ever so much for your advice... I think talking to my friend and telling her to explain to her Mum how the medication is to balance out chemicals in her body rather than the whole voices thing... I that is a really good idea. Thank you so much for your advice, again. I really do appreciate it.
    Hi, I've been thinking about this situation. I talked to someone who studied the anthropology of medicine who was explaining to me all the different ways people think about medication and western medicines etc which made me realise that your friends mother is acting in the way she is because she really does think that the medicine won't work and may even be dangerous. Lots of people consider the mind may be affected by stress and outside events and this is accepted as a cause of mental illness. Your friend's mother just believes that the outside source of her daughter's distress is based on negative images and words from music and television. The two points of view are not that dissimilar in some ways as both are considering the impact of environment and surroundings on the person. In Schitzophrenia it might actually be so that some negative images can be stressful and disorientating to the sufferer.

    I'm not saying that I think your friend's mother is right to hide the medication but I can see that in the lightof her own view of things she is trying to help her daughter.

    It may also be that she has looked up the medication on line and has been frightened by the potential side effects etc and has decided it would be better to hide the tablets. I think she is wrong because it is up to your friend to decide for herself on these things but it is all understandable.

    This means there are a lot of issues to deal with when your friend talks to her mom. She can try the chemical approach thing we talked about and hopefully that might work but if the mom has looked up the medication she still might consider it dangerous. If your friend can try to work out her mother's specific objections then it might be easier to solve. For instance if her mother thinks this particular medication is dangerous perhaps your friend could thank her for finding this out and ask if they could go back to the doctor to ask for a safer alternative. Look up the meds yourselves and try to see what may have frightened her mother.

    I suppose this is now all about talking it through so your friend can work out what exactly is in her mom's head and the best way to persuade her mom. With regard to the music and television she should try to negotiate, maybe say she will spend a little extra time praying or meditating each day to calm her mind/relax without giving up her right to choose to watch and listen to tv/music.

    Basically try to calm/acknowledge her mother's fears, work out what her mother's problem with the meds are and steer all conversations towards practical, physical illness.

    I hope your friend gets well.

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    (Original post by paniking_and_not_revising)
    I know. Just by glancing at my family, I see personality disorders and mental health problems screaming at me! And when I try to talk about it, I get dismissed because I'm too young to know anything.

    Back when my emotions were very unstable, instead of taking me to a doctor, my Mum bought me a necklace with my birthstone because it would bring me good luck or something. I was completely gobsmacked that she thought a necklace was going to sort my life out or something. She know thinks I'm better but my problems are now worsening.

    The other thing as OP mentioned in the jinn problem. My cousin left home last year and married the girl he liked and my family spent a week saying the family of the girl were doing black magic to trick him and went to an astrologer who said he'd be back by the end of last year. Unsurprisingly, he's still not come home.

    There seems to be a fascination amongst Pakistanis (I am one too btw) about dark magic and jinn. Instead of thinking logically, parents tend to think "there's a jinn in my child! I must take him/her to the imam"

    They think they're sorting the problem but in fact, this ignorance is causing more harm than good.

    OP is seriously stuck imo. These cultural values and beliefs are very hard to undo and many people in Pakistan are still uneducated. And most of what Pakistanis know about life and stuff in general comes from loudmouthed Muslim clerics who need to be quiet.

    Sorry for getting too preachy. Again lol!
    I'm sorry to hear you're still having some problems. I hope you are getting support somewhere.

    I wondered if you would be kind enough to explain the 'Jinn' thing to me. What is a Jinn? Is this part of a general Asian belief system or specific to Islam or a certain region? I'm interested because of the way it has been used in this instance to explain a mental illness and I wondered if this was a common reading of such illnesses.

    Many thanks if you do have the time to explain.

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    (Original post by catoswyn)
    I'm sorry to hear you're still having some problems. I hope you are getting support somewhere.

    I wondered if you would be kind enough to explain the 'Jinn' thing to me. What is a Jinn? Is this part of a general Asian belief system or specific to Islam or a certain region? I'm interested because of the way it has been used in this instance to explain a mental illness and I wondered if this was a common reading of such illnesses.

    Many thanks if you do have the time to explain.

    Jinn tend to be found in Arab, Persian and sometimes Indian folklore. But they were mentioned to be made of fire in the Quran and it is believed they can possess you or something.

    Not all Muslims believe it's a jinn thing. Some believe it's a diseased heart and that being religious will solve it. Some believe it's a test. And a minority who are educated will believe it's a genuine illness.

    I don't know a great deal about it but it's a view that I've seen in many Muslims.

    It's just mental health is something that began in the West and foreign countries still struggle with it. Some believe that you need proof like from a blood test to prove it's real.
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    (Original post by paniking_and_not_revising)
    Jinn tend to be found in Arab, Persian and sometimes Indian folklore. But they were mentioned to be made of fire in the Quran and it is believed they can possess you or something.

    Not all Muslims believe it's a jinn thing. Some believe it's a diseased heart and that being religious will solve it. Some believe it's a test. And a minority who are educated will believe it's a genuine illness.

    I don't know a great deal about it but it's a view that I've seen in many Muslims.

    It's just mental health is something that began in the West and foreign countries still struggle with it. Some believe that you need proof like from a blood test to prove it's real.
    That's really interesting, thank you. Apparently the word 'magi' from the Persian means fire maker so its interesting the Jinn are said to be made of fire as 'magi' became part of the word 'imagination'... the fire of the mind so to speak. So perhaps some of these old folklore tales are an attempt to make sense of these things such as the mind going wrong.

    Thanks again.

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