Warning, some readers may find this post triggering.
I am nearly 19 and I have been with my partner since I was 15. Over the past 4 Years my relationship has been up and down and has been hard on the both of us, it has turned from the happiest times of our lives to some of the most difficult.
But through it all we have always stayed strong and have always stayed together, which is why I want to write this hoping that I can help anyone who is with someone who experiences mental health problems as I know just how lonely it can feel.
My partner was diagnosed with schizophrenia
My partner is 22 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia a few months ago. It started whilst I was studying at college. I would get loads of messages off my boyfriend that were basically just accusations regarding where I was and what I was really doing. I did think this was odd as he had never had any trust issues at the beginning of our relationship but to be honest I did try to overlook the situation at the start.
The accusations soon became daily and unless I was at home with him he was sending me these messages. It started to make me feel as though I didn't want to go home to him because I knew it was just going to be arguments or he would just ignore me. But then later on he would regret it and he would be upset about what he had said to me but this only lead him to feel so guilty that he 'punished ' himself for hurting me by self-harming.
I found it hard to understand
The day I first saw those cuts I was devastated, I felt sick and confused and I just couldn't believe that he would ever do that to himself but, as time went on, it became quite regular and we dealt with it as it came. He became more and more angry and was sometimes violent and aggressive towards me.
It's not a regular occurrence but it is still frightening and made me question just how much he loved me. If I had known what I know now I would never have questioned it but at the time I was unaware which meant I found it hard to understand.
We agreed it was time to speak to him about getting help
When all this was going on we were living with his parents and his mum had found out what he was saying to me because she had heard me on the phone to him. We had all been aware of his mood swings but we just coped thinking that was just what you get with him. When she found out what he had been saying we agreed that it was time to speak to him about getting help.
After much refusal he agreed to go to the doctor and I was over the moon. The constant arguing, mood swings and accusations had really taken its toll on our relationship but our relationship was something that I wasn't ready to give up on, even though sometimes I did feel as though it was all too much. He was honest with the doctor and was referred to a local mental health clinic. The clinic prescribed medication but it has not been as easy as taking medication and everything is fine. It has been a difficult journey for everyone who loves and cares for him.
I am still learning about schizophrenia
We now live together in our own home and sometimes when we are struggling it can feel lonely. I think that I cope with his Schizophrenia moderately well but I am still learning and it has been a very short time to fully understand. As it stands it has been equally bad and good.
As time goes on I am learning how to deal with the situation and how to take control of situations that are getting out of hand, I still have my moments where I shout at him but I believe that it's only natural and I try to keep as calm as I can.
The help from the mental health clinic is amazing
I believe strongly that things will get better, the treatment and help that my boyfriend receives from the mental health clinic is amazing and I cannot thank those nurses and doctors enough. It gives me hope that one day I will have back the man that I met.
I know that all this has been about me and not so much about my partner but I wanted to write this for all those people who are the ones who are in a relationship with someone who has mental health issues, because sometimes it is not easy.
One of the hardest things I've found is watching someone who I love with all my heart struggling to cope. But I just want to end this by saying no matter what they say to you and how much they hurt you, I can promise you they do love you, you just have to look past their illness and into their heart.