My best friend of 2 years is going through a lot. He’s trans and his mom is really overprotective, but I’ve been trying to be really supportive. Until today, when he told me he’s “otherkin” with Jack Frost. He honestly believes that he is the reincarnation of Jack Frost from an alternate universe. Honestly, I thought he was smarter than this; we used to laugh about how silly these theories were. I can’t take him seriously anymore. I know he’s been going through a rough time, plus he has pretty bad anxiety, but I feel like I just lost my best friend and I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t know whether this is because of his dysphoria or if he’s having delusions from his anxiety, but whatever it is, it’s freaking me out. He’s been talking to these guys online who also believe they are “otherkin” and I think they are just taking advantage of his fragile mind, but I don’t know how to help him. If I tell him to stop talking to them, he’ll hate me. I can’t talk to his mom because he already doesn’t trust her. He’s going to therapy but I seriously doubt he’ll talk about this even if I ask him to. I’m at a total loss here, and frankly it feels like a bad dream I can’t wake up from. I just want my friend back!

A. Either your friend is the reincarnation of Jack Frost or he is not. Either he is an otherkin or he is not. Believing in things that are not real can and do harm us. We are not entitled to our own personal, subjective reality. If in our own personal, subjective, reality we deeply and sincerely believe that the 9mm handgun is unloaded and we point that gun to our head and pull the trigger, we will only survive if in objective reality the gun is indeed empty.

If in our own personal, subjective reality we believe that a new stock, recommended to us by our broker, will make us rich and can’t fail and we then mortgage our house to invest in the stock, we will be homeless unless in objective reality the stock was a good investment.

Family members know, all too well, how difficult it is, if not impossible, to get a family member, who is clearly delusional, into therapy. Husbands can’t force wives, or wives force husbands, or brothers force sisters, into therapy. The general public is not aware of the severity of this problem but families with mentally ill members, are very much aware of the problem. Parents cry themselves to sleep at night, thinking of their mentally ill son or daughter who is sleeping on the street in the cold or rain. When someone finds out about their problem, their very first thought is “why didn’t they call someone?” And the answer to that question is, they did call someone in fact they called everyone. You simply cannot force someone to receive therapy if they choose not to and very often they choose not to because of their mental illness. They simply do not believe that there is anything at all wrong with them, so why would they choose treatment for a condition that does not exist?

You can talk to your friend and you can be supportive and you can be there for them when they fail. Beyond that, there is very little that you can do. You can alert their parents, their brothers, sisters or other friends. You may lose your friend by simply attempting to save them but if you truly care about them, it is an acceptable loss. Good luck and thanks for caring.

Dr. Kristina Randle