Caregivers having trouble with friendships


I know what it’s like to be hurt by others. To me it doesn’t say good things about their character when they leave you when your going through a rough time and you need them the most. I’m personally trying to look for caring people.


Wow, I love your story. Good for you for getting into your profession and for caring about your patients in a world where many don’t understand severe mental illness.


I just wanted to point out here that it was recommended by a therapist that I only tell people that I have schizophrenia if I know them well. I would think the same would apply if your a parent or a family member of someone with schizophrenia. I would be highly selective as to who you tell. If the wrong person asks i would give them a brief explanation and not go into great detail.It sounds like some of you are learning who your true friends are. I would like to point out that they say you will only have a few true friends in your lifetime. I believe someone said earlier and I believe as well. The best place to find people to talk about this is at nami meeting for family members. At the very least find people to confide in that are caring individuals.


Thank you for your post. My sons situation is extremely difficult. Now 2 years later, I am very reserved about whom I choose to discuss my son with. Most just want to gossip and spread rumors that get misconstrued.
Take care, AnnieNorCal


Absolutely.Most friends have not a clue even long term friends.So i dont bother telling them anything


I believe that I was able to find some help and support by talking to others about my daughter: but speaking out also generated disbelief and very stupid advice from those I know (and I am sure generated gossip also). The only people who understood were those who experienced mental illness in their families too.

I think this forum and NAMI support groups are the best outlets for ranting, seeking advice, and not feeling so alone. If I could go backwards, I wouldn’t have told my friends, co-workers, church members, etc. as hardly any of them contact me anymore, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of what I told them when I needed emotional support during the early months of my daughter’s illness.


Since we are in a rural community, I do wonder what people know. A woman cornered me recently for a talk - she wanted to connect because she had heard something about my son and wanted me to know she was “in the club”. Her sister has severe bipolar and her struggles to keep her sister alive and on meds have taken her into some dark corners of the world.

Reading this did make me wonder about the friends who had kids the age of my son and do keep their distance. A book I was reading recently called them “mom friends” -friends you had just because your kids were friends. If anyone recalls, last Christmas I sent out word of my son’s illness in holiday letters to close friends who live far away. I have a small list of people we were close to when we lived near them years ago. Each year we exchange updates. Not a single one responded to the news that my beloved son has schizophrenia.

What sort of response would I like to have gotten? Probably depends upon the mood of the day. As you all know we have really sad days and less sad days and sometimes days without sadness at all, and even happy days have occurred.

Today I would be happy with the simple query - “hey how’s hell treating you these days?”

“Good, because you showed up to ask”.


Love it.
Someone said somewhere that they would love to trade problems with a parent whose child doesn’t have a SMI. Found that relatable. One of my friends said the other day that she’s upset with her son because he keeps switching jobs. Oh to have that problem.


I haven’t really told anyone besides my dad’s other daughter. Our eldest sister who is living with her developed schizophrenia, so we bonded over a few text messages. I will open up when I go to a NAMI support group. Hopefully I can make some supportive friends there. This is a really interesting topic.


Your story is really inspiring to me. I’m almost 25, my dad has SZ and we live together. I’m currently trying to figure my life out.


@jaf thank you so much for your post from 2/20. I must have seen it earlier, but just re-read this thread this morning. I started planting things about the time my daughter got ill. I didn’t realize till I read your post again how good it has been for me. My entire front, side and back yards are different now: beautiful compared to the prior dreary empty lot. I started it because I hoped my daughter would help me (she hasn’t more than 3 days), but I kept at it anyway with yard sale plants, pots, garden items, etc. Sometimes my neighbors comment on how much the yard has changed when they catch me outside. I guess I should call it a schizophrenia garden, part of the new normal in my household. I talk to the plants all the time when I am pruning or repotting etc. I think they like me. I never used to plant anything.


My gardening has become such a huge refuge for me. Even if its just a mowing day I feel so much better out there and seeing it out my windows really does comfort me.


I’m sorry you are so alone. Finding a group sounds like a good idea.


That is a hard lesson I had to learn over the last year. I have gotten fairly good at knowing who I can talk to and who I can’t. I lost most of my ‘friends’ when my son had his 1st psychotic break over the holidays. I would talk to them and then they would ghost me so I learned to keep everything in. I do have a good friend that I can talk to you. He used to be my boyfriend and we are still best friends but its overwhelming to only speak about my son.
I feel like I have nothing positive to give a friendship at this point. As many of us have mentioned, I find that trivial things are a nuisance. I just started the FtF classes with NAMI and hope to meet others with similar situations.

Take heart that you are not alone.