I understand this is an older thread but I just found it and have to say it really hit home.
I’ve been following on the site for about a year now but never posted before.
First I have to say it’s SO hope inspiring to hear that you’re boyfriend was willing and did see a therapist with you! Still trying desperately, and I mean desperately, after 5 years to get mine to see somebody…
So. There’s no diagnosis.
I appreciated the comments on schizophrenia spectrum, as there ARE a number of types and can be accompanied by a number of other diagnoses such as different personality disorders.
First I started with a gentle suggestion: “Have you considered maybe talking to someone? A professional?” After a particularly odd behavioral incident. This was a few months into our relationship.
Then a couple months later it was urging: “You really should consider talking to somebody.” When there were other behaviors, becoming vocally aggressive and nonsensical.
8 months in I said, after an extremely random and violent incident where he got out of bed, unprovoked, ran down the hall to the kitchen where I was sitting at the kitchen table with my back to him and slammed me in the side of the head knocking me and the chair over to the floor and in the same motion sat down on the couch and said nothing acting like nothing happened, then I said “You NEED to talk to somebody.”
By a year and a half, it was me begging. “Please! I’m not asking. We need to get you some help. I am begging you. You need to see a psychiatrist.”
Here we are, five years later, same conversation (or lack there of). Extreme angry response and refusal to even the suggestion of a therapist. Throws him into a rage.
“There’s nothing wrong with me! I’m not sick!”
If I recounted an incident it was and is always “That never happened.” Or “You lie! You’re making it up! It’s all in YOUR head!”
Now, I’m no psychiatrist. But I worked in the medical field. I was a hospice nurse for 10 yrs and worked with developmentally disabled adults for a few years prior to that (DMH) as well as trained as an EMTBasic. I’ve always been a caregiver of sorts, naturally an impartial observer, as well as trained.
So through years of my own observations and what reasearch I could do, and LIVING it, and loving somebody deeply, I eventually concluded this was an appropriate place for me. I sincerely appreciate all of you that share here. This has been my place to go to find reassurance and strength for the last year just being able to read everybody’s stories of strength and wisdom. My heart goes out to all that live this struggle. It’s truly one of the places I come for ‘me’. This, and my garden…
So, as far as symptoms go, these are the big ones we have struggled with over the years and still do:
It’s sometimes difficult to tell what this is. There is something known as gaslighting. It’s an attempt to make another person question what they know to be true. It’s a manipulation to get a person to question oneself, ultimately causing confusion and doubt and allows the gaslighter to achieve a sense of dominance and control. It’s a form of psychological torture.
It’s difficult to determine if this is the case or if it’s truly a delusion of his when he does this. This ranges anywhere from standing there watching him thrash a plant and it’s pot across the floor in a bizarre fit, me asking him to clean it up, and him saying ‘I didn’t do that YOU did that’, to calling people I’m close too and getting together with them then saying he was doing something different at the time, to where a picture on the wall came from (i don’t know, it was here when I got here, then asked again the answer is a story of a Chinese street artist he met while visiting New York City), to masturbating in the yard “that never happened!” (I’ll get more into that later) Told me once he was helping somebody I know build a wall in the person’s mother’s basement. Turns out the person knew nothing of this, though they were in fact building a wall in their mothers basement as a finish. Hard to tell if he believes what he’s saying. But constantly “That never happened!” Alternately, he will think things are going on that are not and has no basis for in reality. Usually to do with people and places he thinks I’ve been or have been talking to.
Simply put, it’s sometimes embarrassing for others to be out in public or with a group with him as he will often make odd statements or declarations that make no sense or refuse basic social courtesies like moving if he’s in somebody’s way. It can appear sometimes that he’s not quite sure what to do with his own body, suddenly moving his arms really slow or seeming confused about where he is and what to say or do next, which is awkward for people around him.
Poor Communication Skills/Strange Speaking and Phrasing:
Can be very difficult if not near impossible to have a meaningful conversation sometimes. Will answer simple questions with long ambiguous, convoluted statements having seemingly little or nothing to do with the question or conversation. Also has difficulty describing his own emotions or experiences. Sometimes will make up words or use noises to communicate.
In this same vein,
Struggles to Stay on Topic:
I have to be careful when talking sometimes if I use any examples or associations to clarify something in conversation. For instance, I thought the conversation was about getting a new washer and dryer and where the lint trap is located and that wooly crap that has to be scraped out and suddenly
He’s talking about sheep migrating patterns on farms.
He’s never been on a sheep farm. And doesn’t know squat about migrating patterns.
We still don’t have a washer and dryer. It’s been a year.
Which brings me to:
Procrastination, Planning and Excuses.
Nothing ever gets done because making a plan and puting it into action is somehow a horrifying and stressful event. Best just not to make plans he seems to think. These may all be a form of deflection or avoidance I imagine. Wether it’s the topic he’s uncomfortable with or how his brain is processing the information, who knows.
For the first couple of years he would actually have arguments with me about taking a shower or changing his clothes. (Yes, we are talking about an adult). He is active. Enjoys playing tennis regularly. He would tell me his clothes were clean though he’d been in the same pants for a month, tee shirt for two weeks, breath would be reeking because he had it in his head that he could floss every few days and thus didn’t NEED a toothbrush, BO so bad from not showering or using deodorant because deodorant would give you cancer. Toothpaste too. Cancer causing agents. I’m happy to report that in the last year and a half the showering and oral hygiene has become regular and he talks about maybe seeing a dentist.
Odd or Inappropriate Attire:
Besides redressing in clothing that has holes and is rotting with mold, quite literally, despite the fact that he has access to clean fresh clothing, some of it pretty decent stuff actually, he has in the past dressed in snow storms in jeans and a tee shirt. Likewise, he has worn wool long sleeve sweaters and a winter cap in 70+ degree weather stating that “It is comfortable”.
When we first started dating it did initially look as though there was a hoarder in the house. And not just stuff, items, old boots that somebody gave him that didn’t fit anybody and were literally rotting off the soles and growing mold and mildew, but garbage. No garbage in the can. A number of grocery bags full piled up against the wall over what was a trash can at one time but just loose trash tossed on top collecting against the wall and out across the entire floor a few feet deep. Every single inch of any surface covered in refuse. Half a foot deep. Rotting dishes from 6 months ago two feet deep in the sink. He doesn’t notice this, but he noticed the flies. Hates flies. “They’re disease-ridden.”
Poor Organizational Skills:
In addition to the hoarding it’s difficult for him to develop systems for anything. Whether it be simply puting something back where it belongs like a dish or executing a sequence of actions in order to get a required result. Cart before the horse sort of thing but imagine it to an extreme degree mixed with unrealistic grandiosity. Inhibits many kinds of basic productivity.
Can on occasion have extreme difficulty making decisions. This effects basic productivity. Probably contributes to poor organizational skills, procrastination, the social awkwardness, and maybe the odd attire? This doesn’t seem to ever agitate him though. Often he will default simply to “whatever you think”.
The thing is, none of these behaviors are all-off-the-time. Some days it’s being with a perfectly normal, interesting, intelligent, happy, friendly loving person. When it’s happening though, it’s hard to explain that to people on the spot. I’ve had people ask me if he was developmentally disabled on occasion, and even had some people who had known him and played in a band with him regularly tell me that he was. They were pretty surprised when I explained it to them.
(Note: marijuana and alcohol will often exacerbate or bring on episodes)
Now, if you’re still reading this and you’ve stuck with me this far I’d like to say that over the last five years my BF has done many accomplishing things as well. He has maintained his job with his family and has actually managed to successfully complete three tiers of plumbing school which, having looked at the material myself and watched him work diligently is quite impressive and actually inspirational. This is no easy task for anybody at any age and he undertook this with his ‘limitations’ and he’s done it later in life as we are in our 40’s and 50’s. I can’t say how proud and inspired he can make me sometimes!
He does come from a strong family that has been very aware and supportive and has reached out to me and been willing to discuss anything if ever I need to. Count your blessings!
I’d also like to discuss a couple of other more sensitive topics before I go for now. If you think you may be sensitive to content PLEASE STOP READING NOW. Thanks and be good to yourselves!
Symptomatically and behaviorally there have been others that are slightly more ‘abnormal’ or have caused some significant distress not just for him but for me, our relationship and his family. These can be difficult to discuss, even with family, as there is a certain level of privacy and respect I like to try to maintain for him with his family.
Sexual Compulsivity and Deviance:
I’m not sure that it would be clinically considered chronic, but he would hide in odd places or alternately engage in risky public places in masturbation.
In the basement bulkhead, out the back door, in the unregistered vehicle in the driveway, hiding against the side of the house, in various parking lots, etc. Would leave ejaculate in/on his shirt and keep wearing it for a week.
He would also engage in risky sexual behavior with risky partners which caused him distress on occasion, as he’d come home covered in others’ urine or smelling of fecal matter, and this upset him greatly. But he would repeat the behavior. This eventually led to video of him, a blackmail attempt, and him being posted online. (These are criminal felonies, by the way)
On fecal matter: likes to leave it in the yard. Wipes and does not burry any of it.
On a lighter note, hope it helped others who haven’t been able to get help for their loved ones either to read this. It’s a slow grind with lots of ups and downs.
I do what I can, tried incorporating B-Complex supplements, Niacin, eat more fish and bananas and leafy greens in our diet. Considering L-lysine supplements too. Thanks.
Take care and be good to yourselves!