Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Hearing voices

hi sam

so I have psychosis and it is beginning to affect my relationship with my friends because they dont really understand. how can I explain it to them in a way that they can get what is happening to me and not be scared?

Ask Sam


Hi there

Psychosis is a mental health condition that can cause someone to temporarily experience things differently. During a psychotic episode you might hear, see or sense things that other people don’t. You might also have jumbled or paranoid thoughts about yourself and about how others see you. It can feel scary if it happens to you but help is available.

Not everyone who experiences these kinds of thoughts and feelings has psychosis. It’s different to talking to yourself or listening to your thoughts which are everyday things that everyone experiences. Psychosis is where someone hears and sees things that are out of their control and aren’t real - even when they feel like they are.

If you think you have psychosis you should see your doctor as it’s not something you can diagnose yourself by looking online. If you’re diagnosed, your doctor or psychiatrist can refer you for additional support or they might offer you medication. Remember everyone’s different and it’s important to get the right help for you.

Support from friends and family can help you to manage the symptoms. There might not be anything specific they can do so let them know that staying calm is often the best way to help. You could explain more about your psychosis and how it affects you so that they feel more prepared if you have an episode. Tell them who to call if you need help and but sometimes there won’t be anything they can do and that’s okay too.

You could share with them things that have helped you to cope in the past and ask them to let you know if they notice any changes in your behaviour. That way you might be able to put your coping strategies in place earlier on when the symptoms first start to help reduce the effects of the episode.  Keeping a diary and writing about the things that may cause you to feel worse can also help as psychosis is sometimes triggered by stressful events. You might want to write down your thoughts in your Mood journal or express them in the Art box.

If you’re supporting a friend or family member with their mental health it’s important to take care of yourself. Finding out about their condition can help to reduce the fears around it and can help you to feel more in control. You might feel upset or frustrated sometimes so it’s important to have support for you too.

Remember that you can talk to a counsellor at Childline if you have psychosis yourself or you’re supporting someone else with a mental health problem.

Take care


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