My boyfriend of 2 years is a wonderful person, but he suffers from depression, anxiety, and OCD. He takes medicine to control it. He also takes blood pressure medicine. Things will be wonderful for a month or so, and then snap, he shuts down. He starts saying he wants to be alone, stops talking to everyone, talks like we are over and are breaking up. When this has happened, I cry and tell him he isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes he has started crying too, other times just got angry. I don’t know what to do anymore. Part of me thinks this is a routine, and just do the same thing and things will be okay, another part of me, thinks I should just let him go, because maybe I’m forcing him to stay with me. When I ask him what happened, he says this is who he is, messed up in the head. He doesn’t know why he does it. It’s not easy to give up, because when he isn’t going through it, things are perfect. There is nothing else to complain about. Any idea what is going on, and what can help?

A. Nothing that you have described would suggest that he has schizophrenia. The main symptoms of schizophrenia are paranoia, delusions and or hallucinations. He does not seem to have those symptoms.

You described him as “shutting down.” It’s not exactly clear what you meant by that expression but it’s likely a symptom of one of the disorders with which he has been diagnosed. He takes medication, but he might need more than medication. He could benefit from counseling. Generally, medication alone is insufficient as a treatment for depression and or anxiety. Counseling is often needed to address the underlying causes of those disorders.

You could suggest that he enter counseling. Explain to him how this problem is affecting your relationship. Realize that even if you suggest counseling, he may not take your advice. At that point, you’ll have to decide if you want to stay in a relationship with someone who knows that there is something wrong but who is unwilling to do what’s necessary to correct the problem. If he refuses help, it might indicate that he’s stubborn. People like to think stubbornness is a virtue but it is never a good thing. It’s usually a sign of a non-critical thinker. It’s particularly bad for relationships.

If you’re not sure how to proceed, consult a local therapist and discuss this issue in more depth. It could help you decide whether or not it is wise for you to stay in this relationship. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle