People Who Have Watched Someone's Sanity Slowly Deteriorate Share Their Stories
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Perhaps the hardest thing about watching someone's mental health deteriorate is the inability to say good-bye. If the person was someone you knew well, it can be so terrible watching the individual you once knew slip away that you don't even think about telling them how you truly feel until it's too late.

Then, unfortunately, that person you once knew is no longer there.


Reddit user, u/DestroyedbymybigPP, wanted to know:

When did you watch someone's sanity slowly deteriorate?

Protect Adults From The Internet

My mom started going to online blogs and web-radio shows about ghosts, aliens, conspiracies and took it all at face value. I saw my normal mom turn into a complete, gullible ignoramus in a matter of months. Nobody could talk to her without her bringing up FEMA death camps, potential economic collapse, aliens, antivax or Obama signing more executive orders than any president in history. Her friends thought she might have a brain tumor. She didn't.

She did have cancer she was hiding/ignoring that ended up killing her bc she thought cancer wasn't real. This is what happens to lonely people that are looking for a connection...they'll believe anything just to feel that they are a part of something. It was very sad that she was so unbearable the last couple years of her life.

7AutomaticDevine7

My (ex) best friend over the course of this past year has gone from a normal - well adjusted woman who held down a full time job and a VERY nice apartment to constantly being online and talking about how humans are just slaves to an alien race that lives on mars and how reality doesn't exist and If she died none of it would matter because reality doesn't exist...

I don't talk to her anymore because if I said anything in opposition, she would lose her sh-t on me... very different from the kind, compassionate woman I was best friends with for 4 years. I miss her every day.

Disclaimer: I know she's doing well, she has a great familial support system and other friends that agree with her beliefs, I just couldn't be one of them anymore.

We can't force someone into help if they don't want to be helped.

happybunnybb

Still Going Strong, But Maybe She Shouldn't Be

My grandmother as she went into alzheimer's. Use to be very active in the community and always helpful. When I was young remember doing meals on wheels with her for the old folks around town along with helping/hanging at the senior center.

Now she barely remembers who I am or where she is. Even so much as to lash out at people. I wish to have my grandma back I basically grew up with due to my mother working so much to take care and raise us. She is a shadow now of her former self and can't even hold a convo or even move out of her bed. She now is taken care of by family 24/7 which is so far away from the independent person she use to be. Never asking for help but always offering it.

Still going at 93 right now but not the same person I know. Sometimes I consider her already passed as she is so far away from what she use to be. Guess it is how we all go in the end...

ak_n3tgh0st

"What am I supposed to do with this?"

I'm a nurse and I had this patient once who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We came everyday to help him get dressed and cleaned up and everything. His wife told us he was a very well educated man who cared a lot about how he looked. He used to shave every day. So I handed him his razor and his shaving cream one morning. He just looked at me and said 'what am i supposed to do with this?'

He didn't remember how to do it. I will never forget how he looked at himself in the mirror, it was like he didn't even recognize himself

He went to a hospice a day later and he didn't even understand why.

idc2407

An Obsession Becomes Unhealthy

I was in high school and my best friend went from a normal guy who we would smoke occasionally, listen to music and have fun. It went to this obsession with a girl that clearly has no interest in him. He would literally stalk her, try to win her over. At the same time, he wasn't keeping up with hygiene and went from a decent student to a poor performer.

I told my parents everything that was going on. His parents were extremely well educated but weren't doing anything about his behaviors. My parents talked to his and they took it serious after hearing about the thoughts of self harm. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Nearly 40 years later, he still doesn't look the same. Really sad situation. I still miss him.

Stuntedatpuberty

Challenging When It's Your Own Father

My father. Whole family suffers with mental illness, this combined with his rough childhood made him a generally slightly unstable person. He was prescribed the wrong meds, for depression and the minor issues we were having progressed over 9 months to mania and psychosis, having episodes which would have to call the police. Couldn't get help and he ended up moving out after breaking my nose and not remembering.

I've been through a lot but those 9 months were some of the worst because I could do nothing but watch as I was just a kid and had to watch the father I love turn into a horrible person who I hated but pitied at the same time. He become verbally abusive, imagined things, and forgot everything, very confused with life and forgot most things, making up stories where he didn't remember. Not only was it his downfall but also the downfall of the family

waddlepenguinmaster

A Little Different Each Time

When I was 15, I had this boyfriend that had a disease which made his mind and memory deteriorate as well as physically his joints stopped working (I don't remember what it's called...) I remember watching him go to surgery constantly.... And it felt like with every surgery, and with every dosage of pain meds he got angrier and angrier.... And loved me, and life, less and less.

trhowabay

Staying Strong For Years, Until You No Longer Can

My grandma...she grew up in a pretty poor area in Portugal, her and my grandfather built a restaurant from scratch and it became very successful.

Now she's almost 90, battled cancer and now has Alzheimer's. My grandfather passed away last year, and now she's all alone (my aunt that lives in Portugal takes good care of her), but what's really breaking my heart is when we call and she will repeat the same things over and over again, she was an amazing chef and the restaurant became popular because of her meals, and now she tried to fry yogurt as she thinks that's how you do it.

She cannot remember basic tasks, and very recently she did not recognise my sister, which our grandmother raised for about 10 years.

It's sad, seeing someone so strong and full of life...forgot how to do basic things, our minds are amazing but once they go...f-ck man.

yoohereiam

Shifting Careers

I watched my ex wife slowly spiral down and I didn't even realize it. She was never really "stable" and had a family history of mental illness. Apparently she started cheating on me and never had the strength to tell me or get a divorce and the constant lying and being on edge that I would find out at any minute really got to her (this was over the course of a year). Towards the end she would "rock" every time she sat and bit her nails till they bled. Currently she is maxed out on a host of meds and it takes everything she has to got to work as a janitor and come home. Her father is her "guardian" and helps her pay bills and stuff.

She often denies past events or alters them if they were unpleasant (she is very adamant that they are real). Her father broke down and told me this a month ago and actually recommend that I not encourage our kids to visit her (I would never prevent them from seeing their mother). So in the course of a of 5 years she went from a fit dental hygienist with a promising career and host of friends to an overweight janitor with no friends who can't even pay her own rent or buy groceries. I do admire her for going to work every day and trying.

gimme3strokes

No More World Domination

Watched my grandfather slowly sink into Alzheimer's. By the end he didn't know my name or his own. He was sad and angry and confused. I watched every week as he forgot a little more. Got a little more belligerent. A little more lost. Until one day I walked in and he started screaming that someone was there to rob him. It was the saddest f-cking thing I've ever seen.

I have such vivid memories of watching him and my uncles have such animated debates about politics and movies and sports. They used to play Risk until the sun came up listening to Sinatra. He would sit and explain every single play in a baseball game to me as a kid. He was sharp as f-ck and the saddest and hardest part was watching the struggle on his face to remember. The frustration he felt. Like he was letting us down. I miss him a lot.

C-ntyMcGiggles

A Meteoric Descent

My younger brother died from a drug overdose last month. He used for the first time in march. In 7 short months I watched my best friend become someone I didn't recognize, someone I couldn't even hold a conversation with anymore. It wasn't a slow deterioration, it was a meteoric descent into a drug fuelled madness.

He lied about anything and everything, even things that made zero sense to lie about, used nicknames from our childhood that we hadn't used in years, would forget what we were talking about mid-conversation. It was like he was replaced with a near identical but slightly off version of my brother. It was and still is heart breaking. I mourn him but at the end I didn't know him anymore.

Turkeybaconisheresy

When It Takes An Illness To Form A Bond

My sister passed away earlier this year and she was sick for a long time. During the last few months you could tell that it was becoming harder for her to think and respond. Paradoxically it actually made her a lot nicer to me. We had never had a great relationship and I always believed she hated me but during those last few months she said very few unkind things to me. It was hard to know that the only time we ever really got along was right before she passed away.

Natrl20

From Thoughts To Scribbles

I worked in a care facility for people who suffer from dementia.

This was a very rewarding and enjoyable job but at times it could be confronting and sad, as you'd expect. One story that stuck with me was this lady who'd write in her booklet and always left it open. She didn't care to keep it a secret or anything but I would make sure to keep personal posessions private as much as I could while cleaning the rooms. So I'd close the little book and put it in her desk where she could find it.

It's something I could relate to. I have my own little books and enjoy writing as well and appreciate it when people respect my privacy.

I wouldn't read the contents but I saw the phrases go from sentences, to repeated words, to scribbles. Eventually, she became too confused to put pen to paper. Opening and closing the booklet, carefully touching the paper, but she couldn't quite figure it out anymore. Eventually giving up.

This really hit home to me, as I knew how therapeutic it could be to organise your thoughts on paper. I write when I'm sad or overwhelmed. The thought of her being unable to when she might have needed the outlet still stings.

LevelJoy

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"Skunk"

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