More threads by ghostwiththem0st

What mental illness may my cousin have?

I have a cousin who I'm very close with and very concerned about. Something always seemed very strange about her but her mother has never cared to get her help. Certain things worry me a lot. She has very high levels of anxiety and paranoia and has crippling panic attacks, and during them she seems to have no control of herself, and she's completely inconsolable. She paces around the floor hyperventilating and sobbing while muttering things to herself, and even very impulsively harms herself and has tried to kill herself, or asked others to kill her.

She also isolates herself from people. She has no friends and is only close with a few family members, and she's very uncomfortable with any kind of romantic relationship. Her sister tried to have her date a friend and she panicked and cried hysterically upon finding out.

She spends an unnatural amount of time on ouija boards talking to "friends" by herself and tells stories about them as if it's normal. She preoccupied with the paranormal and very dark subjects in general seemingly all the time. One of the things that concerns me the most is that she has this fantasy world in her head. She incessantly daydreams about hanging out with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, which sounds a little silly but it's actually very sad. She never wants to go out and do anything because she'd rather spend her time in this fantasy world and thinking about the supernatural. I've also heard her verbalize these fantasies before-talking as if they're happening. She also claims they're the only things keeping her sane. I should also point out that she's completely harmless-she has and never would hurt another person, though she does self harm sometimes.

She also has very serious separation anxiety-she has a terrible home situation and has the option to live somewhere else but won't because the thought of leaving things behind, no matter how bad they are for her terrifies her. Some of the smaller issues are that she can't concentrate on anything and has a very hard time understanding simple things, and perceives things in an unusual way.the last thing that is very scary to me is that she comes up with very unrealistic worst case scenarios in her head and then gets very paranoid about them-for example if her mom doesn't come home by the time she says she would, she immediately starts thinking about the worst possible things that could happen-most of the time she gets very fearful that she was murdered.

She's also told me that before she enters a room she can't help but vividly picture a horrifying image of what may be behind that door-like a gruesome murder and then she panics about it. She has severe insomnia, and also has severe memory lapses. She'll often say or do something and have absolutely no recollection of it a few seconds or minutes later, or she will be doing something and somehow forget what's she's doing while she's doing it.

She also says she hears voices while going to sleep at night. Not that they tell her to do anything, but she just hears talking in her ear. And I'm not sure it can be attributed to mental illness but she also has a very eccentric way of speaking. Just very strange mannerisms and speech patterns that can be hard to follow, with some stuttering, and she'll ramble without making any sense whatsoever. She also seems to always be in her own little world-it's hard to explain what it's like talking to her. It's like she has her own thoughts going on and mixes them up with what you're saying and responds in a totally nonsensical way. Her speech is also often incoherent. When you ask her to repeat herself, she doesn't know what she said.

I want to get her help, I'm just very nervous that she's not going to want it, and I'd hate to see her forcibly institutionalized, although I'm terrified she's going to harm herself much worse than she has. And she also swears that she sees living family members in ghost form. Like she'll wake up in the middle of the night and see her mom in the form of a ghost sitting on her bed, or she'll see her sister walking around as a ghost, and she doesn't even live there anymore. What she means by ghost form is transparent and greyish. I'm not putting down her belief in ghosts, but I don't think these are ghosts. I think they're hallucinations. Another thing I want to add is that she also feels things crawling on her a lot. She'll scratch and pick at her skin and rub her arms and eyes non stop, and does a jerking motion with her jaw frequently as well as moving her head around and tilting it in odd ways, and she rolls her shoulders around in circles. She also tends to make strange noises and rock back and forth a bit, sway from side to side or nod her head up and down, and stick her tongue out.

Another thing she does is stare out into space-she'll just stare at nothing and become completely unresponsive. When she snaps out of it, I've asked what she was doing and she usually says she doesn't know or can't remember, or that she was imagining something so vividly she couldn't snap out of it and realize that it wasn't actually happening. Even when she's not doing this, she seems extremely unaware of her surroundings. She is constantly falling or running into things, and she is majorly uncoordinated.

She seems to not care about herself much either. She does not take care of her health and body and when she's physically ill she does nothing about it.

I've tried to talk to her mother about the possibility of a serious mental illness and she denies the possibility that there could be anything wrong. She simply doesn't want to deal with it, and this is something she told me. I'm honestly very deeply concerned about her mental health and since her mom won't get her help, I'm curious if anyone thinks these issues are necessary to take into my own hands? If they're severe enough that something needs to be done. Sorry for such a long explanation, but she has a lot of problems I wanted to include. I also need to mention that her self harm can be quite extensive. A couple months ago she sustained extremely serious injuries due to self harm.

I also wanted to point out that she's 18 and our family has a history of mental illness including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and she was abused for 6 years. She seems to get worse every time I see her. Last time I was over (2 days ago) she was going to sleep on the couch and when I asked her why she said it was because there was a man in her room. I checked and there was no one there, but she insisted he was and described him very vividly. PLEASE help if you can-I'm really not sure what I'm able to do.
Last edited:

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Re: I am absolutely desperate to help my cousin but not sure what to do...please help

Hello, ghostwiththem0st:

We do not permit online diagnosis here. It is illegal, unethical, inaccurate, and ultimately pointless.

If you have concerns about your cousin, talk to your own parents or other relatives who might be able to convince her mother to seek a psychological or psychiatric evaluation for her.
I understand, but i wanted more help figuring out how to go about getting her help rather than asking to help diagnose. Sorry about that, I know I wasn't very clear.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
You can encourage her to seek help or you can try to encourage her mother to take her for help. Or as I said you can talk to other family members and relatives to get their advice on how to get her evaluated. We don't know your cousin or the family dynamics so it's difficult to be more specific.
If you feel your cousin is in danger you can call crisis line and they will send someone to talk to your cousin or call authorities and they will also bring your cousin to hospital where she will be assessed and given treatment to help her. The best way thought is to get her parents to take her to her doctor who will give a referral to see a psychiatrist who will then diagnose her and give her treatment. As said by Dr. Baxter we have no idea of family dynamics here or history but her doctor will and is the best one to get the help your cousin needs
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.