Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Able to hide thoughts, adapt to environment

We are confused, last night my son went to soccer match with hubby, my husband said my son talked and acted completely "normal " interacting with people they know and see at matches. Fast forward when they were home and I was in bed and could hear my son with his usual drama, the drs were fake, they were put to ruin his life. His nurse knows nothing and she is fake, he links her name to a well whole story that backs up in his mind his delusion.
Seems at times he,lol only let us hear (occasionally the dr or nurse) his thoughts but how can he hide behind and act like well, like there are no problems.

Anyone please can have any thoughts, it’s so confusing, thanks.

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I think a lot of people can hold their selves together for short amounts of time when they need to.

Then, when they get back in their comfort zone & relax, they have to relieve what I imagine is a lot of pressure from holding it together.

Just my guess.


Yep I definitely can relate to it.


I see it as just a more pronounced version of what all of us are like: a public self (persona) and a private self (sweat pants).

People with severe versions of the illness are regular people who sometimes become so symptomatic they cannot pull off small talk and social niceties. Luckily, those times of really bad symptoms are not constant.


I guess, I’m still new to it and struggling to understand the difference in him as one minute he’s seemingly ok, then the next he has these strong fixed beliefs.


Mine is like that, he can suppress his psychosis. I think that’s why it took us so long to figure it out.

As his illness progresses, I think he struggles more to suppress. And he looks rougher clothing wise. He gets favorite clothes and just wears them over and over again. He used to love clothing.

He will have a good day occasionally and it’s like he wakes up and looks around and wonders why his clothing is all torn and old. He will order new clothing and return most of it. He says “nothing ever fits right”. He was always particular, now its even more so.

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Thats strange you say this as my son too loved clothes but since hospital last yr (been home 6 months) hes worn same over and over again. I recently hot rid of dark drab stuff he was always wearing, forcing him to wear the clothes he received for christmas.

Odd that he showers every day but at tomes put back on same socks, underwear.


Mine still showers and does laundry, just the same couple of shirts and pants. We had to put a washer and dryer in his apartment. You are lucky that you can get yours to wear the clothes from Christmas. Mine won’t wear anything anyone else chooses.

Someone had pointed this out and I think they are right. My son’s scz didn’t get extreme until he was 31, his scz is the nasty insidious type. Before that he hadn’t really lived with us since before he went to college. They told us at FtF that the people with scz stop maturing. Makes mine more independent and possibly more difficult to handle.

He was fortunate to have some life before the scz took over.


Can you tell me a bit more please about the journey with your son?

Mine is 25 , hadnt been diagnosed soecifically yet but he is clever and hides a lot.

Even as long as 3-4 yrs ago he was saying odd things like he was loosing his intelligence, he had a microchip implanted in his thigh. His bones had changed, he.d sit looking at his hands saying they had changed.

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There were some tiny odd things in high school, that just didn’t ring right in hindsight. But the following are the things on the journey to realization.

Before scz took over, he was quite social, smart, and happy.

When we actually noticed a change was his third year of college, age 20. He stopped participating in sports that fall and in the spring he called to say his friends were upset with him for not wanting to spend time with them anymore.

Fourth year, age 21, he left his suite mates since freshman year and moved into the “art” dorm with a student he had never met.

We just thought he was finding himself.

He started wearing a t-shirt that said “Shy Insecure Awkward” He had always been the opposite.

Odd jobs post graduation, always working though.

He called from grad school saying he found himself unable to speak at times. He wanted to see a psychologist because he believed he had autism. His older brother has autism, Asperger’s from birth. Younger son had never shown a single sign of autism. He didn’t complete the year’s work though he stayed there not doing anything. Came home, stayed for 4 days and found a busboy job and a place to live a couple of hours away.

Began calling me frequently to say people didn’t like him - this was a big theme. Over and over.

His kidneys failed and he needed a transplant. When I went to move him home, he had done some damage to his apartment walls. The state of his apartment kitchen was interesting. Not horribly bad, but not as he had been raised. We realized he smoked and somewhere along the line he had started smoking marijuana. I was surprised, that wasn’t like him. Not being naive, that just wasn’t like him.

Once we got him home he slept nearly constantly.

The night after his transplant surgery, age 27 ( 7 years after he stopped spending time with his friends-pretty much the average time for voices to show up) he said people were arguing outside his hospital room.

About 3 months later he accused me of talking when I was not.

Sometimes in the following years when we would meet him for holidays and lunches, he would have garbled speech and he would be frustrated when asked to repeat himself.

He drove home one day to tell us he was worried because everyone in the town he lived wanted to kill him. We asked if his car or home had been vandalized? No. Just everyone calling him names and it just kept becoming more so.


My husband and I get confused how it comes be goes also but apparently that is what happens to a lot of our children.


My son did this a lot. Even at home he’d come into the main part of the house and make something to eat, do whatever, then go back out to “his room,” which is a den basically. I could see he was pacing and talking to people, sometimes enraged. Then he’d come back in later and act fine. I could tell he was worked up just because I know him and I can see it in his eyes, but he held it together pretty well in front of us.


Isn’t it funny how we can look back on some of the little things that at the time we did question but dismiss in some ways.

My son felt people were against him, from college to university to one job then another job etc etc.


Yes, it is a funny kind of retrospective we parents of the mi get to experience.

Now some of the later stuff (when we still didn’t get it) seems so freakin’ obvious its ridiculous. My husband and I will look at each other on some remembrances, shake our heads is disbelief and actually chuckle at how clueless we were.

When my husband struggled to understand, after we knew, and would complain about something our son did. I would ask him in a most loving way, "you know he’s crazy, right?’ This actually seemed to help my husband. I commented on something recently and he smiled and said to me “you know he’s crazy, right?”

Being able to use the word “crazy”- lovingly- helped both of us. The word “insanity” still scares me. I used to have to say to myself in the early days of my awareness of his illness, “this is what insanity is”. My brain was trying to get a handle on it.

When I resisted our class leader’s efforts to convince me that our son suffered from scz - I was agreeing with our son’s own diagnosis “social anxiety”. The leader asked me does his anxiety make him paranoid or does the paranoia cause the anxiety? The old chicken and the egg question.

I was quick to answer that the paranoia was causing the anxiety.

Not long after that my husband and I sat down with our older son and looked at the NAMI symptoms of schizophrenia together to see if that was really what was wrong with our younger son.

If you don’t know what scz is really like, and they change very slowly over years, you won’t recognize it when its happening.


My son also had a long insidious prodrome. Well, I mean I think it was long. As we all know this disease is a lot of trying to figure out, when? Why didn’t we know? If we did know or even suspect, could we have done something then? We look back and wonder. I believe my son’s illness was starting when he was 17. He had started leaving the class room without asking, just up and walked out. He would get after school detention for it and wouldn’t go or would forget. We didn’t know this could be something very serious. He was always losing things. He was never rebellious and he wasn’t during this time. But we knew walking out of the class was odd, especially for him. He was diagnosed in 2013 at 25 years. So that’s what? Around eight years in the prodrome? He progressed slowly all this time until almost exactly a year before his first psychotic break. For about a year I think, he was doing stuff like having fender benders, a few times he abandoned the car, twice alongside the highway!! He would start walking. Then he was wearing winter clothes in the summer, wasn’t showering, and summer clothes in winter! His winter outfit consisted of filthy and becoming tattered men’s bathing trunks, a dirty tee shirt with open windbreaker and sneakers. And it’s cold here in winter!


And then when he had that first break, it seemed to happen suddenly one day and next thing I know he’s on his way to a psych hospital in handcuffs! My ex husband was the one who was able to do this without me knowing until he was on his way to the hospital. My son was living with him then and my daughter. She was pregnant with the twins. So I wasn’t told everything that was going on. I did know about some stuff but not everything. My ex knows I worry too much. I guess he was sparing me. He had to be the bad guy and felt terrible but it was the right thing to do. My son had been threatening his sister that he was going to kill her and her babies and she was terrified!! He threatened hid dad too and took swings at him! He punched holes in the walls. He stood naked in the living room at night, in the dark. Anybody who needed the bathroom would encounter him there!! The day I called and asked if he wanted to go for a walk, and he yelled at me That’s a stupid idea! I want girls over here NOW! And hung up on me, that’s when I said to myself, alrighty then! Something is seriously wrong!! And you know what? Sz runs in my family. There are several. And it’s always been in my mind. But never believed it would really happen! I’m rambling now and I’m wondering if I’m even still on topic LOL! But anyway, it’s been four years. So much to tell. Too much for me on the phone and can’t get to computer right now. Another thing before I forget. Couple of things. He had been throwing stuff away, eating utensils, cups, glasses and plates and cookware, his sister’s DVDs! Boy was she mad!! Furniture went out the door. His sister caught him starting to rip the carpet out of her room!! He would only wear sweat pants. Or in winter, only the swim trunks. Now four years later he will only wear sweats. As one mother said, “My son is a sweats man too!”


Hi daquilamarguerite, My son’s has stayed insidious, even in the current acute stage. He slowly worsens with his psychosis dominating more of his days, little by little. The psychosis started at age 27, it worsened gradually until he could no longer work at age 31. We became aware of what was actually going on, 9 months later. We have to hope that he will hit the residual stage someday - could take another decade or so, from what we understand. We are at least 15 years in at this point, we’ve only known what was going on since fall of of 2013.

My husband’s mother had some sort of serious psych issue. For years my MIL used to make accusations that I had said rude things to her. At the time I thought she was just jealous of my relationship with her son and making things up to cause trouble. I met her sister once. She took us to her sister’s house and the sister came to the door to speak briefly to us. At the time I thought the woman was suffering from a hangover. Now I am quite sure MIL’s sister was suffering from full blown schizophrenia. Her demeanor that day as she struggled to answer the door and communicate is quite familiar to me now.


I’m assuming my son is in the residual stage? Gawd I hate the sound of that! It makes me sad. I’m not sure tho. He’s had one episode and one 30-day Hosp stay. He’s on a monthly injection AP med. I can’t stand to see him so flat and dull. So awful!

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Do you think your son was cognitively impaired before his first episode? I’m sure mine was. He was pretty flat from about 2010. I’ve read this can happen. It points to a poorer prognosis for “recovery.” He doesn’t talk much.

My son before diagnosis, had a paranoid delusion that all the police in town knew him. They even called him Nate Dawg, even though he had never been in trouble with the law. When he came home from hospital he believed he wouldn’t die, not even if he was in a plane crash, he said! Now he believes he’s an alcoholic (he’s not) and there is something wrong with his liver :disappointed:I feel so bad for him.

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