Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Worried and confused


#1

I have been seeing my boyfriend for about 4-5 months now. I went into the relationship knowing he had schizo-affective disorder with depressive tendency. About 2 months ago his father died, and after a few weeks I noticed he just wasn’t himself. He was abusing alcohol more, spending money more and wanted less to do with me. I contacted a member on social media because I haven’t yet met his family. This person passed the info on to his mother along with my number. He talked with his mother but has continued on a more destructive path. He let his insurance expire and won’t do anything to renew it, and most recently has decided he is going off his meds. He at first said it was because he couldn’t pay for them until insurance came back, but informed me yesterday that he doesn’t need them or want them. I know for sure its been 3 days off meds, but I suspect it’s closer to a week.
It’s been over a day since I’ve heard from him now - and this is someone who will call me at least once an hour while he is awake. I’ve called him several times and his phone is either dead or off, and he hasn’t responded to my messages on social media.
The easiest thing would be to just drive to his home, but I’m at work until late, and my gas tank is low until tomorrow.
I guess my questions are is this normal behavior? He’s not done this since I’ve known him and he is super clingy. Should I call someone in his family? They live a few hours away and I don’t want to make them worked if it’s really nothing. But the last time he was off his meds he was admitted into inpatient (so I’ve been told).

Other questions I have involve how to emotionally support someone with his condition. He rarely wants to talk about it, but will answer one or 2 questions begrudgingly and becomes agitated if I pursuse the topic. I want to have a frank conversation with his mother but I’m unsure if that’s even appropriate because I’ve never even met her and our relationship is so new.

I just want to be assured that I’m worrying excessively and he is okay…


#2

That seems like quite the situation. The guys is making some irresponsible decisions. That’s a hard thing to deal with. Sorry I don’t really have any advice. Try to sit him down and get him on the right track. Maybe get some friends or family involved the more people on your side the better you’ll feel.


#3

Hi snow drop,

I’m so sorry he’s having so much trouble right now. A death of a parent can be hard for anyone, but stress is especially bad for someone with sz, it can make them more symptomatic. So is it normal for someone with sz? Yes. Is it okay for him, for you, for those who love him-NOPE. Social isolation is what is called a negative symptom-although anyone can socially isolate given what you’ve told me I would guess it shows his condition is getting worse. Dealing with grief is never something anyone should go through alone. And when you are worried about him-just blowing you off and not even sending a text to explain is not okay.

If I were you I’d call his family and tell them your concerns. Let them decide if they want to get worked up about it. You never know, they could have someone closer by that can stop in and see him. This way they can make an informed decision about how they want to handle it.

You are right to be concerned. As far as how to support him, I would suggest doing some research on sz so you understand it. Give him opportunity to talk about it-but if he doesn’t want to I wouldn’t push him. He may have experienced a lot of prejudice about his condition and be afraid to talk to you about it. Find little ways to let him know you care, let him know you are open to hearing about if he wants to talk about it but it is okay if he doesn’t-he may open up more when he’s ready. You could also talk about specific behaviors he’s showing, rather than talking about symptoms or his illness, but that you get worried when you see changes in behavior like not calling you back when he normally talks to you so much, how that makes you feel, things like that. Does he seem to mind you talking to his family? Does he know you’ve been in contact with them?


#4

I think you should call his mother. There is no way she can object to that. And I think you should suggest he spend a couple of weeks with his mum/family. Grief is completely normal and natural and he should express it. Its good to share it if you can. It’s only two months since his father died, most people are “not themselves” at this point. And not looking after yourself is a sign of grief. His sz is probably complicating things. There may be things he said and did in the past because of it that he can’t take back now and he feels bad about, for example. Or things his father said and did which hurt now because it’s too late to discuss. (But all that actually happens when you don’t have sz, too. You can remind of that if its true)

So, I would go and talk to him about his grief and gently remind him to care for himself. Take some food round. Maybe find a grief counseling service (if you have such things there). He may be able to think about looking after himself better then.


#5

Try to get him talking to mental health professionals, if you can. He needs to get back on his medications. If he refuses there is little you can do. Try to understand that his behavior is the result of his illness, and not the way he really is. Maybe if you arranged a confrontation from you, his family, his friends, and a mental health professional you could get him back on his med’s.


#6

Welcome to the forum @Snow_drop

Please look at these sites:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions
http://www.nami.org/ - National Alliance on Mental Illness.
http://www.schizophrenia.ca/ - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Can also find some very useful information here:
http://www.schizophrenia.com/

It sounds like grief triggered some of his symptoms which unfortunately can happen. Stability can be hard to get and to maintain as anosognosia or lack of insight makes it hard for the person so see that what they are experiencing is part of the disease or disorder. I would say that yes this type of behavior is common. I see no harm in contacting someone in his family. If they are a part of his support and proactive with his treatment then they may be able to help him to get back on track. Once talking to someone you should be able to tell fairly quickly if they are supportive and open to you contacting them. Sometimes being inpatient is needed to help someone regain stability.

Read over some of this site and it should help you to gain some more understanding of what your BF is experiencing.


#7

Hi, I just wanted to give you an update because you were all so wonderful.
I finally was able to get a hold of him - I showed up at his house and he was not happy to see me despite trying to appear so. He said he wasn’t avoiding me but later that night I found out he wanted to break up with me before I showed up, but me showing up “allowed him to see how much I cared for him”. We didn’t have a good night and he slept on it and decided he didn’t want to break up.
He has been having depression as of late, and it’s very apparent. He has decreased his antidepressant without dr approval but I can’t convince him otherwise. I didn’t call his mother - he called her on his own and he is going to visit her which I think will be very good for him. Especially considering he has found someone to sell him adderall and has been self medicating with that because his meds make him sleep all the time.
So we are up and down. Right now we are midline I guess. I hope his mom helps him get back to the doctor. I really want to go with him because I don’t think he is a good advocate for himself, but I guess it’s not my place.
But thank you for your wonderful links, and replies.