Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Can’t Comprehend

I will NEVER understand how any family members can turn their backs on a loved one with mental illness. This is when they need every ounce of love & strength from the family members…
It’s reprehensible and unconscionable, and quite frankly, despicable.

It makes me angry and sad at the same time.


Maybe they are too unfortunately with mental issues and incapable of caring/giving… I believe only strong, patient, courageous but most importantly mentally healthy people can be there for the ones in need.


I agree, I don’t always feel strong enough to go on, but then I look @ the alternative. What would be the meaning of my life if I back out? I, too, would just perish and fall into deep depression. I just need to know I did the best I could, no matter what the outcome. This is what keeps me going, I would/could never just throw the towel in


It’s the love that keeps you going ,if there’s no love there’s nothing :heart:


I believe that all of us caregivers are trying to do the best we can. So far I have been lucky, that caring for my MI loved one has been possible. It may not always be, though.

In lifesaving classes, a lifeguard must ensure their own safety before the attempt (i.e. lifesaving flotation devices on hand, notifying others of the attempt so help can be called and directed to the scene, etc.) The possibility of losing two lives is very real. I learned this very early, as I wanted to be a lifeguard at 12. But I was a tiny pre-teen who could be drowned by a flailing, overly-emotional drowning person. I had to have the right support in place, or NOT attempt the save.

When the MI person overwhelms, threatens, or otherwise takes down the caregiver, the caregiver has the right to choose himself over the SMI. I could not judge anyone who chose themselves, I cannot imagine the heartache, but I can imagine it might have to be done in some circumstances.


People on this forum deal with various degrees of difficulty in their situations with their family members with brain disorders.

I am sure there are familes that have never been driven to the point of absolute despair in regards to loving their family member with a brain disorder.

I am pretty sure that its in Dr E Fuller Torrey’s book “The Insanity Offense: How America’s Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers its Citizens” where the leading authority on scz writes of tragic family stories.

One story in particular (if I have the wrong book, someone please correct me) tells about a mom and a daughter that killed their son/brother who had scz. They had pleaded and pleaded to have him removed from their home. No one would listen. The son/brother’s threats began to include the young children of his sister. The mom and the daughter killed the son/brother.

That makes me sad, really really sad and horribly angry about the way we as a country, aren’t there for all the families and their family members dealing with brain disorders.

When I did impound walking during dog rescue, the hardest job was taking a dog on a final walk. Some dogs were so happy to have the walk, I would be happy with them so they could enjoy their walk. Some dogs knew what was happening at the impound on those days and were not happy. I tried to explain to those dogs that the situation was not their fault, that they had been good dogs.


What do you mean by final walk ? Did they kill the dogs?

Yes, in the USA, it is common practice for cities and counties to kill dogs and cats that are gathered up by “animal control” officers and not claimed by their owners or a rescue.

My first volunteer job with dogs was at my local “pound” or impoundment. I was an impound walker who would try to contact rescues to save the dogs before they were killed.

@oldladyblue, of course, if someone’s in danger, this would not apply. I just feel like there are other reasons that people give up.

It’s really tragic that some of us have to live in fear


And also tragic that family members have been killed by their family members suffering from scz.

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What about the fact that people with the mental illness dont want you around .I havnt given up on my son and i have put all the safety nets in place but at this phase in this roller coaster illness he doesnt want our care help love or support.So we wait in the shadows waiting for a time to be there for him …its lonely and sad and extremely painful for caregivers in this postion but to an outsider it could look like we have given up .


This is my situation as well. Lonely, sad and painful as scz continues to take away what little I have left at this point with my son.

And all those gaps between the safety nets where I will have to try to catch him.


@hope, yes but from what I’m reading, the mentally ill more likely to be victims. That’s tragic as well. Yes I’m sure there are handful of cases where the MI commit horrific crimes, but we all need to try and remove that awful stigma.

Having sz does not make a person a killer, and I understand, if left untreated and unmedicated, things can escalate. And I also understand the repercussions. But it manifests itself in so many other ways.

I just wish people can stop profiling and automatically associate people with sz as the most dangerous and predatory.

By doing this, it hurts all of us, not just our loved ones.

Nothing makes my hair stand on end more than when I see people running for the hills, as a result of knowing someone with sz.


Ahhh, you are reading NAMI materials. Its true, our loved ones are more likely to be victims. NAMI’s campaign to “destigmatize” schizophrenia is pretty controversial. Dr Torrey has criticized them quite a bit over the subject.


Schizophrenia is a progressive illness, unmedicated persons with scz will “escalate”. As my friend the former FtF teacher is quick to point out - when “they” say that people with scz are no more likely to be violent than the general population - they are referring to the medicated scz population. You might want to take a glance at the percentage of people with scz that are not medicated due to anosognosia.

I wish this country would realize how important it is to save these people and their families from a predatory, dangerous illness. Those voices set them after their family members and other innocent people in our society.

When I think of people running in fear from someone with scz, I am hoping they are fast and remembering to run in zigzag patterns.


The paranoid version of scz is really a delicate matter. My son suffers from the paranoid version. People with the paranoid version tend to get into trouble when someone scares them. They don’t meant to hurt anyone, they really believe they are in danger and take steps to protect/defend themselves.


@hope, I don’t know how we got off topic, the point I was trying to make was this: there are too many MI people fending for themselves, and that’s heart breaking. Another heartbreaking topic related to this is that prisons hold more of the MI’s than hospitals.

Of course I’m not referring to those who are refusing help from their loved ones or the ones who have made it very clear they are dangerous to be around. I’m referring more from my own personal experiences and how this was played out in my family.

You can’t make people care, even if it’s your own family. I often feel like it’s my son & I against the world. It’s a lonely world


I’m sorry mbheart, it’s hard for me to hear any families called despicable. Some families deal with very desperate situations.

We have so many people in this world who don’t understand anosognosia - even the medical world seems to be undereducated on anosognosia. People put their family members on the streets because they fully believe their family members are choosing to not take medications. They see their family members as choosing their disturbing behaviors over their family members.

It’s so important that we families support each other and try to work towards a better world for our family members. Because frequently it really is just us and them against the world. You are so right.


Yes, no one should have to live in fear. And it is very hard not to want to give up some days. It helps to have a forum like this where we all can find some fellowship. I believe every family has different and very real fears in dealing with this illness. It doesn’t help at all the criticism we get from the “normal” world “experts” who don’t understand. It is very lonely as sooooo many don’t understand.


@oldladyblue, I find myself isolating not only because no one understands, but also because I’m trying to protect my son from this awful stigma of the mentally ill. It’s bad enough when “normal” people are bullied, but when the mentally incapacitated are the targets for jokes, ridicule, or profiling, all I feel compelled to do is shelter my son.

And when members of his own family just turned their backs on him, (he has not exhibited any type of dangerous behaviors, nor has he turned his back on any of them!), it breaks my heart.

I’m not going to be around forever, what will happen to him when I’m gone? Who will help him in this cruel world?

I’m trying to teach him to be as independent as possible, grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning his apt, but the bottom line is, and we all know this, he WILL need help functioning in every day life.

My heart is broken, I hurt every day, as I’m sure all of us here do…


I totally understand your pain .Two or three years ago your statements were what i would have written about my family and so called friends and the self centred world .I cant believe Ive moved on .My son is still ill but ive stopped focusing on who is negative and found wonderful people who are kind and understanding .I also realised that people have so many issues themselves and some so wrapped up in them .I learned to be patient i watch my sons peer group grow get married move up the ladder of work .It used to hurt but now i think this is a long road and feel sad that they also will hit pain in their own lifes no one escapes this. I started to focus on what my life could look like as i cant possibly compare it with normal people…I am not the same person i was i carry a deep saddness for the son i lost and the one i now have .No one can ever understand this unless they have experience it. So i know now i am the expert on this pain and i dont share it now with anyone unless they are also experts .This gives me my power back and i dont rely on family for that support they are not experts …however you on this forum are . Mental illness is talked about more and more this is a good thing but it will bring up debates which can bring about change …schizophrenia as a word is what needs to change as this word is now outdated and no two people with this illness have the same behaviours .