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Can anybody help me?

cbafl

cbafl

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I don't have schizophrenia myself and never had but my boyfriend does, he's told me about it but we haven't really talked about it, he thinks that if he gets too in depth with it then it might scare me (even though that's very unlikely) and he recently said that he can't let me too close because his problem is playing up a lot and he doesn't want me to get hurt.

I have had mental issues in the past and still struggle a lot with them so I'm not entirely clueless, but I was just wondering if anybody knew how I should go about talking to him about it and how to help him.

He has been schizophrenic for a few years now, he's extremely paranoid, has trouble sleeping and often sees this other guy in his mind, (I don't know if this person is a part of my boyfriend or a different persona all together) when he goes through his psychotic episodes I really don't know what to do, he says me just being there helps him but I feel I can do so much more, but what?
 
R

rasselas

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...

Hello.

I don't have schizophrenia myself and never had but my boyfriend does, he's told me about it but we haven't really talked about it, he thinks that if he gets too in depth with it then it might scare me (even though that's very unlikely) and he recently said that he can't let me too close because his problem is playing up a lot and he doesn't want me to get hurt.
As an ex-schizophrenic (I was recently promoted - or demoted whichever way you wish to look at it - to bipolar) I'd like to offer you my opinion here. When your boyfriend says he'd rather not talk about it because it might scare you, I'd recommend you take him on his word for that. He has his reasons and these may include:

- talking about some aspects of psychosis can effectively heighten the phenomena being experienced, through a kind of positive reinforcement or, if you are given to more magical thinking, through drawing (troubling) energies to you;
- elements of his experiences may be of such intensity that he feels that they could put your own equanimity in jeopardy.

I recommend you respect him with this and don't press him to yield. You say you have mental health issues yourself - while you don't specify what they are, they may very well put you in a position of vulnerability. That may sound somewhat presumptious of me, but I would recommend you check out the 'folie a deux' or shared psychosis. Google conjures up this link which is as good a starting place as any:

http://www.psychosocial.com/IJPR_10/Folie_A_Deux_A_Social_Psych_Approach_Salganik.html

I was just wondering if anybody knew how I should go about talking to him about it and how to help him.
In short, be the caring girlfriend but abandon all notions of being the therapist. Unless of course you are a trained and experienced therapist with extensive skills in counselling a person with psychosis. Although even if you were I think you'd overcomplicate your relationship.

He has been schizophrenic for a few years now, he's extremely paranoid, has trouble sleeping and often sees this other guy in his mind, (I don't know if this person is a part of my boyfriend or a different persona all together) when he goes through his psychotic episodes I really don't know what to do, he says me just being there helps him but I feel I can do so much more, but what?
Make sure he eats well. Make sure he gets out and breathes in the fresh air. Makes sure he keeps himself clean. Makes sure he laughs and make sure he feels loved. If you feel him drifting away from you - tell him you're concerned but if he says he needs room, give him room. Don't pressure him. Be patient. If he appears to be becoming unreachable and very unwell, get outside help.

He's lucky to have a loyal partner like yourself. And you're a rare bird indeed to want to help him more. It's true that in helping others we can help ourselves but try and see that when he says you being there is the greatest support you can give, it really is.

I wish you both the best.
 
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