Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Sleepless Nights


#1

Hi,

I’m new to this site so I’ll do a short intro, I want to be fairly anonymous on here so please call me by my username, Sok. I am in a lesbian long distance international relationship with a person who has Schizoaffective disorder. For those who may not know, it basically (in her words) is a mix of schizophrenia and manic bipolar. She’s in Canada and I’m in the US (south). Our 10th anniversary is coming up this summer. I’m 24 and she just turned 22. I live alone and she lives with her brother (who happens to be the druglord of their small town).

I could go on forever about all the problems this illness is doing to our relationship and my own mental health, but the main problem right now is the sleep schedule.
You see, I work two jobs and wake up every morning at 6am. My body has a lot of issues and I tend to get physically sick when I don’t get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
Her episodes have been kicking in every single night like clockwork between 1am and 3am. As horrible as this is gonna sound, ive had to turn my phone to “Do Not Disturb” setting before going to bed just to make sure I can survive through the following day while she sleeps it off until almost evening again.
She blames her sleeping pills for triggering the symptoms (suicidal thoughts, self-harm, voices, dissociation, hysterics, etc.). I, on the other hand, think the root of the problem is her new best friend. This friend is transgender, schizophrenic, and attempts suicide almost every night (no exaggeration). These spouts of intense depression and reliance on my girlfriend is causing her to have more episodes. She feeds off of others’ emotions and takes them on as her own. Being around so much negativity is causing her to worsen.

I want to tell her to back off from this friend and try to find more positive influences, but I think since they’re both schizophrenic she feels obligated to stay because they share a connection no one else can understand.

She also has no other support system. She can’t drive (epilepsy) so she has no therapist, can’t see her psychiatrist without her mom driving her, and no other friends. Lately she’s stopped opening up to me because she knows it upsets me (even if I don’t react, she just knows it takes a lot out of me to deal).

I feel bad about not answering her in the middle of the night, but I can’t sacrifice my own already failing health to constantly reassure her. How should I deal with this? It’s also blurring the line between when a real emergency might happen and when it’s the normal freak out.


#2

Why doesn’t she try to find a therapist who will go see her at her home? She has the right to a social worker if she needs help with anything else like finding activities to do and make new friends or a job.


#3

Welcome! Thank you for sharing. Above all, you must take care of yourself and maintain your health. From what you have said in your post, it doesn’t appear that you are in any real position to offer “hands on” -direct support to your partner. She is in a precarious position, if she is not getting steady psychiatric treatment (due to transportation or any other reason) and I hope that her parents will take a more active role in getting her to her care. The truth is that other than talking with her online, by phone or via texts (when your health allows for it) the situation is pretty much out of your hands. Getting professional counseling for yourself may offer you more perspective on your relationship and also maybe be a good source of ideas on how to better deal with it in the future. I wish you well.


#4

It’s okay to turn off your phone so you can sleep and be healthy. You are far away.

In a real emergency, she would need professional, local emergency services that you could not provide.

Taking care of yourself is good; she might see from your self-care that she too can still love and care deeply about someone (her close friend) while taking care of herself as you do.

Best to you.


#5

Soc, you have to take care of yourself. I repeat you have take care of yourself first. Before I got that, I was having heart palpitations and unable to sleep. I started exercising regularly again and I already feel better.

You are wise to turn off your phone and any friend or loved one knows people need their sleep in order to function. Don’t apologize. I really think your partner is better served for your decision. I wish you the very best.


#6

Putting your phone on do not disturb does not sound horrible, not at all

I am in Canada also, here you can get a court order for hospitalization.
This is my experience:
Arrive to court no later than 1pm
Fill out a form, emphasizing the risk of self harm or harm to others (if applicable)
Wait for the court (same day)
The judge will ask you for more details and make a decision
If the decision will be to hospitalize, the police will come and take her to a hospital the same evening
Now it will be up to doctors to assess her and keep her or let her go
She may be be scared at the hospital; this is when she may need a lot of family support by visiting her asap and as often as possible
If she refuses to take medication, the doctors might have a board panel and decide to give her medication against her will
Upon discharge she might refuse taking her prescription
Prior to discharge, family might want to influence the doctor by asking for a CTO (community treatment order) then she will HAVE to take medication or a monthly shot for 6 months

I understand that you are in US, but perhaps you can find a way or pass the information to her family


#7

Thank you SO much. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your advice. It’s hard for me to know how things run in Canada sometimes.
Could I ask one more thing? How are medical bills up there? She tells me we have to live up there because the meds she needs are cheaper than in the US. It’s hard for me to tell if what she’s saying is out of impulse. Do you have any insight on if Canada is a better place for someone with schizophrenia?


#8

JYou can google the NAME of her province and words: “health care premiums” to find out if / how much residents of a province have to pay monthly or annually.
In our province (Alberta) it is either free (if annual income is less than 50K) or very affordable ($200-$1,000 a year depending on income) and includes hospital stay, but not prescriptions.

In any case, i don’t think there is a concern for medical bill.
The concern is they may discharge a person too soon because of bed shortage, although they will not admit to it. Family will have to communicate with doctors and discuss such concerns directly and make sure they keep her long enough to see real improvements.

I cannot compare or contrast the quality of care for sz patients in Canada and US (because i only know the answer to the first part of the question

By the way, if she will not give concent for Dr to talk to her relatives, the family still can talk or write to the doctors. the staff at the units will not only listen, they are usually happy to have the input from the family. Also, this is where you can help by providing the family with your observations.


#9

Hey :slight_smile: Sleepless nights are more common than you think and for normal people. Last year I had this problem…I couldn’t sleep about a month. Finally, I realized that my bed is not comfortable and maybe a change will finally stop the sleepless nights. I bought a bed from http://www.comfortmeble.pl/meble-do-sypialni/italia-style.html . It is a producer of furniture in Italian Style.
All my problems were solved. Wish you luck :slight_smile: