Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Help! family member

My name is Leanne and my mother’s brother is a paranoid schizophrenic. It’s a REALLY long story - he has been ‘diagnosed’ but he is unconvinced that he has any mental illness.

We have a restraining order against him, as he has for the past three years sent threatening and messages of violent-intent to members of my family (mainly my mother, who has always been the one closest to him and who cared about him more than anyone).

I am so tired of seeing my mom cry over him. He believes she speaks in his head, telling him to commit suicide. He also believes she has ruined his life, hacking into all his computers and social media (which he says lost him his jobs and reputation in New York City, where he has worked as a very successful celebrity makeup artist and beautician since 2001).

He also has mentioned in Facebook messages to me that she and his other siblings are using a device from the military to control his thoughts.

None of us know how to help or what to do. We have been told by police that unless he harms himself or another person, we can’t really do much. He has attempted suicide three times and threatens to murder my mom.

What can I do?! Where do we turn … our family is so close. He was so close to us. We don’t understand what he has become or how we can help him. He is estranged because we are afraid of him but he keeps contacting us with horrible threats, despite our restraining order against him.

Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated. We want him back, happy and healthy… but he doesn’t think anything is wrong with him. :’( HELP.

Here are some ideas, and I’m hoping other people will add some other good advice here:

Its obviously a dangerous situation that you need to take very seriously.

Some general help in dealing immediately with a person who is psychotic:

Some treatment ideas for your uncle:

also - our Frequently Asked Questions section also has some areas relevant to your questions:

Thank you. I’m reading through all of this now.

It is so painful to see him like this.

Hi Leanne,

I’m sorry you and your family are going through this. It’s really a tough situation.

The policeman was not completely accurate in what he told you. More accurately, the criteria for having him committed is being a “danger” to himself and/or others. From what you describe, he is most certainly a danger.

My husband and I have had to commit our son two times, so I’m familiar with the process. At least here in Georgia. We had to go to the county courthouse and fill out the necessary commitment forms. The court clerk took it directly into the judge while we waited for approval. It takes two witnesses in GA, not sure about NY. Once approved, the judge will order sheriffs to pick up the person being committed and take to the hospital.

Your uncle needs hospitalization desperately. He is suffering, as are all of you. He will be mad at first, but once he is stable on meds at the hospital, he will most likely be very grateful to you and your mom. Since he does not live with you, you will probably need to contact social services (the hospital can be helpful with this type info) for help in figuring out how to keep him on his meds long term. It is an extremely hard and stressful thing to do, but so worth it in the long run.

Good luck with him and pls keep us posted.

Can’t tell you how much your response means. I’m going to share it with my mom. We’ve really lost all hope and that’s why I joined this community last night because we don’t know who to turn to - so I thought maybe others experiencing similar symptoms with a family member could help somehow?

He is from Oregon, as we all are. He has lived in New York City since 2001. So we are no longer a resident of the same state as him. Does that complicate things? I want to look into getting him involuntarily on medication. Maybe it will bring some peace to my family. He will never go on his own - and it’s not getting better. He was diagnosed but they could not forcibly keep him and he would not take any medication, as he refuses to accept he has any mental illness.

I am afraid these numerous and very descriptive threats toward my mother will be carried out. Because he truly believes she is talking to him in his head and controlling his thoughts, telling him to kill himself. It’s her voice he hears

Hard to understand why the hospital would not keep him when he threatens these things!
I`m not sure if this would help, does he have a friend that could take him to the hospital? Or call the police and let them know what is going on and they could take him in.
once he was stable, you could bring him home and get him set up where you are with doctors, case managers, etc…
If he is leaving messages like this, keep them as evidence.
I know this is pretty devastating for your family, but the best thing to do would be to have him hospitalized-

It’s a long story. He was institutionalized in NYC, but by law enforcement. He had a run in with the NYPD one night during a psychotic episode (he may have also been abusing drugs that night). He believed my mom was trapped in a burning building that wasn’t even her house, or on fire (and she lives in Oregon, not NYC). She got a call from the NYPD in the middle of the night asking if she lived there and she said no. He was taken in but once he could leave, he did. We are estranged from him because of his threats. We don’t know anyone in NYC who can help and it’s hard to want to go around him because of his threats of bodily harm towards us.

Awful that they didnt keep him, but Im finding out that this sort of thing is happening all over. Hippa-good excuse not to treat. I tried to just set an appmnt for my son, and the receptionist said " You dont want us to violate his civil rights, do you?" Im so sorry. Do you and your family go to a local support group?

Since you’re in different states, I would suggest calling the county (in which your brother resides) courthouse and tell them the situation; That he is a danger to your mom, you and himself. Give them all the details. I have found you really have to be assertive, with a sense of urgency, with them until you get the help you need, or the right person to talk to. I do think they listen a little better now what with the mass killings by the mentally ill as of late.

As bridgecomet said, keep every bit of evidence because you will need it. Also keep names of who you talk to and date/times too.

I recommend you read this section of our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) - your situation is not uncommon.

and here:

mom has kept every message and we have print screened them.

We have a restraining order against him so we make no contact as it goes against the order. He however does make contact despite the restraining order. He used to call my mother’s business and leave threatening messages so he was blocked on that number, our home phone… Every thing he was blocked from except for my mom’s cell phone as she wants to know if/when he comes to Oregon. (Last summer he texted her he was flying to Oregon after making threats and he was in our town… We never saw him but he was here and we all were so upset that day and nervous. That was the day we got the restraining order.) So she gets a threatening and profanity-laced voicemail from him probably once a month, telling her to stop being in his head and to stop ruining his life and stealing money from him (she has loaned him thousands, let him use their car, and he lived rent free for a year at our home three years ago when he was broke).

He leaves us alone for a while and we all forget about the trauma of the situation, and we live life as normal. Then every 1-3 months we get that horrible voicemail or Facebook message from him, with him saying he wants us dead and his hatred is so deep for us (which before the restraining order we would say, we love you, what is wrong? Please, we love you…)

I’ve decided to try to do something. My mom’s heart just can’t take it anymore and most of my family is just plain angry at him and want nothing to do with him. I can understand that… But I see him as very sick and in need of help. My mom can barely handle the thought of her little brother (18 years younger who she treated as if he were her own) like this. So I want to try

Classic sz. So…

  1. Get a copy of this book and read it. Have your family read it, too.

  2. It sounds like he needs a professional intervention, so tell me where you live, and I will get back to you with leads to those services.

  3. If he was diagnosed by an ER doc, you might want to get him properly diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at…

  4. Work with that p-doc to develop a medication formula that stabilizes your symptoms sufficiently so that you can tackle to the psychotherapy that will disentangle your thinking from reality effectively. The best of the therapies for that currently include…

10 StEP –

  1. the even newer somatic psychotherapies like…
    SEPT –
    SMPT –

  2. or standard CBTs, like…
    REBT –
    Schematherapy –
    Learned Optimism –
    Standard CBT –

We don’t know anyone in New York. Last month we did contact one woman (she was his boss in NYC at CNN headquarters where he did makeup artistry). She was suspicious that he was showing symptoms of schizophrenia and got into contact with me, as she was concerned. (She had a sister who committed suicide due to her schizophrenia.)

Perhaps if I write her again she would be able to help, but other than her, I have no clue … and we know no one in New York City :frowning:

Hi! Our family is from Astoria, Oregon. (I only visit home in the summers during college break.) My mother has always lived in Astoria, Oregon … where my uncle is also from.

He lived with us much of my childhood until he moved away to San Francisco and New York City to become a professional makeup artist. We didn’t see much of him, but when we did, it was good times.

… Until the past five years. He is no longer the uncle I knew growing up. He is sick and I want him to get help

I would try to contact Adult Protection services, or ANY social services there. Hopefully you know where he is…

That’s a really good idea I am the only one he still contacts without anger. I am his niece and he grew up in my house when I was a baby and always loved me a lot as a kid so I think he has a soft spot for me.

I don’t typically respond to his messages as they are bizarre (about military device that controls his thoughts or he wants to call me to make me believe all the stuff he thinks is going on but isn’t).

I don’t know exactly where he is but I probably could find out if I feign that I believe him. He always has wanted me to come visit him in NY so I could pretend I’d like to visit or something.

This seriously breaks my heart. I feel like I am going behind his back and betraying him, though I know I am trying to help. I feel like he will feel I stabbed him in the back :disappointed:

It’s a hard call, isn’t it. I may have to have my son involuntarily admitted due to schizophrenia. Like you, I’m his only support. Like your uncle, my son believes he’s fine. Unfortunately, there seems to be no other option in your situation. Hopefully when he’s well, he’ll thank you!

You might find this posting (with a number of resources related to this) of interest:

After people get on treatment, most people seem to appreciate the help.

Here are some studies and other discussions relevant to this discussion:


some more: