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Psychosis and addiction

Poppy1234
Community Member

I have been with my partner for 5 years, we are 24. He is a regular drug user.

Early 2020, after a lot of strange behaviour from him including: climbing trees naked at midnight; erratic driving with me in the car; FaceTiming his mum while smoking; telling me I can’t read social queues/have poor social intelligence; telling me that I act like prey when talking to men and need to control the situation; calling me slurs repeatedly; "I've taught you so much what have you taught me".

Long story short - He ended up as an inpatient in the psych ward for two weeks, I decided to leave the relationship as I had endured this behaviour for months, he was told he had experienced drug induced psychosis and was placed under an 'order' to keep taking antipsychotic medication. He hated the way it made him feel -depressed, suicidal. We mended our relationship and he was happy to not smoke anymore and so we thrived for a while. He chose to start smoking and slowly increased to a worse rate than before.

December '21, I started noticing some out-of-character behaviour ( ninja moves, evil glares at me, increased aggression over things that he typically wouldn't react to, not letting me attend my work xmas party, not sleeping) this ignited the same bodily response in me to last time (fight or flight gut feeling) and I promptly had his mum visit, he ended up back in the psych ward for 11 days and back on medication. The drs told him that if he continues to smoke and have psychotic episodes that he could end up with schizophrenia. I tried to make it clear to him that I love him and want to support him but if he continues to chose to smoke with this knowledge he now has then I may need to just put myself first and leave. He of course agreed in the moment but when he got home tried to negotiate to just smoke less (once a fortnight), which I know once he has the drug he won't be able to regulate because he is certainly addicted to it. He smoked it the first night he got home because he found a tiny little bit where I hadn't cleaned up.

I'm conflicted and exhausted. Last time I followed my heart and I just ended up in the same position again. Its a real 'fork in the road' moment, I couldn't imagine having children in this situation but I don't know how to leave and not feel guilty.

7 Replies 7

Maddeline
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Poppy1234,

Thank you for sharing and welcome to the forums.

I am sorry to hear about your situation, it is definitely conflicting when you truly care for the person and want to help them, but at the same time you have to put yourself first. I can not tell you what to choose for your relationship, but the thing I can say is to put your safety first. A relationship is meant to be a safe space, where it does not cause you harm or have the need to flee from a situation. Try to possibly make a pros and cons list, having your best interests in mind. Think about how the relationship would continue if you remain in the relationship, and how your life would continue if you were not. As for leaving a relationship, you have the ability and are allowed to leave a relationship whenever you feel necessary. By speaking to your partner when not under the influence of drugs would be best. You are not to blame for another person's actions, and can only control and guide your own life.

Hope this helps and would love to hear from you x

yggdrasil
Community Member

Hi Poppy1234,

Welcome to the forums, and thank you so much for sharing your situation. It sounds really tough. I agree with what Maddeline has said. I think relationships need to be positive, supportive things and if that's no longer the case it's totally reasonable to end it. You've probably seen the ads everywhere, but 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) can potentially offer support and guidance whatever decision you make.

I understand guilt can be a very difficult emotion. There are lots of therapeutic models out there that may help. Personally, I have found Schema Therapy, which is a mainstream therapy clinical psychs use, very effective at understanding and managing disproportionate, chronic or otherwise unreasonable feelings of guilt.

Has your partner ever received any professional support outside the psych wards, or participated in support groups? It sounds like they need some regular support. You could let them know that by talking to their GP they may be able to set up a mental health care plan, which can provide them with up to 20 free sessions a year with a psych or social worker.

If you feel this would be ill-received, perhaps you could mention other supports like Men's Line (1300 789 978), the Men's Shed Association (1300 550 009), or groups like NA or AA. There are also in person peer support groups for drug and relationship issues that often run out of community centres.

I hope you find a way through this difficult time, and thank you again for sharing your story on these forums.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Poppy1234~

I'd like to join Maddeline in welcoming you here. It is a heart-breaking situation and one where it can be very hard to gain perspective as you love the person he was.

You mentioned having kids, and ideally for that you need a partner you can trust and rely upon, one who helps, is never a threat, and is a support when one feels overtired and overcome by it all.

Sadly you have a partner who is addicted to drugs and has a very adverse and extreme reaction to them. It is an addiction and as such his promises do not have real meaning. you found this out when after the second time he took the first opportunity to use again

You talk of putting yourself first, and naturally feeling guilt as a result. There are a couple of points you might like to consider.

The first is it is not just looking after your own welfare, but that of any children you may have - who too will need a stable, safe and loving life.

The second is your account implies he is becoming more aggressive and controlling, and I'm not in the least surprised it raised a flight or fight response. It can be very frightening when the one who should be closest to you becomes a danger. I'd be frightened too.

I'm glad in practical terms you could involve his mother, and he ended up with treatment, unfortunately its effects did not appear to last much beyond the compulsory period.

I hate to be blunt however it is only fair to you, and that is to say if you were to leave (and even under these circumstances that might be no easy thing) then there will be periods of guilt. You may know logically it might be the solution, but emotion does not always follow logic.

Is there anyone you can talk this over with? A friend, family member or even your GP? It can help.

It can also help to get someone experienced with the drug use involved to say what the likely outcome could be. Maybe your GP, the doctors in the psych ward or a state run drugs and alcohol bureau might be prepared to give advice in general terms.

If in doubt please ring our own 24/7 help line on 1300 22 4636 who may be able to steer you towards suitable resources in your own area

Croix

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Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Poppy1234,

Wellcome to our forums!

Im really sorry you are going through this I understand it’s difficult.

Its so hard to witness someone you love who is going through drug addiction.

Its a scary thing to feel your partner is using again and he’s starting to scare you with his actions.

Its totally up to you with what you wish to do in your relationship, I understand it’s a hard situation.

Does your partner have any intention on trying to stop doing drugs?

Poppy1234
Community Member

Thank you all for taking the time to provide your feedback on my situation. It is certainly not an easy decision, especially as it can be a wonderful relationship for periods of time and then on these 2 standout occasions it has taken a sharp turn. He does have some insight into his behaviour and can recognise that certain things he was doing were strange or unacceptable, but it depends on when you speak to him, this is very recent and he is still in denial and I don't believe the medication has taken its full effect yet - still quite aggressive, particularly towards his mum, and very hyperactive.

I spoke to a psychiatrist when this occurred in 2020 to try and understand more about what the likely outcome would be and he told be to just watch his actions rather than listening to him when it comes to using drugs, I have found that to be helpful. While my partner does intend to slow down his use significantly, he does not wish to stop completely, and to be honest even if he told me that he was going to I feel like he would end up doing it with friends, parties etc. I worry that this is going to be a constant issue throughout our relationship. Its quite difficult because the drug does have positive effects for some people who use it sensibly, but of course when used excessively it can lead to psychiatric issues, particularly in vulnerable people.

I spoke to my GP today and have an appointment for tomorrow to set up a mental health plan and speak to a psychologist so that I can lean on someone external - I have very supportive friends and parents who care deeply for him also but I don't want to burden them with all the details. I experienced what I would assume to be some PTSD from the first incident, having nightmares about it happening again etc, so I want to prepare myself with the assistance of a professional for how I may feel in the next week, month etc.

I am also currently trying to finish university and was excited about getting through a couple of extra subjects over the summer semester but now that this has happened over Christmas I feel like I haven't had a break and am mentally exhausted. Trying to write an assignment right now but its not an easy task. I have also recently changed jobs and everyone is very nice but I am embarrassed that I didn't go to the xmas party with my team and not sure how to address the situation because people can unknowingly judge mental health related situations should I open up about it.

Also, we share a 6 month old puppy, I know its nothing like having a child but he is like a child to us and I know how much my partner loves our dog. I would really want to take the puppy with me if I were to leave, and I don't think a dog is a justifiable reason to stay in an unhealthy relationship, but its a conversation that scares me and I'm not sure how to go about it if/when that day comes. We divided the cost of the dog but he has only paid $100 of it back to me (I covered the full cost initially) because he spends so much of his money on drugs. ButI don't want that to be my main point for keeping him.

I would considered sharing him but I just don't think that would work long term and I would be afraid that he would hurt the dog to upset me - not that he has ever suggested he would but I guess I'm thinking of the worst case scenario. Any advice on this particular point would be very helpful - thank you again for responding to me

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Poppy, much has been said but staying or living with someone who has made the decision that drugs come first before having a decent relationship with their partner, only means you come second.

If these drugs are causing more trouble to his mental health now, then the chances are he may experiment with other types, and by doing this, wouldn't make him a better father if that does happen, nor would you know where all the money has gone.

There would be no trust and I'm frightened for the puppy you now have, so I would be taking it as well and find someone who loves you for who you are and respects you in every way possible, that's how a relationship should be.

Take care.

Geoff.