Hi, I was just wondering if someone could give me some advice please.
I've started seeing a nice man and he's actually a dream man, but the other day he told me he has suffered from schizophrenia. I still really like him, but I'm also scared (not scared he'll hurt me, but scared I won't be able to cope well enough for him if anything happened).
I've tried reading up on this subject, but there seems to be so many different types and so many experiences that I don't know what to think.
I know he had hallucinations and was hospitalized 2years ago, but he wouldn't tell me anymore about what happened, and I don't want to push him for more information as I think he's embarrassed.
I also know he takes strong meds for his condition. He's a very optimistic man, very motivated and has a good job. He's also very athletic and is extremely intelligent.
I was just wondering if someone could give me some advice or know what to expect.
Thanks :) x
The condition varies greatly between person to person who has it, as you already discovered. Perhaps a NAMI support group can help you out. I'm not going to lie to you, it can be a difficult thing to cope with but generally with the proper treatment and coping mechanisms it can be managed for both the person experiencing it and their loved ones. There's always the risk he could relapse but I would say he is doing well for himself if he works a good job and has stayed out of the hospital for two years. It is good that he is very motivated as well, schizophrenia can destroy your motivation entirely although he could of not even experienced this symptom to begin with as well. Give him time and he might tell you more about it as he feels comfortable since he has already disclosed that he suffers from it to begin with.
Hi, thanks for the reply.
I have suffered depression in the past and have just started getting myself right again, and I'm scared I wont cope if he was to relapse or something.
He said he'd had hallucinations from a young age, and thought it was normal until he was hospitalized. He is seen as a gifted or special person also as he is extremely clever and has a very high IQ.
Do people ever get better from sz? I just wondered.
It depends whether his thinking matches reality testing and an understanding of what's going on in general. As a person with schizoaffective disorder I can say recovery is possible but people need help and support and do have set backs from time to time. If you have concerns at any time best to encourage him to speak to his psychiatrist. The recovery I have obtained is from a treatment that is still in Phase II FDA study. What a person acheives now is mitigation over their symptoms which can sometimes break through at times and does need help, encouragement and support from others depending on how they are doing.
Hi thanks for replying :)
He's actually a teacher in a Primary school, so I don't think they'd let him teach if he was very ill or anything.
I'm just waiting for him to open up to me a little more (as it's still early days), I just want to understand a little more about the condition as I was very unaware of the condition until 2days ago. Since then I have been trying to read everything in books and online.
Actually I read it's relatively rare for a child to hallucinate before the age of 8. I wouldn't know if this is true or not but I also started hallucinating at a very young age. I can't remember the exact estimate of how many individuals who hallucinated as a child before the age of 8 go on to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. You being unaware he even had it is probably a good sign in terms of his prognosis and it sounds like he has reached a recovery stage possibly. Like ILADVOCATE said, those of us with this disorder need all the support we can get. It is good that you are educating yourself on it as much as you can. If you have any other specific questions about it, just ask away; I have had just about everything happen at one point or another that can happen with this illness that I've been told about so far.
I have watched my mother with my father (he has Sz) for 40 years. He has gone down and down and though he was normal at times, he has given her hell and abuse. She is his full time carer now, there aren't many women like her left , she has had a truly awful life. No one will support her only her four children. It is through her we are still standing.
In our childhood he did well, he couldn't work, but he could care, he could play , he could love, It is awful for a child, his mood swings , before an injection down, violent, then sleeping 'out of it' for 3 - 4 days, then really lovely Dad for aprox 6 days per month. Then so violent, and it created such fear in me. He has been on every medication in the book.
He has parkinsons now, he is urine incontinent. Has had mini strokes due to medication, has fluid on brain that isn't absorbing. He calls people friends of the family and abuses them on bad days, he calls my in laws, but they understand.
We are all four children very confused, cant judge character. I have four kids as well, I worry every day, My sister has 3 boys and one of them doesn't like washing himself and she worries. But so far thank god they are doing well and we are open and discuss everything with them.
Maybe times have changed ? They are bottom of the pile when it comes to health care. Like when my Dad had ingrowing toenail, they were whispering (schizophrenia) behind the curtain and they interpret him in a different way, like he is never supposed to have an opinion, everything is judged badly.
It is an ongoing saga and has dominated our lives completely He has ruined every family event. He said when i was waiting to go up the ilsle, "If you dont go up now I am going home" We were waiting for the organist she was late, no one can ever be late.
Sometimes we want to shoot him. Only sometimes, you get what i say, i dont mean to offend anyone. My mother has had an awful life, she will go straight through the gates of heaven if there is such a thing X X
Thanks for all the replies I'm very grateful to anyone that answers. I know he did mention something about when he wakes up that he doesnt know whether a dream is real or not, or something and that he thinks for a while before getting up. Well I've just been reading and thought it sounded like this Hypnopompic?! Is that something that is linked with sz?
I'm not sure if increased hypnopompic states are associated with schizophrenia but I noticed when my illness got worse and is relapsed or whatever they started occurring more frequently. I too have trouble telling sometimes if a dream is real or not; I asked my psychiatrist if this can be associated with psychiatric symptoms and he told me it possibly can be. Someone else told me it can be associated with sleeping problems.
Hey thanks for the fast reply. I've been searching online about hypnopomic states and they're all under sleep problems.
I chatted to him tonight and he was great and everything, thought I'm still too scared to chat to him about it as I don't think he's ready to talk anymore about it yet.
Do some people have the hallucinations and just manage to ignore them and get on with life, or do the meds stop them completely or something? Sorry I'm completely useless, it's just I'm trying to cram all the info I can so when he's ready to open up I will understand and know what to say or do.
To me he doesn't seem to have anything wrong, he's very motivated and optimistic, more than most people.
Whether a medication stops hallucinations or not depends on the person and the medication as medications work differently for each person; I was told that hallucinations will still come inevitably but nowhere near as much if a person has found the right medication as medicines today just mitigate symptoms. Myself, I still hallucinated somewhat when taking proper medicine, but it wasn't anywhere near as intense of frequent as before. Stress of any kind can also cause symptoms to come back out as if you're not even on medicine. I myself try to ignore hallucinations after I run a series of checks to see if they are really there but I have caught some that came so close to tricking me as being real which makes me wonder how many I've experienced which successfully tricked me.
I have bipolar disorder and am in a relationship with a man with severe schizophrenia and we are making it work despite the odds.
From what you describe, your partner seems to be living a very good quality of life for someone who has the disorder, and if he is showing good insight and is taking medication regularly I think you have a fighting chance of making the relationship work. Some of the most sensitive and thoughtful people that I have met have had schizophrenia.
My partner is in a long term rehabilitation centre and has been since this time last year :( and the best that I can realistically hope for is his release in the next 12 months. However I consider myself to be exceptionally lucky that I have met him and he has taught me so much about life that my own is enriched by him being part of it.
I will say however that when I committed to having a relationship with my schizophrenic partner I was prepared for the responsibility that went with it. Often I had to place my own needs to one side and there were periods where I cried with frustration of him having setbacks to recovery. When he was ill he was not always aware of the things he said and some of the stuff could be shocking or hurtful. I think one must be prepared for this and have the strength, patience and understanding to work through these tough times.
This has been especially difficult when I have been in a 'bad place' with my own illness because I have had to hide my suffering from him, so not to add to his stress. I know he has done the same for me too when he has felt down :) so it is a two way thing.
I consider myself blessed to have him part of my life.
PS I think what has helped our relationship survive is that we have developed a support network so that we have other people to support us in a crisis, and so we don't always 'dump' our crisis on each other. This has helped keep us strong and independent, and 'together' at the same time.
I guess this isn't ideal for everyone, but it is perfect for us. :)
At some point I think you asked if his optimism and motivation are part of the illness or his personality, and it doesn't look like anyone has addressed this. First, I would say that optimism and motivation are not things that are considered part of schizophrenia at all (not that they are incompatible! Just not associated in particular), so for the most part my answer would be: it's just his (clearly fabulous!) personality!
The only caveat to this answer is that optimism and motivation can be associated with mania or hypomania, and sometimes there does seem to be sort of a continuum between schizophrenia and manic depressive (bipolar) illness, where the "classic" versions of each are very distinct, but some people seem to fall sort of in the middle. To some extent, having hypnopompic states and being very high-functioning between episodes of exacerbation may be more common in people who are on the border between schizophrenia and bipolar - so it may be that this could be part of the picture for your boyfriend.
Either way, though - these traits are part of HIM even if they are more common in people with his illness, as well. And they're wonderful things in a significant other!
Finally, I wanted to mention that, as you said, schizophrenia is very, very heterogeneous - so when you set out to read about what happens to people with schizophrenia, you're liable to come across a huge range of stories, some of which are hopeful and some of which are horrible. It may help to know, however, that there are some things that can help predict who will do well and who will have a harder time - and having minimal "negative symptoms" - in other words, being a normal, bright, functional person with a job and a social life during times when you're not having an exacerbation - is generally associated with the best course. So, you are completely right to let those things encourage you.
I am married and have just realised my partner is suffering from schizophrenia, he says he will get help one minute and the then he feels I am against him and says Im trying to diagnose him with sometging he does not have. His mum is currently being treated in hospital for the same thing and he see's himself when he looks at her. He hears voices and talks to himself, mainly shouting out no and jerking at night and has a conversation in the shower. He is becoming very aggressive and violent at times though knows he is wrong. At points I have wanted to leave but feel guilt and feel like I am fighting a losing battle, he asked me to promise not to tell anyone , this is including friends and family and I am alone married in a new area with no family or friends around me. I am a strong person but feel very alone with little love, I know he loves me and he goes crazy when he feels I might leave him. He has known for a while but will not admit to it, he has lied to me that nothing was wrong for years, I knew something was wrong but did not know what untill now and feel alittle anger that he kept it from me and wants help but then won't take it....help!!!
tanya i am in the same situation as you expect i am not married everything you described is the same thing my boyfriend does. and yes i do feel guiltly leaving him . if you dont mind me asking how is everything with your husband is he taking medications?
I just met a guy that I am really into. He turns me on, he makes me laugh, but he told me about it and I asked him this morning if it was true and he said yeah. To me, so far, it doesn't really seem like there is anything wrong with him. But I've only spent about 15 hours with this person so I guess that maybe that could change. Im just scared to get into it with this guy then he turn out to be a complete abusive psycho. I heard these people get really violent at times so I'm a lil scared but I really like his personality and I guess I could take the good with the bad. I really don't know what to think.
im glad you posted this, im in the same position ive met a sweet, optimistic and really caring boy who always trys his best to make me happy. i always knew he took strong medication and i have never noticed him having any hallucinations and hes only recently to me he was schizophrenic but wont delve anymore into it. im ok with that, i am happy to listen when he feels like sharing. ive never heard him talk to himself apart from.. *i know how crazy this sounds* but he reply's when i think of a question or sometimes when i think to myself "i wish he would do.. ect" he does it.. (on cue.every single time) i don't tell him because i don't him to think about it, an i cant tell family or friends cause they will just think im being silly.. i just wonder if anyone else has experienced anything like this also... * again, i know how it sounds but so much is still unknown about the condition.. sometimes i wonder if it could be possible that the condition could make them more in-tune or susceptible in some way to those around them but is just dismissed as hearing voices.
You may have something, there. Anecdotally, I've also experienced that, but I'm not positive that's not just a perk of being in tune with your partner, on a more fundamental level.
Most research on schizophrenia focuses on what the symptoms are, but I want to bring your attention to R.D. Laing, who suggested that you could explain the symptoms by understanding the dynamic of communicative relations that person experienced in their most intimate environment, (e.g., the family). That person's experience in their upbringing not only partially explains their positive attitude, but also their reflexive outlook on life. The actual experience of someone with this illness is overlooked as a cause of it, because a diagnosis, by definition, cannot be subjective.
I'm not a doctor, by the way, but I understand how the medical ecosystem works, toward people who successfully manage with this illness. The system always errors on the side of caution, which actually serves to reinforce some of the social stigma, here, that you don't see in other societies.
Accept and expect of that person, equally with respect to yourself, in life, to become as integral to your defense against the negative social fabric that distorts this person's reality, as love is to life. Since you are experiencing the benefit of their companionship, give them your compassion, without the benefit of a doubt. You are not a therapist, and your relationship may suffer if either of you has to work harder at maintaining social acceptability than the other has to live. Good luck. I've had some good relationships, and I've had bad experiences with people, but that's just life, and, by the way, I take mess and pray I will find someone who understands everything I've told you.
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