Help me understand my Mother


#1

I am the youngest of three boys, aged 24, born March 12th 1990. Upon my birth, my mother developed what I’ve been told as Schizophrenia. She was once a slim, slender, gorgeous and almost model-like. Since then, she has put on a considerable amount of weight, became very depressed and started taking medication to battle her problems. She struggles with hearing voices, most of which are bad or harmful. They speak of rape, killing and other harmful things most of the time. She yells and shouts at them and screams at the top of her lungs to leave her alone and to go away but sometimes they can even be humouras and funny as she tends to laugh at nothing when she is alone.

My mother is non responsive and is usually lost in her own world. She doesn’t respond to the call of her name or to someone trying to get her attention, it usually takes a couple of attempts to get her to pay attention. She sometimes becomes paranoid saying people are trying to harm her, my father is cheating on her and several other things.

When she would take her medication, mainly Zyprexa(sp?) she would be just fine and return to normal, engaging in conversations, cleaning the house and taking care of things, however, lately her medication hasn’t been working and she just wanders around the house, looking for something to do. She doesn’t enjoy playing games, watching TV, talking to people or anything for that matter. She just wanders back and forth as if she’s looking for something and when asked what she is looking for, she just replies “I’m bored.” but she refuses to entertain herself. The only thing that she seems to enjoy is smoking cigarettes, something she’s been doing as long as I’ve been alive. She doesn’t enjoy being at home and she sometimes wanders off outside, walking the streets or just standing at corners. She constantly speaks of running away to different places and asks for money to do so. She’s even gone as far as stealing money from me and my brothers to buy cigarettes and to take off to god knows where.

This is the worst she’s been in a long time and I don’t know what to do or how to handle this right now. I’ve tried talking to her, engaging in conversations and tried getting her into a game or a book, all to no avail. I can’t entirely blame this on the fact that I’ve lost touch with most of my life but it’s definitely impacting it. I’ve been trying to take care of her for a long time and watching over her has become a struggle. I would love some assistance, help and assurance with dealing with her.

Is this even Schizophrenia she is dealing with? If not, what is it and how can I help?


#2

I just read half of this and can tell you that she is psychotic without any doubt in my mind- doctors only prescribe Zyprexa to patients with psychotic disorders. Her symptoms are all over the place, so I would take a guess and say she has undifferentiated, i.e. general schizophrenia. She shows symptoms of every other subtype.

I have paranoid schizophrenia and an anxiety/aggression problem which I take medications for. I used to be psychotic, anxious, and irate at pretty much any given moment that I was sober. I thought everyone was against me and was in constant fight or flight mode and picked fight and therefore was angry. I heard voices, didnt speak as much as I should have, had intense delusions, and hallucinated people talking about me and it looked perfectly real. Like my own family members would be talking about me being on TV at dinner. That’s stereotypical paranoid schizophrenia and is treated quite easily, at least relatively easily compared to less clear variations of schizophrenia.

Heres what you can do. Read Surviving Schizophrenia 5th edition cover to cover. It is like the big book of schizophrenia. It will give you a clear understanding of how she sees the world. I am a psych major, in my third year and I took most of my psych classes already to learn about myself, now I have like 3 semesters of english and philosophy and communication and crap. I have written papers and given presentations on schizophrenia and have read enough about it from textbooks to know that Surviving Schizophrenia covers it well enough, it is not droning, it is fast paced and easy to read.

If you really want to learn more, go look at youtube videos of schizophrenia simulators or read Elyn Saks’ autobiography, she is very schizophrenic and also a genius and professor who went to Yale and Oxford and did incredibly well as a student and has done even better as a professor. She is a chaired professor of law, psychology and psychiatry. No doubt, she is a genius, but her book was brutally honest and makes it possible to imagine what it is like to be schizophrenic.

Elyn Saks says that contrary to the literal definition of the word “schizophrenia”, a schizophrenic’s mind is not split, it is completely shattered.


#3

Hi there~
I`m so sorry you are dealing with this. Definitely sounds like schizophrenia-especially since she is on Zyprexa.
Does she see a doctor for her medication? It would be great if someone went with her to talk to the doctor.
Sounds like she is having positive and negative symptoms.
How is your Dad dealing with this?
This site has some amazing info. on how to understand and deal with this illness. Also-check online for a local NAMI group in your area–you will need support as well.
I have to say that this forum has helped me inderstand my son in so many ways because he is pretty tight-lipped about himself.
Hope you can find some useful info here…Good luck and come back often!


#4

I second the NAMI suggestion, and look into their Family-to-Family classes in your area. They helped me tremendously!


#5

Thanks everyone for all the replies! I’ll have to look into these suggestions and take out some of these books.

I know it isn’t easy for her or for anyone and I’m always willing to listen to her, hear her out and speak with her. It can be frustrating at times but I try not to show it. I think the toughest part is the fact she doesn’t believe anything is wrong with her and that we’re all crazy. She refuses to receive help, to be talked to or to be listened to.

Also, I believe I stated this incorrectly. She USED TO take Zyprexa a couple years back and it worked well but she has since been taken off of it. She’s been taking Escitalopram which hasn’t been working. From experience, is there a reason why she was taken off of Zyprexa and moved on to something else that is less effective? Also, she does see a doctor, yeah but I think her doctor has been changed as well, too. (My father usually accompanies her, I’m going by what I’ve been told and overhear.)


#6

Yeah-that is strange that they took her off something that worked so well!
I would go to the doctor with her next time and let the doctor know her history and her former medications. She is going to need you to speak for her at times…or call the doctor yourself to find out why. Makes no sense, unless there was some medical issue with her.


#7

Welcome to the forum @alexandergregorycruz

Perhaps some of these links may help:
http://www.leapinstitute.org/ - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner.
http://dramador.com/ - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on youtube.com and you should find some long videos
http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/index.php - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
http://lesswrong.com/lw/e25/bayes_for_schizophrenics_reasoning_in_delusional/ - helped my understand delusions

I agree with bridgecomet. Going with her to her doctor so that you can get accurate information might clear up the question why. It doesn’t seem logical that they would take her off a med that worked. It could be possible that she asked for a medication switch.