I need your help. I need your advice. My niece (age 23) is running away from home. She is schizophrenic and bipolar I. She is off her meds and driving a car that isn’t very road worthy. She won’t talk to me or her mother, but most likely this is over a boy. She lives 1800 miles away from me. How can I help her?

She told her mother that she doesn’t remember her drive home last night and that the “darkness” is coming back so she must be on the verge of a psychotic break. She has audio and visual hallucinations. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I can do.

Please, if anyone has any advice, I would like to hear it.

Thank you.

9 thoughts on “Runaway

  1. In my state, NH, the procedure is to go to the police station and fill out a “prayer,” which is a petition to have someone picked up and involuntarily committed. The person has to be dangerous to him/herself or it won’t work. Each state is different, and seven states do not even have involuntary committment laws. You can go on this website: ( ) to get the psych laws in your state. If that doesn’t help, call your local NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) affiliate. Good luck!

    • Thanks for the information. The website was very helpful. We were able to look up the laws in her state. Since she isn’t suicidal (or homicidal) then we can’t get the police involved.

  2. First, call a professional or a crisis hotline. This is not a trivial situation and it shouldn’t be dealt with by the seat of anyone’s pants. If she requires medical attention, then start getting it now by calling a doctor. If she is a danger to herself or others, you may need to call police.

    Second, after you get professional help and a course of action specified by them, get in contact with family members (depending on your family structure, that may mean all of them or only some of them), and discuss developing a contingency plan so if this happens again you have some courses of action. Contact information for friends she trusts, for example. Provide or read yourself books about supporting individuals with mental illness and helping them keep up their daily medication regiment.

    Best luck, and I hope she is safe.

    • There is a limit to what I can do for her, but I will try to get the message through to my sister just how important it is for my niece to have proper medical care. I don’t think my sister is giving her daughter the support she needs.

      I’ve got more information on the situation, which I will post separately. Thanks for your help.

  3. I know what it is like to worry about someone that won’t listen and is too far away (my brother). I have realized that I can’t protect him and that in the end he will make his own decisions. Besides the “prayer” I would say if you can reach her just let her know that you’ll be thinking of her (in a non-panicked way) and that if she needs any help whatsoever when she is on the road to call you. Maybe if it gets really bad she will remember that. Do what you can, but realize that you really don’t have complete control. Good luck staying calm! Hoping everything turns out okay.

    • Thank you for your support. I did exactly as you said, but my messages went unanswered. I’ve explained what happened in the next post, but honestly I am still at a loss. From what I can tell, she never took that camping trip after all.

  4. Pingback: Runaway Part II | Manic Monday

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