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Need help w/ fiancee/GF...

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I believe my girlfriend, whom I live with, is suffering from some form of psychosis. She has become increasingly isolated, b/c everyone outside (or at least a significant number) are part of this conspiracy (which she can't describe to me). She feels her family is part of it too, so doesn't talk w/ them anymore. Until recently, she thought I was part of it, too. The conspiracy has no point, apparently, except to "drive herself to suicide and be cruel". Some people on the television are part of it too. Nobody else has seen anything like this; in fact, the people that are part of it don't bother her when I'm with her, only when I'm not around.

She was institutionalized last Fall for a week, but nobody believed her, so she didn't trust anyone there. Bad experiences w/ psychiatrists in the past have led her to not trust mental health professionals. Lately, her talk about suicide has increased, and her talking about it all is affecting me as well.

She's in her early 20s, has been diagnosed w/ ADHD and bipolar; her bipolar meds made her compulsively drink, to the point where she was drinking a liter of vodka daily, which was early in our relationship - she quit b/c she wanted to be w/ me. Antidepression medicine (Prozac) made her suicidal, so she doesn't take that anymore. She doesn't take Aderol since being institutionalized (she's abused it before, though she says that isn't so).

I've tried to get her to see a psychiatrist, to go to group therapy (of any kind), to volunteer (anywhere), to try to get a job, but she's refused pretty much all of it.

I don't know what can be done; we don't have insurance, nor any money, but she needs help. Does this seem like psychosis? Could it be that she's been misdiagnosed all these years and that the wrong meds have been prescribed? How do these meds work?

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Guest ASchwartz


You have done very well in describing a difficult, painful and scary situation with your girlfriend.

I would like to invite others to give their advice and suggestions. What I want to suggest is that you call 911 when she is threatening suicide, particularly when she has been drinking. I believe that she will be in the greatest danger of suicide when she is drinking because it will worsten her psychosis and make her more impulsive.

I cannot comment about medications because that is an area that only a psychiatrist who is seeing her can comment about. I do have a sense that she would be better off being stabilized in a hospital setting where she would be safer from herself.

Please be aware that there is an unpleasant consequence that you could face if you call 911: The consequence is that you might become part of her suspicions and she will no longer trust you. However, in my opinion, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Short of calling 911 you could try to convince her to see a new psychiatrist and remind her that drinking is making things much, much worse for both of you.

What do others suggest?


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She no longer drinks; hasn't really been drunk for about 2 years. Her drinking was a consequence of the bipolar meds; since she quit those, she hasn't felt that compulsion. She smokes marijuana occasionally, but I've told her I don't like it and she's practically stopped that; maybe once or twice a month or so (and I don't think she's deceiving me about it: she has no money for it, regardless, and doesn't have any friends w/ it). I have threatened to call 911 in the past, but as you say, and she has said, she considers that a big violation of trust. She was apparently cutting, which was why she was hospitalized last time. She has no apparent marks now, at least. I have tried to get her to see a local psychiatrist, as we have moved since the last ones; she went to one person here once but refused to go back since he didn't believe her. I've told her that I think she should go, just to deal w/ the depression if nothing else. My logic was that if she's in therapy, she'll at least be able to deal with some of her issues, if not dealing w/ her "conspiracy", at least she could deal w/ the social anxiety, or whatever it is. She's refused, as she doesn't want to be "labeled".

I just have no idea what to do next.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Without,

Can you tell us more about your self, how the two of you met, how long you have been together and how this affects you and your life?


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Hi Without,

Can you tell us more about your self, how the two of you met, how long you have been together and how this affects you and your life?


I'm working on my PhD in Chemistry scheduled to defend this summer.

We met on a blind date through a mutual friend at a bar on open mike night.

We've been together since Dec '05.

It sucks. I leave, she's in bed, I come home, she's in bed, then she stays up late telling me about the conspiracy and how everyone hates her. I try to reassure her, but have given up on trying to tell her that her family loves her. She's been talking like she's given up already. She only goes out when I bring up the idea (she doesn't want to be around people). She can't even be happy for my successes.

I just want her to get help, or some advice on what I can do. I love her, but I will not live my life with her in this state of mind.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, its been a month since my last visit and nothing has changed, except that now she's sure that I'm part of the conspiracy. I've told her that she should just leave, and her response has been that "I have nowhere else to go". We just had a fight where she has accused me of being in on the conspiracy and not telling her, she's called me cruel, and a liar, and just stares at me with those piercing wide-pupiled eyes (which I think people here are familiar with).

This is the second major fight we've had in this time: in the first she called her mom who told her she couldn't move in (due to financial reasons); this time I told her to just leave, b/c she doesn't trust me. I didn't say it, but I don't want to deal w/ her bs anymore. I deserve better, and have supported her to the best of my ability emotionally and financially.

She wants me to tell her what the conspiracy is all about, and I don't want to lie to her and tell her something that will just shut her up: I don't think its healthy, and I don't want to lie to her. Should I compromise my integrity and try to come up with something?

We started going to church (first time for me in 13 years, besides weddings), but this hasn't helped her soul. She still is talking about ending her life.

I still don't know what to do about her well-being, but the relationship will be over afterwards regardless. I still need some guidance about what has worked for other people in this sort of situation; I love her enough to try to keep her from killing herself, but I love myself enough to know that I don't want to have to deal with this for the rest of my life. Its totally turned me off on the inside, and curse the fact that I allowed myself to get this invested in one person.

Edited by without
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This sounds very much like paranoid psychosis of the sort that occurs with frequency in schizophrenia (although many different sorts of circumstances could set such a thing off)

Essays on this site that may help:

The Nature of Psychosis

Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

This is a heartbreaking situation you're in. Truly. It is extremely difficult always when someone is paranoid but doesn't realize it and will not seek appropriate treatment. Treatment is legitimately scary for a number of reasons, but the alternative is worse so often.

You sound like a very decent, compassionate and loyal guy. Someone willing to put up with some really quite bizzare behavior for an extended period because you want to be helpful and you care. But in such a difficult situation, the caring is one sided and not in your favor. I don't think it is a terrible thing to detach yourself romantically from this woman, under the circumstances. A certain amount of selfishness is an important part of taking care of one's self. I'm differentiating between narcissistic selfishness which thinks only of itself, and a more mature selfishness which tries to balance ones own needs against the needs of others. Yours is the latter, not the former, and its okay.

I don't think it is a good idea to make up stories or to go along with the delusions of persecution. I think it is important to try to be an orienting force, and that means saying what is happening; telling her that she appears to be ill and delusional, that as far as you can tell there is no conspiracy; that this episode is consistant with previous diagnoses of mental illness, and that there is treatment for this problem, which involves medication primarily. She cannot do this for herself, and precious few others are going to take the time. Of course, this needs to be done compassionately. You might talk to her about the possiblity of a voluntary psychiatric inpatient hospitalization. Adjusting medications for psychosis is difficult at all times, and best done in the context of a psychatric hospital. Very few people are kept longer than a few days or a few weeks max so there is no need to fear that she'll be imprisoned permanently.

It is fully likely given the massively underfunded nature of modern American mental health care that if her illness is not brought under control in a voluntary manner, that she could deteriorate to the point where she cannot function (e.g., cannot maintain an apartment or work or attend classes), and may become homeless, or even picked up by the police and jailed. Even if you have to separate from her to maintain your own sanity, do what you can to look out for her so as to try to head such a negative outcome off, and make sure that her family understands the possibilities here. There just isn't much of a safety net anymore, so people have to do what they can do to avoid the worst outcomes.


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  • 1 month later...


I have just read all the post and can't help but wonder, WHY!

This girl needs help and fast!

In the U.K. If you are suffering from a Mental Illness, Then you are treated. If your Mental Illness tries to take over your life, then you are Sectioned.

Surely this girl is not in the right frame of mind to be making her own decisions.

If she was in the U.K Then what would happen is: That the Police would restrain her and take her to a Psychiatric Hospital/Ward and do test to see what exactly was wrong with her.

I'm afraid that this girl would have no say in whether she wanted to go in Hospital or not. As they look at it, it would be that her Mental state of mind at the present, is not fit enough to decide whether or not, she will go in to Hospital. They will over rule her decision if they think that she is a danger to herself or the Public. She would probably be Sectioned on Act = ?

I know that they're not in the U.K, but what I can't understand is, How bad do you have to be before someone does something about it? On Death's door! I know that's exaggerating a bit, but do you know where I'm coming from?

Obviously, this girl needs help and pretty soon I would say going of her Mental State.

By the sounds of it, This girl is refusing Medical Treatment. Am I right in to think that? Or, is this girl refusing Medical Treatment because she has no money to pay for it. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

At the end of the day, this girl is ill. Up to now, she has had her boyfriend beside her, but this is soon to change, and you can't blame him.

He has done his best to try and help her. Now it's up to her to help herself and if she is refusing to get help then in my opinion before she gets any worst, she should be restrained! For her own health, and the health of the Society.

There is only so much one can do, and then it's down to themselves.

If you think of it this way, that girl may/mayn't be here to tell the tale if nothing is done about it. Then what will happen?

This has interested me on how to think, that if you have no money to pay for your health care, then it's a matter of life or death.

I don't know why they don't do like our country and have National Insurance Contributions. So that way, at least the poor are given an equal chance in regarding their health and they're still getting paid for it.

Life's to short to begin with!


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Hi Paula-

The answer to your question is rather long and complicated, but in essence, someone cannot be forced to receive psychiatric/psychological care unless they are actively demonstrating that they are a threat to themselves or someone else. Even then, a person can be held in a hospital for only limited periods of time before they are released.

Unfortunately, our mental health system in the US is in a pretty bad state. If you scroll thru some of the other posts by people trying to get help for someone else who is mentally ill, you will see this theme repeated again and again. It's very difficult to force someone else into treatment, and even then, it's rather difficult to find somewhere for them to go once they are released from an acute care hospital. We have very few long term solutions for people who are seriously mentally ill- most institutions were closed. A lot of people hit rock bottom before they can get help. :(

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Hi Natalie

Thanks for your response!

Personally, I think your goverment legislation's stinks! There are people out there who need help! I mean sick people! Why the hell doesn't the Goverment do anything about it? It's their country for God's Sake!

Do you know, if they spent as much money on Health Care as they do on Film Star's, then there wouldn't be any of this.

No wonder there's a wide spread of Infection's & Disease's if people can't afford to look after their Health.

You'd think that the goverment would be up on things like that. Their Health is their life.

I bet the President and all he's accomplish's don't suffer? Ooh nooo! They'll have the best care that money can buy. Mark my word's.

A country like America should have Health Care needs for the under privileged. There's people out there who Haven't got a clue what to do. What happens, say like a woman gives birth to a child who is born with M.S or Spina-bifita. Does that child get no treatment! It's not the child's fault or the mother's. It's one of them thing's isn't it? It's just that it's unfortunate for the child to be born with these Ailment's, down to being no fault of there own.

I can understand some issue's that might back the Government's decisions regarding payments being made to ward's Health cost. For instance: an alcoholic, a drugs user, gay people & AIDS. I could go on & on & on. For reason's of no Health Care like that, I can sympathies with the Government's decision to forfeit payment to contribute toward the cost. People who have caught ailment's of other own accord, through messing with nature, don't deserve to be helped. There's enough warning out there, warning people of the dangers and effect's this can have on a person's life. Like DEATH! But not to help genuine people who suffer through no fault of their own, is disgusting! It's people's life's were talking about!

I'm glad I don't live in the States. I'd have no chance would I? I'd be left to go do-lally, I'm not far off it now, & that's with the help of Medication! I'd dread to think what I'd end up like? A cabbage most probably?

It really is a shame, that's all I can say. No wonder there's people from all over the world, coming to our country to get Health care because it's free, well Practically. We all donate and pay National Insurance.

I know that your probably thinking that we are paying for all & sundry to use our Health Care but at least were helping other's and not seeing other's suffer.

Please don't think that I'm getting at you Natalie, Far from it! Your just unfortunate to get all the jip! But I am not having a go at you, honestly!

Anyway, enough said. Take care!

Paula x:rolleyes:

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I suffered a bout of this disorder (paranoid psychosis) for a six months and I had to go to a clinical psychiatrist and get about six months of counselling and medication before I started to return to normality. I am still on medication at the moment.

You have confirmed with her that no one else has seen what she describes, and that the people who are supposedly part of the conspiracy are not bothering her when you're around. You've tried to get her to see a psychiatrist, go to group therapy, to volunteer, to get a job, you've tried to help her even though you don't have insurance, nor money. Tried to get her to see a local psychiatrist, you've told her that her family loves her and that you do to. Frankly you have been her sole support throughout this whole period and I am amazed that you have stuck by her for so long, especially since she is not even trying to help herself. She needs to get her act together and the only way that is going to happen is when she recognises that she is ill and that she needs medication and counselling by a trained professional.

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