Caregivers having trouble with friendships


#21

Hi
I have not lost friends over my sons illness. Actually I had not really thought about it until your post…
Not everybody feels comfortable with the topic…fear has a way of doing that…
I do not know as I always discussed my sons illness with them or maybe I was just educating them. They have always been considerate … After 14 years of this I guess it has become normalized for them. When they are around him I get feedback from them on the changes they see…my family is the same way…


#22

I have the same sadness. Like a sudden death…we all mourn differently and we all cope differently and the need to have support for the way we cope is important for our own Mental Health. It was not always that way as I had to educate my friends and family otherwise how else would they know. I can now speak about it without the rush of tears that normally follow. Those that are in my support circle now have a better understanding about mental health than they did before…it is a hell of a road for all involved…


#23

MY one and only friend has moved away about 2 years now, since then I have not had any more friends. I have family that do not live here and try to talk to them but until you see what it is really like no matter how hard you try to explain it no one really gets it, that has been my expirence. I use to have an older son that stayed with us but he finally moved to another state about a year ago, which was GREAT for him, he stayed to long feeling guilty about his brother. I have people I talked to at work but they really do not understand it either, they say I’m sorry and so on, because they do not know what to say.

So friends, I have none, I just continue to take care of my son and do things with him to have somewhat of a normal life.
I am still looking for a support group that we can both go to and hang out, to let my son know that there are other poeple just like him, but have not found one yet. Hang in there I cant say that things will settle down in my case the older my son gets the worse his psychosis is, and then there are more health related problems, so I continue on researching the next best thing for him.


#24

Hey JooJoo! I hate that you’re having these isolation experiences. We kinda get dragged right in there with our loved ones with sz, don’t we…
There are just some people that don’t have the emotional IQ to be able to engage, respond or help. I believe this disease teaches us to focus on the quality of fewer relationships. Relish and cherish each moment with the higher quality friendships, has helped greatly.
Being a Boomer, I am totally down with better living through modern chemistry. Seeing a psychiatrist a time or 2 and let them know there’s an enormous ongoing emotional upheaval in your life. Depending on the rest of your health, maybe an anti depressant or ADD med to give you a higher level of emotional discipline.
I have a very high emotional sensitivity and good health. I can take Adderall. It allows me to compartmentalize!!! I LOVE THAT!!! I can put that emotional tsunami in a BOX when it comes through. Plus, I can stay focused, on task etc…rewarding my own self esteem.
Getting ‘stuff’ done also gives more topics of conversation available regarding said ‘stuff’; skills required to do ‘stuff’; questions, etc.
NATURE is your BFF. Get outside with her…walk, smell deeeeeeply, bike, put your hand on trees and feel the bark, repot plants and tell them your woes. If it’s too cold or icy for above, I have found 1 of the BEST crying cathartic is when it snows, stand out in the snow and face upward. Allow the snow to drop on your face as you did when a child. Think about the most recent sadness and boom! The tears will flow.

EXERCISE…I can not express how important this is for emotional well being. Any activity that makes you sweat…rinse-repeat-rinse-repeat. It can be housework, done rapidly. It can be chasing after a grandchild, niece, nephew in a game until you’re breathing hard and sweating. Playing a game with a pet. Pickleball, Tennis, all that gym stuff, Yoga classes, treadmill and your favorite movie.

HUMOR…All kinds…Read it, Watch it, Learn jokes to tell and practice practice practice…even when you feel the opposite.

Generally, people only understand the pain they experience or have experienced unless they’re professionally trained IMO. You now have a great wide and deep emotional pain. I believe this allows us to learn to have greater compassion, empathy and care for others. This approach, at times, is very restorative for my own soul.
Hope a piece of this helps!


#25

Thank you from all of us.


#26

I have lost all my ‘previous’ friends, they don’t want to listen or know about our difficult life. my only friends are ‘carers’ and people in the mental health field. i have no interest in listening to people who have trivial problems. we are just trying to survive in our family and i can not even bear to hear about friends talking about how well their grown up children are doing. it is a stab in my heart every time. i have so much pain and trying to come to terms with my son’s illness. i have no time for superficial friendships. and as heartbreaking it is to have this situation and lose all my friends i am sort of grateful to start a new life with more understanding people around me. it is very hard though to start all over again. to deal with so much pain and grief on a daily basis, and to pretend to the outside world that things are ok and still trying to function fairly ‘normal’. i am exhausted and sometimes dont know how to continue. but there is no choice… day by day… step by step… big hug to all you carers. we are all on a similar journey… lets try and stay strong together.


#27

Big hug back at you all! I’ve got to go “make the doughnuts”. My sister got me a pair of socks that said “It’s going to be a great day, don’t f---- it up!” No wonder she is my favorite sis. So that is my motto for today!


#28

I have the same experience as you. I haven’t lost friends. In fact I’d say my relationships are truer now. In the course of this I learned to talk about my feelings and listen to other people’s. It hasn’t been a great experience, don’t get me wrong, but some good has come out of it. In fact my son and I are both better at communicating our feelings without it turning into an argument too.


#29


#30

Great post. Thank you so much. It DOES help.


#31

Here and there. How did you rach such peace? That’s a really healthy way to be and to view our situation with our loved ones as a sort of an “exile” but where everyone is accepted no one left out. I aspire getting to that peace , but sorrow and grief prevail. And even a sort of unhealthy envy of those who’s kids are doing wellhow did you reach such peace?


#32

Oh, I did go through that envy and stopped using facebook. When the psychosis got terrible for the fourth time, I collapsed physically after my family member was incarcerated. At the time, I had a serious illness myself with surgery and lots of doctor visits. After feeling left out of the old life for the first years of sz, I no longer have the energy to reach out or to try to stay involved. And I just zone out when there is a kitchen remodeling problem or the like, which are real, but when people talk about them, I listen sort of lightly.

When life got better for our family, through the intervention of the courts and police and all kinds of helping professionals for my son, I started feeling so much gratitude just for us being together again, our home, our day to day lives. Gratitude. I was on my knees and life got better. I stood up to enjoy each day we are here together.

Peace to you today and each day


#33

I hope I get to that feeling of peace sometime again in my life, I am usually worried and sad and overwhelmed with caregiving chores at this time. But I do feel great gratitude for the small progress my son has made, and I want peace to be right around the corner.


#34

How strong and resilient you are with going through surgery on top of your family members illness! Glad it sounds like things are in a better way.
Good reminder of the importance of gratitude. I will keep practicing gratitude — for all the good I can find.


#35

hahhahahah, @squid oh that made me laugh. Yes, “normal” households, “normal” acquaintances, “normal” co-workers haven’t got a clue what a mental illness in a family does to the family. No one, and I mean NO ONE, who doesn’t share a similar problem wants to hear even an iota of the emotional “baggage” that we care-givers have to carry around.

I no longer share with anyone in any great extent who isn’t a caregiver.

NAMI, Reddit (sub-reddit schizophrenia) and schizophrenia. com are how I share/vent/ask for help.

Plus I go to Al-anon re my husband’s alcoholism.

It is totally unreal to the “normals” that I have to deal with my daughter’s schizophrenia and my husband’s alcoholism.

They’d rather talk about their “silk sheets”.


#36

How true, I have to get some friends who are caregivers, which is why I am so glad I have this site. My “normal” friends with their “problems” of which vase they want for their living room have no idea. lol


#37

I have seen folks on the members forum refer to the folks who don’t have scz as “normies”. Didn’t mean to do it, but I have started thinking of people who don’t have family members with scz as “normies”.

As in “you normies don’t have a clue”.


#38

I have no interest in listening to people who have trivial problems. we are just trying to survive in our family and i can not even bear to hear about friends talking about how well their grown up children are doing.

I can so relate to this, especially the part about hearing how other grown kids are doing well. When the conversation comes round to ‘so how is N. doing?’… I am lost. I never really know what to say. I say things like, 'he has some issues, he is struggling, he has been ill… things of that nature. If they want to know more, I have found myself saying that if I talk about it, I might start crying and that usually ends the convo pretty fast. Sometimes I open up but mostly I don’t. Everyone doesn’t need to know.

As for people’s trivial problems, yeah I zone out too, like other people have said. It’s like, uh huh, yeah, that’s awful, etc. But inside I’m thinking, I’d take your problems any day.


#39

Hello jojo,
So many of us hear on the site, suffering with you. Only people who are in similar situations can relate to what you are experiencing. so sorry for you and your loved one.
It’s been two years since my son accident and assult and he is currently serving a sentence at a state hospital.
The emotional feelings are uncontrollable. to this day I never know what or how I’m going to react around groups of people. I have family/friends who think you should just get over this and others who are more compassionate.
Like we have a choice! I hope you have some better days, annie


#40

I treasure the few friends I have who are sympathetic and understanding about what’s gone on with my son. I live in a small town and there are no secrets… my son had an episode of psychosis and assaulted me and it seems that everyone knows about it. It made the local weekly paper, for heaven’s sake.
I too have no time for superficial friendships and chatter about decorating or ferry lines. Most of my family is sympathetic but not all of them, and my friends were horrified and are now glad that my son is hospitalized and getting treatment.
For a time all I could do was talk about the incident. This is where I found out who my real friends are- they hung in there and listened to me and offered comfort, not advice (which I didn’t ask for or need). They are down to a beloved few but I rely on them to help me through the rough days.
For superficial conversations I have learned to just say a little bit, depending on the person. I work with seniors and that generation seems to have some trouble relating to “modern” problems. I just say that “I’m OK”, or “I’m doing OK now that the sun is out” or some such, and if they ask how my son is I say that he is getting good care and treatment where he is and he likes the food. Most don’t ask more questions.
I’m sorry you’re experiencing this also, It is yet another loss in our lives. Hang in there and yes, this forum is a good place to vent and be supported by people who know what’s you’re going through.