Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Advice please- communicating experience with significant other


#1

Hello! I really need advice. My older brother was diagnosed with SZ about 5/6 years ago. It has been pretty traumatic for me and the whole family. He relapses sometimes 2 or 3 times a year and when it happens I witness scary, events that leave scars and memories I can’t get out of my head. I don’t have any other siblings and my parents have been devastated by it so I pretend to be strong and don’t talk to them or anyone about it. Only a couple friends know, but it’s not something I can easily bring up. My fiancé knows about my brother and I’ve called him during my worst times at home but I have a hard time telling him what I’ve been through. Maybe it’s because I feel like I went through this alone, I feel like I need my finance to know exactly what I went through. He’s not good at prying information out of me, and I’m uncomfortable talking about it without being asked specific questions. I’ve been thinking lately about writing down about what I went through, like specific things and memories of my brother and what he said/did during his breaks. And having my fiancé reading it. I just desperately need someone else to know what I saw and understand what it was like. Is that too much to share with my fiancé ? Should I avoid details ? Will it scare him away? Any other advice or how you were able to communicate your feelings to sognificant others ?


#2

If he wants to marry you, odds are he’s past the point of being scared off because of your family. My experience is on the other side of things, but maybe it can help you. When I was first diagnosed, I felt like it was this huge awful secret that would make everyone hate me. So I kept it to myself. But I think treating it as a taboo gave it power over me and made the problem feel bigger than it was.

When I finally told my closest friend, she reacted with love and compassion. She accepted me for it. Her reaction helped me to realize schizophrenia isn’t some horrible family secret to be buried and never talked about. Building open channels of communication is a great way to help heal some of the pain that can be caused by this illness. If you think writing it down would be easier than talking, I 100% support that decision.

We aren’t supposed to suffer alone. The whole point of getting married is so you don’t have to face things alone. You’re part of a team now, and your teammate will help you through the hard parts of your life.


#3

Get a copy of this book and read it. Have your family read it, too.


#4

Have you considered talking to a therapist about it? My therapist has really helped me process and talk about my past traumas and now I can more easily describe and express what has happened. Now, not only can I talk to my therapist about it, but I can talk to family and friends as well.


#5

Thank you for your time and words! I appreciate the advice.


#6

I’ve talked to a therapist before when he was first diagnosed and only had a few scars. I guess it’s been a few more years with more memories. Just moved to a new city so will have to look into a new one. Thank you!


#7

Hello @Missy1

I’m a younger sister of a man who has been diagnosed with Sz. Before my brother was med compliant, there were some very dark times.
I was young and I didn’t understand this illness well. No one really understood my situation with our home life, and I felt very isolated.

Our local chapter of www.nami.org had a peer support group. That did help me learn how to communicate with my brother better, spot when hard days were coming, and it gave me resources to use.

It helped a lot not being the only one.

Also please look up Dr Xavier Amador: His book “I’m not sick, I don’t need help” is about better communicating with a diagnosed loved one.

I hope these two resources help a little.

Thank you for letting me post.