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by Abigail Van Buren

Painful Chapter From the Past Now Haunts Couple's Present

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Keith," is 14. He started acting different and told me he was hearing voices telling him they were going to kill him. I told his mom and she took him to a doctor. The doctor said Keith was psychotic and placed him in a locked psych ward.

My mom said I couldn't visit Keith in the hospital, but after a few weeks I snuck over there against her will. Keith was getting better and we were able to walk outside together and talk.

When Mom found out, she stopped talking to me because I refused to break up with him. She liked him a lot before he got sick.

I'd like your opinion on why Mom didn't want me to visit Keith in the psych ward. He was still the same person. Please answer soon. -- FRIGHTENED IN ORLANDO, FLA.

DEAR FRIGHTENED: I can only surmise what your mother may have been thinking. It could have been because she does not understand mental illness and was concerned for your safety. It's also possible she preferred that Keith be completely recovered before you contacted him. (People who are isolated in the hospital usually need peace and quiet to aid in their recovery.)

However, if ever Keith needed friends to rally around him, it's now. Apologize to your mother for disobeying her. She really should talk to Keith's mother about his treatment and prognosis before making any final decisions about your relationship with him.