I have been estranged from my 28 year old son for 28 years. Now I find out he is schizophrenic. He has reached out to me, which I am very happy about, but he says he has these issues. I am more than willing to learn to help him, but I have no clue as to how.
What kind of help does he need? At 28 is he aware of his illness? Is he currently under doctor care and is he adhering to his medication? What is his relationship with his family/friends currently and if he doesn’t have one, why?
I wouldn’t jump in feet first until I knew the background of his illness and had set up strong boundaries for myself . As a child myself who was adopted and met my birthparent at this age. Its a very unique situation. We all come with a lot of history when we meet.
My hope for you is that your adult child is coming into your life and bring you more then just his illness. Best wishes
My best advice (not knowing any specifics) is Learn. Learn about the illness, read all you can on it from reputable sources, listen to him as best as you can (if he can communicate effectively) Suspend all expectations (I mean the ones that society tells us is “normal” for either how a family interacts or how a 28 year old man behaves.) You will forge a new normal with your son along the way.
If he has a doctor ask if you can come to an appointment with him as family support. I would even go as far as to suggest that if you can get professional counseling for yourself it would be a huge asset in navigating this new relationship and all of it’s potential ups and downs that come with it.
NAMI is a mental health support network that offers free educational classes that I personally found invaluable. Especially the one called Family to Family. If there is a chapter in your area, check it out. https://nami.org/Support-Education/Mental-Health-Education/NAMI-Family-to-Family
A new relationship is a challenge and can be both good and bad along the way, adding schizophrenia or any mental illness to the relationship dynamics is intense and can cause added strain. Try to pay extra attention to your own mental health and self care so you can be the best you can be for your son as you learn more about him and how you and he can relate to one another. Congrats on the belated opportunity to be Mom again. I wish you both all the very best.
One step at a time. He’s reaching out to you for support and that is a beautiful thing. It can and will feel heavy to you at times. I pray you find daily courage to show up for him in the little ways. Small steps matter. Start small. Do something small. The fact you’re here shows you’re capable to learn and willing and that is so great. Post questions as they come up. Lots of wonderful people here willing to share their discoveries.
Hi Catherine, Thank you so much for setting me in a direction that I can start to understand what is going on. oh, and BTW, I am a Father, not a Mother. Hahaha. No worries. I have very long hair and not having a clue as to why, I have been called a lady a few times. My Son has a daughter who’s mother had severe mental issues also. It is a very long and complicated story. Thank you again for helping me to try and understand and possibly help my Son.
None of us knew what we were doing when we got this news the first time. You have already received some good advice.
Know your own boundaries, find out where your son is in this process, and if you have the emotional resources to help him, do what you are able. Every small amount of support can help your son toward living a satisfying life, and also you may get some unexpected reward knowing you have played a part in helping him.
Sorry for the presumption! Thanks for the correction. Nice to have another father on the caregiver site here. There have been a few I have spoken to here and we need more to get yet another valuable perspective.Glad to help in anyway I can through sharing my experiences. Everyone is different both patient and caregiver but there is very much overlap as well and we can all learn something from one another if we choose to.
Hi…I just wanted to follow up with you and see if you have gained any insight. I have a 25 yr old stepson (His dad and I took him in 7 years ago after his mom kicked him out on the street) it’s certainly been a challenge. More recently, something happened with his medication and he’s been full SZ episodes for 7 days now. I woke up this morning to a demolished $1200 brand new iPhone due to a “trigger”. He refuses to go to a facility. I am trying my best to understand. I know this isn’t him. But how do I encourage him to go? We tried explaining it as just a reset. But he’s had bad experiences before…any advice?