Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Give up conservatorship?

Hello, thank you in advance for reading!

My sister has been diagnosed with schizoaffective bipolar disorder at the age of 13 and it has been over 20 years. I was 11. She has been to the hospital hundreds of times since, only to be discharged in a manic state. She has a manic episode every 3-6 months. My mom was her conservator for a few years when she was 18 and for the last 5 years, my mom and I have been her co-conservators. This has been a help for when she is full-blown manic and needs hospital treatment but the responsibilities have become disruptive in my life. I can only work part-time and have helped my mom with my sister for the last 20 years, trying to find my sister during an episode all over the state even to other states to take her to the hospital. I’m almost at my wit’s end. I wouldn’t be so angry if her disorder was not substance induced but she keeps relapsing on drugs and alcohol which makes our will to help her diminish. The stable version of my sister is the reason I hold on, she is brilliant and can be a good person.

My mom is now a senior citizen and has given up on the conservatorship leaving me as the sole conservator. My worry is if I hand the conservatorship over to a public conservator, with her many years of experience and ability to act stable, my sister will fight to get off of the conservatorship. If she has no conservator, she will deny hospital treatment when she is full-blown manic and could end up in the streets with her life at risk. Any advice or suggestions on what I should do would be highly appreciated!

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Take a look at this thread. I’m wondering if part time work and subsidy for providing care for your sister could be a solution. My brother has bipolar disorder so I’ve been through some of this too. To me the self-medicating with alcohol and drugs is the worst part.

Government Program for caretakers of the severely mentally ill

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@Maggotbrane Thank you so much, I’ll definitely look into it! Yes I agree. Best wishes to you and your brother!

That’s a big responsibility. I commend you for taking over from you mom’s role and I understand the level of care a guardian/conservator puts in because I’m a legal guardian to my mom with SZ. The only possible way to be a long time caregiver is to establish clear boundaries and do not put yourself second to your sister. Like the analogy of an airplane loss of oxygen- you must put on your mask before you help your sister. I am a legal guardian but I do not feel it is disruptive in my life. A major pain in the butt, yes. An inconvenience at times yes. But I’ve learned that I don’t have control over my mom’s illness. It sounds like some things may be out of balance for you. I would take a deper look at that. Your sister benefits from you being conservator only if it works for you too. It has to be a two way street. If you are feeling overwhelmed it’s okay to let it go. And I have to say I’m sorry your sister and your family have suffered so much. God bless you.

@Mrsbigsky Thank you very much for your kind and encouraging words! You’re absolutely right, there are no boundaries in place. I cater to my sister’s needs and must learn to be more assertive. I will take a deeper look and try to find a balance somehow. Thank you again and I’m also sorry for what you and your family have been through. God bless you too and take care!