I currently live with my oldest brother. He was diagnosed when I was 6 and he was 17. It’s been a very surprising year for my brother and with the right meds and therapy and support groups he’s come a very long way this past year. It helps that he’s been clean and sober for 6 years too. This has been a very amazing year for my brother.
But just two years ago, he wasn’t doing so well. He was deeply engulfed in negative symptoms and that caused him to be very withdrawn. It took a lot of work getting him out and about.
First thing that really did help was a good mix to the meds.
When he was at his worst, I would first just hang out with him and we would go for small walks. We would just go around the block.
During family gatherings my brother will hang for about 10 minutes and then we go on an errand, just a small one to get away from the crowd for a while. Then we go back for 10 or so and then run another errand. It helps him decompress, yet still see people.
It outing was always small, and always simple and when it was over, I made sure to point out that all went well. He wasn’t in danger, and nothing went wrong. Even if I just said, “that went well, now it’s over”
I also made a point to just listen. I did NOT try to argue with my brother about how he saw the world.
You can’t talk people out of delusions, argue them out of delusions or reason them out of delusions. People believe how they believe and it’s just part of who they are, Sz or not.
I go with him to the market too, and he has caught on now that I would increase the time by 5 minutes a visit. First we just went to the corner market then we would go to the bigger market, but during off hours so it wasn’t that busy.
It’s the same with going out for a picnic. I guess my first tackle was just getting him comfortable with being out of the house. Never mind making friends and socializing, just having him get comfortable with being outside was a huge step.
Lots of walks in the park, lots of picnics, lots of sitting on the beach pondering, and I told him a lot that I would keep an eye out for danger and I would keep him safe. I’m lucky that it seemed to help.
The biggest thing I had to remember was little steps, little tasks and little by little.
I hope this helps.
I also wanted to add that knowing something about this illness would be very helpful.
Is he afraid due to positive symptoms and paranoia?
Or has he been suffering negative symptoms?