Autism with comorbid schizophrenia

My 31 year old daughter is moderately affected by autism, aND is newly diagnosed with schizophrenia. She has had symptoms of schizophrenia for several years, but always denied auditory and visual hallucinations until very recently. She lives with me after living in her own apartment with assistance and had a traumatic experience which seems to have triggered and exacerbated symptoms of schizophrenia. They are still working out her meds and she is in mental torment. It is killing me to see her in such extreme anguish. I am in my 60’s, still working full time and trying to arrange her day so that she is not alone and is safe while I’m at work. My ex husband lives about 1400 miles away, and my adult son’s both have their own families, work, and difficult life issues they are facing. I am feeling overwhelmed both at work and at home. I’m a specialist working in several schools, with long hours. I guess I’m just wanting to hear how other older parents manage the day to day activities and responsibilities, along with the heartbreak of their child’s condition. Can anyone relate, and tell me what has worked for your situation? Thanks so much.


I know this is probably not going to be the answer you want to hear…but if you can survive financially I recommend early retirement (or as soon as possible) otherwise you can easily burn yourself out trying to work and care for your child. I developed serious (mostly stress related) illnesses working and caring for my son who also has sz and is on the autism spectrum for so many years…and I quit working when I went on disability in 2010. Once I was home all of the time, not only did I start to get better physically and mentally --but my son got more stable as well in addition to the right meds, my being there made a huge difference in the day to day stability he is 32 and I am 57 and I have always been a single mom, and my one other son lives on the other side of the country. I wish you the very best.

For me what has helped is that in the beginning I joined NAMI and discovered that I’m not the only parent going through some of the most challenging times in my life. I’ve met other parents who get it and it feels good not to feel so alone.

Yes I can relate to your situation and I also feel the terrible and deep anguish over my daughter’s suffering. My daughter lives with me as well as her two small children who look to me for about 90% of parenting and I’m also single in my late 60’s. It’s very tough and the only thing I feel I can do is to take just one day at a time - one step at a time. Also through the years I’ve developed a couple of hobbies that have helped me get some relief from the stress. I’ve also found that taking long walks with my dogs helps tremendously.

Years ago when I found this site I was on it daily to seek understanding and support from some pretty wonderful people on the forum. That has helped me more than any other support group. I know it’s tough - hang in there - there are rewards and take them where you can find them. Keep posting. All of us understand what you’re going through.

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Our son was diagnosed at 19 and he is now 22. He lives at home and we have an apartment next door which is above my office. He stays there when he is better but due to lack of insight doesn’t take his meds and his illness isn’t managed very well. So he is back and forth. I wish you the very best.

I tried to go to NAMI meeting but no one was there. I guess I was the only one in our county that attended the meeting. I’ve yet to go back but meant to at least call.

@Mom2. Have you checked into family to family classes. You will have to sign up for it and FtoFC if I remember right is about a 6 week program where parents meet once a week for about 2 hours and are taught what mental illness is. Usually there is are a lot of parents who’ve signed up and attending the classes. When I took the class I think there were 15 folks in attendance. This is how you typically meet parents at NAMI. My NAMI community has the added benefit of owning their own building so there are lots of activities 7 days a week (daytime-evening) for support as well as fun classes such as needlework, art, gardening, walks, etc.

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Hi Molly, yes they are great and I would recommend them. I was looking for a weekly support group.

Wow that sounds very supportive and I’ll keep looking for a regular group. Maybe it was just a busy time for everyone.

@Mom2 - unfortunately my daughter is not involved and I’ve tried many times over the years.