My girlfriend has been fighting schizophrenia. Her family never got her help, she never thought she needed help. It took me 2years but I got her in she started meds, everything was great. We had to move in with my parents. This is a trigger (alot of noise), everyone knows and had been great about it. We go around her schedule. 2 months ago, quit her job, stopped her meds, lost her voice from screaming, I have to make her eat and shower she loses days and weeks. She thinks we’re all out to get her. She has a room and we stay away but shes not coming out of it. I’ve never asked for help or know what to do. I’m scared she’s saying pretty evil things. What can I do? Any advice will help. Colorado law is it is up to the cop to admit her, she’s off and on about every 20 min. Screaming.
That sounds really difficult. I’m sorry you’re in this kind of situation.
I’m not sure about the laws for involuntary commitment from state to state, but I’m fairly sure that threats of harm to herself or others should be taken seriously. I know that in SC, any threat of violence from someone diagnosed with Schizophrenia is justification for involuntary commitment.
As to whether commitment is the answer for your girlfriend, I couldn’t possibly say.
Clearly, she is suffering. Clearly it’s hurting you and your family. Clearly her lifestyle is not helping her.
I think from what you’ve said, her lifestyle and living situation are not providing her with what she needs in order to be well.
Often, people with Sz and SzA experience paranoia, feelings of judgement or persecution, and anxiety. Especially toward family members. It’s not their fault, their disorder conjures up emotions that are powerful, delusions that are extremely convincing, and even hallucinations that can range from just annoying to flat-out distrubing.
She may even feel like you and your family are somehow working to harm her in some way, despite any evidence to the contrary.
I can’t be certain that any of this is the case for your girlfriend, but it is within the realm of possibility for someone diagnosed with Schizophrenia.
I would say that what you described, it seems like medication, therapy and regular visits with a primary care doctor are probably ideal. The hard part is helping her get there and want to get help. Often, people diagnosed with Schizophrenia are extremely suspicious of the medical community, especially if they have had negative experiences in the past.
This must be very hard for you. It sounds like your loved one needs immediate help. Calling the police is a good start, be safe. AnnieNorCal
Your girlfriend is in a similar situation to what happened with my adult daughter. I have experienced my daughter doing everything in your post. She was involuntarily admitted the most recently as I called 911 and reported she said “Everyone in this house should be dead.” (threat of harm to self or others is always acted upon). A CIT trained (Crisis Intervention Team) policeman showed up with backup, and they interviewed my daughter and took her in handcuffs. I’m not sure what they asked her, and I didn’t like that they handcuffed her, but that is the way it goes as it protects everyone from what “might” happen. I understand. Handcuffs freak her out, she was always a good (no… great) kid before her illness. She is 100% unaware she is ill. You can’t talk someone out of delusions or hallucinations. She spent 8 hours in an emergency room and was transferred to the nearest behavioral heath bed in a lock-down facility. Then I lost total touch with her, as she wouldn’t sign a HIPPA release for me. She came home much better, but got off her meds immediately, and reverted slowly back to psychosis. After 4 hospitalizations this way, and 4 times coming off meds, I have stopped trying to get her admitted. She lives in her room. We built her own entrance, her own fridge/microwave, her own bathroom. She has been fired from every job I’ve found for her, so I no longer try. She screams herself hoarse every so often, but mostly just talks constantly to her people. We built a door across the hallway to close off her “studio apartment” when she is too loud so we can live in our section of our home with some peace. Over time, she learned to trust me a bit, opens her door to take food from me once per day, and sometimes hugs me quickly and says she loves me. She will occasionally go for a walk with me, or go to WalMart, where she always accuses others of thinking mean thoughts about her. I no longer am embarrassed by that.
For your girlfriend, perhaps getting her admitted a few times will get her to agree to stay on her meds. Read Dr. Amador’s book, go to NAMI classes, read posts on this site, and try what you feel might help. Be patient and kind when possible (it sounds like you are) but this is a life wrecking illness and only a few seem to be able to get back to a “new normal” life even with the best support (especially if they don’t think they are ill which is called anosognosia).
Good luck and God bless you. Take care of yourself.
Hi @Dana - I’m in Boulder. The first time the cops came for my son - they did nothing. The second - he had a warrant so they took him to jail. He got out the next day. I kept thinking something had to happen and it did - I came home from vacation and he didn’t think it was me in the house so he started barricading me out. Finally, he had the entire house barricaded. That was it for me so I called the police. They came and said they couldn’t do anything because he lived there too. Finally, the cop said to me you need to get an emergency mental health hold. To do that I had to get in touch with the County Attorney. I did and filled out an affidavit with the history of my sons behavior and a few photos. Within 24 hours they came and got my son. He was in the Behavioral Health Unit for 3 weeks. They got him on court ordered meds which will go for another few months. Make sure you are writing down everything that has happened from her taking meds and screaming etc (noting dates). I can forward you the Boulder County Attorney’s info if you need that. They could help you locate one for your county if you need it. Also, another mom on here has been putting naturopathic pellets in her daughters tea which has helped her daughters behavior. Will she take food from you and eat it? Sorry for what you are going through.
Thank you for the response. I never known there was groups like this. I’m going to look in a court order for her. I just don’t want her to hate me.
Hi @DianeR She will take food from me. I will look into the medicine. We are not married and she has no family here in Colorado they are in South Carolina. They don’t think she needs help. They tell me to just leave her alone she’ll snap out of it she used to it would only be every two months now it’s been one good day out of two months. It’s time. Tonight she has a little knife. She’s carving wholes in our walls and calling me a whole. I’m in Adams county I’d love any info. They just tell me to call 911. But that isn’t guaranteed. I’ll do the court order but we’re not married. I just can’t kick her out she doesnt have anyone. County attorney. I’ll look into it. Thank you!!!
@oldladyblue thank you for responding. Yes it never used to be about me or my family, it was always her sister, dad or exgirlfriend. About 2 months ago it started being me and my parents. We had to move in she can’t keep a job and I can’t do it alone. She thinks I’m doing things to her. She’s locked herself in the room. She’s taking food, eating a little bit. She has a little knife and carving wholes in the well. This is new. I’m scared, I told myself i would call the police tomorrow. In Colorado it’s up to the cop and we’re not married. Have to look into my rights. I thought I was alone thank you so much. It makes me feel good to talk to someone who understands and has/going through it. People don’t believe me lol. Nope plus I have a bipolar 24yr daughter that lives with us. This does not help my girlfriend at all huge trigger. Ok so get professional help. Looking deeper into it tomorrow. Thanks again!
Thank you for the response. It feels good. I’m looking into people that can help me get the court order. I don’t want her to hate me but I think she has to do around professionals, so in the long run if she hates me but safe I can eventually life with that. Yes I’m in her head and she’s blaming me for even things that have happened when she was little girl. She uiet now lights off. I turned on a huge fan to help with the noise.
Yes, I bought an industrial fan and kept it running 24/7 in the hallway to mask some of the noise of the constant talking out loud of my daughter. After awhile you realize that what they are ranting about has nothing to do with reality, even if it is about a past memory. My daughter’s brain is short circuited and her rantings don’t make sense logically.
The police have been to my home about 40 times in the past year and a half. Only 4 times was my daughter taken away for involuntary hospitalization. The other 36 times, she didn’t say “the right thing” to the police to be taken for psychiatric hold. She really wasn’t any different for the other 36 times, just that the police have to see and evaluate the present and she wasn’t saying anything “dangerous” those other 36 times at the exact moment that the police were there.
One time, she had her father’s knife out in her room when the police entered her room. That was one of the times they took her. My daughter seriously would probably not hurt a fly, but I wanted to see if I could get her on meds and if she would stay on them. This was the only way: threat of harm to self or others.
You must be prepared to call the police and get her hospitalized more than once, too. And when she gets out of the hospital, you may have to do it again if she won’t stay on meds. Call when she says or does anything that is a threat to you or your daughter or herself.
It may help to get her on meds, and meds may help. Or not. It is a terrible disease.
From personal experience with my sz son, when he “hated” me the most, it was when I was doing the most difficult good for him. In retrospect the painful hate he showed toward me during his most ill times was not real, it was in my opinion another symptom of his disease.
We live in Colorado and are in Adams County.My son who is 19 was just diagnosed in February. He had his first episode of psychosis. When all of this went down for my son I noticed a lot of anger in t he prior months and then finally he started saying bizarre things. The straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak was when he said he had been attacked by 20,000 demonic bees and also was trying to get his younger sister back who had been “teleported” elsewhere (she was only gone at work). My son was very agitated that day and I did not want him driving. I took his keys away and he got upset and fled down the block in our neighborhood onto a walking path. I called my son’s on call psychiatrist who indicated to call 911 and get an ambulance. We explained the situation to 911 and they dispatched two police officers who went looking for him. He eventually was found by the police. They interviewed him. He did not think he needed to go to the hospital but they and us convinced him. They drove him to the nearest hospital ER and we followed. He then went in voluntarily. The hospital social worker eventually came after several hours and interviewed him. She decided he needed to go inpatient to a mental health facility. She called around the state and found one in Loveland, CO that had a bed. It was called Clearview Behavioral Health. The nurses were very nice but I never once spoke to the doctor and he never explained what was going on to me and this was our first experience with someone who had his first episode. They had us communicate via the social worker. I had a medical power of attorney but they were reluctant to honor it and eventually they got my son to sign a release. They said they had stabilized him after about 14 days and sent him home but within about a week he was back in full blown psychosis. I had heard good things about Denver Health downtown as it has a mental health wing in a regular hospital and it is a teaching and research hospital. This time my son was so upset with his psychosis that he wanted to go - - at his worst he though the house was contaminated with the ebola virus. Anyhow Denver Health was fabulous - - they ordered heavy metal poisoning testing since my son had done welding and this can also cause psychosis (alas in his case it was schizophrenia), and blood work as well as a MRI to rule out other diagnosis or causes. The other facility did none of this. After two weeks there they got him stabilized on Zyprexa. He came home and did very well for two months - worked a job- and then lately the Zyprexa is not working like it used to . The mean voices are coming back - - last night he said they told him to hang himself, that he was in hell, etc. Have an appt. on Friday with his psychiatrist as I think it is time for a med change. Also in Colorado (Adams County) there is a 24 hour crisis line that you can call to get some help. They even have a mobile team that can come to your house and evaluate the person. That number is 1-844-493-8255. There is also a 24 hour walk in crisis center located in the old St. Anthony’s Central Hospital at about 84th and I-25. If this is her first time to get diagnosed there is a program in Adams County through Community Reach called the PREP team (prevention, recovery for early psychosis). There is a social worker that meets with the person weekly, a work/school liason therapist, a peer support person, and a social skills communication therapist.
Good luck and if you want to chat with someone who gets it message me and I will send you my phone number and email.
I’m in the same state. My son was hospitalized three times, but in each situation it was an unknown party who called 911 (odd behavior). In the last instance, they tried to bring him to my house and when my husband and I arrived home after out looking for him, we refused to get out of the car. In fact we drove away. The EMTs/police tried calling us and I told them that we were not coming home and that I knew they had to take responsibility of him. There was no way they would have left him there alone because they could have been responsible for what happened after that point as he was clearly a danger to himself.
All of our situations are so different but collective experiences can hopefully give you some direction. It sounds like this has really turned into unacceptable situation for you and your parents.
Her family needs to step in and help you. The “snap out of it” comment is usually made by those who have no understanding of this illness. You should not have to be dealing with this on your own.
Lots of good advice here for you and one that helped me was when my son said some worrisome things to one of his friends and I called the NAMI crisis line. Had a long detailed talk with them and two hours later, police officers were calling to check on me, wanting to know how he was. He had calmed down at that point and I did not want to have him taken away, so I told them everything was fine, however, they were ready to come get him.
Maybe call that crisis line and let NAMI get you some advice?
Please keep us posted.
@Dana - I just sent you a private note with the Boulder Attorneys info in case you need it to help you find Adams. Good luck with the day! You are not alone and keep us posted.
I am sorry you are going through this. If you are able find a local support group and go. You need support. I say this because the sad reality is she is going to hate you. How long…well that is unknown.
We had my son involuntarily admitted a while ago. When I walked into the room the first words out of his mouth were “I am never going to speak to you again”. My reply was “that is ok, but I still love you”. While inpatient he hired an attorney to sue everyone who was involved. Me included I presume.
It was a rocky few months and while he resented it and still does not agree with the course we took, eventually he understood it was motived by love. But it got uglier before it got better.
Sounds to me like your girlfriend may be a threat to you and your family if she says pretty evil things. She might also be a threat to herself. This would validate a 5150 hold (involuntary hospitalization). You would call the police department who would go to your home to evaluate your girlfriend. It is a stressful moment to have to have the police go to your house. However, your girlfriend would
be evaluated at the hospital and get the care that she needs in a safe environment. Good luck to you.