First time posting. So my husband of 7 months was just diagnosed with early onset schizophrenia. He was misdiagnosed with depression and OCD from the age of 14. I’ve known since we met that he had mental health issues and his family knows about his issues. But now he’s been diagnosed with this and it’s a lot to take in for both of us, especially him. He says he doesn’t ever want to tell anyone about this and that he doesn’t want his parents to know. I know that this is his disorder but I just feel like it’s not healthy to keep this in and I want him to at least tell his mom and dad. I don’t like that I can’t talk to his family or my family about this and I’m already starting to feel alone and isolated from everyone. I feel like I’m keeping this huge giant secret and it’s getting hard to be around people we are both close to. I love my husband but I don’t want to become estranged from people I care about because I can’t talk to them about this. I know this is a huge change for him and he needs to process this and deal with things, like letting people know, on his own time, but as of now he is adamant about not letting anyone know ever. I just want some advice on this and how I should handle talking about this with him.
Give him some time - it’s a hard thing to accept.
When he’s ready, he’ll talk about it.
Is he willing to see a therapist? or join a support group?
I’d leave it be for the moment, but maybe that will help him come to terms with his diagnosis once he’s digested it for a little bit.
If it were me, I’d respect his decision, but I’d also remind him that he’s the same person with the same issues now that he was before his diagnosis. It’s just a label and that’s the only thing that’s changed.
Welcome to the forum, so sorry to hear that your husband has this illness. Ultimately I can’t say what you should do about talking to your husband’s parents…I can only tell you how I handled secrecy with my schizophrenic adult son. (I realize big difference between an adult son and a husband) But I set a firm ground rule that treatment would not work best if secrets were kept. In society there is often a stigma associated with a serious mental illness and it is my belief that the only way to eradicate that stigma is to be forthcoming and honest about it at every turn. We don’t have a lot of family so he kept secrets from his psychiatrist and other health professionals…I gave him an opportunity to be honest but told him that if he could not be honest then I would be. The professionals have to have all of the correct information in order to give the best most accurate care. Personally I cannot keep bug secrets like this, I am a very honest person. If I had a close family I would want them to know because the more support the better for both of us. I Just have my other older son and my sister and they both know and they are as supportive as they can be. Now that my son is more stable if he runs into people he knows I don’t say “hey! my son has schizophrenic!” he is more stable now so it is up to him whether he wants to tell acquaintances or friends what he is dealing with" I guess if I were married and my husband had this illness I would want to stay true to myself, if I am honest and uncomfortable with keeping big secrets I would say “look hon, this is who I am, I am honest and I will not keep a secret this big” Then I would give him the opportunity to tell his family but let him know that if the subject arises you will not lie. You love him dearly but you will not lie. The additional family support is critical. As is the honesty. Hopefully he will be forthcoming about all of his symptoms with the doctors, that is critical also. It does take a long time to process all of this but it is just my humble opinion that the honest approach is the best approach. NAMI (The National Advocacy for the Mentally Ill) is a great source of information and free classes on this illness. The Family to Family class is an amazing wealth of insight and information for anyone in a family or caregiver situation…check it out when you have time. I wish you and your husband the best. http://nami.org/#
Yeah he is seeing a therapist that he really likes. We are going in for a couples session together.
I told him to just give it some time and think about it but it’s his decision to make and I will respect it.
Thanks for the great advice. Luckily he has a really great therapist that he is very comfortable with. He has seen many therapists over his life and was hospitalized at a mental institution for a week 3 years ago for what they thought was depression. The therapist he is currently seeing was the first one that thought to do the MMPI test with him and that’s how he found out. So he is very comfortable with him and very honest so that is good. I’m so glad we found him. It’s just the family part that he doesn’t want to be honest about. He thinks they will treat him differently which is totally not true. His mom and dad are the most supportive people in the world. We are meeting together with his therapist for a session so hopefully talking together with him will help him overcome the fear of telling people we are close to. Thank you for the great resources and advice I really appreciate it
I am so happy to hear he has a good therapist that is great…It is even better that once he gets past the hurdle of telling his parents you are confident that they will be supportive…very good news…I wish you all of the best.
Hello and welcome
You can be open and anonymous here.
My advice also is not to tell anyone close to both of you until he is ready. Maybe the marriage counseling will help you two talk about this together and reassure both of you that you are each other’s allies.
You are 100% right that you need support and openness too. Maybe your own counselor, also a confidential group like NAMI Family and Friends support group might meet as often as weekly in your town if there is a chapter.
Mrenee. My daughter had hallucinations as a child and I talked to several doctors at the time and they all brushed it off as a childhood thing. Yet it really worried me. Her first hospitalization was at 12 years old and again at 13. She was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia disorganized at age 32. I was so angry with all the doctors and therapist she has seen since she was a child for it to take 20 years to diagnose. I told her brother and my best friend first but did not want to tell my father because he is elderly and I thought it would be too stressful for him to know. My son finally convinced me to tell my father and though he was deeply saddened, he is very supportive. I’m glad he knows, he is also very supportive of my daughter and her treatments and they can talk about it. As for my own brothers and their families or anyone else, I leave that up to my daughter. I don’t tell them because it affects the immediate family most and really we are not that close. I feel that is her right to tell who she wants to or not. I don’t tell them because it affects the immediate family most and really we are not that close.
The only people I really encourage my daughter to be completely honest with is her doctors, therapist and me.
@Mrenee – How old is your husband as you mentioned early onset schizophrenia. Schizophrenia typically rears its ugly head around 18-28. Is he younger than that?
Hi, I’m very sorry that you’re both going through this. I think you could maybe discuss several options with him and try to at least include his parents. If not, then you should respect his decision and perhaps go to a therapist to discuss his and your daily struggles.
Presumably your husband has been ok talking about depression and OCD, as he was diagnosed with these previously. So instead of using the word ‘schizophrenia’, why not suggest he talk about his illness in terms of the symptoms he experiences, for example anxiety, bizarre thoughts, perceiving things are there when they really aren’t. Schizophrenia is just a word and all of us here know full well what it means, and just how far it is from the media interpretation of a schizophrenic as a homicidal maniac, which they hardly ever are i.e. statistically more murderers do not have mental illness, than do.