There is no easy way to navigate this situation. Right now, he’s going through a very difficult time with his mental health and stability. The two of you are interacting long distance and he is currently in a locked mental health facility after having a psychotic break. Until he is stable and able to live independently, it’s best to have limited or no expectations regarding this relationship.
When someone has a psychotic break, it means that they have experienced an intense episode in which they temporarily could not distinguish reality from non-reality. As you might imagine, that can be a frightening experience. Psychotic breaks are often associated with disorders that include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and several others. If someone has a psychotic break and never has another one, they may not necessarily have a diagnosable mental health condition. Psychotic breaks can be caused by drug use, extreme trauma, organic brain syndromes, among other things. If someone has more than one psychotic episode, they may be diagnosed with one of the aforementioned disorders.
The most common disorder associated with psychotic breaks is schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a thought disorder that affects about 1-2% of the US population. Symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, problems with thinking, concentration, motivation, and impaired daily functioning. Without treatment, it can be debilitating. Thankfully, treatment can stabilize the symptoms. Individuals with schizophrenia typically require lifelong treatment.
One of the biggest challenges with some people with schizophrenia, is not wanting to take their symptom-controlling medication. If someone does not take their medication, their symptoms can return and wreak havoc in their lives. The key to stability is continuous adherence to treatment.
If someone is actively psychotic or is currently in a mental facility, it’s going to be very difficult for them to focus on a relationship. His mental health and stability must come first. He may be able to resume the relationship once he is stable and regularly taking his medication. Until he is stable, and the two of you are no longer interacting long distance, tamper your expectations of this relationship. Try to be supportive, patient, understanding, and loving.
For your own personal self, it is important to analyze whether or not this is the right relationship for you. Relationships should not be one-sided. Balance is important. Your needs and wants matter, too. You may want to consider a therapist regarding this matter. You may also consider joining the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They offer information and support groups for individuals who love someone with a severe mental illness. They likely have free support groups in your community.
I hope this helps to answer some of your questions. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to write again. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle