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Old 02-24-2009, 06:36 AM   #1
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Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

Hello All,

I'm currently in turmoil. I recently began a relationship with a 30 year old man I met on the internet, and he confessed to me some weeks ago that he suffers from schizophrenia. This didn't change the way I felt about him, and I wanted to be there to love and support him. It only started to pose a problem a few weeks later, when he rather hastily ended the relationship following an argument. He then admitted he had made a mistake, and that he wanted to reconcile. We decided to provisionally move in together, since we were living some distance from each other, and that appeared to be going well. He confessed to me the previous week that he has stopped taking his meds, about which I was alarmed at first, however he reassured me that he could cope without them. Last weekend, though, I noticed that he has been getting increasingly irritable - we argued, and he convinced himself that I had been deliberately trying to wind him up, although I hadn't done anything. He deteriorated throughout the weekend and into Monday, becoming increasingly withdrawn and complaining about feeling awful. He asked me to leave on Monday, saying I didn't love or respect him, and demanded I take all of my things with me. I decided to leave my stuff at the flat, and went to stay with his parents. Since then, the situation has got progressively worse. He is full of anger towards both me and his parents, and demanded that his mother come and collect my things this morning and that I leave as soon as possible. He is either ranting or silent, and is barely recognisable at the moment. I'm trying not to take this personally, but cannot deny that it is tearing me apart - last week we were excited about our future together, this week he can't bear to be near me. I love him dearly and know that this is the illness talking, not my boyfriend, but can't help being hurt by all of this. I feel like I'm losing him forever and that scares me. I'm very inexperienced in this regard and would appreciate some words of advice/reassurance!

Apple xxx

 
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I really don't know what to say about this since I'm only 18 and have never been in any relationship. I have schizophrenia and the only way to continue life as best that I can I need to take the meds. I would reccommend trying to convince him to take his meds. Ask him why he would not take them. I will admit some meds have bad side effects if the dosage is high and some meds like for example seroquel have no side effects at all. Now seroquel has a sedation to it but you would be taking it before bedtime anyways. If I may ask what is he taking and of what dosage is he taking?

 
Old 02-24-2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

Hi Under,

Thanks for your reply, I need all the help I can get right now. His medication is Abilify, which I've been told has minimum side effects. He probably stopped taking it since his mood lifted, believing that he could manage without it. He has completely shut me out now, which is very distressing. He appears to have retreated into himself. Is it common for sufferers of schizophrenia to be irrational at times? Nothing relating to how he is acting now corresponds to his mood last week - happy and optimistic about the future. He seems to really mistrust me.

xxx

 
Old 02-24-2009, 01:19 PM   #4
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I've heard of Ablilify but don't know much about it. If he's not getting any side effects from its then he should continue it. He definitly should continue it anyway. Whats his mood like?Reatreating into oneself is common in a schizophrenic.

Last edited by light the world; 02-24-2009 at 01:20 PM.

 
Old 02-25-2009, 12:57 AM   #5
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

He's full of anger right now, and I feel as though I'm the main target. We did argue on Sunday, however this is a hugely disproportionate reaction to the argument. He just won't talk to me, and I feel as though he hates me.

Xxx

 
Old 02-25-2009, 01:20 AM   #6
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

Hello, great post! I hope I can give you some insight into your current problem...

I read your post, and everything that you wrote - relates to what my family would write when I go off on a tangent... The one thing that I can offer, however; having been on the, "Suspect list," is an honest reasurance; that you're boyfriend is NOT his illness... And you wrote just that, which tells me he's in good hands. So pat yourself on the back for retaining at least some objectivity to a misunderstood illness, like you already have.

Anyways, I think the best course of action would be to tell him you're there if he needs you... But ultimately to take a step back... Of course I'm not you, and only have text to work with... But having been on the, "Suspect list," its good to know that people are willing to give me some space to cool off, and figure things out... Theres one thing that I get, from being alone after a fight; (which it sounds like your boyfriend currently is) it allows me to think things through, without having someone else tell me to take medications, or tell me I'm irrational... When I'm alone; it not only gives me a chance to think things through; it also allows me to reconnect myself with rational behavior... Meanwhile, I know that my family has taken a step back; to allow me to think things through... And although I'm not able to admit I'm irrational (Or in need of medications) when I'm fighting; Time always helps; when there is no other form of treatment being taken...

What I'm trying to say is; I prefer my family taking a step back from me; after a fight... Because they aren't in my face; forcing me to take medications; confusing ME with my ILLNESS... At the time of the fight / argument - I never admit I'm wrong / irrational... Thats just normal human behavior... However, if you're boyfriend is NOT taking medications, nor admitting he was irrational... The best thing I'd suggest is to give it some time; before making any large decisions... And if you do make a decision... Tell your boyfriend first. Don't go through his parents, that would make me paranoid about invading my own parents trust circle; and thats just not necessary; especially with someone whose openly admitted to you for having a mental illness... Thats a major sign of trust between you two... Ultimately; I think that is worth far more than medications at this point in time; pertaining to helping the situation your in (OBJECTIVELY)...

When I get into a fight, sometimes I know I'm wrong, though I won't admit it. The best thing anyone can do, is simply listen to what I have to say... Then calmy tell me they're there, if I need to talk... I usually leave, or they leave, forcing me to be alone, and them to be alone as well... This allows BOTH sides of the argument to think things through... TIME helps; if nothing else is being done for treatments.

As for the medications, if I were you; I would personally suggest not mentioning anything to him about it. I would, however (Depending on your boyfriends relationship / trustworthiness towards his parents) suggest getting the parents to bring up; going back on medications, (ONLY ONCE THOUGH!) and you; stay out of that altogether... If your boyfriend feels the need for going back on medications, (After having TIME to think things through) than he'll feel like he's making the right decision alone; therefore - NOT FORCED to take medications / be mistreated - labelled by close family... And he'll feel happy; knowing that he recognized his own illness - and surprisingly it will prevent some kind of argument in the future. Thats what, "I," wish someone in my family would do for me sometimes... Though, I realize now; that sometimes I don't leave them with much of a choice but to constantly remind me of my illness - in trying to calm me down...


Hope that helps

Thanks,

 
Old 02-25-2009, 01:41 AM   #7
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

Thank you so much for your reply, it's a great help. I'm trying to give him space at the moment - I stayed with his parents following the argument, which I think aggravated things further (since he felt we were talking about him the whole time). It's just difficult as it feels like he doesn't want to be with me anymore.

Xxx

 
Old 02-25-2009, 02:06 AM   #8
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I'm glad that helped you in some way.

I'm sorry that you feel he doesn't want to be with you right now... I'm sure those thoughts will pass; I'm sure he's also dealing with the same thoughts about you, it would only make sense.

Have you seen the movie, "A Beautiful Mind." If not, go get that movie, and watch it... Once you've seen it; hand it off to you're boyfriend, and maybe he'll hand it off to his parents... To be honest with you; that movie really helped out my family with this situation... And no matter how different families are; illnesses are similar - and it helps to be able to see things objectively - from ALL perspectives once in awhile... That movie does just that.

OH, also... At this point - ultimately; you're boyfriend's mental health is much more important than you're official (Girlfriend / boyfriend) status... Although you both love eachother - at this stage; his, "Well - being," should be the goal... I'm sure its hard to keep you're relationship in check; but I think it would be best; to remind yourself - that his life is more important than your relationship... And if his, "Well - being," ultimately leads to a break up between you two; (And I mean absolutely must happen) its a necessary trade... Both He and Yourself would admit that...

Hope that helps, appreciate your reply, wish you the best of luck! And remember; there isn't a solution to mental illnesses... So no matter how you decide, or he decides to handle your current situation; ultimately you both want the same thing... "PEACE / LOVE / RESOLVE..."

Thanks,

Last edited by 8800GTS; 02-25-2009 at 02:08 AM.

 
Old 02-25-2009, 03:24 AM   #9
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

Thanks again for your help. I have seen "A Beautiful Mind", found it incredibly moving. I may watch it again this evening.
I completely agree that his health (and also mine, since I'm clinically depressed), but feel it would be a shame to waste a fantastic relationship. I don't think it would benefit him either, since he's often very lonely and we are happy together 99.9% of the time. It wouldn't solve his problems to break up.
I'm going to take your advice and give him some space, I agree that this is something he needs to work through in his own time, I would only exacerbate the situation. I love him so much and will be waiting for him when he's ready. He's been through so much and I'm not going to leave him.

Xxx

 
Old 02-26-2009, 06:30 PM   #10
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I appreciate your reply! I hope some of what I said will help, if not; thats okay too.

You're really appreciative / insightful into your boyfriends illness! I'm sorry, but I didn't suspect that you were mentally ill... Either way; I can tell that you love him very much - and I know he would appreciate your strong relationship. Hopefully things work out.

I loved what you said about neither of you benefiting from breaking up... That is a GREAT point, very honest on your part, and it tells me he certainly found someone with a truly honest, loving - connection... That would be with you.

Sorry if I'm sounding preachy in my replies, I just try to put all perspectives on the table when someone asks for help... That way your choices are based on honest intentions; like you already have proven, you have! I don't think you should break up either, but; if worst comes to worst; a temporary, "PAUSE," in a serious relationship might validate positive change, in both your lives... Thats all I'm suggesting. You're very insightful, and he is VERY lucky to have someone like yourself; who is not only after the same thing he is, but also understands what it feels like to have a mental illness... That is key in your relationship from what I'm understanding; and I hope it continues to play the part as a very tight, loving, "Trust circle..." No matter what happens, try to keep that intact... If worst comes to worst; you'll still remain very close friends.

Thanks again,

 
Old 02-28-2009, 02:25 AM   #11
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

Thanks again for your advice, I've found it incredibly helpful and comforting. Do you know how long these episodes usually last? Or is it a matter of 'how long is a piece of string'? I've still not heard from him. He also deleted me from Facebook and changed his status to 'single' when he was in a fit of rage on Tuesday, which is quite hard to deal with. It's trivial I know, and probably doesn't mean anything (he was angry), but I also have a tendency to ruminate about things, and wonder what his actions mean etc.
It's so refreshing that you're not telling me to turn my back on him or something to that effect. Out of concern, many of my friends keep telling me that this isn't worth it and the like. It hurts because he means so much to me, and when he isn't suffering as he is now, he is one of the kindest and most loving people I have ever met. They think I'm either a mug or want to 'fix' him, which isn't true. I can just see past the illness to the person who brings so much happiness into my life.

Xxx

 
Old 02-28-2009, 09:34 AM   #12
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I'm just finding this really hard, and keep wondering if he's ok now I'm not around. Although it sounds ridiculous, I also think that maybe this isn't a manifestation of his illness, just that he doesn't want me. I couldn't bear to lose him.

xxx

 
Old 03-01-2009, 11:31 AM   #13
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I actually sent him an email earlier today saying I was there if he needed me. I'm starting to regret doing so since I'm going to become increasingly anxious in waiting for a response, reading into it etc. Please help! I'm in pieces!

xxx

 
Old 03-04-2009, 03:45 AM   #14
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Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

It's been a week now, still no contact. Prior to the argument we were smitten with each other, what's happening?!!

 
Old 03-12-2009, 02:21 PM   #15
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Unhappy Re: Struggling to cope with boyfriend's schizophrenia, please help

I've just received an email from my bf's parents, he's slipping away. He's completely withdrawn, won't answer the door or pick up phone, hardly speaks. They've said it's going to be a long time before he feels better again, and have advised me to carry on with my life. I think they are concerned about how this is affecting me, but I don't feel ready to let go. We were so happy together, and he asked me never to leave him - I don't want to. I feel distraught, it breaks my heart to think of him like this. I wish I could be there with him, to tell him everything is going to be ok, but there's nothing I can do. Please, some words of comfort would be much appreciated.

xxx

 
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