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I think my new partner has a mental illness...


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I'm 34 and for the last 4 months, I've been in a relationship with my flatmate. I care about him a lot but I'm worried that he has a mental illness and I think he may need help. He hasn't told me about any illnesses, yet I went into his room to close a window a couple of weeks ago and saw prozac on his dresser, along with a whole lot of aspirin, painkillers and cold tablets.


He holds down a very respectable and highly-skilled job, yet he can be very forgetful, inconsistent and unreliable.


He can be great company and lovely one day but then distant and withdrawn the next. His elderly mother is a schizophrenic, his older sister also has a mental illness and is in a home. He doesn't talk about his childhood very much but did tell me that it was "different" and that his father was controlling and abusive towards them. He died 10 years ago. He's very self sufficient and doesn't seem to have any close friends.


I know that a person with a schizophrenic parent has a 10% chance of developing the illness themselves. He often very quietly laughs/chuckles to himself, when I'm not in the room or when he thinks I'm asleep. If I ask him what he's laughing at - he denies it - it's very unnerving...


He has trouble sleeping and sometimes has night sweats and doesn't always have good personal hygiene - sometimes he smells and I have to ask him to go and shower. His room often smells of unwashed gym clothes and he doesn't air it very often. Sometimes he even forgets to wash his hands after he's been to the bathroom and I have to "remind" him.


He told me he loves me and I love him too, but I'm worried that I'm becoming his caregiver rather than his partner and that the relationship is becoming one-sided. I'm starting to feel frustrated. I think he would be devastated if I broke it off with him and I don't think I want to go down that road - the good times are really good. Has anyone else been in a similar situation and can offer advice? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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It's possible; could be many things aside from having mental illness. If his father was controlling and abusive he could be emotionally shut on top.


But it's been only four months since you two started dating. Just trust your heart and take things slow to see if there are things that can improve between you two. But if things aren't improving or he continues to be hot & cold as well as any other issues that negatively impacts the relationship then I would consider backing out before the relationship gets too serious.

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I'm worried that I'm becoming his caregiver rather than his partner and that the relationship is becoming one-sided. I'm starting to feel frustrated.

^^THIS says a lot. Read it many times. Only 4 months into the relationship and you already have become his caregiver. Not only that, but the fact that he has really bad personal hygiene whereby he actually smells bad and you have to remind him to take a shower ...... sorry, but that alone would be a huge deal breaker (for me). Ask yourself, is this the kind of future you envision for yourself? Can you see the rest of your life being happy living like this? Think it through very carefully.


Four months is still early days and you have time to back out before getting too emotionally invested.

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I noticed my son laughing quietly to himself in a parking lot after dinner. I knew something was going wrong with him because he was becoming very distant. And that faraway look and strange smiling scared me. He was completely psychotic at the time and somehow managed to hide it. And he was put in a psych ward within a couple of weeks - Bipolar 1.


Don't ignore your gut feeling.

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Agreed dont ignore your guy feeling. confront him because there are symptoms which look apparent that somethings fishy..

are you sure you would want to stay with someone with a mental issue?? in the long run it could drive you crazy too micro- managing him.

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I'd be on Prozac too if my Mom was schizo and my sister was in a mental home. It sounds like he has a very tough life and is trying to make the best of it through work. Also, lots of guys don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom...I dont think that makes him mentally ill.


If he is on Prozac, he is seeking medical help. This guy has had a rough life in my opinion, and is a typical messy guy. Let's turn things around....if he was impeccably clean, would you still be worried he has a mental illness?


I'd say if he is not telling you about any illness, he either doesn't have one or doesnt want you to know. 4 months is not that long and getting into very personal issues may not be something he could share with you now. He did share his personal family issues with you, so that's a start, but I would keep out of his way when it comes to healing, or diagnosing. If he wants to share this info with you, he will eventually. Just be supportive for now.

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He sounds like he's working through some problems, but depression is my first thought (sleep troubles, lack of care for self and surroundings, mood changes, those are signs of depression). I would say that he could be a very introverted person because of his family. That can be disconcerting to some and might look like a mental illness, but its possible he's learned to cope with his family problems by retreating into his own mind.


Keep an eye on his behavior. If he starts acting in ways that are uncomfortable to you, then tell him you are concerned and ask if he would talk to a counselor. Sometimes being depressed puts you in a bad place where you have no idea how you're affecting people around you, it can take a wake up call to help get things moving in a positive direction.

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Well, I don't think being on Prozac indicates mental illness. If that were true, more than 1 in 10 of us would be so. He has a respectable and highly skilled job. Jobs like that usually come with a lot of stress, and some days more than others. It sounds like he had a horrible childhood. His mother was schizophrenic and his father was controlling and abusive. That will no doubt leave gaps in your training and responsibility towards personal hygiene. Likewise, he probably learned that exposing too much of himself usually proved to be harmful, so he found things like talking to himself as an escape - but when you were caught and accused of it, deny it at all costs, again to avoid exposure and harm. From what you've said, I don't think he has a certifiable mental illness. But he certainly has had a difficult childhood. Maybe if you continue to think your way through his past, some of his actions will begin to make more sense.

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Thanks everyone for your advice. I have decided to break it off with him, which I plan to do tonight - feeling really crap but I have to do this for the sake of my own mental health - it's really bringing me down - so I think it's for the best. I'm really worried about how he's going to take this as he doesn't have any family or close friends to support him. Plus, I don't want him to be completely gone from my life - I don't want to lose his friendship. I want the best for him and I want to see him do well - this is so difficult...

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