Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Hello I am new here

I am here to get support. My son, I believe has schizophrenia. He does’t have a doctor. I see all the symptoms. He is my middle child, 22. I have delt with this before because my mom had it. Scary then and even scarier now. My dad got my mom to the doctor and she was on meds and had a councilor. My son, Says he isn’t ill. He doesn’t want to get a doctor. BUt daily he is telling the family he hears people. they come up to him and tell him rotten things. He lost his job. Lost his apartment. Now living with me , my husband, not his dad and my daughter. Scary because I wish I could get him help…BUT he is an adult and has to get help himself. Hard because he thinks he is being gang stalked. I need support to help deal with him and ideas how to deal with him. I haven’t told him I believe him and I haven’t told him I don’t. Thanks for listening. Any tips?


Welcome to the group, I am so sorry that your son is ill. Anosognosia is a real condition where the patient is unaware that they are ill and it is often the very thing that keeps a patient from seeking the help they need. I can only speak about my own dealings with that when my son was in his teens and early 20’s and was exhibiting all the signs of schizophrenia I sought legal guardianship over him through the probate court. That enabled me to get him help even when he didn’t want it. Often it was a difficult battle but in the long run I found it to be worth it.

Another possible way to get him in front of any kind of doctor (to start) is to state he is due for a regular medical check up as we all are from time to time, and go with him and if possible let his doctor know (ahead of time) why you are coming. The doctor can make sure that nothing physical is causing any of the symptoms you see, but also can bear witness to any unusual behaviors or speech and make psychiatric referrals as needed (starting the documentation process in case you seek disability benefits for your son at a later time) Sometimes when the patient hears information from a third party it can make a difference but not always. It might be worth a try. In the meantime stress makes things worse, so calm is always better while you try to figure things out. Take care of yourself too.

Depending on where you live) NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Offers a wealth of information and free educational classes to help better understand the illness and how to care for someone with it and it opens up a network of support with other people going through the same thing. I wish you and your son the best.


Nice to meet you Catherine. First off, just to say I am from Ontario Canada. I think this forum is more for Americans. We have a different health care system here. Here, I can not get him an adult. He is considered an adult and he has to make that appointment himself. If you were a person talking to him you wouldn’t even think he has mental illness. He is very intelligent, speaks well. No signs about anything unless he opens up to you and then tells you he is hearing and seeing things.
I have researched alot and know alot about this disease as my mother had it. I just find it extremely hard to get him to get to a doctor. I have tried all those ideas you have suggested. Thanks. He is living with me and I hope that helps. He just got a new job and starts on Monday. I am hoping he will be able to retain it and do ok with it. Retail.
I will start documenting everything now. Just so I have records if ever he wants them or I need to provide them for anything. He suffers from depression and anxiety and alcoholism as well. All part of a whole package of issues.

Thanks for all the advice I appreciate it.
You didn’ t say how your son is doing now?


Thanks for clarifying things, nice to meet you too, yes it is different in Canada. I always wished to have the national health care that Canada has but I see there are trade offs with everything both good and bad. I do think having your son with you is probably really helpful for him, less stressful than trying to juggle responsibilities on his own. I understand having other family members with mental illness as well, none of it I understood at all until I had to deal with my son. My mother had major depression and borderline personality disorder and was alcoholic, as are my sisters, my one sister has schizoaffective disorder and lives isolated from everyone by choice.

My son was also addicted to drugs, whatever he could get, especially pot, and he is on the autism spectrum but was never diagnosed as such, I realized in retrospect with delayed speech, tactile issues and learning delays etc…but after several very difficult years, many different kinds of medications and doctors, my son started improving on clozapine, it relieved the voices and visions and most all delusions, he also takes depakote to prevent seizures, he has had 2 but has been seizure free for over 3 years now. Today he is 33 and still lives with me, I am single and have been unable to work due to some physical illnesses for about 5 years now, so my son and I both are on disability, and I have an older son, married, who lives in California and works as a teacher. We just got back from spending a few days there visiting, it was stressful for my sz son but he did okay overall, we don’t go often so we just try to deal with the stress.

Over the years we have tried part time work, social groups etc…he did stick with AA for a long time because he liked the people there, not so much for the program, more to socialize which = smoking together outside. Anyway he quit that 2 years ago for no reason and has not returned. Work caused delusions to return, paranoia and more. It is too stressful. He never finished high school because he was so ill. I have tried to get him in remedial classes but it has always gone south. We go for long walks together, we go to a local gym from time to time and all of the local parks. We go to events when we can afford them, concerts, festivals, the occasional hockey game…he helps with housework and shopping when he can. He is a good roommate. He likes TV and music and collecting coins. He is very compliant on his meds which I understand is very rare. I am grateful that he is. I realize I could lose all of this at anytime as there are no guarantees-- but for now things are good and stable and we’re happy, at least he says he is, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion regularly but I trust if he says he feels good.

By the way I kept records too, and that is very good idea, especially if and when you can get him to see the doctor, it will help for the doctor to see what you have seen by reading your notes. Anyway, I hope he changes his mind in the near future and sees a doctor. I have read that the worst of the illness is usually before the age of 25, not always but generally, and that after 25 the positive symptoms can often (with some patients) lessen and then the negative symptoms, the lethargy, lack of direction and motivation can increase…frustrating but not as harmful as the delusions and voices etc…I see that with my son now, If I didn’t direct and redirect my son daily he would do so little just the bare minimum of eating, dressing, going outside to smoke… etc…and likely watch TV the rest of day. Occasionally I do my own thing and he does just that (the minimum) while I am gone, but usually I try to make his days (and mine) as diverse and interesting as I can. I’m here anytime you want to bounce ideas around or share and there are lots of really good people here in the very same or similar boat and at different stages of coping and caring… take care…:maple_leaf:


Hello @Threema, welcome here to the forum. There are a few people from Canada here. I am from the US though.

I hope you find some good advice here.

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Thanks Hereand here. I hope I can get and share some advice.

Hi Catherine

I have a question for you. When you had other family members with SZ. Did you ever weigh to not get pregnant?

I have never heard of Schizoaffective disorder?

My son had the delayed speech at grade 1. But I got him the help right away and he was fine by grade 2.

I am sorry to hear about your illness. Nice that you and your son are together though!

Nice that your older son is doing well. I have an older son too. He is 28. He is healthy and I actually went to California for a vacation with him in August. We had a blast. I also have a daughter, she suffers from depression. She is 19. She lives with me and I told her she needs to get to a doctor for some help.

I am glad that you are trying to keep your son busy and yourself too. To bad that somethings haven’t worked out for him. But you got to keep trying things right.

My son actually went to the local health care centre on Friday. We have doctors here. With our health care we can go for free any time as well as to the hospital. But they have started up nurse practitioner places. Instead of doctors the nurses give you health care. All free. So I mentioned this to my son because he was finding a hard time to find a doctor. Now when he moved in with me I live in a different city from where he lived. So this health care, nurse practitioner place has nutritionist, counselors and social workers. So like I said he want and asked for a counselor. Even if I keep documents, It won’t matter because I can’t go talk to the doctor/nurse or who ever as my son is an adult. But at the moment I am just happy he made the first step to go.

He is pretty or most days. Today he went to his in class driving lesson. He is determined to get that. He was hired for another job (retail) He is determined to get money. He is motivated to do stull. I think too he is happier living with us. Tonight we watched a movie and we played board games.

It is good that yuou get out and do your own thing. We all need to take care of ourselves first and for most.

Thanks for sharing again.

By the way may I ask what state you are from?

Happy Saturday to you Catherine.

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Thank you for sharing! Truth be told I had no clue what schizophrenia was or that members of my family had varying degrees of mental illness until AFTER I found out that my son had it. Even when he was ill in his teens, I thought it was all drug related and I had him in maybe 3 or 4 rehabs at different times…it took a suicide attempt at age 21 to find out the real problem and get a diagnosis. When he attempted to take an entire bottle of aspirin while I was at work and somehow had the presence of mind to call 911, when he got to the ER he told a nurse that “he didn’t mean to do but the voices told him he had to” That was the first mention of voices and he was immediately referred to a psychiatrist after he was stabilized. He was dual diagnosis because he had both disorganized schizophrenia and addiction disorder.

As for thinking ahead about avoiding pregnancy, hindsight is 20/20. I had no clue when I was young, I was 24 when I had my son, I am 58 now. I’ve learned a lot, more than I ever wanted to. I figured out about my family through the education I have gotten over the years, I don’t have any relationship with my family because I can only do so much crazy and my son is the only one being effectively treated.

My sister that is schizo affective, I discovered that that is a combination of some schizophrenic delusions and some bi polar tendencies, where she will be very depressed and sleepy for a few days or weeks and then suddenly all happy and laughing and speedy for a few days or weeks…in between she hears things and believes in delusions…I have seen it up close and it scares me. I tried to help her- she is 56, but she made it clear she wants no help at all and prefers to be left alone. I Just can’t fix people anymore. Helping my son for the past 15+ years is all I have in me. Now that he is stable I want to salvage something else that matters to me besides my kids.
My oldest I mentioned that is married and lives in California is healthy and really smart and able but he is high functioning Asperger’s (on the autism spectrum) which still gives him personal grief because it makes it hard for him to relate effectively to others, he sometimes comes across as lacking empathy when in fact he cares a lot about things but has no clue how to actually show it. He doesn’t pick up on social cues easily. He has only a handful of friends and his wife seems to understand him the best although she has admitted that it isn’t easy at times. I think there is real love there though. Sometimes I allow my feelings to get hurt because he is so NOT sentimental about things like birthdays or mother’s day or staying in touch regularly…I have to make a lot of effort to keep a flow going, I have tried to steer him toward some therapy to help him develop “tools” to make communication easier but he will always say he has no time even though he has plenty. It isn’t easy but I adore my kids and I think even if I knew there would be so many issues I would have still had them anyway, being their mom has made me a far better human being than I would have been without them and the loving rewards I have gotten over the years from each of my sons by far outweigh the hardships, and i mean that sincerely.

I am so glad to hear your son has made a step forward, that is good news. Thank you for sharing your story with me, and thank you for listening to mine. It means a lot to me to be able to do that. I hope your Saturday was a good one, I am in Ohio and it was beautiful weather today, my son and I walked and did laundry and shopping and got some take out and came home and watched a movie…a good day all around. Let’s have another good one tomorrow, my best to you my friend! Happy Sunday :slight_smile:


Hello , thank you for sharing your stories. I have a daughter diagnosed with scizoaffective disorder 2 years ago. It wasn’t until she was hospitalized twice and held on a 51/50 that she was finally started on medications. She became stable enough and was able to drive but due to her paranoia and voices she could not keep a job. My husband (not her father) is baffled by her illness. It was a constant battle with him as he viewed much of her symtoms as laziness. He doesn’t want to learn about her illness and believes that she is faking because she is smart.That’s the baffling part in that she is very capable of having very logical conversations and is very good on the computer but has no friends as she believes that people are out to harm her.I am pretty much the only person she trusts. Last year things got so bad with my marriage that I found a studio apartment for my daughter to alleviate the stress that this illness was causing in my marriage. I love my husband but I felt torn in two. For the last year I stop by or call my daughter on a regular basis. I stay with her once a week. We even went one weekend and she chose a rescue dog to adopt which was very beneficial to her.She had no friends but the dog became her best friend and gave her a reason to get out of her apartment. Recently her psychiatrist began to change her medication from resperidone to ability because her primary doctor said that the resperidone was bringing her prolactin levels very high. The change set her back. In two days she suddenly couldn’t drive and she called to tell me that the pills the psychiatrist had given her were poisoned. She then decided that she wanted no more meds and there is nothing I can do to change her mind. I can see that her symtoms are progressing but she says it’s the poison that was in her meds. I’ve had to stay with her and help her with her dog and I’m trying to convince her that its not the meds. She won’t be able to see her psychiatrist for another 3 weeks. I can call 911 and the police will forcefully take her to the psychiatric ward but both times she was there it was so distressing. She will lose trust in me. So I’m taking one day at a time. I feel like I can’t leave her alone . It is comforting to know of your struggles and triumph. I can see why Catherine that you say that just carrying for your son is all you have room for. Blessings to you both


I think I had rose coloured glasses on when I decided to have children. I was hoping none of them would get mental illness or physical illness. At the time I was with my common law husband (who had manyphysical disabilities as time went on) We were together 22 years. Until I couldn’t stay anymore, because he was draining me. He didn’t want to help himself and as time went on it just got worse. I had 3 children with him.
Gosh your son has gone through a lot :(. My son hasn’t had friend all his life. Which I found odd, but thought. Ok that is just him. I had no clear signs of anything but angry during his teens.
I don’t blame you with not having relationships with your family. It is draining enough with one person with mental illness.
I am 58 also. I had my middle son at age 35.
So many different types of mental illness it is so baffeling to me. I have never hear of your sisters type of illness before.
I am wondering, the fater or fathers to your two sons? Was he healthy, did he have healthy family?
More later, got to go…


My oldest son’s father was killed the month before my son was born, but I knew he had suffered bouts of depression on and off. I met and talked with his parents but I was too young and naive to ask about health information when I was 22. My youngest son’s father had a long history of alcoholism in his family (as did mine) but at the age of 24 I didn’t consider it a future problem (I was never a drinker and I naively assumed I could be a deciding influence on my children. Recently, however it came to light that my son’s paternal grandfather likely had schizophrenia, although never formally diagnosed, he was often homeless and seen muttering to himself or something unseen, and eventually died in a house fire he likely inadvertently caused. So really neither side of my kids’ genealogy was very promising in regard to mental health. If I knew then what I know now, at least I would’ve known better how to proceed early on in their development.

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Hi Goldie
I am sorry your husband isn’t more supportive. How old is your daughter? You will have to take one day at a time that is for sure. I hope with the help with meds and with the doctors things will work out for her. Keep us posted.

Like you said before Catherine. Hindsite is 20/20. If we knew alot more we for sure would know hot to deal with all this.I am sorry that your sons father was killed before your son was born. Sad.Your other sons father, alcoholims. Doesn’t every family have that. It is on both of my side and my kids fathers side.
I have no idea if there is any other mental illness in my family or my kids fathers side. I only know I delt with my mom and that was hard.
I am lucky I had a long talk with my husband, Not my sons father. He said he will support me as much as he can with my son. I am thankful for this. It is always nice to have support.

You are very welcome. Share share away. I am here to listen. And thanks for listening to mine as well. Sounds like you had a wonderful day Saturday. I actually played board games with my son Saturday night. Was nice. Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and warm. My husband came home from a contract job. So we spent the day together away from my kids and home. Went to some wineries.
I hope you do get some time away from your son, just to havea break?
Well I am also lucky because I work full time mon to friday. So I get a break from my son. Which I find I need. He was doing great over the weekend. He actually starts his new job(retail) today. I just hope it works out. He has another interview on Wed (retail), near the other job. So he is excited to get into this field. Crossing my fingers it works out. If it does then he is on his way of getting a bit better. No alcohol for a week now too. I am happy for him.
It is Monday I hope you have a great tday!!

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I am glad to hear you have support, I took the Family to Family class that NAMI offers about 10 years ago and some of the moms I met there still stay in touch with me which is helpful. Last month I left my son for about 3 days and drove to Michigan to spend a couple of days with my best friend from high school. I left my son with everything he needed already in place, reminder notes etc…and while he didn’t do anything extra he managed his basic needs just find while I was gone. It did my heart good to know this is a thing we can do now. :slight_smile:


Thank you Threema. My daughter is 32, I am 60. And thank you for your response. I have recently been looking for some kind of mental health conferences that the two of us can attend. I know she is connected to this website also and goes on it occasionally. I checked with our local NAMI and there is nothing like that here in the Desert,they don’t offer the family to family classes either. I’m wondering if you know of any other mental health awareness organizations in California? I am amazed at the courage of many of these family members and those struggling with mental illness. My daughter is not willing to attend any kind of group but did enjoy a mental health workshop we attended once. She is on day 7 of no meds. We are working through a lot more ups and downs as she is more paranoid and fearful. But we had a good weekend. My husband worked out of town so it gave us more time together. We worked on some creative projects. She is very creative. I’m happy to see that your son is doing well. Have a good night Threema :slight_smile:

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Goldie Hi there.
I live in Canada.
Sorry that your daughter is off meds :frowning:
My son went to his job (first day) seemed fine. He was up all night, agitated. Drinking coffee. I’m thinking that was a mistake to buy coffee and have it in the house. Grabbed me before i left for work. Wanted to go to the old city where he lives and take care of things (what that means I have no idea) I work in the city he use to live in. He isn’t on meds, he won’t get a doctor. So it is very very scary. I am assuming he is sz because he is showing all the signs. One day at a time I guess.
I am glad you had time to spend with your daughter. That is great. Is she your only child? I am 58 and my son is 22.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!

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Catherine that is awesome that you were able to get away and have some fun!!
I guess there are so many levels of the sz. My son is fully fuctional. IF he didn’t mention the 'stawkers" as he calls them you would never know he had issues. He went to his job last night. got home said it was good. BUT he was awake allnight. Said they were bugging him all night and in his computer and audio. So I guess this is a one day at a time I guess.


If it helps at all I found this link, although you may already have it:

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Hi catherine. Thanks. I looked at that website before. Alot of it is in Toronto. Far from me.But good resource if needed.


We too, found out about an great aunt (maternal side) who apparently was sz years after my son’s diagnosis. She was never formally diagnosed either, but referred to as “crazy aunt M”. Then pieces seemed to fall into place. Also, I too thought I could be more of a deciding influence on my children whose paternal side had many alcoholics. I suppose hindsight makes us wiser to late! It is what it is now, and appreciate the sharing because if nothing else, we know we are not alone in this interesting journey.