Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Coping with my moms illness as a young adult


#1

Hi i’m struggling to cope with my moms schizophrenia. I moved away from my mom when I was 13 years old because she was unable to safely care for me. I lived on my own through help from the ministry. My grandma was my moms care giver during this time. Last year my grandma suddenly passed away. Her illness seems to be progressing more. I felt guilty and was really concerned for her so I moved back home. My dad also moved back to help care for her. He can not cope as well as I can through and frequently just leaves. My mom has been hospitalized “certified” twice in the span of two months. We live in a duplex my mom has one side and I have the other side that i’m sharing with my best friend. We thought having a roommate would be a good way for my mom to have some type of income. As she wanted to rent out one side. She is a hoarder though so that felt impossible. My friend and I cleaned out one side of the duplex. Everything is in boxes downstairs as it is very hard for her to let go of things. It has been really scary the last couple of months. We have had to call the police on my mom as she was threatening to kill us and trying to get at us through the door. She smashed a window trying to get inside. She does not believe i’m her daughter often. She thinks my father has abused her. She thinks we are imposters often. She was just released again from hospital two days ago. Already it is starting up again. I was in college taking health care aide but due to absences dealing with my mom I had no other option then to take a leave my whole tuition was refunded. I was just about to go into practicum I wanted to continue on with my studies. I was doing very well. I don’y really know how to cope how I can help her i’m scared but i’m angry too. I left behind everything I had built up for myself. I don’t know how to help her and i’m having trouble coping. How do I cope how can I help her? Now 20 I’m overwhelmed dealing with this I feel like i’m dealing with this on my own. At times I just want to leave but my friend lives her now and financially we are both stuck. I’m also realizing she is an adult and she will always view me as her child so it’s really hard trying to help her. She dismisses me I feel like. She often tries to just enter the house she will hear something or smell something and it’s very alarming. She has thought the house was flooding I was being attacked ect. We changed the locks because we were scared. She is even angrier about that. I don’t feel like they gave her any counselling in the hospital.


#2

@chloe I am so sorry, it sounds like such a hard situation for you and you are doing everything possible. Here’s a short list of ideas:

  • Immediate crisis: Getting Mom stable by ensuring she follows her treatment plan and meds. If she won’t /can’t, get her admitted again for being a danger to herself and others. You have to stand very strong on this and accept no other outpatient treatment for her. As an adult she has a lot of rights and can avoid what’s best for her. Just keep working on that. Keep a journal of events, if you call the police be sure to state it’s a mental health crisis and you need help. Hope they have some specially trained staff to help. You are now an advocate for her care and need to look at it as what’s best for her, not always what she wants. If she’s non-compliant she needs admission. If suicidal or homicidal, admit her. Through the local ER if you must.

She may lack insight into her condition, a symptom of this illness, and may fight you and say awful things. Stay strong and persist to get her help. Her mother’s death may have destabilized her mentally and brought on psychosis. Tell medical professionals that when they are treating her.

Long Term: Realize she is an adult and you may not be able to legally help her. For better or worse, she may make some really awful choices. It’s ultimately not your responsibility to give up your life for her, no matter what you may tell yourself. You have to consider your own wellbeing too. So figure out where you will draw the line, whatever that may be, and stick to it. For me, I will continue for as long as I am responsible to do so and then for as long as I reasonably can after that point without putting myself at risk. Your boundaries may be different.

Talk to a school counselor about what’s going on and ask for help and support getting back on track. Life must go on and that may help you to stabilize. You are better for her if you take care of yourself too. Seek a therapist to talk to and if needed a doctor for medications to help you cope. (You can see my post about medication for a caregiver where we discuss that topic).

I hope these ideas help you. Sending you big Lonestar hugs from Texas to Canada (might take a little bit to get there! :slight_smile: ). We all get what you are going through is so hard an exhausting and heartbreaking. Hang in there!


#3

Chloe, I’m so sorry you are going through this with your mom. It is very difficult to help someone who doesn’t know they are sick.
Charity had good advice and I’m glad you are here.

You must protect yourself and it sounds like you have a good grasp of that. Changing the locks was a good choice and in explaining things to your mom, try to use the least words possible. I get this wrong a lot because my son has a great vocabulary but it doesn’t mean he can understand everything I say.

Is there a NAMI near you? This will give you and your roommate a good start on information and allow you to talk to people who are going through similar experiences. They have a free 12 week class that meets once a week. This helped us.

If she becomes a danger to herself or others, you can file an MIW (mental inquest warrant) or call police. I have found once that they actually filed based on something my son said. When and if you have to call police, ask for a CIT (crisis in training) officer and/or tell them upfront that she has a history of mental illness. Do you know if she has a weapon? They will likely ask you this?

Try to avoid stress which always escalates their illness. As people age, there are real medical problems that look like mental illness such as urinary track infections. She does need to see a medical doctor in order to rule this out. God bless your efforts in caring for your Mom.