Every relationship has its course of ups and lows. Having your partner diagnosed with a mental illness can be a rocky phase in your relationship. No matter how much you love your partner, not having an understanding of your partner’s illness can put a huge strain on the relationship.
If your partner is diagnosed with schizophrenia or you are dating someone who has schizophrenia, here are a few things you should know.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think and feel. Schizophrenic people tend to have thoughts and experiences that lose touch with reality. The cause of schizophrenia is still unknown but genetics, altered brain chemistry and environment play a vital role.
Schizophrenia needs a medical diagnosis and treatment can last up to a few months to lifelong, depending upon the severity. Schizophrenia treatment involves medicines and psychotherapy for the better functioning of the individual.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia include poor concentration, delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking or speech, difficulty communicating, abnormal motor skills, difficulty in decision making, etc. The severity of symptoms varies from one person to another.
Schizophrenia can bring issues like communication troubles, conflicts, and money problems into a relationship. People with schizophrenia can behave irrationally. This makes it difficult for others around them to understand their behavior.
The complexity of the disease makes it hard for everyone to understand a person’s behavior. With little understanding and effort, it is possible to be in a mutually happy relationship with a schizophrenic person.
5 Tips to Date Someone with Schizophrenia
There are a lot of myths and stigmas related to schizophrenia. You do not need to be thorough with everything about schizophrenia. Having a basic understanding of the diseases and symptoms will help you have a clear perspective.
Educating yourself about the disease will help you empathize more with your partner. You can get in touch with a trusted psychiatrist or a support group to know information about the disease. Having a better understanding also helps with building better communication with your partner.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of someone with a mental illness can be daunting at times. It is important to set healthy boundaries. Quality “me time” when you need it can be helpful for you to cope with the stress and changes. Communicate clearly with your partner about what you feel and about your needs.
It is not advisable to go down the sacrificing spiral ignoring your emotional needs. Caregivers need to have access to mental health support due to the amount of distress they face. You can also be part of a support group where you can share your experiences and hear others share theirs.
Encourage your partner to take help if the symptoms worsen. There are a lot of places that offer treatment for schizophrenia in India. Help your partner find the right place whose approach makes your partner feel better.
Support your partner to take up schizophrenia treatment. You can help them book appointments, follow up on their appointment, etc. Treatment can be hard for various reasons.
If your partner refuses to go for treatments and to get help, you might have to make certain difficult decisions. At the end of the day, you cannot help those who do not want to be helped. Avoid forcing or threatening. Be respectful and have open communication.
Do Not Take it Personally
Schizophrenia can make people act irrationally at times. Do not mistake your partner’s stubbornness or behavior for lack of love. During certain episodes, your partner may experience sensations that you cannot understand.
Their inability to express feelings or communicate does not mean they are not interested in you.
Try to empathize with your partner rather than blame them for their symptoms. If you are finding it hard to cope with this, you can consider reaching out to your friends and family.
Seek Immediate Action during Abnormal Behaviour
If you notice something unusual about your partner, seek help immediately. People suffering from schizophrenia go through suicidal thoughts. If you think your partner might be in danger, contact their doctor immediately. Support your partner during psychotic episodes.
There is a lack of awareness about schizophrenia and its difficulties. Knowing when to seek medical help and the right approach and medical condition makes it easy to live with schizophrenia. There are a lot of people who are in a loving relationship with their schizophrenic partners.
If you think your partner is showing symptoms of schizophrenia, seek medical help immediately.