Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Feeling overwhelmed about my son discharge plans

My 23 years old son was diagnosed with sz about 5 years ago. He had his first psychotic break when he was 11th grade. He had gotten into fights and was smoking weed constantly.
To say we were unprepared is an understatement. My husband and I thought that he was just a rebellious teenager. I cried, unable to come to terms to what has happened to my beautiful son.

He was a gifted pianist, amazing athlete and everything came to a standstill.
We were referred to the early psychosis program. I had to work part time (barely) to accompany him to his appointments. He was started on abilify . but he did not like the side effects (weight gain)
Then he stopped taking his meds and soon decompensated. Several hospitalizations and his psychiatrist prescribed invega sustena. It went well, as long as he was under court ordered treatment. Unfortunately, he refused to get his semestrial injection and decompensated soon after.

He has a younger brother still in middle school. It has been awful for him to live through his older brother psychosis.

As per his AOT order, my son was taken to the ER to receive his monthly injection (he declined to receive it at home, because he wanted to challenge his AOT order). He then decompensated so badly, while in the hospital. He was throwing himself on the floor, hurting his head (due to auditory hallucinations). He had injury to his neck and bleeding to his brain (thankfully he has recovered). He was prescribed several antipsychotics, nothing was working anymore,

He was sent to a psychiatric center and finally prescribed clozapine. He is now receiving 400 mg of clozapine and 200 mg of haldol and depakote. I have asked to have the haldol titrated as he was a veritable zoombie.
He has been stabilized after several months, but his treatment team is suggesting that he goes thru transitional housing.

I am torn, as he has been in the center for over a year (due partly to covid and its effect on housing availability). My son keeps telling me to agree for him to go home. I am aware that his needs are great (he still lack insight of his illness) and he had no been great with medication management. We want him home.
I believe that we will need support, if he returns home. On the other hand, I believe also that transitional hosing (he would spend weekends at home) would help him towards recovery. His psychiatrist is suggesting this scenario in order for my son to work towards his recovery.

My son is asking me to allow him to come home and wait for a housing spot. I am torn, my husband does not believe it is a good idea (he says that our youngest has been scarred by his brother’s illness). He agrees with the psychiatrist and is afraid that we will back to square one.
It is as if I have to choose between my children. One last note, our youngest prayed for his brother to be admitted on a long term basis “to have a chance to recovery”. Now, he is telling me that he would not mind to have his brother at home, as he has “hope” (this is a big shift, as he was leaving me notes asking me to do something about his brother. He was very afraid of him).

So sorry for my long story, this is the first time I found a forum such as this one. Thank you.
The retention hearing is scheduled for tomorrow and my son has been calling me non stop about this. I am so exhausted.

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I’m sorry you are stuck in such a hard situation. It is so difficult to weigh decisions that will benefit or harm your kids in ways that can’t ever really be fair. If you can have him go to a transitional program, it sounds like it would be worth trying.

Good luck with your next steps. It sounds as if he is making progress.

I’m sorry for your pain. Unfortunately many on this site can relate me included. It sounds like you know the answer ie transitional housing but are saddened by it.

Thank you so much for your kind words. We stuck with the transitional housing. He believes that I hate him…

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Exactly: we are hoping it works with weekend visits. The last time, he left the supportive housing after 10 days. Thank you for taking the time to write

My son refused to speak with me after I found him face down and it was later determined that his blood alcohol level was .356. He was in the icu then I had him committed to the psych ward arguing that drinking that much constituted a suicide attempt. The drs agreed to move him to rehab for 28 days then I refused to pick him up (I had keys to his apartment and his dog) until the care team said he was stable on meds and ready.
They worked with him and we had group sessions and after several weeks he began speaking to me again.

He asked me to promise to never again have him committed and I told him I would do it again if I found him like that again. Detente .

@hopingmom we are in a very similar situation with our sons. Our 20 year old started showing symptoms a year ago and within the year has been hospitalized four times (the first 3 times they kept telling us nothing was wrong). When he was finally diagnosed he wasn’t compliant with taking his medication and has ended up homeless a few times. During his last hospitalization he agreed to start taking the injection (haldol) as that was the only way we would allow him to come back home. So far he has made a huge improvement but despite this our younger son who is also in middle school doesn’t feel comfortable with him here. He pretty much avoids him and locks his room at night. I hate what this is doing to him and that he no longer feels safe in his own home. I totally get feeling like you have to choose between them and it is an impossible situation.

When I started reading this, I thought, did I write this? Except my son had his first psychotic episode at 15 yrs. Please do not let him come home. He needs help, and more help than parents can give. I would love for my son to come back home, but I know he won’t be the son that I remember and want.
My son is in a residential treatment center. He’s been there for a year and is more stable then he has ever been. I know its what is best
Good luck

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Such a familiar story… my 25 yo son was 14 when this started and is now 25. He only did well in clozapine. Then he developed muscle pain and some tardive symptoms. He went off all meds and is using cannabis and natural supplements. I am not sure what to believe anymore.
Your other child would prob be better off with gradual reintroduction to living together. My daughter was 5 years younger and def suffered from her brothers illness . But like all of us in this group, you do the best u can. Don’t blame yourself, don’t dwell on what what could’ve been, just find day to day bits of joy and move ahead. Wishing you all the love and strength u need.

Hoping mom,
My heart breaks for all you.
I have a similar situation with one son age 24 with Schz and one, just turned 26, major depressive and substance abuse comorbidity. My husband has cancer as well. And younger siblings at home. We have been through a lot in the past 5 years. Listen to your son’s psychiatrist and your husband. I know your mother’s heart. Weekends are a great way to test the water and spend some fun time together, leaving the week to keep home stable for your younger son (and you and your husband as well). You don’t want there to be division between you and your husband over this, it will only add stress to the situation. Remind your son that every decision you make is out of the great love you have for him. If he does well in transitional then you can bring him home. It will help him to practice some independence and living in a house with roommates and all that entails, new responsibilities etc. Take good care of yourself and your family.

He will come around. My son also went to transitional housing and now has his own apartment. He is really glad to have his own space now. Eventually you can quit being his health care person and be his mom again. My heart goes out to you and all of us dealing with this hideous disease.

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Thank you Catnip! Prayers for this impossible situation

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Dear Cher:

Thank you very much! It is eerie as all of our stories are similar. He is still at the center and calls me everyday, asking me to come home. He does not want to go to a supported residence to live with “random people”…

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Thank you Sandy. My husband and I believe that gradual reintroduction is necessary…
I am at loss, as I believe my son will not stay in residence…

Dear mamabear:

My heart goes out to you and your family. My son also has been using marijuana and it did not help (he has not smoke since he has been admitted to the center),
He knows my heart and keeps calling me several times a day, to let him come home.
You are right about him learning independence.
I am really exhausted…

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Dear searchingparent:

From your mouth to God’s ear! We are all in this together. Thank you again for your support

@hopingmom Thanks for sharing this really appreciate it.

Thanks for doing this hospitality. :slightly_smiling_face: