Concerned About a Friend

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My friend thinks she’s an “interdimensional medium.” I am concerned for the mental health of a friend of mine. She’s a writer and an avid reader of japanese grapic novels. However, for the past few years, she’s been almost “obsessed” with them. She writes stories about the characters in the books she reads, she collects things related to them, and her “original” stories are all “rip-offs” of the stories that she reads, and she often inserts herself in her stories. Her art revolves around said fictional characters, and she constantly talks about them. For a period of time a few years ago ( ages 11-15)she would claim she could see them, and they were real and she talked to them and interacted with them. She claimed she was “related” to some of them, and she wasn’t of this world. That stopped for a while, but recently (she’s 20 now) she’s told me that she is an “interdimensional medium”. She says that when someone creates a world and its people in their head that it is created in an alternate universe, and that by being an interdimensional medium she can commune with these beings and she can “breach the boundaries between our world and the other worlds”. She says she can’t travel there, but she can see and communicate with them like a medium would commnicate with a ghost.

I’m very worried about her and I don’t know how to handle this. Any advice or any ideas about what may be going on would be greatly appreciated.

A. It is difficult to know what is happening with your friend. It sounds as if she’s become obsessed and overly involved with the Japanese graphic novels. It is not safe when an individual loses touch with reality. Some individuals can become lost in a fantasy world. That may be what is happening to your friend.

There are several ways to approach this situation but it depends on your relationship with your friend. If you and she have a close relationship, then you may want to express your concerns to her directly. You want to be honest with her. You can say to her “I understand that you are very interested in your readings and writings and I think that’s great but I am concerned that you are losing touch with reality. It’s unhealthy not to live in reality. It seems as if you are obsessed with your hobby and this concerns me. I don’t want anything negative to happen to you and I’m wondering if you would consider going to a therapist.”

The reason that I am suggesting counseling for her is because she would have the opportunity to be evaluated by a mental health professional. It’s best to have an outside, objective opinion in this situation. It sounds as if there is a serious problem but because I have not interviewed your friend I cannot know with certainty.

If talking directly with her is not something that you are comfortable with, then as I have suggested to others in the past, you could write her a letter or print off this letter and my response and give it to her. Other ideas include speaking with her parents or other close friends or family about your concerns. You may find that others are also concerned and if so, you may be able to team up with them and approach her together.

Your friend is very fortunate to have a perceptive, kind and caring friend. You’re right to be concerned and you are a good friend. I hope this letter helps you to help her. Thank you for your question.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jan 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Concerned About a Friend. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/02/concerned-about-a-friend/