Getting help with and for my Girlfriend - Psychosis, Anxiety, Schizophrenia?

J

justanotherperson

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Sep 3, 2018
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#1
Getting help with and for my Girlfriend - Psychosis, Anxiety, Schizophrenia?

Hi, thank you to anybody taking the time to read this, its the first time I have reached out online, here is the back 'story' as shortened as possible:

Been with my GF for around 8 years now, around 3 years in we came back from a holiday, she had bad food poisoning there and when we arrived back this is when things began - She started to become very worried that people from her previous job would attempt to contact me to split us up, it wasn't that far fetched as she had been in contact with one person when we first started dating and in her mind at this point this was doing be a terrible wrong and this person may use this info to damage our relationship.

She ended up getting quite ill for the first time, cue first trip to drs and anti-depressants.

This pattern repeated for a few years every few months or so until she got rather ill again, a crisis team was assigned and she was diagnosed with anxiety and a psychotic episode brought on by the level of stress, this is where she was prescribed quetiapine (seroquel) alongside an anti-depressant to help. Now here she kind of disappeared into a void of care as she continued on a repeat prescription with no check-ups for 2 years, dipping in and out of the same anxiety (people at previous job will attempt to break us up)

Around 16 months ago she began to get ill, this time though (she may have thought this before but not told me) she is worrying about a 'what if' too - e.g. what if she slept with someone at work but just couldn't remember (Impossible, she had not slept with anybody else when we met) - This becomes a specific scenario and dominates her to the point she contacts an ex colleague and questions her about it, she was desperate to disprove but once one questions was answered another one came. At this point she was very ill again, always no sleep, panic, no food and this time erratic / desperate behaviour to try and get this info, it ended with myself and her family having to contact the person to apologise and delete the number.

Here is when something else new happened - she started to think it was possible for her I-watch to have called this person while we were talking about her, then that perhaps her mothers phone had called her demanding to see the phone bill etc to confirm but still this not squashing the thought easily.

We are now around a year later and the last few months have been difficult for us both (I can only imagine what she is going through :-( ) - She started to question certain situations afterwards e.g. she went to work and wonders if it is possible to have slept with a member of staff in the toilet but just didn't remember, then went shopping and wondered if she slept with a random man in the car, the latest being if she invited someone round and slept with them downstairs while I was asleep in our bed. - This is of course complete fiction but she cannot convince herself of this when she is left to her own thoughts, she now will not go anywhere without me, a family member or one work colleague as this then confirms nothing has happened, left alone in the house her phone is locked in the kitchen with her upstairs so she cannot touch it.


So, in short, the past year has seen her develop fictitious thoughts that she is unable to shake, pretty much all centred around her taking part in behaviour that she wouldn't in a million years be involved with and even with proof otherwise.

She is suggesting she has heard voices telling her she is a bad person and that she has thought that she is speaking out loud her thoughts and others will hear them, she is very low right now and talks frequently of not being able to carry on.

We are seeing a professional in a week or so, which I am attending as previously she does not disclose her thoughts etc as she worries the dr may share the notes with others, so essentially their previous notes only believe she has anxiety up until around 2 weeks ago.

I am personally at the point of not knowing where to turn, I don't believe she is just an anxious individual anymore and I worry that the burden she puts on me is getting too heavy to cope with but I know just how bad it must be for her to live with.

How do others feel about the behaviour I have described, she doesn't seem to 'fit' in with any specific diagnoses and the first appointment we had didn't want to give her a label or change medication at this point - I just hope we can reach a point where we are moving forward as it all feels like a backwards motion at the moment.
 
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I

IWILLOBTAINMENTALHEALTH

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#2
:welcome: to the forum. Just make sure she gets the help she needs. Good luck. :hug:
 
M

Melon

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Feb 26, 2018
Messages
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#3
You’re doing the best thing by seeking treatment. There’s a lot going on and it’ll take a doctor to know what kind of problems your girlfriend needs treatment for. It sounds like you are a great support. It must be really tough right now but things can improve. Good luck with the appointment.

Melon
 
boudreauj4

boudreauj4

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Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
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#4
If you tell the whole story to the new doctor, they might end up prescribing a different kind of medication she has not been on before that might help her tremendously, or only a little. Some of these medications have side effects. Sometimes the side effects go away after being on the med for awhile so try to get her to stick with it for awhile. And if the new med doesn't work, there are others that can be tried that might work better.
 
P

Paul Shipman Smith

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Sep 26, 2018
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#5
Getting Help With My Girlfriend....Reply....

There does appear to have been a 'trigger point' when your girlfriend had her food poisoning episode. Sometimes a serious bout of illness can be a time when we assess our lives in greater detail and this can lead us to feeling very negative about ourselves. There can be times when we have those 'what if' moments and times of deeper reflection which we don't think about when we are our usual 'fit and healthy' selves.
However, although her illness may have contributed to this significant change in her mental state of mind, there could have been another 'trigger' or 'push button' point. This could have occured either before, during or after this holiday.
You say that 'things began' when you arrived back from your holiday. She began to worry that people from her previous job were going to 'contact' you in order to cause you and your girlfriend to 'split up'. In other words, she believed someone from her employment past wanted your relationship to end.
You said that she was 'in contact' with 'one person' when you were first starting to date her and this person may be able to 'use this info' to damage your relationship.
This person does seem to be of importance regarding her mental/emotional difficulties and could have been the reason for these issues.
However, this person may not necessarily be to blame for her troubles. This person may have unwittingly 'pushed the correct button'. Therefore unleashing the 'demons' by accident.
The 'root' of your girlfriend's issues appear to stem from the fear that this person has information about her that could destroy your relationship as a couple.
Again, there could be confusion here. This may not have been the exact cause but the 'trigger point' that 'opened the portal' which - in turn - quickly manifested into your girlfriend's problems. The problem could have been created long ago and buried very deep inside her mind.
Your girlfriend could be 'over-reacting'/'over-thinking' because of her condition. However, you both do need to explore this area in order help locate the 'core' or 'root' of the problem.
Your girlfriend has been under the care of a doctor and prescribed with anti-depressants, which you say was a 'repeated pattern'. Admittedly - although seeing the doctor/getting antidepressants is certainly the medically correct way to deal it - this repeated pattern has a 'treadmill' effect.
It would have been some comfort for you when there was a formal diagnosis given. This can be a positive situation as you can 'put a name and explanation' as to why she was behaving this way.
The crisis team will have used their professional research/knowledge to come to this conclusion when trying to identify her condition and give this diagnosis. They decided to prescribe the appropriate medication in order to alleviate her problems.
This is the point where she entered her 'void of care' as you called it.
Your girlfriend continued on a repeat prescription for two years but had no 'check-ups'. You say that she was 'dipping in and out of the same anxiety' about the people from her previous job attempting to break you up.
Unfortunately, all the trips to the pharmacy to get her prescribed medication will not be sufficient to 'break this continuous loop' regarding her anxiety. There is also the issue of this problem escalating even further/deeper.
As her fears become more deeper, her obsession has turned into 'what ifs' as well. Whatever happened at her previous job has had a very deep effect regarding her thoughts and emotions. Again, this is a continuous loop that was 'triggered' by some event and will not leave her in peace.
She is worrying about whether or not she has 'slept with someone at work' and not being able to remember. It does seem that she is experiencing some kind of 'shame' about this issue. She does seem to be questioning her own self-confidence.
Your girlfriend has become so obsessed to a point of contacting a former colleague in order to ask questions and somehow get affirmation that she has not slept with anyone else. Each time she received a positive explanation, another question would enter your girlfriend's mind which would mean that she was on a 'treadmill' of not being satisfied.
This is a form of obsessive behaviour that can be likened to continuously checking the front door after you have locked it. You lock the door. You test the door to see if it is locked. You walk to your car. You then turn back and double check that the front door is locked. You walk back to your car and still, you are not quite satisfied that the door is locked!.....Despite the obvious evidence that you have locked it!....
Your mind is not satisfied with the fact that the door is locked. There is still that doubt in your mind, niggling at you. The self-confidence you need to tell yourself that the door is locked, is just not powerful enough for you to walk away from that locked door. You still need to reassure yourself that you have locked it.
We all experience this from time to time, though for some people it can be a serious obsession. In a similar way to 'the front door' scenario, your girlfriend is experiencing a similar problem. It's as though your girlfriend's troubled mind can't be satisfied with the answers that are obvious/factual/with evidence. She is lacking the self-confidence to feel satisfied with the answers.
As her obsession has grown beyond proportion, there is the risk of your girlfriend going into 'panic mode', not eating or sleeping. There is also the problem for you when she does begin to act 'in desperation'.
When someone does suffer in the same way as your girlfriend has been with her mental health issues, there comes a time when severe paranoia develops. People who are experiencing these symptoms/obsessions will believe that people are 'talking about them' and 'plotting against them' because they do seem to detect emotional feelings very easily.
In general, we live in a society where we are all - to a certain degree - very paranoid about the people we interact with in everyday life. People are very sensitive to being 'stared at' and are able to identify when someone is looking at them from a distance. In all fairness, this is a situation that nowadays affects us all.
Another issue which seems to be exclusively associated with mental health problems is a pre-occupation with technology that documents our lives. When people are on this journey of struggling with their mental health, they believe that the phones, TV, computers, cash-points and other 'interactive technology' is 'watching and listening in' to them.
At one time, it could be said that it was due to their paranoia developing into a more serious stage...."Oh! He's going insane! He thinks the TV can hear him!"....."She believes her radio is controlling her!....
However, it could be said that - in this day and age of technology - the paranoia has made the patients of mental illness much more sensitive to a situation that is very real! Yes!....In all fairness they are correct and it is not really that strange when you think about it!
Again, her obsessive behaviour will not be satiated when people try to convince her that their phones are not 'listening in' or recording her conversations. This will even be the case when people show her evidence such as the phone bills, call histories or recorded messages.
When it comes to her belief that she was 'sleeping' with any random colleague, strangers, or anyone that visits your home when you are upstairs/away from home, there is again this obsession that is taking her life over. There does again appear to be a serious confidence issue in a behaviour that she appears to consider wrong.
Your girlfriend's problem is not simply going to 'go away' if it is continuously ignored. It does appear that the medical professionals involved are handing out the prescription medication which - of course - must be followed with any other medical advice. However, your girlfriend now needs to urgently locate the original source of the problem.
Firstly, there is the medical professional approach which your girlfriend has been having consultations with over the years. Admittedly, there does appear to be a very long period of time in which she was taking her prescribed medication without consultation by the doctor/nurse.
Ideally, when it comes to the medication, your girlfriend would benefit from more regular visits to the doctor/nurse/health professional in order to 'keep in check' what she is taking. This can only be done via a professional and it may also be an option - although it is difficult due to 'health care shortfalls/funding' - to seek further medical advice via a 'second opinion'. Some doctors may be more understanding on this issue.
Mental health problems are so much more difficult to identify and treat than physical health issues because no-one can see what is wrong. Even the professionals don't really understand. How do you see what is happening in someone's mind? Yet....Mental illness can be considered just as serious - or even worse - than many serious physical ailments.
People can see the physical issues when looking at someone and will sympathise. When someone is depressed or 'behaving oddly/weird', they just don't logically understand what is wrong and lack the sympathy.
Another area that could be worth considering is for your girlfriend to invest some serious time in counselling/psychological therapy sessions. She would benefit from 'one to one' sessions, due to her being wary of others 'listening in'.
The real cause of her problems may have been created or 'sown' many, many years ago. The incidents regarding her workplace that you have mentioned may have been the 'button pushing' point. Her mental state of mind could be the result of something 'buried' very deep.
The counselling could help your girlfriend go 'much deeper' into the underlying cause of the her problems. The counsellor/psychological therapist could help her to identify the 'point' at when all of this began. There is the real question of what is actually the cause of all this.
The counselling would help your girlfriend to identify - or 'pinpoint' - the exact 'root' of the problems that she has. Unfortunately, this will take a very long time and will need patience from herself and all who are concerned.
There is this issue about your girlfriend hearing voices that are telling her she is a 'bad person' and this could be connected with her obsessive thoughts and the feelings of guilt that come with those negative thoughts. Again....This will need to be explored more deeply with her therapist.
The counselling/therapy sessions will help her to identify this. Again, an important issue here is finding a counsellor who can genuinely connect with your girlfriend and it would also be beneficial for the counsellor and yourself to have mutual trust. It could be helpful for you both to work together in order to find an appropriate counsellor. Your girlfriend would feel more at ease knowing you have trust in her counsellor.
The counsellor and doctors could also co-operate with each other regarding the medication that your girlfriend is taking. Intense, deep psychological therapy with a counsellor will - in theory - be considered a more healthier, long-term approach than just 'popping pills'. Of course, when it comes to the meds, thorough medical/psychological advice with the doctor/counsellor should be sought.
As for her worries about disclosure of medical notes, your girlfriend will need to be reassured that whatever is discussed is in 'strictest confidence' between patient and professional. Privacy is very important for your girlfriend whilst dealing with all this.
Another area of help for your girlfriend is the 'self-help' approach which can be combined with the medical/pyschological help. In-between the counselling/doctors visits, try to encourage your girlfriend to 'get out of the house'.
Spending time alone in the house and locking herself away from the mobile phone/communication devices is only encouraging her to hide from the problem. Her depression will deepen when alone and in some ways, staying in can become addictive. You get 'comfortable' when you stay in the house all of time.
When spending time alone and feeling depressed/anxious/stressed, we often find ourselves dwelling heavily on our negative thoughts/feelings. This can lead us to visualise ourselves saying our thoughts 'aloud' in public.
This negative thinking can be associated with the depression and the 'treadmill' of negativity in our lives that overwhelm us at times.
Suffering from depression/anxiety/stress - especially as a result of mental health issues - can lead us to feel 'over-sensitive' to the reactions of the people that surround us. You can feel that people can 'hear' your thoughts. You worry that you are saying something 'out aloud' and offending someone.
When anybody walks by and just 'looks annoyed/angry' we become oversensitive and assume that we have done something wrong. Again, we can over-think and worry too deeply. That person is very likely to be thinking about something else that is unrelated!....
Try to persuade your girlfriend to come out with you more. Even doing the food shopping will be start in order to help her re-familiarize herself with the world around her. She can leave her phone at home whilst out and about.
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On the subject of the technology 'listening in'.....It would be helpful for you both to seriously familiarize yourselves with the computers, laptops, TV's, smart-phones/watches and whatever media/communications devices you have. Also your 'social media' accounts.
One important way to deal with 'technology paranoia, is to accept that it is healthy to be paranoid about technology being capable of 'listening in'. However....You both can control this!.....Many of us genuinely don't bother to!.....
Review your 'privacy settings' and spend time understanding your technology.....The genuine reason many 'tech-savvy' people 'fall foul' of technology is because they really/genuinely do not understand it. Understanding your 'settings/configurations' will help your girlfriend to feel less paranoid in the knowledge that her equipment is secure.
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When she is feeling depressed, encourage her to go out for long walks with you - in the park or whatever - in order to help free the suppressive feeling of the depression/anxiety associated with staying in home. The exercise and fresh air will be just as beneficial as any therapy/medication!
Encourage a broader range of social activities that will help her divert her thoughts away from self-obsessing about her issues. You will obviously need to be with her all of the time for these outings but if done regularly, she will start to feel more comfortable being out.
Your girlfriend is not just an 'anxious individual'. She is dealing with some very deep personal issues. You will find that her mental state of mind and all issues that are associated with her condition will 'transfer' to you. As with any partner who experiences any form of illness/disability/injury, the other partner - who becomes 'carer' - will feel the burden of the trauma involved.
You may find it helpful to go to some of the counselling sessions with your girlfriend. This could be a form of 'couple therapy' or 'marriage counselling' in order explore the impact that this situation has on you both as a couple.
In all fairness you do need to look after your own mental/physical health as well. Exploring how your girlfriend's situation affects your own feelings can help you to stay mentally/physically strong. In order to help your girlfriend, you both need to be strong and support each other through this.
By taking 'one step at a time' you will find yourself and your girlfriend will be able to move forward and progress towards recovery. It will take time and commitment.
 

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