Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Advice needed for someone new to this!

#1

Brand new here. Sorry for this being long… I just don’t know what to do. My mother in law has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. She is 72. She has always had it but used to be on Stelazine. This seemed to work pretty well for her for years and years ( I have known her for 30 years). She would go off her medication and have episodes but they were few and far between.

My in laws moved far away from us so we hardly saw them for the past 15 years. They would visit once a year and she always seemed ok. My FIL had a stroke about 4 years ago. He is functional but it has affected him . I think this was the catalyst that started my MIL’s downward spiral. She would call me and tell me all these weird things. My FIL is kind of in his own world now. But he used to be old fashioned and kind of controlling which might have been good for her… But Im not sure what happened in their private lives that we don’t know since the majority of my MIL’s delusions are about him.

She always talked about him having another family or that he was out to get her when she would have an episode. They ended up moving here near us after my FIL’s stroke . Now that she lives here, she was somewhat ok. We had family holidays the past couple years and she seemed not herself but pretty functional and friendly.

She started having more episodes. She did go into a treatment center a few years back and it seemed to help her. But now… it’s bad.

She started just laying on the couch and not eating. She had bad thoughts of my FIL trying to poison her wine. She says he messes with her head and thinks if others clear their throat, that he has gotten to them. She thinks he is trying to sell their house. She always talks to me so I just reassure her it’s ok. That is what she wanted to hear. But when we realized she wasn’t eating, we took her to the ER. They let her go home because she had a UTI. But things went even more down hill when she ran outside in the cold trying to get away from my FIL. The cops were called and they took her back to the hospital. We told the hospital what had been going on. They diagnosed her with dementia and gave her dementia meds. They sent her home.

Then she ran away to a neighbors house again saying my FIL is trying to hurt her and beats her everyday. The cops were called again. But luckily the ambulance guy called me and asked if he could take her to a different hospital that has much better psychiatric facilities. She went there , was evaluated and sent to a treatment center for two weeks.

I have talked to the DR. treating her( he is the one that diagnosed her with schizophrenia) . He told me when they were going to release her that they didn’t feel she was a danger but still had delusions. She was saying her house was sold, her cat died( he didn’t), my fil was in jail for pedophelia( he wasn’t), etc. Dr. told me the delusions are the hardest to get rid of and it’s possible she might not snap back like she used to.

So now two months later, she is still not doing well. She takes her meds and goes to a group therapy thing 3x a week. They pick her up and she talks to a therapist. A social worker visits once a week I think( this is what she has told me) . My FIL thinks she is fine until now… she is saying she wants a divorce. They cannot afford to live apart. So this is where we are stuck and don’t know what to do. She calls me and tells me he messes with her mind and told her to pack and get out. He didn’t tell her this . We just got a frantic phone call from my husbands aunt last night because my MIL told her my son died( he didn’t). She talks about not wanting to go back to the hospital and how she was so sick with black goop coming out of her mouth and eyes. She still basically can’t stand my FIL.

I don’t know what to do . My FIL is clearly part of every delusion she has had. She doesn’t want to be near him and I think always feels he is after her. I don’t know if they should sell the house and try to live apart? I don’t know if she should stay somewhere? They can’t afford assisted living. But I feel they need something. She says she is taking her meds but there is no one there to make sure. My FIL is kind of in his own world of just sitting there watching tv. But he is independent enough to refuse our help when we offer to help get their finances in order. We think they might not be doing so well but my FIL is so damn stubborn.

We are the ones that have to run and help all the time. I feel horrible saying this but it’s exhausting. My husband is a wonderful guy but isn’t dealing well with the mental stuff. I am a little more detached because it isn’t my mom… if that makes sense. It doesn’t hurt me as much as him although he won’t say that.

The thing is they moved away from us because they wanted to “live there own life”( or my FIL did, I always felt he was quite selfish). They spent their money on bars and bikes ( my FIL always said if he died with any money , he did it wrong). They had nothing much to do with our kids. They never called. I was always the one that kept them up to date on our kids. We saw them once a year when they would visit for two days. And now they need help, moved up here and dumped this all on us. So as horrible as I sound… we are both very resentful… I think this is why my husband says they need to figure this out . I think he is so mad that they didn’t give us any of the best years but only gave us their worst because they need help now. Does this make sense? I am so sorry for venting. I guess I needed to .

When she was in the hospital, I was the only one that she gave the Dr.'s permission to talk to. So I worked with them and they explained everything. But not about what happens now? I always felt like her mental state was always a constant fight or flight scenario… if that makes sense? She just wanted to get away, and I always fear what happens if she fights instead? She has never ever been a violent person. Always very passive. But I understand she has a lot going in her head with all these scenarios that she believes are happening.

I truly believe she wants to be away from my FIL but I have no idea what to do.

Thanks for listening.

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#2

My suggestion is to look for a local NAMI Peer-to-Peer group in your city. My son was diagnosed as schizophrenic and it’s a daily battle. He was on what was supposed to be the best drug for his set of problems (Clozapine) but now we’re weaning him off due to the side affects. I understand your frustration

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#3

Hi, Welcome to the forum!

Have you checked out the website AgingCare.com? The reason I mention it is because my husband and I ended up having to make decisions for his parents. His mom had schizophrenia and developed vascular dementia in her late 60’s. HIs dad was a double leg amputee and suffered from some sort of anesthesia based dementia (Every time his dad recovered there would be another surgery) I found their website’s forum to be quite helpful.

You have the added complication that your inlaws are aging. On both sides of our family the parents moved away from adult children and young grandchildren to enjoy their retirement with their peer group. Both sets seemed to have a good time in retirement and both sets turned to their children for care once the fun was done.

My MIL also began to distrust and have delusions about FIL. She seemed to hate him based on her delusions. It was pretty rough for a long time. Eventually both were moved into a nursing home with both sides of their families begging us to not have them sharing a room.

Eventually MIL’s vascular dementia became a bigger deal than her scz and she was nice to FIL. She moved herself into his room at the nursing home and things went quite well for them.

I wish you well, its a big job.

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#4

You might now have 2 issues going on…sz and dementia. A clue is the UTI exacerbating the illness. (UTIs in dementia cause a lot of turmoil) The reason I bring this up as mom has Alzheimer dementia and son paranoid sz…so am seeing overlapping symptoms in each.

It also sounds like there are other martial issues (control aging) that are making a bad situation worse. Can you contact the local Area on Aging and get a welfare check as well as a list of resource to try and manage them from afar? Applying for guardianship might be necessary too. So sorry you are dealing with this.

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#5

Thank you so much. The most recent is she told my FIL she wants a divorce. She was upset that he stopped her using the credit card (it was maxed out). She has the delusion that he is trying to seek the house and take the money. He had mentioned a reverse mortgage to her but she thought that meant she had to be locked out.

She called me telling me that my FIL told her she needs to pack and run. I told her no she doesn’t need to do that and she was relieved. My husband and I were going to go over because they wanted to talk. But before we could get there , she ran out of the house to a neighbors. She told the neighbor to call an ambulance because she was going to die. When the EMTS got there , she told them nun fil was giving her pills and putting poison in them. She is currently in the hospital awaiting transfer to behavior hospital for a couple days to get her back on her meds . She obviously went off then.

Then my fil tells us he is ok with a divorce because he can’t take this anymore. We asked him where they would go and he said that my Mil is on her own but he is moving south. We also found out he has 17,000 on his credit cards and it’s maxed. I know he has Medicare and supplemental and we offered to look through his bills to make sure he hasn’t overpaid. He absolutely refuses.

I’m so frustrated because they have major financial issues due to not planning when they were younger. If the delusions don’t break, I don’t think she can live with him because it’s just a cycle. If he tries to give her the pills, she thinks he is poisoning her. I feel bad for both of them. But he can’t just leave and hope she finds a place to go.

Thank you for some websites to research. We feel
Like we don’t have any options. She needs a nurse and to not live with him for a bit. But they can’t afford these places.

I will check out the websites you mentioned!

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