Both parents have Schizophrenia

Both my mom and dad have schizophrenia… They met while hospitalized… My dad is a paranoid schizophrenic (and he has it really really bad) with manic depression with regular hallucinations… My mom went untreated/undiagnosed until until a year or two ago when she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia… Here’s my story, I just need to write and vent, sorry if this is poorly organized and not a very well thought through post I am just writing what I feel like. My mom had 2 sons with my dad, then hopped in the car with my dad and drove and drove until she decided that to pull off the highway to a city and ended up moving to the projects in that city far away from any relatives, family or friends. My parents had 3 more sons and 2 more daughters. My siblings and I were raised in the projects until I was about 7 or 8 ish (getting hard to remember for sure) until we were evicted for not paying rent and also for having a cat which wasn’t allowed in the projects.
We bounced around from apartment to apartment for a few years (2 apartments total. - probably a year spent living in each) During all this time my siblings and I were “homeschooled.” This meant that we did pretty much zero school at all except for maybe for a week or two mixed in throughout the schoolyear, or until my parents couldn’t deal with it anymore and stopped (they had bought some Christian school books)… we were not allowed to make friends with neighbor kids and were kept away from our peers - I didn’t really realize how strange my situation was because I was born into it.

My parents were extremely paranoid about the police “framing” them for something and putting them in jail and also paranoid about the government taking my siblings and I away from them. I remember my mom doing things like screaming and screaming for hours straight. I remember her ‘lecturing’ my siblings and I for all day about things I don’t remember (I think religion mostly) while we forced to sit in front of her but not allowed to talk. I also remember her stabbing my dad in the face with a plastic butter knife, she also tried to hurt him by leaving a brick on top of the front door frame and waiting for him to come home hoping it would fall on his head (these are probably my worst memory’s of my time living in the projects.) My memory of my dad during this time (living in the projects) was that he just prayed all the time and didn’t say much; he was quite out of it from his medication; he just wanted the family to stay together and he was obsessed with church, God and religion (he believed in prophecy’s written out by a religious group (a group not unlike the Fatima believers) .
After we moved out of the projects things got better; my siblings were starting to get older and we found things to keep us busy outside of the home. We (my siblings and I) would find old bike frames that people had thrown out and take them and buy bike parts from the local bike shop and get them working and ride bikes everywhere (my family lived off of government assistance - although my dad tried to work and got a job for a little while but was laid off - he had a horrible time handling the stress of it though as he’s highly medicated but he did it anyway because my mom wanted him to have a job) … My mom wouldn’t let my family have a car (I don’t know why). My siblings and I also kept out of the house when we could by going off to local baseball fields and playing games and not returning home til it was super late. My mom was also in complete control on the family income and usually spent most of it on-who-knows-what a few days after it arrived every month. This would usually mean that she would make my Dad call up his parents for money - they would send $250 every time my Dad asked for it.

After moving into the second apartment after leaving the projects, my mom tried to get my dad to divorce her (I think a big part of this was because my Dad went behind her back and made a PO box for his monthly government disability checks to be sent to - he finally realized that he had to do something to save the family because my siblings and I would regularly go without food because my mom kept all the money - after he made the PO box she realized she was losing control of the family) but he refused to divorce her because he is obsessed with extreme traditional Catholicism and believes divorce is a ‘sin.’ I remember hours and hours of screaming happening (until our neighbors called the police to put a stop to it) again, by my mother who was trying to get my dad to hurt her so she would have grounds to force a divorce.

After awhile she ended up slowly disappearing and not coming home for days; we later found out she had got herself an apartment a few blocks away and was hanging out with a new guy. My Dad did found out about the relationship (at the time I didn’t really understand it could be anything more than a friendship) and went to the guy’s apartment and told him to stay away from my mom but that didn’t do anything to stop the affair to my knowledge. My mom continued to stay away from the family home and rarely was seen (this being over a time period of a few months I think - possibly up to 7 months to a year (I was around 10 or 11 maybe?)) - a few of my siblings and I found out where she was living and as we had accepted that she was no longer hanging around our home anymore (which was an extreme change from when I was younger and we would be couped up in the house for weeks and not allowed to go outside) we visited her at her new place maybe 3 times. I remember she came home once and told us about her new apartment (that’s the only way we found out where she was living) and us kids and her walked a few blocks away from our own apt.and checked out her new place without there being any issues (we had all wanted her out of our apartment anyway when we found out about the new guy.) Home-life during this time period is hazy for me because my siblings and I strived to stay out of the apartment as much as possible while my mom was screaming and fighting so much(before she disappeared) so it didn’t really seem weird that we were not seeing her a whole lot.))

My time in the city where I grew up in until I was about 11 ended when my siblings and my Dad got a notice that we needed to leave our apartment by the end of the month as our landlord was selling the place. We packed our things but we had nowhere to go. We rented a storage unit and put our household furniture in it. My dad’s parent’s tried to bail us out at the last minute - they wanted to buy us a trailer unit but that didn’t work out. My siblings and my dad decided to drive out to where his parents live (about 2.5 hours away from the city I grew up in) to look for an apartment or trailer unit but we couldn’t find one. We ended up moving into my grandparents house for the summer. My grandfather found a house and freaking bought it for us - I later found out it was purchased with my dad’s inheritance money. My mom stayed in the city where I grew up; by the time we packed up and moved away she was never around anymore.

Sidenote to this: during my years in the projects, my mom tried to refuse to have anything to do with my dad’s parents and kept them away as much as she could - when they did show up out of the blue she would put on this act and pretend everything was perfect. Her own parent’s weren’t interested in our family too much and just stayed away - they both died before I got a chance to let them know what really was going on. When they did visit once a year or so my would act like the sweetest person so they never suspected anything. Anyway, like I wrote before, she was not diagnosed as a paranoid sz until maybe a year or two ago (not sure for certain as this was before she to the city where I live now.) Anyway, during the summer where I lived at my Dad’s parents house, or was it after the new home was purchased? my siblings and I began to tell my Dad’s mom about some of the things that went on during our time living with our own mother- and she(my Dad’s mom) was floored. We had never told anyone anything about what we went through before as it had always been a ‘secret.’ I began to realize that the situation I grew up in was not ideal.

Anyway, we moved into the new house (about 30 minutes away from where my Grandparents live) and have stayed there ever since. We continued to ‘homeschool’ which was semi successful for my older siblings mathwise but by the time HS came around for me, my Dad was a nervous wreck and was going through a lot of emotional problems so again, I didn’t do much school besides a week or two here and there every winter - I did have an interest in math so I started trying to teach myself and one of my older brothers tried to teach me what he knew. I want to mention here that my brothers had found a computer that was being thrown out by somebody while we were living in my original city - the man who threw it out saw my brothers looking at it outside his house and offered to let them have a real working computer; He was an IT guy with a garage full of computers. This was when we were living in the second apartment after moving out of the projects.

Anyway, since my Dad was having a lot of new emotional difficulty during my highschool years, I pretty much didn’t do any school and just used computers to play videogames all the time, etc. (my siblings and I became fascinated with computers after being given our first computer (Macintosh) by the friendly IT guy and saved money from paper routes that we got while living at the house my Gparents bought for us and bought and built our own PC’s…) During all this time I still had the idea in my head that we had to be secretive and not tell anyone about our situation and never wanted to bring friends home - and didn’t have any place to make friends for that matter but at least my dad didn’t force us not to have friends… That is, until my brothers started joining online gaming clubs and made internet friends. This lifestyle of videogames and computers continued and then when we got internet and I began to get a much different world view than I did before. I also started to want a little money for myself and signed up for government funded summer youth jobs that I found at a local Work Bureau and made money that way, which I spent on computers and video games and a new interest: (a long distance sport) which I wont get to much into besides saying that from about the age 16 to 18, it was my obsession.

During this time as I said before my dad was going through a lot of emotional change (he would get into really bad arguments with my siblings and his own mom (mostly about religion - we would try to reason with him and prove why some of the religion wasn’t ideal but looking back there was no reasoning with him as his beliefs all stemmed from the schizophrenia.) Anyway, over the last few years he FINALLY started trying some of the new medications and let me tell you, his whole life has improved SO MUCH. He is able to sleep now for more than 3 to 4 hours a night (he gets 8 hours now) and doesn’t have the manic high’s and low’s that he did before changing from the medication that he had been taking since he was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in his 20’s. I still have a really hard time opening up to him and telling him anything about myself or what I really think about religion as I know he can’t handle it.
I am going to a community college right now and am still living at home so I do still interact with him on a day to day basis. I have learned to refrain from making any comments about religion besides just agreeing with him and we get along much better than we did a few years ago which I am very greatful for but it still can be hard as religion is the thing he likes to talk about most. I also still have issues with opening up to people about my past (in fact this is the first time I’ve ever talked/written about it with someone other than my grandmother and one friend) and I feel like an outsider all the time at school and don’t feel like I can make friends as they might judge me for my past. Trying to get over this feeling as I know there are people out there like me who grew up with Schizophrenic parents and are making their own life and not letting their past define them and that’s what I want strive to do.

Also my mom recently came back into the picture… The man she was interested in died a year or two after we left the city I grew up in, and her parents died and just last year my Dad decided he wanted her back (I have no idea why…) so she moved in to my home about a year ago when her mother was in a nearby nursing home before she passed away)… Let me tell you I was not/still am not happy about that… Although my mom got diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about 1 or 2 years ago and is medicated now, I thought that that nightmare was other with…

Sorry for the wall of text. I just need to vent. Thanks.

Edited by: lourdesdivide on Dec 6, 2013 8:06 PM

Another thing, I have never done any counseling or anything. I do have issues with socialization I think, I have a really hard time initiating/continuing friendship as I don’t feel like I really know how to do it because I never had any friends growing up. I went from being extremely isolated to going straight into community college when I was 18 and I am 21 now. I also realize that I hold a lot of resentment towards my mother and my upbringing. I am kind of scared of the thought of finding someone to talk to (and don’t know where to look/I don’t want my parents to find out… they see doctors themselves at the local mental health offices) as growing up it was brainwashed into me to keep my homelife a secret, and social workers were painted as “bad” people because my parents were paranoid that they might try to break up the family.

Another thing I wanted to add was that because my parents became obsessed with extreme traditional Catholicism during the years around when they were first hospitalized, my family had no television growing up and were not allowed to watch movies as they might ‘corrupt’ my siblings and I. And we were “homeschooled” (read: not schooled) and my dad would fill out documentation detailing what subjects we were taught and how good our grades were and how much time was being spent teaching my siblings and I every so often, but it was all faked. And like I wrote earlier my siblings and I were not allowed to have friends, even through church, as my parents believed they would corrupt us morally too. So basically I grew up in kind of a cult like atmosphere (my mom would force me to wear thick ground length skirts and huge, baggy shirts all the time which sucked during the summer because my mom wouldn’t let us have a car so we had to walk everywhere) and had no outside influences at all, besides my parents, for most of my life until after my mom disappeared but I was a teenager by then.

If anyone has anything to say/comments I would love to hear it

I read every words you wrote here. I would say u did the right things getting connected to people outside of your family. This is not venting. You need interventions and support from the society. You have my full support to break the secrecy of the family.

You are in a Community College, right? I would suggest u to talk to the school principal and let him/her help you. I think it is even better than talking to the counsellor/social worker. The school principal would be a trust worthy adult. If you find it difficult to open up in the first place, why not copy what you have posted here and send him a copy first. Give it to the secretary in the school office or email a copy to them. Ask for an appointment and just tell him/her u want to meet the school principal and listen to his/her advice.

You can write to me if u want to.

I read your story from beginning to end. What is the point of this thread, exactly?

I am so sorry your life has been so isolated. I’m glad your able to get out and connect and start to heal and learn.
Connecting is very important. It’s good your taking those first steps.

On the old forum the family section was a safe place for family members to come and vent and tell their story. We all need to know that we are not alone in our struggles.

I’m glad you made it over to the new forum. You have had a tough go of it. My father was never diagnosed but now that I’m more aware I realize that he had some issues. I understand growing up and thinking what you are going through is how everyone lives. My father would go from extreme religious idealization to being drunk. So for long periods no TV because it was the devil’s box, no Christmas tree because Christmas was about the birth of Christ not Santa, girls couldn’t wear “men’s pants” so I had to wear skirts, had to have long hair, no make up or dances or Halloween…Family praying sessions every day after dinner where we got disciplined for laughing etc. Physical violence that he seemed to forget he did. Paranoia about what the neighbors thought. Numerous affairs.

I’m sorry that your childhood was so hard. Eventually I had to accept that no one was to blame. My father was fighting his own demons and my mother wasn’t able to stand up for herself or for us kids due to her own insecurities. It took me a lot longer to forgive my mother then my father. I seemed to have always had a soft spot for my father. We want someone to blame. My mother was the easiest place for me to put blame. I don’t think I realized all this until after she was gone. Both my parents are deceased. You seem to have a lot of sympathy for your father and his limitations. Only you can decide if you want or are able to give your mother the same sympathy. I know it’s hard to let go of the past and all the hurt that went with it. I think counseling may not be a bad idea. It is scary to think about finally opening up and letting go of some of what you are carrying. Maybe start with a group type setting like Al Anon. I don’t know where you live but NAMI might be a good place to start for family support. You can tell your parents you are going to a study group. You deserve to get help in dealing with all this.