Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

COVID curse? We were doing great til now

My son hasn’t had any episodes since his first initial 5150, 5250 and stay abroad for initial treatment for 2 weeks then another 3 weeks at a halfway house. He’s been holding a full time job since then, movie theatre and now a burger joint as cook. I see those achievements and I’m grateful yet he is still in deniable or doesn’t acknowledge his illness. He has been otherwise manageable yet it’s been helicopter parenting. The last 3 days I’ve seen him sleeping but his character is changing or he is having somewhat an imbalance. I’ve experienced lately the inappropriate smiling n laughing when questioned “hey what’s the joke” it’s a snap of the neck with a very evil looking face, nothing is funny here. I try to hold a flat affect and act like I’m talking to the tv. I have managed to keep him in my bedroom and he is comfortable there. His usually behavior when he has those inappropriate outbursts is to walk outside for hours and that would frighten me. They gunned down a young individual last June-July 2019 when his mother called for help and I’m so reluctant to call the police, because if my son needs help all I would want is a calm capture to psych evaluation. He has made no threats of any kind, I don’t watch or have violent movies on while he is home, I am trying as much as I can to keep a calm environment and I need to know how I can get him with psych evaluation and maybe his meds needs changing or may need other meds on top of his that he takes. He alternates taking 20-50mg of zyprexa and has been since 2015, I am sensing he is having some mania, any suggestions from my fellow parents. I feel alone in the house, my other son and husband don’t love him like I do, I lose sleep w worry for my son. We’ve been doing so well up until this week, I had to call out the week from work just so I can be there for my son make sure he has ample time to collect himself and go to work, his work is like a place for me like daycare is for other parents. It keeps him busy rather than idling. Thanks for listening.

Hi Tigerfish, Your son has done really well on meds since 2015. Is there any chance he has stopped taking his meds? Have you contacted the doctor who is currently prescribing his meds and shared your concerns about your son’s recent behavior?

About 50-60% of our family members suffer from the symptom “anosognosia” this symptom makes it impossible for them to realize they are ill. Sadly people - even doctors and nurses who aren’t keeping up with their professional reading- often say our family members are in “denial”.

Do some reading on anosognosia, in particular the book “I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”. by Dr Amador. There are lots of Dr Amador videos that are free on YouTube if reading isn’t your thing.

The need for “helicopter” parenting might not ever go away completely. My son lives by himself in his own apartment but it requires monitoring and assistance to make that work.

Covid - like we needed more on our plates… good luck to you and yours

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@Tigerfish, welcome. You’re going through a tough time at the moment, and this is the right place to express your feelings of concern for your son. Obviously it would be nice to discuss this with his doctor and see if his meds need adjusting, but because of privacy concerns and the fact that he doesn’t realize he’s ill, make this difficult. I think trying to keep his environment calm and not reacting to when he acts strangely, is the right approach, if that is any consolation. If you like to watch TV together, then comedy is always a good bet. When there is not a lot you can do because options are limited, try to focus on what you do have some control over, which is making sure he gets a healthy supper, and things like that. Good luck to you, and be sure and drop in again and give an update as to how you are coping.

NO news and TV…nature and walking/talking/ playing card or games with a trusted loved one that doesnt talk about whats going on in the world right now is key to helping him. talk about his goals for the future or what he want to do in the future …

Sounds very similar to my situation. My son’s behavior changed from taking his meds and hearing voices, which were not too bothersome, to not taking meds and the voices being very bothersome. Inappropriate laughing the same, which must have something to do with voices.

We called the crisis unit and they responded with the police. If he’s out of the house on the street, then I agree you have to be worried by the capture. If it can be done inside the house, then it should be safe. So the question would be timing and how do you keep him in the house.

The best of all worlds would be if he agreed to be voluntarily committed, and you should at least explore that with him. But if he doesn’t acknowledge his illness, that’s unlikely.

I would go by your gut instinct that something needs to change.

Get in touch with his psychiatrist and see what they think.

Is he taking his meds? Zyprexa at 50 mg should do the job, so I’m thinking he’s not taking it.

Another possibility: would a leave of absence from his job help? Under the Family Medical Leave Act you could also take a leave of absence to be a caretaker. Stress can trigger episodes, I think, and we all know workplaces can be stressful places.

Yeah, don’t call them unless it’s the last resort! They only instigate violence and are so ill prepared to handle a mental health crisis! In my town, we are loud about defunding the police and allocating monies to creating a mental health crisis team - a real one that will be available when you call. I know some areas have great crisis teams that respond, but in my area they’re NEVER available. 1 in 4 individuals killed by police are mentally ill - 1 in 4!!! Don’t call!!!

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“Last resort” is really hard to know. Some things might be: violence, extreme changes in behavior (like within a week), non-stop threatening voices, generally the person is “not there” much of the time, refusal to take meds that is leading to all of the above.

One thing we didn’t do is to try voluntary commitment, but the last time before he was involuntarily committed he did agree to go to a hospital, but bolted right at the hospital entrance.

If the police come, hopefully they will find the person in the home and not out on the street where a confrontation is more likely.

Both times the police responded to take my son into involuntary commitment, they were respectful and just doing their jobs. I know there is a bad element in the police force, but thankfully they haven’t been the ones who have responded to my son’s psychiatric crises.

Last resort for me is when he is completely agitated and I’m scared that it could escalate into violence. I came upon 4 cop cars at my house not long ago - someone else called. He hadn’t taken his medicine in a couple of weeks and the mania, delusions and agitation was just too much. He was posturing, yelling nonsense and walking back and forth. I immediately told the cops this was not a drug or criminal issue, this was a mental health issue. The cops had NO idea how to handle the situation. I had to orchestrate the entire event and the cops took my direction and worked with me - thank God! It ended well, but I was frantically crying please don’t grab your gun on accident, he needs to go to the hospital, ect. It ended well, with a trip to the hospital, but I know he could’ve easily ended up dead if I wasn’t there. Anything other than violence, which as you know, is a lot, I handle with his loved ones support. It takes a village and luckily he has one. I’m glad and jealous that you have a good support system with your local police/mental health team, we definitely don’t here in Los Angeles. I just moved to Orange County, so we’ll see if the services are any better, but I’m quite skeptical. We need the biggest overhaul to our pathetic system here and everyone knows this.

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@skyler.hayden Almost verbatim what happened with us. 3-4 police cars out front of the house. We had called the Crisis Center and they sent a social worker out with the cops. Unfortunately, he had left the house with my wife in pursuit. I left in the car. We were in cell phone contact the whole time. The police were following me in the car.

When we caught up with him I was the first one to lay hands on him. The police handcuffed him almost simultaneously. An ambulance was called. He was strapped to a gurney. As they wheeled the gurney to the ambulance he screamed over and over, “DAD, HELP ME!”

At least now he’s getting treatment and I’m thankful for that. I’m where I was 2 years ago with the last involuntary commitment: trying to understand what’s the best thing to do for my son all day long.

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I’m so sorry, but thankful that he is receiving help! Hang in there! Yes, I spend ALL DAY trying to figure out the best for my son and I don’t think that will ever change. It’s been 4 1/2 years, sigh! Happy Friday!

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Hi. I’ve been appreciating your contribution.
I myself am considered ‘first responder”.
I don’t personally advocate police response, because they are trained in a far different way than many first responders in medical response. It’s important too to understand that. It’s also important to understand what their job is as important.
It sounds like you had a solid communication experience.
What do we do to bridge the gap?

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Thank you! Yes, I have attended many NAMI classes and mental health first aid classes. I really pay attention to my son’s symptoms and know when he’s getting elevated. The police are my last resort because I know how they’re trained and I know things can escalate quickly. NAMI, thankfully conducts training with our police every year. Their jobs are important, but unfortunately I have witnessed blatant abuse of power and unnecessary escalation many, many times and my view has become distorted naturally. When I came upon my son’s scene with the cops, I immediately went into trained action and the officers took note and actually took my direction - we worked in tandem with ease. There were 2 rookie cops that had no clue and welcomed my advice. After my son was detained, they thanked me for my assistance and admitted that they were scared - they had NO clue! I guess I got lucky that day that some over inflated egotistical wasn’t on call, but I was more than prepared for that type as well. It’s a heavy burden, but I’ll carry that all day long for my son. I just bought him a cool medical necklace charm that has his name/diagnosis/emergency numbers. We roll play daily for the times he will be stopped for odd behavior by the cops, sigh! Anything for my baby!

:heart:, Jen

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But, I will say that I will lie easily to get my son to the hospital. For example, I told the cops that my son was threatening individuals near by and that is grounds for a hospital trip. You have to be smarter than the system, but very respectful to the cops to get them to work with you.

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