Q. In July of 2007, I spent time in a psych hospital. While I was there I met this girl. She was the most beautiful I have ever saw. I spent seven days there, and I left. Most of the days I spent in the hospital were spent talking to her about herself, and she really opened up to me. She never told me that she had Schizophrenia, and when I would ask her what she was diagnosed with, she would say I don’t know. I did notice little things, like staring into space, she would always keep her arms folded, and was very quiet.
When I left I got her number, and I thought she would be out not long after I left. When I got out of the psych hospital, I called her in the hospital now and then to see how she was. I asked her If I could visit, and she said yes. I visited her three times. She is still in the hospital now. She has been there all summer, and now it’s fall. I used to call alot and I want to visit her, but everytime I call and ask her if I could visit her, she says her parents are coming at that time. I know it’s not true.
The other week, I called her and she said she met someone in the hospital, and she was serious about this person, and I found out that wasn’t true. I do not know why she is pushing me away. The last time I visited her, at the end of the visit she said to me how it was real that her co-workers were after her. She still gives me one word answers when I speak with her. The last time I asked her if it was alright that I call you, and she said, it’s no problem. I really like her, and I want to visit her. I do not know if they are delusions of a boyfriend, and why she doesn’t want me to visit her.
A. There could be innumerable reasons why you are getting these types of responses. When someone is in the hospital, it can be an extremely frightening, confusing and trying time. Many people are at their worst when they are in the hospital and this is likely the case with her. Also, the fact that she has been there for so long is an indicator that she is likely suffering from significant mental health issues and is probably not ready to begin or maintain a relationship at this time. In addition, her behavior is being monitored constantly and this can alter how someone may act in person or on the phone. Also, she may be taking fairly high doses of medication or is being tried on new medications or therapies, all of which can make someone act different day to day. Lastly, as you mentioned, she may in fact be having delusions or other mental illness related symptoms. You said that she thought that her co-workers were after her and this is a sign of paranoia. It is difficult to say with any certainty if any of these above-mentioned reasons could explain her reactions.
My suggestion is that you let her know that will be there for her (if you still want to) when she is in need of a friend. Let her call you when and if she is ready. Be sensitive to the fact that she may need time to recover from whatever it was that brought her to the hospital. I know this may be difficult since you have grown so fond of her but my sense is that she needs time to heal. I hope this answers your question.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Oct 2007
Randle, K. (2007). I like a girl with paranoid schizophrenia, but should i get involved?. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/10/28/i-like-a-girl-with-paranoid-schizophrenia-but-should-i-get-involved/