Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Do memories from psychotic episodes return?

My partner has had an admission to a mental health facility. (It took me 7 months after he stopped taking his meds) He started a fight with me, while he was there and stopped talking to me. The next thing, I heard from him while I was on nightshift. He had discharged himself and was staying in a friends gym premises. He wanted to know if I had slept with anyone. Strange question I thought…skip forward a week, he goes on a big bender. It comes to light that he has started some sort of relationship with another patient from the mental health ward, while he was there. She believes that they are in a relationship and has stated this on FB. He denies the whole thing. She is known to my workplace and is banned for abusing our staff. I know what she looks like. After this big bender, I took him to emergency department for meds. She came in and stared at us twice. I have no way of knowing if they are still in contact. I have had an appointment with a clinical supervisor that tells me that he may not remember that he has slept with her. Will his memories return at some point?

The short answer would be that everything varies from person to person.

Very interesting! Thanks for replying.

I’m confused, by “bender” do you mean the usual connotation— binge drinking, or psychotic symptoms or a combination of both? I ask because my brother has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and alcohol problems that cause lapses in memory which we generally attribute to alcohol-induced memory black-outs.

I personally typically remember my psychotic episodes, but as @hope states experiences vary. A related note is that psychotic content in my experience, my brother’s and other diagnosed people tends to repeat or “rhyme”. It’s a bit like theme and variation in music.

When psychotic episodes end, there’s a period I go through and some others report experiencing where I’m confused what was real and what wasn’t. In a way it’s a bit like waking from a dream that’s hard to follow or so confused you may forget it, even if it’s vivid when you first wake up. Some people have recurring dreams or a set of dreams with a common theme, and that’s similar to my experience. By analogy, people’s dream-life and content and what they remember of dreams varies significantly, as do experiences of psychotic episodes. This said, lapses in memory can be convenient excuses and I find when my brother goes on alcoholic and manic “benders” it’s hard to tell if he’s fabricating cover-stories or if his recollection is hazy due to drink and/or disease. Reading these tea-leaves often requires teasing information from third parties to get a broader picture.

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Hi, thanks for getting back to me. I’m a Aussie, so perhaps my meanings might be different. This particular bender, he had marijuana on a Thursday night, missed the morning’s work, then drank from Friday through to Saturday, I gather. On the Saturday night he went from the pub to an oval where homeless people drink and tried to fight them. He does not remember how he got home, but does remember people yelling to call the Police.
He Started texting the other mental patient woman on Friday afternoon.
I did not see him until Sunday morning when he sent an alarming text, so I knew he was unwell. I went to see him. The woman had also been asked to see him at the gym and was calling him on his phone when I arrived. He was passed outand missing most of his clothes and his shoes.
I am thinking now that he probably does remember what he did with this woman, but will not tell me.
Thank you so much for sharing your personal experiences. It’s really helping me to understand what is going on. My partner rarely says anything even if I ask.
Funny that you mentioned dreams. My partner talks in his sleep and he often has religious themed dreams. He often screams, so I wake him up. He tells me at the time abiut the dream, but will not say anything about it the follwing day.
Thanks for your bravery with sharing your experiences with me.

Per the woman from the mental hospital… bear in mind that she wouldn’t be there if she didn’t have an illness or drug or alcohol problem too. She may have a delusion that something happened or a fixation or obsession with your partner. This could also be a form of folie à deux, where delusions of hers mesh with his own illness or needs of flattery or attention. In my experience I had no contact with patients from my hospitalization, although I did reach out to one of the nurses but I didn’t make contact. Most people with serious enough illnesses for hospitalization are so self involved that contact or friendships are only marginally possible within the controlled environment, and even more fragile outside of it.

Since drink, drugs and psychosis were involved, I’m doubtful that true amnesiac memories would be recovered at a latter date. There is the possibility information may be concealed but not forgotten, but I’ve had enough instances where my family and lawyers have been surprised by facts that spill out when my brother is before a judge after being given every opportunity to tell us the truth about what’s happened during an incident, that I think he doesn’t know what actually happens during his binges and his stories are wishful reconstructions to save face.