Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Daughter of SZ, fixation on missing Dad

I’m away in college from my dad with paranoid SZ. I keep fixating on my next meeting with Dad. I have a full tuition scholarship at my private catholic college. Only one boy and one girl get picked to have this scholarship. I feel a lot of pressure to be here. I almost feel like I don’t deserve to be. Most of the kids that go here have parents that pay their full $56,000 tuition. Their parents worked hard to give them an education, and my parents could never do that. I’m now in my senior year.

Saturday I was invited to celebrate our scholarship at a fancy dinner with the President of my College and his wife, the boy that won, the Board of Trustees member that funded our scholarships and his wife, a longstanding priest in my school, and a director of funding for my school.

When I arrived to this extremely fancy place I was so overwhelmed and felt so underdressed. I don’t even have a winter coat. I was on the verge of tears I was so nervous. I felt like the very well dressed people were looking down on me. I did not feel like belonged there at all. When we all sat down I began to cry a bit. Everyone noticed, I blurted out that this was the fanciest place I have ever been to. I sat in front of the President of my College he whole five hours we were there. I was so nervous I couldn’t eat. And that made me afraid because I didn’t want them thinking I wasn’t grateful, so I forced myself to. I was shaking on the inside. I feel like I made a fool of my self through the whole dinner. When I left I was finally relieved and practically ran to my car.

I called my mom to tell them that night, but I don’t think they quite understood what I was talking about. My mom is illiterate and went to school up to the eighth grade. And my dad just had a stroke.

I’m so lost, and distracted right now. I’m in the middle of finals! I need to focus. It’s so hard bieng a first generation college student who has parents with mental illnesses. I feel so alone in my constant struggle to stay afloat/succeed in life. Thanks for listening.


First of all welcome! Second of all congratulations on your accomplishments thus far. I am sorry your father suffers from sz and has recently had a stroke. That is a stressful thing in and of itself aside from all of the other things you have on your plate. Just from what you wrote I gathered you are under a great deal of pressure and your self confidence and ability to cope with stress is suffering. I “hear” how anxious you are becoming from what you wrote. My best recommendation is to seek out professional counseling as soon as you can, whether you have insurance to cover it or if your college offers services for students, many of them do. You need to talk to someone who is objective and trained in helping someone like yourself to “regroup” and hopefully restore your self confidence, and ability to cope with the pressures you are under.

Self care and learning to de-stress is imperative. Anything you can do in between classes and obligations, to be quiet and calm, breathe deeply and focus on the one present moment you are in, will help in the short term, but long term you need to develop a working strategy for moving forward that strengthens and empowers you and a professional therapist could help a lot with that, it has helped me tremendously for very similar issues.

PS: I came from a similar background as you and I know that feeling of feeling out of place etc…you are young and it is common for young people to compare themselves, but it is unfair to you to do so, you have every right to be where you are and you are not what you wear or what you own etc…you are where you are because of your own hard work and your own merits, be proud of that. People are just people and as much as we like to think everyone is “noticing us or critiquing us” most often we haven’t even registered on their radar. We are usually our own worst critics. You are absolutely worthy of all you have earned. You truly are even if you don’t fully believe it right now. Stand firm on that and please find someone you can to talk to in depth about all of this. My best to you going forward.


Just concentrate on your studies right now. Graduating should be your top priority. Your family troubles will still be there after you graduate, so you can worry about them then😏

Don’t worry that you felt underdressed at the fancy event. Most college students are poor. I’m sure you looked fine!

When time permits, read “I am Charlotte Simmons” by Tom Wolf. It’s about a girl and her brother’s experiences in college. They come from a desperately poor family.


You have wise words, Catherine! Thank you for understanding what i’m going through and giving me such sound advice. I actually wrote this post just before seeing my therapist. The post helped me to organize my thoughts before meeting her. I now feel much more at ease just letting it all out and validating how I feel. I’m still working on the whole idea of “it’s okay to be me” . Thanks for really listening!


Thank you for the advice :slight_smile: I must remember to look for that book after finals are over!!


Anytime!, if you ever need to bounce thoughts or feelings off of somebody that understands, feel free to do so :slight_smile: Good Luck on those finals! You’ve got this!


There might be a group of students that are first time college attendees who share similar experience. There was a group at my son’s school. If not a formal group, be assured they are out there. I think by identifying with others, it might help you not feel so alone. You are not alone.

I am proud of you for your accomplishments and drive. Don’t forget that the world needs you and your unique perspective.


You’re right. I found a NAMI support group near me. I’m looking forward to my first meeting. :smiley:


Hold your head up high. You earned that scholarship and what’s more impressive is that you did so without the support of highly educated parents. You did it yourself and you deserve to have been there at that fancy dinner. Congratulations to you. I am certain those important people at the dinner would be incredibly impressed to hear your story. Take it one day at a time through your finals💛



Thank you for your support. What I learn in nursing school totally applies to my life and helps me to cope with past experiences. This pneumonic for the brain shows it’s specialized parts. When I see this, and I think about my dad, I think, “oh yes, my dad’s frontal and temporal lobes were pretty active that day”. Bieng a nurse helps me to reason through everything. The sample of my textbook is one portion of the nurisng interventions that can support someone with SZ to live healthy lives. I know some of them intimately because They work well for my dad. These interventions are applicable to all caregivers.

I am so grateful for my dad with SZ.


Hi hpirozzoli,
I join you in feeling relieved that that dinner/meeting is over - phewww! And once you have lived a few more years i think you will realize that the president of your college and the other top folks who were there, had nothing but appreciation and compassion for your attendance. Experiences like that are practice for your future and it will probably never feel as painful as that night.
I love the schematics and info. YOU ARE GOING TO BE A NURSE!!! Yay!!!
I think of it this way: When you’re walking on a trail in nature, you sometimes have to cross a river to go in the direction you want. To cross it, find the stones that will stabilize you each step of the way. You have to be in the “here and now”, step lightly, check, then step with more weight, if it doesn’t hold, find a new placement to gain strong footing. Stay in the here and now in your classes and with your papers - everything else can wait, is illusion. Find trustworthy people as your stones, relax, breath, meditate. Slow your impulses down with a long ribbon of outward breath. Then again… I wish you safe journey and mostly joy in your adventure. No one really knows what they are doing at your age - we have all faked it till we made it.


Hi Presence,

Thank you for being present in your own way. I love your username! I’ve known what I was meant to do since I was 11 years old, and that is to help people. I find absolutely incredible joy in helping people help themselves. It’s my passion. I love human beings so much.

The hardest part is believing that I am human, and to love myself too. <3


I don’t live in the US so I don’t know what it’s like but i was brought up in a Catholic community in the UK and it strikes me that you have been given a scholarship to help you and that I would not expect the help to end with just the scholarship. I would expect that the college has some kind of office to deal with students emotional welfare. You should be able to go and talk to them about these stresses and your feelings of exclusion. You should be able to get help with things like what to wear at events, how to cope with them, etc. From a religious point of view, you have a RIGHT to this help, and people have a RIGHT to give you help (that is, with no embarrassment on either side). It’s not a case of showing “enough gratitude”. They’ve given you the scholarship. If you need a bit more help to make it be effective, then go and ask for it. From the point of view of the people giving the scholarship, the worst thing that can happen is that you drop out, underachieve or live in misery because of these stresses. That’s not their intention at all, is it? So, as well as NAMI, see if you can get a bit more support within your college.


My Professors and the therapists on campus are amazing. But I needed to vent about how I feel. I just grew up in a very different environment than what I have now. I see things differently.


Wow - just finally saw this from you.
It’s a very fortunate thing to know what you want to do early in life. So many of my friends were still searching into their 40’s and beyond.
you certainly strike me as human. Working with people will help you see yourself through their eyes and will hone your own ability to be with yourself.
Non-judgement is a key to see others and to give to you.

1 Like

Keep doing what you’re good at!

Enjoy the gifts that have been bestowed on you!

You deserve a good, fulfilling life.

I am a Mother of a 45-year-old son

with SFI (severe functional impairment) from paranoid schizophrenia.

He is in a state group home.

-I am still learning to set boundaries on the sorrow and grief I feel.

And allow myself a moment’s peace and JOY!

Hope you can do the same.

My 22+ year career in Dental Hygiene means everything to me!

Cultivate a good life for yourelf!


Enjoy your success. You have made your parents proud. It’s ok to be where you are at and contrasting what you see with what you grew up with as a young person. I feel that way when I go to visit my son who is married to a surgeon. I feel like I should be the cleaning lady because there home is so much better than mine.

In life there are so many opportunities to bless others as you have your profession. Just bless others and know that God blesses you w the heart of someone who knows what it is like to be less financially blessed. You will be able to keep the giving circle of life in good stead.
God bless you. Your parents did a good job w you.

Love them. That’s all they need.


Terry Manlove.


As a parent, I know your parents want you to succeed, to do what your heart desires. Live your life how you want. Your parents will be so proud. We are all or have been afraid before, push trough it. It will be worth it.