Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

New to this- is my boyfriend schizophrenic?

Hello, I was wondering if anyone here could tell me if my boyfriend has schizophrenia and if he really needs treatment or if treatment would even do anything.

He’s 26 years old. Ever since he can remember he has always had an “imaginary friend”, a man named Kale. His mom is the only other person except me that he’s told, but she passed away two years ago. He says that Kale looks as real as anyone else does, and that he’s really the only hallucination he’s ever had. Other than some noises and things here and there. If he hadn’t told me I would’ve never had any idea. He says he’s generally okay but when Kale starts saying weird stuff he just ignores him. He says that Kale doesn’t like when he talks about him because he feels like he’s being betrayed or trying to get rid of him. My boyfriend says he’s scared to see a doctor because

  1. He’s scared of him going away because he’s always been there and is his friend and gives him advice and he’s be really lonely and
  2. He’s scared to make Kale mad and that it might just make it worse. He also doesn’t want to be a zombie from medications or be put in a mental hospital.

But like I said, if he hadn’t told me he sees him I would have NEVER known. He ignores him well and it doesn’t keep him from acting normal and working, having friends, etc. He has been diagnosed with bipolar depression before as well but it doesn’t bother him too much.

I thought it was ok because if it was just the one imaginary friend and he doesn’t make him paranoid like you would expect from that then it doesn’t bother him. But the more he talks about it the more it seems like it might be more than he’s saying. He told me that Kale tells him there are 12 other people like him that can see him and have people like him, and that on the winter solstice every year is when our world and theirs is the closest, and that the 12 people have to be here to keep them apart and that’s why he has to be here. Kale also gets really paranoid and my boyfriend says he’s always had like an impending sense of doom when he’s around.

My boyfriend says he knows it’s all ridiculous and that he knows what’s real and what isn’t and that he just ignores it but it still upsets me that he has to deal with that and I worry it could be making him paranoid without him realizing it or that it might get worse.

Can you have schizophrenia with just one constant hallucination? And doesn’t it usually show when you’re older? He says he can’t remember a time when Kale wasn’t there. Also, if he can just ignore him then would it even be worth it to get him all medicated and stuff? It would be so much work for him. I’m just worried because I don’t know a lot about it. Thanks

@karistocat I do not know if you can have one hallucination and be sz. I am wondering if your boyfriend created Kale when he was young and had a hard situation to face. With sz they usually hear voices, see things, get super scared (if paranoid) and are not usually able to function “normally” without medication. I would just keep an eye on your boyfriend and see if there are other things that are going on.

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While I’m definitely not a doctor:

Sz / SzA is generally a very chaotic disorder. It is diagnosed based on a series of symptoms that fluctuate and change. Most diagnosed schizophrenics seem to have a large set of symptoms that can interfere with daily life, relationships and work.

I would hesitate to say whether or not your boyfriend is schizophrenic. There are a multitude of disorders that share some similarities with Sz, but are categorized differently.

If your boyfriend has trouble going about his day-to-day, or behaves irrationally, or has trouble interacting with people the way he intends to, or feels uncomfortable with the way he thinks or things he experiences: it would be safe to assume that he might benefit from talking to a doctor about it.

Diagnosing disorders is something only a doctor can do and requires a ton of medical, psychological and academic credentials. Self-diagnosis, or diagnosing loved ones is somewhat common, but often inaccurate.
Avoid the temptation of tumbling down the internet rabbit hole, seek a diagnosis from a doctor instead and follow their recommendations.

Hello, mention to your boyfriend that talking to a professional doesn’t mean he will have to take medication. It’s a good idea to have him get to professional, he may not have ever had a psychotic break, but the sooner it’s addressed the better. Take care AnnieNorCal

Does your boyfriend work and support himself?

it would be good to see if he lives close tony of these

Personally, I think that if your boyfriend is dealing with Kale and living a normal life (he has work, friends, hygiene, your relationship, hobbies, etc.) and participates in life, that his decision not to see a doctor or use medicine is fine.

Your question about onset, well I think it can onset at various ages but the “norm” per several doctors is 15 to 25 for men, and 25 to early 30’s for women. But that isn’t actually true a lot of the times per support groups I’ve been in.

Schizophrenia is usually very, very disabling to the individual from my un-professional opinion, from what I have learned from personal experience. And doctors, if your boyfriend decided to see one, are almost as unpredictable as the patient as different doctors have varied diagnoses and varied views on medicine. And medicines might or might not have a good effect.

I tried to force my daughter (34 years old) to see doctors and take meds and the result was no real benefit from three hospitalizations, a great result from the 4th. However, she came right back off the meds and destabilized back to incapacitating delusions and hallucinations causing her to lose all touch with the real world (no friends, doesn’t use the phone, won’t come out of her room to socialize in our home, keeps getting fired from jobs I find her, etc.).

She hears voices of several “beings” but they are the same voices and same beings for 2.5 years now, since it started manifesting to other people. Since she doesn’t know she is ill, and doesn’t believe she “hears voices” or is “talking to herself out loud” I don’t really know when the voices started, only when she became dysfunctional.

I think it would help for you to just educate yourself, read books & websites, talk to others, and support your boyfriend. He knows he has these things going on which is light years ahead of the severe sz some suffer from.

Good luck.

I wonder how your bf is doing? I just wanted to add that, as a little girl, I had an imaginary friend. I don’t remember if she “spoke” to me though. I had a traumatic childhood and I think my subconscious mind created her in order to soothe me.

It sounds like your bf is VERY functional. If this is still the case, I’d leave it up to him. It might be stressful for him to keep having to revisit the topic of the friend, when the friend may not be hindering him in real life at all.

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