My friend believes he is a prophet

My friend told me tonight he just went from feeling somewhat suicidal to being inspired by Futurama and The Beatles to believe in a god or gods, time travel and something he calls magic but he says is not magic in some clichéd way (“like telepathy or flying”). He says he is a genius, a prophet and the reincarnation of someone famous who he’ll reveal to me when I’m ready, and he wants to check this by writing to someone else famous who will be able to verify. He has proof of some of these things, but he’s not sure if God or someone/something else wants me to see that yet, and he needs to know I at least 49% believe him before I can see it anyway. He does need to get his message of love out there and he intends to do this with a stand-up routine. Also he asked me if I’m real, and if I’m an alien.

I can’t say I’m entirely unafraid that he will prove what he says to me by “helping” me experience reincarnation for myself.

Writing this makes it seem twice as crazy as it seemed hearing it from him. And it sounded seriously crazy when I heard it.

He’s been smoking way, way too much cannabis for a year or two (unhealthy amounts for longer than that) and has recently been doing this with a Zippo and a bong. I’m concerned fumes from the Zippo are part of what has brought this on.

I absolutely swear I am not making any of this up, and he is really not the type to play any kind of practical joke.

What the hell am I supposed to do? I told him I don’t deny the possibility he is right but that I can’t accept that based on faith any more than I can any religion, and that he should remain sceptical since there are a lot of people who believe just as certainly in competing ideas. He said he knows he sounds crazy, but he’s not.

How old is your friend? Schizoprenia often begins to show signs and symptoms in the early 20’s.

If he can’t tell you what the next winning lottery numbers are, get him some help.

Your friend sounds almost exactly like this guy I knew who was a diagnosed schizophrenic, he was always going off on a kind of religious mania where a god he described as somewhere between christian and islamic was speaking directly to him through various mundane situations. He sounded like Charlie Sheen if he found Jesus :stuck_out_tongue:

Contact your local mental health service and tell them what you just told us. What you’ve described are psychotic delusions, and he needs treatment.

He doesn’t think he’s crazy because this form of illness often involves a lack of insight.

If you’re not sure how to contact your local mental health service, call the local hospital - they should be able to help you with that.

Where do you draw the line between his friends beliefs and the more conventionally religious? I can find posts on this board where Christians claim to see visions in church or otherwise, they believe them to be divinely delivered.

Unless I missed it his friend believes in god, time travel, magic, and reincarnation. What in there suggests he needs forced treatment? I didn’t see any claims of violence or suicidal thoughts.

I would be very angry if I had a discussion on religious beliefs with a friend and they called “the authorities” on me. :mad:


He’s gone from feeling suicidal to suddenly having a bunch of new beliefs of a type that are common in psychosis (he sounds quite grandiose).

He’s asked his friend whether he/she is real and whether he/he is an alien.

This is not someone who simply has unusual beliefs.

If he is psychotic, then there is considerable risk because someone who is unwell may lack capacity to look after themselves properly, and may be at risk of harming others (depending on the content of his delusions)

Who knows what he means by ‘helping’ someone experience reincarnation for themselves.

The local service would also be able to do a more thorough assessment before commencing any treatment.

Bozuit, if you’re feeling uncertain, an alternative would be to talk to your GP, who will know about services in your area.

You have to view things in their cultural context. Believing in culturally-acceptable superstitions is just irrational, not psychotic. This guy has got something else entirely going on.ëlism


Like I said it definitely sounds like symptoms of schizophrenia, but who knows his friend could also be in a manic phase of bipolar.

Ask him to lay off the dope for a month and see how he feels about his powers then.

(Teh bongin’ kind, not the readin’ kind.)

He seemed to think when he told me all this stuff it would make me happy and change my life, and I honestly don’t understand how he could think I would just believe what he says. He knows I’m sceptical of everything and don’t accept religion. Afterwards we had a much more normal conversation (normal for us anyway) and he told me he doesn’t think it’s schizophrenia because he hasn’t been seeing or hearing anything.

Bozuit, it may not be schizophrenia, but his perception is most certainly not based on reality. Nor is it useful for him to think that it is. Mental imbalance comes in many forms, and not all are permanent. Could simply be drug related.

Whatever it is, it’s not for you, him or a forum to decide: encourage him to find the right professional for an assessment.

I really don’t know how to tell him how crazy he sounds. I considered asking him to summarize it as I did above, then read it back and see how it sounds, but I think he knows it sounds crazy anyway. I’m worried about bringing out paranoia since it’s just us living in this place, and he trusted me by telling me this so he won’t appreciate me telling others. Maybe I should get him to read the Wikipedia article on schizophrenia? I think he’s smart enough to be able to analyse his ideas and work out it’s ridiculous, but unfortunately he normally often he is is somehow a special case (e.g. “I know I shouldn’t have finished all your milk but…”) and I think this will allow him to convince himself “I know I sound crazy but…”.

Oh and he’s 24. Some of the other symptoms like lack of motivation and reclusion have been showing for a while, but I thought it was a combination of mild OCD, Asperger syndrome, depression and laziness. Until about a week ago he was taking a fairly high dose of citalopram and due to his unwillingness to go out he didn’t go to get more when he ran out.

Hallowed be his name. Justincase.

Maybe you have to use the tact that you understand that he is not concerned by the current way he’s thinking, but that it is outside his normal realm of behaviours.

As his friend and confidante, you would like be assured that he is in fact okay, by him agreeing to an assessment. It is more to allay your concerns rather than his.

In regard to his beliefs at this point, no amount of reasoning will convince him that what he’s saying confronts your idea of a stable mind. In his mind, he has powers you are yet to understand; so it makes perfect sense to him that he makes no sense to you.

At the moment, he is not in the state of mind to be able to make decisions based on logic and reason. So maybe you have to have him agree to ‘humour’ you by seeing a professional. Because after all, if he IS okay then he should have no issue with having that proven to you.

Like was said upthread, it could be a heavily manic phase of bipolar disorder. I had a friend who believed she was being spied upon by the government (by, among other means, surveillance devices hidden in drive-up window speakers) and that everyone, including her husband, was in on the plot. She wasn’t seeing or hearing anything either. She decided to make a break for it and drove halfway across her state before finally breaking down and realizing something was probably wrong with her even though she really did believe this was happening. She made the (in context) courageous decision to call her husband and tell him what she’d done and that she couldn’t see him actually turning against her.

These days she’s on medication, still holding down her same job, etc. She has to see a therapist and a psychiatrist to monitor how she’s doing and change up meds as necessary, but she’s basically fine and quite happy.

BTW, I agree with 6Impossible and others who suggested that because he’s acting different than normal for him, perhaps he could make you feel better by seeing a doctor and honestly telling the doc about what he’s told you.

I wonder if the sudden withdrawal from citalopram has caused a manic episode - no great suggestions on what to do though, apart from try and persaude him to see his doctor and tell them all this. Hopefully they can take it from there :frowning:

Is it helping or hurting him? Just because you don’t agree with his faith doesn’t mean that you are a authority on it. But you are able to observe the real world effects on his life, if it appears to be moving in a positive direction.

He is obviously ‘seeking’ due to the question are you a alien, but he must learn that the answers are inside him, not external in you. This seeking is a common thing in human history, sometimes part of a vision quest, and I would consider it normal and needed.

Well, there’s one endorsement.