I've been seeing a sweet, charming, attractive young woman for about a month now. We have a huge amount in common, and excellent chemistry. We make each other very happy, and while we're not "in love" yet, it really just seems like just a matter of time. A few nights ago, she told me that she was on medication for schizophrenia. Help me not freak out and screw this up.
The story, as she told it to me, is this: she started having auditory and visual hallucinations when she was 22. At the age of 24, she had an "episode" (she didn't tell me the details); her parents came to get her and took her back home with them, halfway across the country. Six months later, she was diagnosed. She still lives with them today, at age 28. She's now on atypical antipsychotics; they allow her to function at what seems to be a normal level (she has a steady job and what seems to be a normal social life), except for some weight gain and fatigue. She expects to have to take these medications indefinitely. She said she hasn't had any episodes since the initial one, but I didn't explicitly ask if she was totally asymptomatic at this point.
This all came out in conversation a few nights ago; it was a calm and rational discussion, and I did my best to ask "good questions" (I know very little about this disease) and to be supportive. But now that a bit of time has passed, I'm starting to psyche myself out and wondering whether I should be more worried about this than I actually am. So here are my questions:
- Am I overthinking this? Is this potentially a big deal, or am I just buying into some societal stigma concerning this disease? What are some important things that I should ask her about her specific case?
- What resources are out there for those with schizophrenia sufferers in their lives? Are there any organizations like AlAnon or PFLAG for dealing with schizophrenia?
- I would love to hear about any personal experiences MeFites have had concerning romantic relationships with schizophrenics. Anecdotes aren't data, I know, but they can still be helpful.
As I said above the fold, she's sweet, charming, and vivacious, and I would never have guessed that she had this problem had she not told me. She's a wonderful person. She doesn't deserve to be shunned or dumped just because of this. But if our relationship is going to proceed further (and I really do want it to), I want to have my eyes open.
Anonymized to protect the identity of the young lady in question.