Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Help me help her


#1

My name is (D) I am a 23 year old male attending college, my girlfriend has the beginning symptoms of schizophrenia although she has not been officially diagnosed, and I don’t know what to do.

Here is a little background information: My girlfriend (T) recently turned 21. She has expressed to me over the past year or so she has begun to develop the symptoms of schizophrenia i.g. the reclusion, constant nervousness, irrational emotions, sounds and thoughts that difficult to distinguish if real, etc. Her mother was diagnosed with the disorder many years ago. As a cause of it her mother lost custody of (T) when she was only 14 and she moved from foster home to foster home until she was 18. She currently goes to school with me through federal funding and although the school has some benefits since her parents do not have custody of her she does not have health insurance and can not seek medical guidance for her problem because of monetary reasons.

Her disorder is beginning to affect our relationship, her friendships, her schoolwork, and her life overall. I am in need of desperate advice on how to help her. As much as I have tried to understand, I do not feel like I am able to reach her fully and empathize with her problem to support her. She is very special to me and I do not want to lose her because of a disorder she can not control. What can I do? What support groups can I get in contact with, if any? What non-medication related treatments can I use? Any literature recommended to read? Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Well dude she should probably see a doc and get on medication before it gets worse. That’s what I should have done but I rode the storm out until I had a full psychotic break that ended in a suicide attempt. Gotta be real careful with these things. Discourage drug use. Alcohol is alright. But adderal and pot are a bad thing to mess with. As are any other illegal drugs.

Really she should see a psychiatric doctor. You want to get on top of this. I’ve lost about 3 years of my life to this illness and I’m just now starting to recover.


#3

She must see a pdoc. Psychiatrist. You can go there with her as support. Does she know she has symptoms?


#4

Don’t most universities have a student health center or at least a counseling center where students can go with low or no additional charge.


#5

Do you have a NAMI branch in your local? They have seminars specifically for this situation if not they can assist with literature and other stuff possibly check out their website.

I hate sounding discouraging but if its possible have her see a psychiatrist that has experience with disfunctional mental disorder if that is where she seems to be heading.

The standard psychiatrists I went to were more experienced with more mild mental stuff relationships and mild depression so they didn’t really help me much.


#6

Welcome to the forum @BrandyMaker

Have you tried contacting the college’s counselling office? They may have services available for free.

You may find some help in one of these links:
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Can also find some very useful information here:
http://schizophrenia.com/

Early Psychosis Treatment center information in these two links
http://www.schizophrenia.com/earlypsychosis.htm
http://www.raiseetp.org/sites/
http://psychosisprevention.org/get-involved/education-center/finding-treatment/

Psychiatric Treatment Centers affiliated with Medical Schools in the USA
http://www.schizophrenia.com/psychcenters.htm

This link may help you find a psychiatrist in your area
http://psychiatrists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_search.php

For you these may help to understand and cope:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.

http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos

http://ourhealthyminds.com/family-handbook/communication/Building-a-collaborative-relationship-leap.html
Building A Collaborative Relationship “LEAP”

http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions

Depending on where you life NAMI (USA) should be able to help point you in the direction of some help. Or the Schizophrenia Society (Canada)

If you feel comfortable saying where you are living I can see what resources I can find.


#7

Sometimes people do not want to be classified as crazy, long time ago when I started hearing voices in America I knew that I had sz, I maintained a paper notebook where I listed my contacts and telephone numbers and one day I had written down the local mental health services contacts in Georgia, but the funny thing is that I had no recollection that I had written these numbers in my notebook, I still do not remember, I had been in some other mental state when I had written these down.


#8

I am not in America any longer, have not been there since 2002, but I would assume that each county has some local mental health services where you can contact with your girlfriend. I was able to find these telephone numbers, although I do not remember anything how I had done this. Did somebody give me these contact numbers, did I find these in the telephone book or somewhere else, I do not know but one day these contacts had appeared in my paper notebook. Mystery by itself.


#9

She needs medications - Have her see a psychiatrist ASAP this is the most important first step


#10

Thank you all for your advice. @BarbieBF I have checked out NAMI and am going to one of their meetings in a week. However they do meet decently spaced out within the month. I know (T) does want help but it feels like she is afraid of being officially diagnosed. She knows it will forever change her life and the way people look at her, I think the dysfunction within her and her mother’s relationship scares her that she’ll end up like her mother. There are small services they provide at school but she does not have a car so getting to her appointments is stressful for her and she does not want to have to depend on another person. How can I help push her to take the first step into getting help?


#11

Tell her if she doesn’t get help early she could slip into a deeper stage of her illness without being aware of it .

I did that .sometimes just talking to a pro helps in itself.


#12

If she has no transport I believe there are some hot line phone and internet services available.


#13

The school counciller should be able to point out some social services also. Tell her she is not going to turn out like her mother if she gets help now-she really can nip this in the bud if she acts now. She may still have symptoms, but the right medication will reduce everyhting.
She may also have some other disorder-not SZ. Could be very treatable. Can you go with her? It`s probably very scary for her to hear any news or navigate by herself.
I hope both of you can get the support you need!
There is also a lot of info. on this site-good luck!**


#14

If you aren’t doing anything anyways going through past posts of people that are afflicted can give you some insight.

Not just the recent stuff but stuff way back if she starts relating to some of it it would be good for you to know.


#15

The fact that T wants to get help is a really good sign. Reaching out for that help can be harder. Depending on others is not easy. Try reminding her that she deserves to get help. If she had a broken leg or some other reason to see a doctor, would she be willing to accept help in getting rides to a doctor or surgeon? Chances are the answer is yes. Remind her that she isn’t her mother and with the right treatment can be herself. If you can, offer to go to appointments with her so that she doesn’t feel alone. See if she can schedule appointment with the school counselor during the times that she is normally at school. That way there are no extra trips to the school. If she is worried about what others may think because she is at the counselor then she can say its anxiety or depression.

The sooner she starts receiving some form of treatment the better it should be for her. We can help guide someone to treatment but we can’t make them accept it.