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  • I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

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    Old 12-22-2008, 12:48 AM   #1
    Robyne
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    Exclamation I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    I just signed up here today. I don't know which forums I should be posting on. I don't have a full understanding of how to classify my problem. I hope someone will read this and be able to direct me.

    My boyfriend and I have been together for 10 years. We do not live together, though we have been planning on doing so.

    We both have some psychiatric issues. I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and at one time as paranoid delusional because of some issues I was having that have since subsided. He does not have a formal diagnosis, but his psychs have thought that he was schizophrenic at one time (before I knew him), and more recently have thought he was bipolar or obsessive-compulsive. Personally, I feel bipolar disorder and OCD are spot-on assessments.

    We have had difficulties as a result of either of our issues over the years, of course. But, for the most part, our relationship has been relatively trouble-free. We are good together, and I love him with all my heart.

    2008 has been a hard year for us. His 2 cats died, them being his only daily companions. This seemed to trigger the deterioration of his mental state. He quickly developed an opiate addiction, when he has been primarily drug-free since I've known him. He developed a daily IV drug habit, and hid it from me for some time. When I found out, we almost broke up, but I knew if I left him, he would never get help.

    He lost his job of 9 years 6 months ago. Even though I know he was trying, he never seemed to be able to get to work on time, and usually showed up at least an hour late, often more like 2 hours late. Though they were within their rights to fire him, it was a hard blow for him. That job had been almost a second home, and it was taken away. He's been living off his savings since then, but with a heroin habit, that rapidly depleted.

    I am his only support system. So I stayed, I put all my energy into being strong for him, but I was honest about all my feelings (especially the negative ones), and I constantly encouraged him towards a detox program. He is now on methadone maintenance, and has not used street drugs for 3 weeks.

    He is on several different medications in addition to methadone. He takes an anti-psychotic, an anti-anxiety, an anti-parkinsonian (to ease some side-effects of the anti-psychotic), a prescription sleep aid (for sleeplessness due to anxiety), and a blood pressure regulator. It will probably help to know that his anti-psychotic is Zyprexa, which I know can have depression-related side effects (though he's been taking it for more than 10 years with no real issues), and his anti-anxiety is Klonopin, a benzodiazepine. I know that methadone and benzos don't mix well, and a high dose of both can be fatal. Luckily, his dose of the benzo is low. He takes 100mg of methadone daily.

    His condition has been deteriorating over the past year, slowly and steadily. Since going on methadone, his condition has been getting worse at a much faster pace.

    He sometimes blacks out, at home and in public. He nods off a lot, almost like narcolepsy. He sometimes seems to be in a dream-like state, like he's sleepwalking. He has visual and audio hallucinations. He sometimes loses track of what is going on in reality. He sometimes speaks incoherently, and often loses his train of thought, or will speak in variations of a word salad. He gets paranoid and sometimes seems to think I am his enemy. He cries every day, and has frequent thoughts of suicide.

    More about these blackouts. There have been a handful of incidents in which he has been in a store or other public location and has started talking to himself or to inanimate objects. He has told me that once he woke up standing in a grocery store, and an old woman was beside him telling him she'd never been so scared in all her life. God only knows what he'd been doing, and he quickly left and went home.

    Recently, he found out that I had looked at some personal ads through the internet. I spent no more than 15 minutes on it, I did not post an ad, I did not sign up on any sites, and I did not send anyone any messages. I only looked at ads. His response was to tell me he hates me, that I am no longer a part of his life, that I've never loved him (though we've been together for a decade), and that I've ruined his life. Then, he trashed my apartment. He threw an ashtray, spilling cigarette butts on my couch and leaving an impressive dent/hole in my wall. He threw my glass bong outside (I was 2 days away from quitting pot), leaving broken glass scattered everywhere. He knocked over and broke a side table. He knocked over and broke some personal items that were on that table. He threw some of my clothes around. He threw away some dried roses I had saved since he gave them to me 3 or 4 years ago. It was a mess.

    He has never been a violent person, and this violent outburst scares me. Several times that day he told me his life was over and he wanted to die. I drove around for hours trying to find him, and eventually did, and I was eventually able to help him settle down.

    In 10 years of knowing and loving this man, I have never seen him like this. I have never had to deal with anyone exhibiting these symptoms. I have no idea what to do to help him.

    I worry that he is going to hurt himself. To a lesser degree, I worry that he will snap and hurt me or more of my belongings. I worry that someone will be concerned enough with his behavior that they call the police. I worry that he will be arrested or forcibly admitted into a psych ward. If he is arrested, we will not be able to make bail. I worry that he will nod off while driving and get in an accident, perhaps killing himself or someone else.

    I am lost, and I feel impotent and alone. I have no idea where to go for help. I have no idea how to help him. I have no idea what to do.

    Please, please, please help me.

    Thank you.


    ~ Robyne

     
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    Old 12-22-2008, 02:37 AM   #2
    Baby_hands
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    Wow you definately have a tough situation on your hands. I really feel for you both and especially your boyfriend in this time..it must be terrible having to live with all those mental problems.

    My advice would be to speak to a qualified therapist, someone who is well informed in mental illness and knows how to deal with people in his state of mind. Because your not dealing with a person who is able to really reason in his mind like most other people do. If you broke up with him, it probably would put him over the edge.

    You do need to protect yourself. If you feel in danger, you have a right to keep your distance and look out for yourself otherwise you could end up really hurt or worse.

    Relationship breakdowns are devastating without added drama..

    Truly, seek professional advice on this one. You cant afford to make a wrong move.
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    Old 12-22-2008, 03:01 AM   #3
    Robyne
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    THANK YOU, Baby Hands. To date, you are the only objective party that has not simply told me to leave him.

    I agree that professional help is needed. But I don't know how to go about finding the sort of professional we need.

    He was having regular visits with a psychiatrist, but it was really just for medication maintenance, and the doctor was otherwise incompetent. He didn't have any information (not even a pamphlet) on addiction or disability, which are two pretty common issues with the mentally ill. When we confronted the doctor about his lack of knowledge, his reaction was to fire my BF as a patient. We have had bad experience with a lot of his doctors. The psychiatrist he was with before this jerk-off was not much better. How do you find a well-informed professional?

    Money is also a factor here. I need to find a low-cost mental health program of some type. Any ideas on that? Anyone?

    What about disability insurance? Does he qualify? Can I apply on his behalf?

    What other resources are there for someone in his condition? Who should I talk to?

     
    Old 12-22-2008, 03:59 AM   #4
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    Your welcome Robyne.

    I live in Australia so it is hard for me to know how exactly you should go about this.
    All I could suggest is getting in contact with your local hospital and asking about therapists on staff. Or even ask your GP (General Practitioner)...I have found they are very helpful in giving you any info you need. They could recommend you to someone and if you explain your situation..I am sure he or she would be happy to help.

    I'm not sure what healthcare is like where you are, but here under special circumstances, free counselling is available which is funded by our government.

    From where I sit, your best bet is your local GP.
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    Last edited by Baby_hands; 12-22-2008 at 04:03 AM.

     
    Old 12-22-2008, 08:26 AM   #5
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    I had some mental health issues and contacted my local county hospital. They were not able to get me an appointment right away, but they did get me one within a few weeks. Your BF sounds like he may get put on a "priority" list (my issues were much less severe) so they may fast track him to get in sooner. At least he can start seeing someone who can probably help him with both his mental issues and his substance abuse issues.

    As for you, some therapy in the form of Nar-Anon may be helpful. They may also be able to refer you to someone who can help on the relationship side of ths issue. I attended Nar-Anon when I was living with an addict and it did help.

    I understand about not wanting to abandon him when he is obviously not well. You can be a friend to him right now and hopefully when he is feeling better, you can deal with the relationship at that time.

    Good luck.

     
    Old 12-22-2008, 08:32 AM   #6
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    I certainly believe this man would qualify for benefits if what you say is true. He is not able to work in his state of mind. I agree that your best option would be your GP or local hospital ER. Take him there when he is in one of his "states".......tell him whatever you have too to get him there and get him some help. It sounds like he is in a lot of pain and I imagine scared to death.

    This time of year (Christmas) always seems to be harder on people who are stressed already. I wish you luck!!

    Mileena

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 03:08 PM   #7
    Robyne
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Baby_hands View Post
    I'm not sure what healthcare is like where you are, but here under special circumstances, free counselling is available which is funded by our government.
    There are government-funded mental health programs here as well (though I'm sure healthcare is better in Australia). However, the only one I'm aware of requires you do not have medical insurance. As he currently does, we'll have to wait until it lapses at the end of the month to even request an appointment.

    Thank you for your help.

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 03:19 PM   #8
    Robyne
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    I really appreciate your sympathy and understanding . . . more than you know.

    Others have suggested my county hospital. Coincidentally, my mother works at said hospital, and tells me the psych department is very good. However, I think he's more comfortable with our local MHMR facility, and we've pretty much decided to get him set up there once his insurance lapses.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Redneon82 View Post
    As for you, some therapy in the form of Nar-Anon may be helpful. They may also be able to refer you to someone who can help on the relationship side of ths issue. I attended Nar-Anon when I was living with an addict and it did help.
    The issue I have with 12-step programs and their supporting programs is the heavy religious element. We are both atheists, so the idea of "giving ourselves over to a higher power" is irrelevant to us. As well, 12-step programs tend to be biased against psychiatric medication, which we also don't believe in. Are there support groups for people dealing with mental illness in loved ones? If so, how can I find one?

    I think of his recent substance abuse issue as a symptom of his illness, as he's been primarily drug-free as long as I've known him. And having dealt with addiction problems in my own life, I do feel capable of dealing with his addiction. At least he's on methadone maintenance now.

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 03:37 PM   #9
    Robyne
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mileena42 View Post
    I certainly believe this man would qualify for benefits if what you say is true. He is not able to work in his state of mind. I agree that your best option would be your GP or local hospital ER. Take him there when he is in one of his "states".......tell him whatever you have too to get him there and get him some help. It sounds like he is in a lot of pain and I imagine scared to death.
    The level of understanding I've received on this forum almost reduces me to tears. Thank you. I've posted at another forum that was not as sympathetic, and every single person just suggested I leave him.

    Since my initial post here, we've contacted a law firm that specializes in disability claims. Everything I've read about applying for disability tells me it's hard to get approved even if you qualify, and 80% of all applications are denied. The next step when denied is to appeal the decision, but even so, 2/3 of all appeals are also denied. So, I think having a lawyer handle this for us is a good decision. I really don't know what to do if he can't get benefits. He's practically out of money and I am not in a position to provide him financial assistance.

    Are there any other financial aid programs that I should contact? What about help with rent? Does anyone know anything about Section 8? We'll be applying for food stamps next week, but I don't know what to do beyond that.

    As for taking him to the hospital while he's in one of his states . . . it's easier said than done. When he's in that state, it's really hard to communicate with him, and he is very susceptible to paranoia and anger. When in that position, he is not aware that there is something wrong with him, and he will strongly defend his state of mind. Do you have any advice on how to handle him? What should/shouldn't I say?

    Thanks again.

     
    Old 12-24-2008, 04:33 PM   #10
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    Re: I need help with my mentally ill boyfriend.

    I sure wish I did have something to tell you to help you to deal with him. I don't. I think this is a case for a professional who knows what they are doing. ALL I can really tell you is to be safe. Make sure you don't compromise your own safety in your desire to help this man. I know you love him, and I know you want to help...but not at your own expense. It must be hard enough on you emotional wise.....be careful physical wise.

    You sound like a very intelligent woman. You will find that for the most part the people on this forum don't take lightly to telling someone to leave a relationship. It is always up to the poster anyway.....but the advice given is more to help the problem than to solve it. Only you can do that. I would like to say, that there does come a time when you have to put yourself first. If walking away from this man right now is not an option for you, then you know you are going to have to be very strong in the coming months. I don't think this is something that is going to be fixable in one day. It's a long road you have ahead of you! We are here so you don't have to travel it alone, but we can only do so much. NO ONE can put themselves where you are and know what you are dealing with......and no one judges you on staying or leaving. I know you said you are atheist....whether you believe or not, you will benefit from prayers and both of you are in mine on this night. I wish you all the best!

    Mileena

    Wanted to add: Almost all benefits are denied at first. It takes an average of 2 years to get disablity started no matter what kind of shape you might be in......getting a lawyer might/should help take some time off that....but its a long haul either way. Look until you find a lawyer that will wait until you collect for his share of the pay.....there are those that do that!!

    Last edited by Mileena42; 12-24-2008 at 04:37 PM. Reason: wanted to add something

     
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