When people are psychotic, they are not thinking clearly. Psychosis is a break with reality. That means that an individual has difficulty distinguishing what is real from what is not real. Your boyfriend said and did things that he would not normally say or do because he was under the influence of drugs and in the midst of a psychotic episode. You witnessed first-hand how drugs and psychosis changes personality and behavior.
Hopefully, this was a one-time event, but it may not be. Some people have one psychotic episode and never have another. Others have repeated psychotic episodes. It is possible that your boyfriend will have difficultly recovering from this psychotic episode. Only time will tell.
The most concerning aspect of this incident is his physically harming you. You might say “well that was the drugs and his psychosis and not him.” We should always try to separate the symptoms from the person, however his aggression is evidence of his potential for violence. You shouldn’t ignore this “red flag.”
Consider the following scenario. He uses drugs again and becomes psychotic. He begins to believe that you are planning to harm him. He knows this because he says that God told him directly about your plans. He might, logically, preemptively strike first. In his mind, he is protecting himself, but in reality there was no threat.
It’s important to remain cautious and vigilant. Your boyfriend was using drugs without you knowing. He also has demonstrated a potential for violence. These things could happen again. You mustn’t be naïve to that possibility.
He might never again strike out against you but delusions and hallucinations feel very real to the person experiencing them. The psychotic brain is tricked into believing in things that are not real.
Try to be supportive and encourage him to participate in mental health treatment. If he adheres to his prescribed treatment, it could protect him from having future psychotic episodes.
If things do not improve, consider consulting a mental health professional who can help you know how to appropriately handle the situation. Therapy could also help you to maintain an objective view of your relationship. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle