Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Happiness from my son's perspective

So often we grieve the loss of the children we knew. We worry their life with schizophrenia will be lonely and unproductive. We live through violence, destruction, medication refusal, walking on edge shells and thinking how can life with schizophrenia be meaningful or happy?

I want to share my son’s perspective to give you hope. Today was one of the happiest days of my son’s life. I dropped his dog off to live with him. He smiled and felt pride like I have not seen in years.

In reality he lives in a halfway house due to drug addiction along with his schizoaffective disorder. He has relapsed and went to inpatient rehab 3 times in 2020. He worked 5 different day labor type jobs. He has no real friends, just guys he lives with and attends meeting with. His dog is only going to stay with him on weekends,

His perspective: he no longer lives with his parents, he likes his job hanging sheetrock, his dog does not care what his state of mind is and loves him unconditionally. He feels accomplished and proud.

If anyone asked me when he was born if I would celebrate him living at a halfway house, barely finishing high school, never going to college, doing day labor and 90 days sober. I would view that as a nightmare, but after this journey I celebrate this milestone with him with pride!

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Thanks for sharing an awesome perspective that all of us should either embrace now or soon.

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I agree that the signs are looking up. It’s really great that he is learning a trade and likes what he does.

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Thanks @Elsa, your post brought tears to my eyes.
I have come to a similar place with my son. At first I grieved the loss of what could have been but three years’ in have come to a place where I am so proud of him (and I tell him so). He is living independently, studying and trying to live his best life without medication. Although I may not agree with the no-meds choice I can accept that this is his choice and continue to let him know that I am here if he needs me.
He has SZ, didn’t ask for it, it isn’t his fault, and he’s doing his best to live a productive life with it. I can’t ask for more than that.

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I’m sharing your delight at his success. If he’s happy then you are. Part of getting real about these illnesses is confronting our own judgemental attitudes and letting them go.

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This is beautiful, Elsa. Thank you for sharing!

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I concur that animals are a top contributor to the happiness of people with mental illness. I presently live with five animals, but I longed to have a cat during my recovery, but didn’t have pets for many years living on my own. It can be very difficult as a renter to find housing that allows pets, but it can be hugely beneficial. The DX forum has many threads featuring pictures of pets.

It’s much easier once you own your own home, and I eventually branched out to adopt both dogs and cats. My brother has a cat that he dotes on and antropormorphizes. It’s led to odd times where he brings his cat to inappropriate places like churches, beaches and mountaintops, but on the whole it’s been good for him. Be aware you’ll need to plan for contingencies like caring for animals during hospitalizations and rehab.

We are going through this now with my brother, as we nearly had him agree to enter rehab, but care for his cat is an obstacle. My sister recently played me a voicemail where he declared that his cat was plotting to kill him, so maybe that may make it easier to convince him he needs a break for his protection :wink:.

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Thank you for sharing. :purple_heart: Perspective. It’s everything.

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