I apologize if this is long/rambling - there is no TL;DR. This post is more just finally putting four years of thoughts together…a vent post. I haven’t talked a lot about this. I’ve thought about posting here for a few months now. my name is Punk - his name is Raven.
We met when we were both just entering our 20s. He was 19 and I just turned 20. I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship which had provided housing…before I lived in my car. He had spent a year maladaptive daydreaming different fantasy realms to escape reality.
We met when we both needed companionship and hope. We fell in love quickly, easily. It felt like magic…the way we understood each other. If you believe in this kind of thing: he feels like my twin flame. It felt like we had been together in other lives…our families commented on how we felt so new yet it seemed like we had been together for a long time. We are both romantics. It was your typical fairytale love story. When he confessed to me, we were at our spot (an old nature reserve/veterans memorial along a remote road…we are both nature freaks) and it started pouring rain. He told me about his daydreaming loneliness and I told him about my demons/shadows. We understood each other.
One day Raven told me about his aunt and how schizophrenia runs in his family. His auntie has schizoaffective disorder (bipolar) and she struggles with drug addiction. She tried to set her sibling’s house on fire and once disappeared into the woods for two weeks. We acknowledge, we move on. I get diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. We acknowledge, we educate and we move on.
Raven came over to my apartment for Christmas 2019, stayed the night and never really left. We lived together in peace, grace and bliss. It was easy to settle in together, even when COVID-19 really hit the area we lived in during March 2020. Our relationship stayed strong through the pandemic. Nov 2020 we move into his parents house because my job fell through due to the pandemic. I was the only one working due to his social anxiety and his passion to be an author. We manage because we love. August 2021, he proposed to me. We love and life is flowing smoothly with adoration.
October 2021. I’m 22 and he’s 21. Raven had been very paranoid lately, but that’s just something he experienced due to his anxiety, right? I got a new job at a call center, my first full time, and he spent a lot more time by himself. On the 25th, we go to the pumpkin patch. On the 26th…I get a call. I’m at work and he is sobbing. Raven says he needs me there and he’s terrified because he feels some kind of compulsion. Refuses to elaborate over the phone. I race home and he is on his knees sobbing in our bedroom. He cannot even speak. Raven tells me that he keeps hearing something tell him to take his meds until he ODs. We are both terrified. We should have gone to the hospital, but he didn’t want to.
The next day, Raven has his first psychotic break. I had just gotten home from work and started to get settled. He has been disassociating all day. Suddenly he tries to launch his head into our closet and starts talking to himself, telling the voice in his head to shut up. I have to hold him back from the closet while he tries to hit his own head. I had never experienced anything like this before. I take him to the ER and he gets admitted to the psych ward. The facility doesn’t have visitation due to COVID-19. He is traumatized by this facility during an incident and comes out looking like he’s a completely different man. They did not put him on antipsychotics, they did not treat him. They admitted him…then they spat him out. They did not care about him. He went to a follow-up and the appointment wasn’t even scheduled correctly. The system had no record of a scheduled appointment. They failed him.
Our friend, Shine, called me to check on me. During our conversation Shine is convinced that Raven has OCD, I say it’s definitely schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. Shine told me that if anyone told Shine that he had schizophrenia, Shine would unalive himself. I felt like they had poured cold water on me…since what if Raven felt the same way? I was very weak in this moment and took it to heart. They told me this while I was alone, in a basement by myself. All I could think about was how dare he. How dare Shine say that to me when he can go to sleep with his loved one tonight? When I was alone and had Raven ripped away from me? I was alone. And Shine wasn’t. So how dare he judge me? I hung up the phone and wept. This was one of the first times we had spent a night (unintentionally of course) apart. I cried all night. I felt like my world had shattered. After this, I didn’t talk about how I felt. I went back to work the next day.
Raven came back home a week later. He was not better and was scarred. He was still having delusions and thought there were multiple people in his body. He thought he had worms in his body. He thought the government was controlling everyone with chips. He was scared all the time. I was trying to calm him down, but I feel as if one of the steps of acceptance is realizing you cannot love it away. No matter how much you love your person with schizophrenia, you cannot take it on for them. All you can do is love them. Love them wholly and appreciate every moment you have with them as if it is your last. Support them, but make sure you give unto yourself. Not even three days later, he harmed himself. I freaked out, but he didn’t want to go back to the hospital due to the incident he experienced.
Raven convinced me with a compromise. He stayed with our friends, Shine and his girlfriend Iggy. Iggy is Raven’s best friend/sister figure. He stays at their apartment so he’s with people while I’m at work.
It was a mistake to not take him to the hospital. Near the end of November, Thanksgiving 2021, he looks into the mirror and has a delusion someone is trying to take over his body. He has a delusion about the voice telling him to give control of his body or he would harm our friend’s cat. (he’s a big cat guy). This terrifies him horrifically and he begs me to take him to the ER. We took him back and they admitted him to a different ward. This place was amazing compared to the last. Eventually, they put him on antipsychotics and when I visited him the second day, he looked me in the eye truly for the first time in almost two weeks. I wept. We talked, truly for the first time in a while. I felt full. He gets a diagnosis: schizoaffective disorder depressive type. They keep doubting his diagnosis bc he is aware of his delusions. He can tell when he’s about to have one. It becomes an inside joke just how many times they tell him he’s “insightful”. He gets discharged and we feel hopeful. They give him a therapist and psychiatrist. He is doing better, but not great. I take him to every single appointment and show up whenever he needs me to. I give myself to him constantly and do not refill my glass.
11 days after our 2nd anniversary in December - He self harms again. He begs to not go to the hospital. I am too weak to fight him. I fail him and agree to not take him. He looks at me on Christmas and tells me he has worms in his feet. I experience a small mental breakdown the first week of the new year. I do not have a therapist. I do not share how I feel with anyone.
Raven has a delusion during January where he feels childlike. A week later, I wake up and he is gone. No text or note. He left. I go outside and see his boot prints leading to the road, then nothing. I call for his family to help and officially freak out. I cannot find him. It ends up one of his community care staff picked him up and they went out for fast food and a chat. He is fine. I go downstairs and sob until he gets home. He apologizes. We make up. A week later his mother asks my abusive ex boyfriend if he ever noticed anything narcissistic about me. He tells her yes. She tells Raven I am a narcissist and that he’s experiencing psychosis because of Narcissist Abuse Disorder. I find out about it through my ex texting Izzy begging her to save Raven from me. My ex said I was a danger to Raven and that I was nothing but a horrible person. Izzy sent it to Raven while we were watching TV. I remember choking and not being able to breathe. I black out. Raven tells me the next day that I crawled under our bed and cried for my mommy. I was 21 and crying, begging for my mommy. I needed help. I bottled it up. I tried to find a therapist but none could work with my work schedule. I got too tired to seek one out after multiple failures with schedule/insurance matching.
His mother blames me. She needed something to blame and I was the easiest thing. I did not belong and if I went, so would the problems. He didn’t have this before me, so it was my fault. Another part of me died. I take him to his appointments, listen for his symptoms, keep an eye on him to make sure he’s okay, pay our bills, go to work 5 days a week at a call center, monitor his meds, keep an eye on his side effects, love him endlessly as this drains me slowly, smile in the face of his mother even after, try to make things work while living with grace. It does not work. Raven’s mother tells him that people who are together share their money and that I should be helping them pay for his hospital bills. I ask them to give me an estimate of how much they need, they never respond. I fall apart and try to keep the pieces from making me bleed.
Raven goes to the ward again at the end of January. I break. I buy a last minute $400 roundtrip to the state my mother lives. She helps me feel again and I am safe. I am there for only the weekend. I take a deep breath and attempt to live with grace once more. Raven is put on his third antipsychotic after two other trial runs. He lasts more than a month. We start to rebuild until April of 22. He has a quick ER trip, but no ward. He feels alive again. He reclaims his life. I am endlessly, profoundly and irrevocably proud of this man.
I take him to his appointments, inspire him to write, keep an eye on his meds, keep an eye on his symptoms, take care of him when his depression starts to steal his light, clean him when he cannot, manage the chore chart, clean when he cannot, manage meals, manage groceries, work 4 10s for my same call center job, keep an eye on side effects of his new meds, help him deal with weight gain, stay patient through delusions that leak through, love him unconditionally. I am alone, but he makes me feel full. I am delusional and think this is okay. It is not. I do not understand and keep going.
June 2022 - i love him. We move into an apartment with a friend I’ve had since high school. Raven turns 22. We all enjoy the freedom of being young adults together. We drink, we act stupid together, we live. I love him and if he’s okay, I’m okay. He is a good man, gentle as a kitten and as loving as the light of the sun. He writes me poems and has made a character in his book based off of me. He has a playlist devoted to me that he plays when we go on dates. He writes me letters and I have them in the glovebox of the car I rent from his mom. I read them whenever I need reassurance. He only ever scared me once and corrected his behavior. He touches me reverently as if I am a goddess. In his eyes I am mystical, effortless, and effervescent. He loves me. We breathe together and move as one. I am the only one who knows how bad his disorder is. I am the only one in his personal life he tells about his delusions. I am the only one who takes him to his appointments. I am the only one who can keep a cool head in stressful situations. I am the only one he trusts to not make him feel stupid for believing his delusions. I am having problems controlling my stress. I am having problems controlling my anger. I snap at him. I am a dying star. I keep shining.
September 2022. I am 23. My job gets to me in ways I cannot describe. People are terrible over the phone and abusive. You are beneath them. I am balancing everything. I put in my two weeks near the end of the month. Days later, my mom’s sibling is murdered in a car accident. Right after my two weeks are over the funeral is planned. We mourn. I lose another piece of me. We move on. I was a fool and did not have another job lined up, I struggle. I manage to get an amazing job working with people I am passionate about. It is another call center job, but I help people. I am ecstatic. My trainer is amazing, I made friends, I made it into a program that most people did not. Then, I fell apart.
I started feeling the weight of the last year. I crumbled into dust. My light extinguished. I could not get out of it. I couldn’t suck it in anymore and I was floundering. Raven caught me, but I was stumbling. Then, my grandmother died. I could not even move. I went to work and would cry in the bathroom. I would cry between calls. Everyone could tell I was falling apart. It was embarrassing. This time, I reached out for help. I so desperately wanted this to work. I felt as if I had everything. An apartment with the love of my life, best friend and two loving cats. A great job helping veterans, friendly coworkers and patient managers. I loved my team. But why was I so empty? I got therapy through the company, but it didn’t go well. I started feeling like things weren’t going to get better. I quit March 2023. I quit a job I was passionate about, left the program, and fell apart further. I plummeted into depression and struggled to find a job. Raven took over our share of rent and I used my credit card to handle smaller bills.
April of 2023, we celebrated a full year of no hospital visits for Raven. Raven thinks about how I’m struggling to work and how his disability is only so much. He wants to try working. I get excited for him and he works with a job coordinator at his program. He lasts a week before he has a delusion. He quits. Near the end of April, he goes to the ward. He comes back with a new medication, but now he has way more symptoms and they trouble him every single day. He still attends therapy and everything like usual, but it only helps so much. He cries because he thought it was over. He does not lean on his family or friends for I am his sanctuary. I love him and he is struggling. He struggles and leans on me. He leans and leans until he is laying down.
May of 23 - I get a new job, but feel the weight of it all. I am barely back in my body, but I feel better than I have been this year. I am making pennies compared to what I used to make, but I feel like I can only handle a part-time job. I am struggling to pay bills and don’t get out of the house as much. I lose the energy to do most things, but I’m fighting to gain it back. I love him and he is laying. He lays and lays until he plants himself into me.
June of 23 - Raven turns 23 and we find roaches in our apartment. We get it treated, but they keep coming from another apartment. We all drift apart, but Raven is drifting into his mind. I am sad. I am angry. I start to feel more unstable than ever. I try to self soothe by validating my feelings rather than running away from the bad ones. It kind of works. I surprise him for his birthday with a drive-in of his favorite movie ever. I love him and he is drifting.
July of 23 - I am standing at work. I give out food for a living in a store . I did not think I would be here 7 months ago. I want to help people. I die inside. Until it happens. One day I am imagining myself doing my current job when I’m old. Never amounting to what I want to do. It hits me so hard I struggle to stand. Gripping my cart, I then come up with a plan and come to a realization at the same time. I want to go to college. I will move in with/near my mother. I need to do this by myself, for myself. I need to do something for myself. I have given and given and I have nothing left to give. I need to go on an adventure. I want to become a physical therapist or something close, I want to major in Kinesthetics. I want to help people. First I need to help myself. I take this on by the horns. I break his heart. I tell him. He absolutely supports me, but is hurt. He wishes that I didn’t decide he was staying here, that he had a choice. We talk about it and he supports me. I feel like I am breaking him. He cries, but wants me to do it. I am moving 500 miles away next June. He loves me and I am drifting.
August of 23 - we talk. I tell him I need to do stuff for me and that I need to take care of myself. I tell him I feel weird about our relationship but I don’t know why. I am clueless and so is he. I tell him I’m not sure if I am in love with him, but I want to be. I am afraid of hurting him and he shatters. He loves me and I am distant.
September of 23 - I turn 24. Near the end of the month my sister and I go to the state my mom lives. Near the end of the month Raven fumbles and struggles through the week leading up to me leaving. I tell him if he gets any worse then I am taking him to his mom’s or the hospital. He tells me he’ll go to his parents but needs to stay at the apartment for his care worker to pick him up. I am two days into my vacation , my first time away from him since this all began, and he falls apart. He calls me and tells me that he thinks an alien has planted a worm in his brain and wants to control him. He tells me that his family has been replaced by aliens and that they’re going to kill him. He is at his parents house. I wasn’t there to prevent this.
I…feel annoyed. I feel…horrible. I get…angry. I selfishly ask myself…can I not have a day? A week? An hour? I tell him to call me if it gets worse and that he should talk to his mom. He is terrified as she does NOT know how bad it can get. He does it. He texts her. When she enters the room he cries and asks her if she’s been replaced and if she’s going to kill him. She manages to get him to fall asleep by sleeping next to him like he’s a kid again. Meanwhile, I break. I start talking to my mom about it and she asks me if I ever get a day off. She gave me the piercing, knowing look mom’s have. I broke down. The last almost two years of stress came out and I sobbed like a baby. The balancing act toppled. The wool in front of my eyes was burned. My mom and sister asked me if his parents help, I said no. They do sometimes but I am the only one he talks to. They don’t know how bad it can get. How he struggles every single day. How lovely he is, but he has thorns. They lived in peaceful ignorance while I shouldered their son. My mother got angry and said she will not lose me just because they will not take care of their son. I could not control myself and got overwhelmed with emotion. Curled into a ball and covered myself with a blanket. I realized that I didn’t know how I felt because I had given Raven everything and I felt more like a caregiver than his partner, his lover. I felt more like his mother. He is not intimate because of his meds, we do not talk about much else than his disorder, I take care of everything that he cannot. I am not in love with him anymore. I did not sleep that night.
The next day my sister and i try to have fun. While we are in town we go out to a restaurant. I saw a waiter and was attracted to him. I felt repulsed by myself and confused. This does not happen as long as I’m with someone as I am a monogamous person. We go back to mom’s and Raven calls me. He tells me his delusion has been going on for 24 hours straight. His delusion had gotten to the point where he was so terrified of everyone in the house being aliens that he thought about killing them out of fear. He says he is a monster. I feel my heart break. If I was there, this would not have gotten to this point. If I was there, this would NOT have escalated this far. I demand he gets his mom. I tell her everything. We need to talk, help your son, here’s what you do and please take him to the ER. I was beyond frustrated, but kept reminding myself that they don’t know the signs. How can they help him when they don’t even KNOW? We agree to talk when I come back. I care about him and we are stumbling.
Oct of 23 - I tell his mom everything. She comes over and we hash it out. She admitted to needing to blame this on someone because she didn’t want to believe it was real. Then she was able to live in ignorance because I took it all on. I felt like I needed to take care of him so that I wouldn’t get blamed again. I needed to hold it together because if I didn’t, he wouldn’t. Then he would go back and everyone would say things to me again. I had to do it, if I didn’t then no one would. i LOVE him so it should be easy and if he’s okay then I’m okay. It would be all my fault if everything fell apart. I tell her I’m moving to the state my mom lives in and I’m going to pursue college. I tell her through tears and passion that I adore her son, but it has taken a toll on me, our relationship and my life. There is little time in the last two years that I haven’t been stressed out. My roomie told me he thought I was going to have a stroke due to it. I threw my entire being, soul and mind into taking care of him. She started to cry and said if I ever decided I couldn’t do this anymore, she wouldn’t judge me. She said she would take more things on and be responsible for him as his mother. I told her that if she did, to please take care of herself. She needs to fill her own glass as much as she gives. She said she would. We leave feeling closer and visit him in the hospital.
He gets out and we talk. I tell him everything. He tells me for the first time: thank you for taking care of me. Over the entirety of October we talk multiple times about this topic. I tell him I took control of everything. I did everything listed before and also told him what to say to his therapist (mostly just symptoms popping up and habits that bothered him. I was and never will try to learn what other things they talk about…that’s their business). He says that on the flip side he let it happen and that he is just now realizing he has a disability. That he has felt able because he doesn’t struggle with things outside of his disorder. I told him it’s because I am cushioning him. I have been protecting him from anything I could as to not stress him out. Whenever he enters the room, my body is on high alert. I have Spidey senses for this man. I can read him like a book. I have been monitoring him. Loving him as a support rather than a lover. Our bond has dilapidated.
I told him I have taken him into me. He is planted into my heart and I will never, ever lose him there. I told him that I will always be there for him because I cannot imagine not being in his life after how much I have given him to support him. He feels the same way, but he also is struggling. He had no idea anything was wrong. He still loves me as hard as he did before his own wool was burned. Now I feel as if I am hurting him irreparably. I feel like I am giving up on him because of something he has no control over. I feel like a monster. I like him and I am exhausted.
About a week and a half ago, I broke up with him. It lasted two hours. I drove back to his parents apartment in the rain and begged him for forgiveness. We agreed to try just dating each other. He said he feels like we need to work on ourselves individually as well as our relationship. How do I do that when I depended on his happiness for mine, yet it does not make me full anymore? How do I learn how to take care of myself when I am blind to what that looks like? Before my abusive ex I lived in my car, I was homeless. I am unstable. I feel lost. I am wandering. I cannot let go of something I have been growing and pouring into because he still feels like hope…he still feels like the sun…he still writes about me and for me. I want to learn how to love him healthily, because I want to. He loves me. He still loves me with his entire soul. He is patient with me right now while I figure out my messy emotions. He looks at me as if I am the key to happiness. As if I am the moon and hung the stars. He touches me as if I am mystical, effortless, and effervescent. I like him. I loved him, but now I live in limbo.