I just started dating someone 3 months ago. As someone whose been in a relationship with someone with a serious mental disorder in the past, I knew something was off with my current boyfriend from the start. Regardless of that, I did fall in love with him.
I was driving myself crazy trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to figure out WHAT exactly is “off” with the person I love (so I can better understand him). One thing led to another and I finally stumbled across my answer. When my boyfriend acts a certain way, I look up more info on it and see what it could possibly connect to. 2 days ago I found the missing piece of the puzzle that holds everything together. There is not a single doubt in my mind that he’s schizophrenic. I’m thinking it’s “paranoid negative schizophrenia.” Yes, i know I shouldn’t diagnose people and assign labels. But cutting to the chase-he 100% has schizophrenia. It ALL matches up.
I don’t know what to do with this information. I’ve asked him previously if he has an “anxiety disorder” (knowing very well it is much more than that) and he responded with “I don’t think it matters whether or not it’s an anxiety disorder. I’m not taking medication.” When I asked why, he said it’s because he doesn’t agree with the side effects.
To me this basically means he won’t take his medicine for schizophrenia. So what’s my next step?? I have a 5 year old. I can’t have the person around my son if he isn’t taking medicine. How do I bring up? Will that makes things worse?
He has such extreme anxiety and he’s always telling me he’s afraid he’s going to lose me. That could mostly be the “paranoia” part... but I think it could also be because he’s afraid when I find out about it, he thinks I will leave him (I told him my past relationship with the person with a personality disorder destroyed me). I seriously don’t know what to do!?
Also.. he is 38 years old. I’ve read some people get better as they get older?? That’s only with medicine I’m sure. Any success stories? And can someone please define “better”?? What does “get better” mean?
Wow, what a difficult and painful situation! On the one hand you love him. On the other hand, you need to protect your 5 years old. On the third hand, he won't take meds. And you're afraid that if you tell him the wrong way, there may be disastrous results. Also, you know from experience that an intimate relationship with someone with severe emotional problems can destroy you, so you need to protect yourself too.
By the way, I don't think there's anything wrong with your deciding he has schizophrenia. You did lots of research, and put the pieces together slowly.
He refuses to take meds. Is he seeing a therapist?
You mentioned that you're in love with him. Does he have good qualities, along with his troubling ones? Is there a chance that he will be physically, sexually or emotionally abusive to your child or to you? Has he shown any indications of that?
I’m not sure if he is seeing a therapist. I want to tell him he should see one but I feel like he would tell me he does not have the money. Yes he does have good qualities. He is SO SMART. He is my coworker.. although he works on another shift so I hardly ever see him at work. We both work at a gym as personal trainers. He has been at this gym for 10 years and he is the person everyone goes to to ask for help because he is the most intelligent as far as program design goes. He is asked by our boss and coworkers to give meetings on different topics all the time. That was what drew me to him to begin with. Since he shuts himself off from the world, when he is not working, he has a lot of free time and he does A LOT of research.
He seems narcissistic to people who don’t know him. But when you get to know him he is actually very insecure.. and needy. I recently started wondering if he requires so much love because he has mean voices in his head. I don’t think he could be abusive, but I am smart enough to understand that my love could blind me. Which is why until I am 100% sure everyone involved is safe, he will not meet my son.
He also seems like he NEEDS sex. We have sex 1-2x a day 6-7 days a week. I have realized that he genuinely thinks I do not care about him if I act like I am not in the mood?? I have never dated someone that requires so much. is that a thing with people who have the disorder or is that just something with him, do you think??
My goal is to figure out if their are medications he is willing to take that do not have the side effects he is not okay with. And I would be willing to see a counselor with him on occasion. What I am wondering though is how much medication helps? He is always very paranoid. And he has EXTREME anxiety. He literally NEVER eats (and he is a bodybuilder so he needs EXTRA food??). He also hardly ever sleeps. He tells me he has sleep apnea but I have read that schizophrenics sometimes has difficulty sleeping, so I am wondering if the sleep apnea thing is a lie to cover up that he has trouble sleeping because of that. I mean that would have to be some STRONG medication to clear up all his problems.
Another question I have is- he has little facial expressiveness. Of course, if he tries to smile he can, it just doesn’t look natural. This is called the “flat effect” and is a hallmark of negative schizophrenia. So if hearing voices in your head is associated with positive schizophrenia does that mean if his is classified as negative that he doesn’t have hallucinations or delusions??
It sounds like he needs more care and attention than your 5 yr old that could get in between you and your son at some point. Maybe you think you can handle all the extra work? Nothing wrong with someone having mental illness or a disorder I guess it just depends if you think you can handle it and keep it from taking away attention from your son or do you think he would be a great addition to your little family. Ask yourself things like will he be a good roll model for your son, does he like kids even? Is he a loving supportive person? Or maybe hes just fun to be with for a while?
He does not seem big on kids... but then again, I am never around him and kids so I do not have a good reference of the 2 together. I know he is not a fan of a lot of noises though.
I told him yesterday that I was taking my son to see frozen and he said “one day I will be going with you guys to the movies”. And he has said that he hopes one day he will be invited to my family functions, like holiday stuff and etc. He is loving. I really just want to see the difference in him with medication. I think It may be a deal breaker for me if he does not try them. It would cause me resentment towards him to endure XYZ and wonder if those things would be more manageable with meds.
He sounds like he has some good qualities - like you said he is extremely smart! All the staff go to him for info. And he is loving.
You also point out some of his less good qualities. I am listing here what you mentioned in your comments:
- He is extremely anxious.
- He will not take medication.
- He gets defensive when you try to talk to him about his mental health.
- He shuts himself off from the world.
- He is very insecure.
- He is very needy.
- He needs lots of sex, and if you’re not in the mood, he thinks you don’t care about him.
- He is very paranoid.
- He doesn’t like a lot of noise (which a kid will make).
So, as you concluded, if he does not change significantly, it will have to be a deal-breaker for the relationship. Very sad, because you are in love with him; but as you are realizing, this is not a potentially healthy relationship for you or for your son.
So I see the question as simply: “Can he change? A lot? How quickly? And what will cause the change? Will meds make the difference?” I don’t know if this is doable, but in a “perfect world,” I’d imagine you’d sit him down and tell him “I love you, but I notice these qualities in you (list them). And if you can change, then I will be there for you. But if you can’t or won’t change, then we will have to split up. So, what are your thoughts around that?” (Of course you’d say it much more diplomatically than I’ve written it here).
Regarding schizophrenia, from my limited knowledge, it sounds like he might be that or it might be something else. But I agree that he does sound like he has some sort of significant emotional problem. But only a doctor (psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) could diagnose. And only they can decide what would help him. Unfortunately each person’s mental illness is very individual, even if they have the same diagnosis. For some people, medications alone do the trick. For others, meds plus therapy. For others, therapy alone. For others, nothing works. For some, they improve somewhat but they’re still dysfunctional. For some, their improvement comes and goes. For some (I have a friend like this who is diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder), she’ll take some prescribed meds, and they make her less paranoid, but they have awful side effects like making her hungry and sleepy all the time. So she’ll go off them, and then her doctor will try to find a different med for her. The new one will give her lots of energy, but will not stop the paranoia. Or one med will stop the paranoia for a while without bad side effects, but then for no reason at all will stop working, so she’s back to seeing her doctor again for a different med.
So, unfortunately it’s not a simple yes or no answer to if meds will make him a suitable partner or not. But I think that you need to set some guidelines with him: he goes to a doctor, he gets a diagnosis, he gets treatment (meds, therapy, anything else they recommend), and then you can evaluate together if the relationship is long-term workable.
Does this sound like something that would make sense for you to do?