Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Feeling overwhelmed

I’m sorry if this is going to sound controversial but my son is driving me crazy. He’s unable to stay at our house due to scaring our younger son so he’s been saying his grandmother’s house alone while she is at a long term rehab facility after developing pneumonia from covid. I go over once a day to watch him take his medicine and make sure he has dinner but all throughout the day he is constantly calling me and texting me asking for this that and the other. I will go over there and take him something he asked for and by the time I get back home he is calling me asking me for something else. I’m doing virtual School with his younger brother and he doesn’t seem to understand that I have other things I need to attend to. I know he’s bored and lonely over there but I can’t spend my day trying to find things for him to occupy himself with. Also he is destroying his grandmother’s house. At first I tried not to clean up after him because he’s perfectly capable of cleaning he just refuses to. Also he keeps jacking the heat up to 86°. Which is ridiculous and is running up the bill. When I think about that this may be what every single day is for the rest of my life I get extremely overwhelmed. I don’t understand why there aren’t residential facilities for people like this that simply cannot take care of themselves.

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One of my friends and I start conversations like this with “this is a rant” for us it means we aren’t supposed to offer advice. We are supposed to say stuff like

"Oh NO! “WHAT??” “Seriously?” and the ever popular, “I know, right???”

I can be sure that if I am really tied up with something unusual that requires focus, one of those long texting conversations with my son will start up.

As he has gotten older, those long texting conversations have become rarer, still usually inconvenient, because you have to stop whatever you are doing and apply LEAP - which can be quite the mental challenge, but since they are more rare, the conversations are much more welcome.

When I get overwhelmed my husband tells me to go do just one thing that needs to get done. Now that he is retired, he asks which thing can he do for me.

Have you ever read "Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day’? Sometimes we get a lot going on at the same time and we have our family member with smi. Its like that painting that Vallpen had an artist paint years ago. My mom had asked me “do you feel like you live waiting for the next shoe to drop?” I told her, “Mom, I live in a land where it rains shoes!” I will look for it on another thread, its posted here on the forum somewhere.

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I bought a print and its in my kitchen. The days are much better now, but it took a lot of work to get here.

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And this is a favorite of mine

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That explains it perfectly “always waiting for the next shoe to drop”.

There are Warm Lines for him to call and talk to someone. Leave him a list of them. They don’t have to be in your area. They could be all over the country.

Don’t know if you could afford a paid caregiver fir an hour or two?

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That would be an issue because he doesn’t realize/accept he has schizophrenia so he would be like why do I have a caretaker. The only reason he takes the meds is because be knows he won’t be able to stay at his grandma’s otherwise and would end up back on the street.

I like the painting for its style and sentiment. Considering my observations of women’s relationship with shoes, I suppose even one woman’s dream can become another’s nightmare. I think the variety of shoes conveys the sheer inventive chaos that can ensue when the SMI are in flux. I’ll share this with my mother who is an artist, yet is in a dry creative spell while caring for my father.

My brother is going through a bad patch now, the holidays are traditionally the low ebb of the year of his bipolar cycles. He can’t manage texting and instead calls family members at all hours of the day leaving drunken and threatening rants which lead to group texts sharing the latest rages. I try to call him back at strategic times when he might be sober.

Had a surprisingly jovial call yesterday after he returned from a visit to the mountains where he took his cat for her birthday and serenaded her with various brass instruments to the bemusement of a photographer and his model. Somehow I think, like this painting, my imagined imagery of this encounter surpasses reality.

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I was surprised with the various shoes, in my mind the shoes that were raining down were those old brown leather lace up shoes with the toes worn out. The artist’s and your interpretation of the shoes is quite fun and more accurate - “sheer inventive chaos” indeed. My son can be delightful one moment and worrisome in the next.

I have my copy of the painting in my kitchen - its really more of a trophy these days. We are way past those days. I guess we could say the shoes have all been boxed up - which writing this just made me go take another look. Looking back it feels like we gathered all of those shoes - under my son’s direction and organized them- yet none of the shoes that are raining down are matching pairs. Through trial and error, and listening to our son, we were able to help him put together a life that works for him. Our son could see the pattern and given time and space to learn how to handle his situation, he was able to work forward toward his goals IF we had the right supports in place. I’m really amusing myself here, it took a while but we did manage to figure out which shoes belonged together.

My brother has done better recently, he was filling up the family text thread with a lot of accusations at his siblings. He is changing jobs once again, this seemed to calm him down for a while last time. He is not med compliant, he drinks until drunk and can still manage voice texting. One of my brothers has blocked him, the other is about to block him. Its a bit sad, my siblings will always struggle with old family patterns. The text thread started as a nice way to just stay in touch without starting any sibling warfare.

While I have your attention - I shared your response on the other thread with my FtF teacher, I still ask her to review my responses with me and she often gives me advice beforehand. She was beside herself with joy over your response, she said “please read me his future responses - oh I wish I could have had him on my FtF teaching team!” She was a great FtF teacher for many years, she taught teachers to become FtF teachers and she started up one of the larger NAMI offices in the country. She retired from all of it when she lost her son. She said to thank you on her behalf for the work you are doing on this forum.

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I know what you mean. It is so hard to not get overwhelmed and despondent when dealing with a mentally ill person or a drug user, and especially both (in my case). All I can say is you MUST not let them run your life. I know how terribly easy it is to say that and how hard it is to do because I have been letting my son run my life for a very long time. I am trying very hard to reclaim my life, even if it means he lives under a bridge or commits suicide. I can tell you this. Nothing I have ever done for him has made the slightest improvement in his life or mine. I keep hoping, without any rational basis, that someday he will get better and he will understand and appreciate all that I have sacrificed for him, but none of that is ever going to happen. He depends on me for everything but can’t say a nice word to me. So all the time I am chauffeuring him, feeding him, cleaning up his mess or bailing him out of jail, he is cursing me and blaming all his troubles on me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said enough is enough and stopped answering his calls, only to have him show up at my door, desperate and begging and I give in again. Each time saying it’s the last time. Sooner or later, you and I won’t be here to take care of them and what will happen will happen. There is nothing you can do then and really there is nothing you can do now except put a bandaid on it. I am really trying to find some inner peace, take time for myself and let go of the idea that anything I do or don’t do will make a difference. Some days I do better than others.

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I really needed to hear this tonight. Not because it’s a solution but because it is the truth. Things have gotten worse since I first posted this and am starting to learn that I simply have to set boundaries with him otherwise I won’t survive this. It is so hard to not drop everything and run to him but it is really wearing me down very fast. I hate that any of us are going through this, that we cannot save our children from this. It’s not fair to us or them.

I hate it too. I hate it that he is so sick, but I can’t make him well and I’ve been killing myself trying. Yes, boundaries.

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