"Maybe He Was in Love With You?": How to Talk With People in Psychosis

May-May Meijer; Femke Meijer


Schizophr Bull. 2020;46(1):6-8. 

In This Article

Sensitive Issues: Trauma and Side Effects of Medicines

May-May has been visiting the same psychiatric hospital in Hilversum for 12 years now. There are very sensitive issues which may be worthwhile to discuss, but she has never discussed them with her psychiatrists however. At a "Crazywise conference" in Amsterdam in March 2017, a person who had suffered from a sexual trauma spoke with May-May about the relation between trauma and mental illness. Although May-May and Femke have experienced a very lucky childhood, May-May also received smacks occasionally when she was young. She remembers this vividly and discussed it with the participant of the conference. Although this did not necessarily contribute to the development of her psychosis, and May-May doesn't feel she suffers from trauma, we think that it is worthwhile that psychiatrists ask their patients about possible forms of violence during their childhood. For reasons of loyalty, it is unlikely that people will mention these things by themselves.

Another issue that May-May suffered with for many years was loss of libido. This may seem like a minor issue when compared to the other problems she was struggling with, but it is not. She never dared to discuss it. However, she was encouraged to talk openly about this issue after she watched a television interview that openly addressed this topic. Again, psychiatrists should actively ask about this issue. In other medical disciplines, it is more accepted to talk about sex. After the delivery of her son, the midwife took the initiative to ask May-May about her sexual life and gave her the advice that helped.