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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Trying To Be Supportive

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Author Topic: Trying To Be Supportive
Emily 249
Member # 28956

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To make a long story short and be perfectly blunt, my boyfriend suffers from paranoid delusions. Not paranoid in the "I feel uncomfortable if my door isn't always closed" sense, but in the clinical sense. For example, during one of these episodes he tried to convince me to download a program onto my computer that would encrypt our online conversations. He was concerned about the government tapping into the "insecure" phone lines and listening to what we said while on our cell phones.

These paranoid experiences will sometimes last several days. Sometimes they're slight and he can realize that he's being ridiculous; other times they're severe like the incident I related. It's not as though he exhibits manic behavior, either. He talks calmly and rationally and can explain his thought processes. He can make relatively reasonable arguments for his paranoia being justified. It makes trying to talk him out of his convictions difficult. All I can really do is wait for the episode to pass.

I'm not expecting a bajillion posts from people who have had similar experiences. I know this isn't the most common problem out there. I'm simply looking for advice on how I can be supportive when he's in the middle of a paranoid phase. It's hard being on the outside looking in. These ideas are incredibly real to him when he's having an episode. I don't want to be condescending or belittle him, but by the same token I don't want to indulge his delusions. He has been wonderful about being supportive of me with my own medical problems (mainly depression and epilepsy) and I really want to be there for him. I have no idea who to talk to about this, so any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

[ 10-24-2006, 08:58 PM: Message edited by: Emily 249 ]

Posts: 39 | From: United States | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
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Emily, you are not equipped to tackle the kinds of problems your bf has. He appears to be showing symptoms of schizophrenia (many people begin to exhibit symptoms around their early 20s). Paranoia and delusions are definitely symptoms of schizophrenia. He needs to see a psychiatrist to get treatment for a very real mental illness. Can you discuss the matter with his parents?

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For reference, paranoia can be associated with some other mental illnesses and personality disorders too, not just schizophrenia. But yes, this is serious stuff, and not something you should try to handle without professional support.

When an "episode" is over, does he recognize that he was being paranoid? It's going to be easier if he recognizes that he has a problem and can co-operate in seeking help.

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Emily 249
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I'm sorry, I should have clarified a little further. My boyfriend has already been formally diagnosed with schizophrenia. He is fully aware of his problems and owns up to them when he's in his usual state of mind, but when he's going through an episode he doesn't realize that they're side-effects of his condition. It isn't an issue of me wanting to "fix" him -- I'm not his psychologist and that's not within my power -- but rather I'm wondering how to best handle his symptoms when they arise, especially his paranoia.

Again, I really want to be there for him when he's going through rough patches. The problem is that in cases like this I don't even know what "supportive behavior" is supposed to be.

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