Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

For caregivers - I went to therapy and it was helpful

#1

Hello all caregivers out there. Today I went to my second only therapy session in my fifty years of life on Earth. My first therapy visit was only a year/year and a half ago and was not successful, so I was reluctant to try another.

But I lucked out. The therapist knew I could only afford one visit because I don’t have insurance. She prepared thoroughly and thoughtfully beforehand and our time was well-spent.

I never put myself first, which is common with people who have caregiver tendencies. For the past year, I have been looking after both my elderly relative who I live with as well as my schizoaffective husband. It has been too much and I have been having a very hard time with it.

I have read the forum for years before I joined and have been convinced that I had to do everything I could for my husband because if he were sick from some other kind of illness, I wouldn’t dump him or let him be homeless, right? The therapist helped me see that mental illness is not in the same category as other illnesses. My husband could have treatment if he wanted or was able to realize he was sick. He could stop drinking or doing street drugs if he allowed himself to get some help other than from me. He has been dragging me down by refusing to get help and has caused me to have PTSD from verbal abuse for years, now. I don’t deserve to live this way.

Although I have heard it from others, talking with her today made me realize that I need to have the conversation with him soon that I will have to let him go until he gets help. That help could be therapy or simply going to the State office and receiving help for shelter or it could be hospitalization. I am generally opposed to psych medications (and so is he), but my husband is in need of some serious help, and if that means medications that will make him slower, so be it. I cannot live with what he’s been putting me through. He is an adult and is able to make decisions on his own. If he chooses to continue to make my life miserable and continue to make me unhealthy, we will have to separate until he changes.

The therapist advised me to take this process slowly, which I also agree is the best for both of us. Even though it sounds heartless, separating from him will allow him to concentrate on himself and I will be able to start recovering from his abuse. I will probably be buying him a plane ticket back to CA once I have my next paycheck.

I don’t mean to discourage any caregivers. There are situations where your loved ones are minors or are actively seeking help and are looking to feel better and be a part of society, and those are the people who should be fully supported. My husband is not one of those. He has taken advantage of my kindness from the beginning of our relationship and I have been too weak to set boundaries. Maybe some of you can relate.

I feel good but I am also sad.

Of course, this is something that happened a few hours ago and I need to digest the information. I was encouraged by the therapy, not having anyone to talk with in my day-to-day life, and wanted to share it with all of you.

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#2

I’m glad you went to therapy!

There is a particular feeling when you let go of poisonous actions. It’s hard to describe in English, because we don’t have a word for it.
But it feels like a combination of mourning and a sense of rightness and balance. It also feels like the future is a more simple and hopeful place. And it feels like an apology to yourself, from yourself. The comfort and peace that comes from reconciliation with yourself.
If you felt like that, hold on to the perspective that brought this feeling on. Follow through with the things you know you should do and try not to beat yourself up like you had before.

Formal, clinical, life long treatment is the only way anyone recovers from so many terrible circumstances and choices like the ones your husband deals with.
You can’t give him those things. He has to go ask for them.
We can’t hold ourselves accountable for another grown adult’s choices. It tears us apart.

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#3

I have attended a few therapy sessions with my daughter and found them to be useful. I was able to let her know how her illness impacts me and the stress it causes me when she forgets to take her meds or self-harms. When it comes to this illness, therapy can be beneficial to all parties involved.

#4

I have been in therapy in one form or another off and on since I was 18. Coming from a violent, dysfunctional upbringing by 2 mentally ill parents, made me start therapy as a youth fresh out of high school and then several major traumas throughout my life kept me going back and then having one son with schizophrenia and both of my sons with various degrees of autism. I stopped going from time to time depending on what insurance I had and when. Still I credit the therapy overall for my progress and mental wellness I sustain for myself today. I will be 60 in September. I don’t plan to stop getting therapy so long as the Medicare continues to cover 20 sessions a year. I consider it as important as going for regular checkups with the family doctor. Just an FYI: In our state of Ohio the Adam H board offer therapy subsidies through levies that are voted on every couple of years, only certain counseling places and certain counselors accept the funding but it is a great resource and covers anything that my Medicare doesn’t cover. It is worth an investigation to do some research and ask some questions to see if your own state has any similar funding for low insured or no insured patients. (Just a thought.) Good for you going to counseling though, an important and very positive step toward self care.

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#5

I can totally relate and am also learning that same lesson Slowly… I have been on the forum for a while and it has helped so much to share and listen to others. My unofficially adopted son that has been with me for at least 8 years now has just recently suffered some major SZ issues and delusions on top of Anosognosia. Thankfully he does go to therapy 1x week and loves his therapist, which keeps him going. We have had to have him removed from our homes 3x due to breaking doors, punching holes in my walls and most recent he shot a gun outside the home, we live on acreage. This last episode cost him 1 jr. in jail almost prison time from his previous record. While in jail, he was hit and knocked out, hit his head into a metal door on his way down and was rushed to ER, stayed in ICU for 7 days with bleeding on the brain and low sodium. This seems to have exasperated his mental health. His therapist is able to communicate with me and insists we set strict boundaries with him and stick to them for our own well being. It seems with this illness, they become very good at manipulating as well, coping maybe? My young man has major trauma in his history and in many foster homes throughout his life, during this time he was abused so he carries a lot of PTSD, so many things going on. Setting the boundaries has helped all of us to cope better, we just let him back into the house as he was about to be homeless and nowhere to go. We shall see…….Good for you to start taking care of yourself!!

#6

Hi 2frustrated,

I hope your son does well at your home again. It sounds like he has a good plan and you have been able to set the boundaries before he moved back in. It is always nice to hear success stories on this forum! Thank you, Catherine, Daisy15 and wreklus as well for your comments.

Since my therapy visit four days ago, I have been doing a lot of thinking. I want to see the therapist again because I have more questions. Since then, my husband has showed up at my work place asking for money. He is looking worse and worse and I haven’t had the heart to deny him a little bit each day. We haven’t been talking or visiting much and I don’t know what he’s been doing or where he is staying. Hard drugs are easily available in the area; hope he isn’t mixed up with that as well. My heart says he isn’t on hard drugs, only that the homelessness is getting to him.

#7

How compassionate and caring to give him another chance. It’s so sad what he went thru as a child and thereafter, all of the pain he must have suppressed and endured which, no doubt, lead to some of his tragic behaviors.

God bless you @2frustrated

I’m so hoping that it works out this time, and may he realize how “good” he could potentially have it with you.

#8

Thank you very much. Our plan is that because his behavior is so wearing that he stays with me 2 days, my mom 2 days and my husband (we are separated but great friends) 3 days. We have found if he stays any place to long he tends to start taking over and his behavior gets more delusional and agitated. He does realize and we see how hard he tries that he is on tighter boundaries but also how difficult it is for him to maintain. He called the sheriff dept yesterday and he regularly does this to complain and drops in on them to complain about how they treat him and they need to stop following him, bugging his car, etc. He covers his food in between bites, it goes on and on. He insists his life cannot go forward until the sheriff leave him alone and stop harassing him. :frowning: He refuses meds so it shows what a strong person he is to deal with this daily on his own. Just wish he would try something to help him get rid of some of the paranoia and delusions so he can live a somewhat productive life. Good Luck with your husband and listen to the counselor, you have to protect yourself to get by. Sometimes them falling is the only way they will receive help, difficult but true. Our mental health in this country needs a lot of revamping.

#9

I am so glad you are in therapy! I too go on a regular basis to deal with my adult son that is also a drug addicted user/dealer. I am in relationship when he is trying to get well and is off street drugs. My sanity was almost lost, but setting and keeping boundaries help me to have a life of my own.

It is hard to let go. So very hard. A good counselor and in my case, anti-depression medications, was very helpful. It has taken me a solid year to work on myself and heal and be strong with my boundaries.

Please do take good care of yourself. This is a hard process for all involved. Hugs!

#10

Hey triplets I so get where you’re coming from my daughter is 35 this week and I am so tired of putting up with her crap. Drugs gambling then I’m left to support her or she would be on the street. It’s exhausting and I’m always tired of rescuing her she also has chronic scitzophrenia ptsd