Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Asking for your thoughts

Hello folks. My name is Holly and my husband, at age 34, just had his first delusional episode. He had no history of sz symptoms (nothing obvious, anyway) and I only just found out he had a grandfather with this diagnosis. I had made him a doctor’s appointment for this past Friday after several days of increasingly bizarre behavior and persecutory delusions, but he didn’t make it to Friday… last Thursday he became suspicious of me and very threatening and I had to call 911 to get him out of the house before something terrible happened. He’s still in the hospital now but has started Risperdal and seems much, much better. I very much want to bring him home but, of course, I want to make sure we can do it safely, since we have three small children, including a newborn.

The reason I am posting here instead of in the Family section is because I would like to hear from you all in the Diagnosed section about how you are managing your lives with sz. I’ve been looking around for information on family life with a sz parent but most of what’s out there seems to be from the perspective of psychologists or mental health organizations… not from people down in the trenches, as it were.

For the past four years or so, my husband has been a stay-home father. It was stressful for him, especially since I have been working two jobs to keep us afloat, but he was doing a great job and we both saw it as a real blessing to be able to keep our little guys out of daycare. People (like his mother, who remembers life with her untreated sz father in the 60s :confused: ) are telling me that he will never be able to stay with the boys again, never be able to be a stay home parent. There are even some people suggesting that I should just leave him, even though I have made it clear that I’m not going to walk away from the father of my children because he has an illness. But it’s also still very early in the game, and I don’t have all the information yet (I only found out yesterday what meds they even had him on :disappointed:). We don’t have a plan of care lined up yet or anything…

What do you all think? Are any of you parenting small children with a lot of time alone with them (or not, and why?). What do you think this would be like for someone with sz? Is it realistic for me to think that with more support, my husband could resume his life as daddy while I continue to work, or am I kidding myself? What about relapses? Is it still just too early for me to be worrying about this stuff without more info about his condition?

I have a lot of decisions to make, including the possibility that I’ll have to change jobs or even careers, with a certain pay cut if I do, in order to provide more home support for my husband and kids. Our money situation isn’t great and I absolutely cannot make this kind of decision lightly. I’m really desperate for good information on this and I greatly appreciate any insights you all can offer.

Moved this to the Family section.

(Wearing moderator hat)

I understand why you moved it, but I was sort of hoping for feedback from people living with sz, not just family members. I am already kind of getting buried by family member type advice

I do have Sz… I’d say… take one thing at a time… first… see how he reacts to medication.

I’m on Latuda/ Seroquel… and it’s helped me a lot…

many people on here say it’s not just meds alone… therapy also helps. It got me my coping tools back.

As far as being around kids… I’m not a father… but I do get to help out a lot with my niece (6) and my nephew (9)

At first your husband might not be very stable… give him some time… but most of all… don’t write him off… If he reacts well to the meds… things might get back to previous incident life pretty well.

If he’s med resistant or needs some extra help… you might need to find other options.

I’d say find out as much as you can about this illness.

also look into a book called “surviving schizophrenia” by Fuller Torry.

Good luck and I hope things get better soon.

Just reset your access to the entire forum and watch what people have to say. You will see plenty in less than a week. BUT… I would be cautious about thinking that what people write here is a reliable indication of what your husband will experience. The possibilities are very wide-ranging. If anyone tells you it will be this way or that, just file it away for future reference if your husband acts in such a way.

In the meantime, I’ll suggest…

  1. Get a copy of this book and read it. Have your family read it, too.

  2. If he needs a professional intervention, tell me where you live, and I will get back to you with leads to those services.

  3. Get him properly – and precisely – diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at…

  4. Work with that p-doc to develop a medication formula that stabilizes your symptoms sufficiently so that you can tackle to the psychotherapy that will disentangle your thinking from reality effectively. The best of the therapies for that currently include…
    DBT –
    MBSR –
    ACT –
    MBBT –
    10 StEP –

  5. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    SEPT –
    SMPT –

  6. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT –
    Schematherapy –
    Learned Optimism –
    Standard CBT –

If I were diagnosed with SZ in a familial setting (as in had children & a wife of my own) I’d definitely opt in for SSDi or SSi. Managing a family full-time as a stay-at-home dad while the wife is at work seems optimal, while acrewing a modest income from the Federal Gov’t.

He really shouldn’t have his time divided amongst too many things, as it is not possible to manage SZ part-time. It’s a full-time experience until you can muster up the vitality to put it into remission. Recovery is possible. Don’t give up hope on that.

Well one episode of delusion or psychosis does not make a full blown case of schizophrenia. He is a bit old to have a first episode (I was even older at 39), and you will have to wait and see how things develop.

I would suggest try not to neglect the aftercare. It helped me a great deal to spend time at a day centre and see how others with a variety of mental health conditions coped with their illness. Although I appreciate that in your case this might be difficult, with managing the children.

I appreciate the feedback. I will get that book…

As this is the first incident that you have witnessed I would follow SurprisedJ’s and NotMoses’s advice. You sound like you want to work things out, so make sure that you do everything you can to get him help now, it will go a lot better than neglecting care.

Make a rule in your house that he needs to continue his treatment, do not let him skip his medication because he doesn’t want to take it. If he has concerns with side-affects you can always discuss that with the p-doc and see if you can switch to another medication that he reacts better to. If you look through many of the threads here you will see a pattern, those who admit they are ill and do what they can to treat it end up living lives that are fairly close to the ones they had prior to the disease. Those who skip medication, or even worse, self medicate with alcohol or drugs cause huge amounts of pain for themselves and their family.

My ex-wife has bi-polar schizo-affective disorder, and we have 2 children together aged 7 and 12. 2 months ago I had to make the decision to not allow her to return home after her most recent hospitalization. I tried many things to help her, but she refused to believe she was sick and would never take medication for more than a month or 2 after being out of the hospital. Looking back at what the kids had to go through (she was a stay at home mom) I feel a lot of remorse for not getting her out of the house sooner. Often times I would come home to her being drunk and screaming at the children, the children would be cowering in a corner or in their rooms trying to do every thing they could not to trigger their mother. It was absolutely horrible. Now that she is gone, they are happier and more outgoing.

If I had to do everything over again, I would have paid more attention after the initial diagnosis. I would have crushed the medication into her morning coffee without her knowing if I had to. That might have kept her from getting as bad as she eventually got. Barring that, I would have probably left her earlier, when it was clear that she would not take her medication, and she became verbally abusive to my children and myself.

It’s not always as bad as my experience, but the thing to know is that the more the treatment is delayed, or that they resist taking medication and therapy, the more likely you will find yourself in a situation similar to mine. From everything I have learned here the best chance of a happy outcome is to get him treatment as fast as possible and ensure that he stays on the plan.

Good Luck.

Thanks so much for sharing. We actually just got home from the hospital and I already laid it out for him that I was going to be all up in his business, making sure he takes his meds and goes to therapy, not letting him spend a lot of time alone for a while, watching for paranoia and delusions, etc. We already have his first appointment set up with a psychiatrist and he’s talking about attending AA. My highest priority is keeping our family together safely and happily. Right now it seems like he’s on board, but I will keep your words in mind and make sure I look out for fading motivation as time goes by…

Kids grow fast. Maybe you can have someone helping him out when they are toddlers. Remember he HAS TO sleep at night. He can’t take the night shift when the baby is crying. Good sleep is on of the the keys to recovery or stay symptom free.

I have sz. I am a mom. I got really ill when my kids were 6 and 9 years old. My husband had to stay at home because I ran away and was gone for a year. Including 6 months in hospital.

I have memory problems. My kids take advantage of that. They tell me I have promised this and that. I can’t remember. I tell them now that all agreements are done with dad.

My kids are big now, 11 and 14. They manage pretty much them selves. Gives me more time to rest. I rest a lot. I need it.

It’s hard to say how your husband will manage family life. Just time will tell. Watch out that you don’t make him one of your kids. He has to do adult stuff too, like cooking, tidy, wash cloths. Make routines for everything. Easier to function if you have your day planned ahead. Also important is that YOU make time for yourself. Do stuff you like and that makes you feel good.

Edit: we have help from social services. One of my kids does not live at home.

family support is vital to recovery hjs. You seem nice and non judgemental. That will help a lot in your husbands recovery.

hjs, in my experience the key is going to be your husband’s commitment to that medication. If he decides, as some schizophrenics do, that he does not need the medication or that it is not doing him any good, and he chooses to stop taking it, that is a whole new ball of wax. A lack of insight into his illness will make it that much harder for him to make an informed choice. In the end, I had to step back and accept in my case that there was absolutely nothing I could do to make my loved one stay on that medication-it was out of my control. You may have some hard choices to make if that happens. Best wishes.

Is there a way to get her to get the injections of medicine?

You are a very strong person to have survived that situation. You really helped your kids.

From my experience it was nearly impossible to get injections for her. I’m not sure if it was due to insurance or what. But the courts had no interest in doing that, she only had misdemeanors and they said they would only send her to a Mental Health Court if she had felonies pending. In my case I knew for a fact that she would not have agreed to injections, so that was out of the question.

You are very strong person.