I’m new here. My mom is a schizophrenic, paranoid schizophrenic is the exact diagnosis type. When I was a pre-teen my siblings and I were taken away from my mom. She was in her early 30s at the time. Nobody in my family really knew what was going on with her odd behavior until a family member was enrolled in a psychology course that covered the topic of Schizophrenia.
The family member put 2 and 2 together and opened a child services investigation. At the time it was an unfortunate event. I remember lying to the social workers telling them how my mom was the “best mom in the world” and there wasn’t any issues. In reality she was abusive and the living conditions were extremely horrible. Our apartment was infested with cockroaches, she didn’t open the blinds for whatever reason, so natural sun light never came in. It was literally a cave, but most of the people in our complex were low-income families. As a kid, I really didn’t think anything was wrong. I just thought thats how it was. I love my mom and my siblings and didn’t want us to be apart. The day eventually came when we were taken away. I was sad, confused, and had no idea what was going to happen next. I remember being told by the social workers and police that it was only temporary and my mom and siblings will be together again in a few weeks.
Till that day forward I remember thinking that I never, ever wanted to be in that position again. I know this hits an emotional trigger because as I’m typing this tears are trickling down my face. 6 months later after being taken away and when all was settled my mom ended up living with my grandmother (her mom), my siblings with their father, and since I had a different dad I lived with family members. The family member who opened the investigation became her conservator and made sure she had SSI.
I ended up having a normal teenage and young adult life. I did athletics in high school, I ended up with all-state honors, I went to college and graduated as a student-athlete. Looking back, most likely none of that would have been possible if I lived with my mom. The unfortunate situation become a fortunate situation, for me at least. I read a few chapters out of “Surviving Schizophrenia: A Family Manual”. It mentioned that sometimes the offspring of schizophrenics become overachievers. I guess you can put me in that bucket.
Fast forward today, I’m in my late 20s and she’s in her early 50s. I have what most would call a dream career. Anything I put my mind to, I end up achieving. Except one thing, making sure my mother is happy. About a couple years ago she had a delusion that my grandmother was trying hurt her, it was the last strike of many psychotic episodes. My family did I good job making sure I wasn’t involved with these dramatic events. However, now that I’m an adult I’m starting to connect the dots. She thinks that she’s some “star” and psychics are communicating with her. She says one day celebrities will find her and make her famous. My grandmother isn’t doing to well health wise so after my mom called the police on my grandmother, thinking her life was in danger, my mom’s conservator had to put her on a 5150. She was unable to live with my grandmother anymore because her condition started to get out of hand. My mom ended up in the hospital for about 6 months, later was transferred to a therapeutic center that was locked (I had to request visits). Now she’s at an adult living facility for the mentally ill. The facility allows a lot more freedom then the locked therapeutic center. She doesn’t think she has a mental illness. She calls it a disorder, but doesn’t own up to the fact of how to cope with the symptoms. I try to help her out by explaining to her what’s going on and that the celebrity delusions aren’t real. It seem like it goes in one ear, and right out the other. I’m learning to be more patient with her but it seems like she’s deep into her delusions. I can’t seem to help her cope with the symptoms. The best thing I can do now, is basically listen. I can’t challenge her delusions. She ends up saying I’m brainwashed if I do.
Now that you know the backstory, I’m looking for some advice on what I should do as her son. Recently, she expressed that she doesn’t want to live at the facility anymore. The facility provides food, transportation to doctors, room and board, roommates, and nurses to make sure she takes her meds. It’s supported by SSI. Since she doesn’t know how to manage money well, her conservator and I give her spending money when we see her. Small amounts. If we give her more than $50 she will go on a shopping spree and buy a bunch of useless “stuff”. She wants to move into her own apartment. She keeps saying she wants to move to the apartment complex that my siblings and I were taken away from or an apartment in the surrounding cities. Listen, I would love to get my mom an apartment, but I’m learning that it might be more complicated than it sounds. If she moves into an apartment she would be extremely lonely. As much as she wants to be independent, she’s a very dependent person. She keeps pitching the idea that one of my brothers should live with her. However, my brother she wants to live with shows signs of psychosis and has been put on 5150 holds himself. I’m not sure if that’s a great idea to have them living together. I often think that I should upgrade my own apartment or buy a house so my mom can live with me. But I hold myself back from going into that direction for several reasons a) I’m worried about my well being b) my life is stable…I have a girlfriend, soon to be wife, that I’m looking forward to building a future with c) I have so many career and meaningful goals I would like to continue pursuing. I can get agitated when I’m around my mom too long. I start snapping at people. Not good for work and not good for the people around me.
I beat myself up as times, I want to help. I just don’t know how. I guess the best I could do is earn more income, so I can get her a full-time caretaker…but even then I’m unsure if that’s what she truly wants or needs. I think what she really wants is for all my siblings to live together with her again. She doesn’t understand that we are all adults now and that scenario is highly unlikely.
How would you help your loved one in need? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!