Posted by on May 13, 2011

You know…sometimes you just want to write about stupid shit and you really wish you could because you don’t want to think about your friend Josh, who just spent six weeks in a psychiatric hospital after the men in the white coats came and took him away because he lost his mind doing bath salts.

You really want to talk to him but he hasn’t come over since he was released, probably because the last time you saw him he was all paranoid and delusional and you had to have  your husband tell him not to come over anymore. You have kids to consider and even though they love Josh, they can’t be around someone who is constantly searching your house for imaginary intruders and begging you to tell him what the secret number is and slipping you notes containing warnings about your family’s impending assassination.

And so when you find out he’s been released from the hospital, you go to his house a few times but he’s never there. You know from a mutual friend that his stepfather intended to kick him out and he will soon be homeless if he isn’t already.  You suspect he’s totally unemployable now and you know he has no money and you know everyone else has written him off, including his mom, the original super-intense Chinese Tiger Mother.

You’re worried about him staying clean and you wish to God he would just come over or message you on Facebook except he would have to do that at the library because on one of the innumerable occasions when he was out of his mind HARD, he smashed his laptop AND his iPad because they were talking to him and telling him terrible things.

And you can be kind of flip about it sometimes but that’s just a cover because really, you think about him every day and wonder if he’s alright and you wonder what’s going to become of him and you’re afraid you’ll never see him again and for the rest of your life you’ll be all “WTF happened to Josh?” and it will eat at you forever.

It doesn’t help at all that last night you had a horrible dream that your five year old was talking to you about Legos and Star Wars and casually says “…and Josh hung himself” and you remember how your whole body lurched awake and your eyes popped open and your husband had to keep telling you it was just a dream because it seemed SO REAL and now you’re mildly concerned that maybe it was more of a premonition than a dream.

Maybe this morning, regardless of how much work you have to do, you should go by his stepfather’s house again, just in case he’s still there, and because then you will know that you tried and didn’t just sit back and do nothing—because if something did happen to him, you would always regret it and you really, really hate regretting things.

Your husband has more or less withdrawn himself from this whole situation. He doesn’t want to take on this responsibility because Josh is a grown man and he made his choices and now he has to live with them and basically, whatever, but you? You don’t think like that and thankfully your husband gets you and understands that you’re a f@#%ing bleeding heart sucker/idiot that thinks Josh needs support and now that he’s supposedly clean and hopefully lucid, maybe for once he will listen to reason and be able to salvage what’s left of his life because after all, he’s only 27 and as frustrating and scary as all of this has been, he hasn’t actually hurt anyone but himself.

So go. Before you find an excuse not to.


I went to Josh’s house. All his stuff was gone. I knocked eleventy hundred times but nobody answered. I went to the next-door neighbors and asked them if they knew what happened to Josh and they said that he had re-admitted himself to the psychiatric facility because he was suicidal, was released again, came home and now he’s gone because his stepfather kicked him out. The neighbor said he was subdued but still delusional when he was there last week and that his stepfather said that the doctors think he may have damaged his brain permanently.

I called the facility he was at before, not knowing for sure if he was there, and asked if he was able to receive visitors. I know they can’t confirm if he’s there but they did confirm that he is NOT there, which is what I really wanted to know. So I have no idea where he is and I’m crushed because this is exactly what I didn’t want to happen…goddammit.


  • Sharyn says:

    Gosh, I hope you find him. I have a friend I lose periodically, not to psychosis but to chronic illness such that she’s in and out of hospitals and doesn’t return calls. I have nearly threatened to call the police and have occasionally checked the obits just to make sure. In this climate of being able to learn what someone had for breakfast and what detergent they just bought, it’s quite unsettling not to be able to locate someone.


    Keep checking in with his mother. No matter how much she say’s she’s done with him, a mother will ALWAYS reconnect with her troubled children, even if from a distance.

    Good luck and God bless Josh. It sounds like he could use it.

    • IzzyMom says:

      Unfortunately, his mother wrote him off years ago. I think this would just drive her further away, assuming she even knows. But thank you for your well wishes for him. He does need them.

  • Beth B. says:

    I hope you can reconnect with your friend.

  • roo says:

    I wish I knew more about what mental advocacy groups are available– he needs help. Well. You know that.

    I don’t understand why the hospital let him leave in that state. At least, not without some sort of halfway-house arrangement for him, to make sure he couldn’t just… disappear.

    Maybe you could google mental health advocacy in your area– see if there are any community services that could help? This problem is too big for you to carry yourself.

    • IzzyMom says:

      Unfortunately, he was in the care of the only community mental health services available for people who have no money and I’m assuming that they released him because he needs long term care, which they don’t provide, and they needed the bed for new emergency cases. It’s my understanding that there are a ton of people in that facility for the same thing as Josh…they friend their brains on bath salts, too. I was
      hoping they would have a halfway house situation for him but without talking to him, I don’t know what, if anything, is available to him. Probably not much as funding is being cut for everything here. I would be happy to advocate for him if he would just get in touch with me *sigh*

  • Meredith says:

    I went through something similar with my brother. We’d go months and months not knowing if he was alive or dead and one day he’d show up but he was never clean. He was a mess and he still is. How he remains alive we have no idea. He shows signs of psychosis pretty consistently from, we assume, years of heavy drug use. I had to let it all go. I did what I could and the rest is up to him. Same with your friend. Take care and good luck. I do hope you find him so you can have some peace of mind.

  • Miss Britt says:

    Oh, Izzy. I’m so sorry.

  • Josh is very, very lucky to have you. You know that I understand this and wish I had the right words to say but I don’t. All I can say is Josh is lucky to have you. xo

  • magpie says:

    Gah, what a hard place to be. I hope he’s okay.

  • Jared Karol says:

    Wow! Powerful stuff! I hope things turn out as best as they can.

  • Katelyn says:

    I hope you hear from him and they he’s okay. It’s admirable that you care for your friend as much as you do but remember that you did what you could and that you are not responsible for the bad choices he makes.

  • I’m so sorry about your friend. I hope that you find him, but I have to be honest and say that this is someone who shouldn’t be around your kids at all. If he’s paranoid and psychotic, you don’t know what he could do and people could get hurt. He’s not your friend Josh anymore, he’s a person in the grip of an addiction and unfortunately, he is the only one who can choose to save himself.

    I’ve lost friends this way. I am a person who can’t take the drama and danger of drug addicts in my life. You try the best you can to get them help, but if they won’t take it, you can’t go down with them. Peace to you, and I hope Josh finds his way back to good.

    • IzzyMom says:

      I agree…I don’t want him around my kids at all. They know the situation and I think they feel the same—his behavior freaks them out.

  • Jack says:

    I have been down that road before with a good friend. I lost touch with him when he went “underground” and have only heard about him once in five years.

    I look for him in crowds and in some of the old places. FWIW, the last thing I heard was that he was back on his meds but ashamed so he was staying away from those who knew him.

    I hope Josh is ok. Very sorry about this.

    • IzzyMom says:

      I do that, too. There’s a big picture window next to my desk and whenever I see someone out of my peripheral vision walking past, I have to look and see if it’s him. Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate it.

  • Ann says:

    Absolutely unequivocally heartbreaking. I hope Josh’s suffering ends.

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