Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Daughter of a paranoid schizophrenic

Hi all -
I just joined this community after beginning therapy. My elderly mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia a few years ago, and the road has been very difficult since I became a mother myself. She has been hospitalized several times and refuses to take her meds. She also lives home alone because she kicked out the caregiver we had placed and thinks everyone is trying to kill her. I have recently stopped taking my toddler daughter to visit because she constantly starts to yell, and tells us we need to leave after just a few minutes. During our last visit, my daughter looked at me sadly and asked, “aba doesn’t want to be with me?”

Not having “the village” everyone talks about is very hard as a first time, working mother and not having the support of my own mother has been so depressing and isolating. I feel like I lost her. I also feel immense guilt for not being able to do more. Due to the paranoia and delusions, she refuses all treatment and help and my sibling has washed her hands of trying to help at all. At the same time, I want to give my child the healthy and stable childhood I didn’t, and know they need my attention and mental health. My mom is such a negative trigger - I feel like I have to avoid her to keep my sanity, which starts the whole sick circle of guilt again.

I guess I’m just looking for people that understand and can provide support. I have found a lot of judgement out there or just people that could never understand. Thanks for reading!

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Hello @zero , welcome to the site. I am glad that you found us, although it is a sad situation that brings you here. This is a place to find folks that understand and can provide you some moral support, and education. You are very correct that there is a lot of judgement and misunderstanding outside of those familiar with severe mental illness.

The unmedicated side of schizophrenia is very, very hard to deal with. If you read through the threads on this site, you will see how it manifests in different yet similar ways. At least your mother can live at home alone.

It is a shame that your toddler has lost her grandmother. Without regular medication, most likely the “old” person is lost. It is such a terrible grief to go through watching your loved one be lost and stay lost to you.

Although it was probably a very hard decision for you to make, I agree with your decision to stop taking your daughter to see your mother. Sigh. How sad for you. Yet, when your child is grown just a few years down the road, the truth is that she probably will not remember her early childhood. None of my 4 adult kids remember much at all from their pre-school years and very little from their elementary school years.

I hope you can find ways to build a village among friends to help you with the support you need as a working mother.

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Thank you so much @oldladyblue! That is what I am here for and needed.
I don’t know if she CAN live alone, but that’s where we are for now.
Thankfully I do have a great group of friends, just started therapy and am slowly learning to ask for help when I need it. Joining this group was a big step in that direction.

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My biggest life adjustment to my oldest child’s illness was how to care for her and keep her safe. She was headed for either jail or the streets without me. While your mother is able to live alone, making future plans is a smart thing to do. Severe mental illness, untreated, is debilitating. And treatment doesn’t guarantee a return to normal life as self-sufficiency is often lost. I don’t think my daughter would shower or eat regularly without me, and for sure she wouldn’t have a job or a place to live without my support.

The terribly agony of watching your mother fade away @zero is not going to be easy, even with successes, large or small.

I am very glad that you have a great group of friends. I suggest that you try to not pressure your friends with your sad dealings related to your mom’s care. I unfortunately have chased away most of my friends during the last three years thinking they would understand my woes as a caregiver. No one can understand, except another caregiver. So find a NAMI support group if you can, come here to this site, and read books on the subject to help you vent. And enjoy your friends for social times that you so very much need.