Learning from the Experience
The fact that a person has a disorder that incapacitates her mentally for short or long periods of time does not mean she deserves any less respect than another person does. Your actions and statements may still register with a person whose speech makes no sense to you. What you say can affect his willingness and ability to trust you. Do not let others mock, patronize, or insult a person who seems not to be in touch with reality or is acting bizarrely. It will only weaken your ability to help her now and in the future. If you promise a person something just to get a measure of control over him but fail to meet your obligation, you will have destroyed trust that might have been a great benefit later.
It's Not Personal
Do not take personally what a person in the midst of a psychotic crisis says to you. Her words or actions directed toward you in response to psychotic symptoms are not personal affronts. This can be very difficult to deal with, but it's very important you understand it. Such behavior is a symptom of the disease.
What should I do if someone's speech does not make sense?
Severe symptoms of psychosis can result in disorganized thinking and speech. Use simple, straightforward sentences to speak to a person who is not coherent. Be patient and repeat yourself as many times as you need to. Don't rush the person to respond to you. Try to be a steady, calming influence.
Don't be fooled by a lack of response from the person you are trying to help. A patient may show little reaction or emotion, but this does not mean she feels nothing. The same applies to her ability to understand. A failure to respond by nodding, making eye contact, or verbally agreeing or disagreeing does not necessarily indicate a lack of understanding.
What to Do After the Crisis
Taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of someone else. After the crisis is over and the person in crisis is receiving treatment, recognize that you have been through an emotional, and perhaps traumatic, experience. Don't ignore what happened by trying not to think about it. Talk to someone — a friend, relative, social worker, or therapist — who will understand.
It is normal to be stressed and fearful. Abnormal situations evoke unusual reactions from people. You may not be used to how your body is responding to a crisis, but the response, although distressing, is normal.
The American Counseling Association offers other suggestions for coping after going through a crisis. It advises you to listen to others who have experienced a similar crisis and recommends that you talk to a counselor. This is particularly true if you experience nightmares, insomnia, or social withdrawal, and have trouble focusing. These are normal reactions for people who have survived a crisis. Try to be patient and not take out your stress on others. Try to remember that taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of someone else.