Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do we enjoy the good days when the bad ones are most assuredly around the corner?

We have had a really encouraging few days. My son took the haldol injection and we’ve seen a great improvement in his symptoms very quickly and he’s even been pleasant to be around. Well tonight he completely flipped out on me. I have a terrible cold but cooked something he asked for and baked him cookies even though I didn’t feel well and during dinner he completely flipped out on me and started cussing at me and calling me names. He also threatened to throw his food at me. I was just stunned because a second earlier he was fine. Our younger son is now terrified to live in his own home. We can’t live like this but we don’t know what to do.

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The mood swings are so draining. My son was a huge pot smoker so when we were starting medication, not only did he hate his meds but had to go cold turkey on the weed. We didn’t realize how dependent he was on it and so his mood swings were horrible because he was also trying to cope with not using. He has ADHD too so was up most nights. Now he’s better and usually his swings are directly correlated to mine, so if we want to have a good day, I have to keep my cool. I don’t know anything about haldol so can’t help there but glad you posted and hope things are a just a little better now.

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Your life sounds exactly like mine. My son is on 40 mg Geodon twice daily and a low dose of Zoloft.
At this point 2 of our older children are grown and married but we have one college senior still home with us. Our son is just a year older and should have finished school before her, so there is some resentment from him toward her.
I work all day, come home and cook for him, clean the kitchen and fall into bed around 9. Usually he will come sit and watch tv with me. My husband is gone during the week so this has been my journey to bare alone week nights.
We have had some moments where he just flipped out at the table, threw water in my face, flipped chairs over and threatened to slit throats etc. it’s terrifying and over nothing. Then he gets himself together. We have had to run from the home and drive away a few times to let him calm down and he always does.
This is honestly killing me. I worry what’s going to become of him when his dad and I are gone. I can’t ask our other children to take him on in their homes.
I am going to apply for disability for him. If you child has received a schizophrenia diagnosis before the age of 22 - they will qualify for SSDI under their parents Medicare benefits and earn a little more an on SSI. I want to get this done so if/when he needs to pay his own rent he won’t be homeless. But right now he really needs us to help with laundry, food prep and shopping.
Our next step is counseling that I want to oversee. I want to make sure the counselor is qualified and not just holding a title. Our kids need help with life skills, social skills and they can’t get this in counseling.
It’s one day at a time. Yesterday I felt Gods presence telling me that I can do this because with him I can endure all things. He isn’t going to leave me or son. It was such a good feeling.

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@ Cat Nip
Our son had terrible mood swings before he was consistently medicated with injectable. Before the injectable he was on and off meds for a few years. We lived in fear and it was like walking on egg shells. I learned in NAMI Family to family that it takes 1-2 years for the brain to fully recover from psychosis which helped me put my expectations in line with a marathon, not a sprint.

When our son was first medicated with injectable we saw tiny improvements each week, major improvements monthly and much less lability at 6 months. Stress, fatigue, or change seemed to increase mood swings especially early on in journey from florid psychosis to his new normal (recovery). Enjoy the good moments, eventually you will have more in a row and for longer periods of time if his meds work for him.

Over time ( a few years) I shifted my thinking. I let go of worrying about what is next, when will this end, and when is the next crisis??? This shift made a world of difference for me and my well being. I realized that when I lived in a constant state of worry and questions… I missed the joy in the good moments.

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Thank you for this @Elsa ! Your response and those from others are exactly why this group is so important to those of us desperately trying to understand and navigate this illness. I realize now that after finally seeing improvement I quickly became excited and developed unrealistic expectations. I also need to change the way I react to these “fits” because after he threatened to throw his food at me I admittedly did not respond well which exasperated the situation. I need to figure out how to let him know that this sort of behavior is not acceptable in a way that doesn’t make things escalate.

I am so thankful someone recommended this site to me. I’m sorry that any of us have to go through this but grateful that there are people out there that understand what we are going through. It’s a blessing to not feel so helpless and alone.

Yes @swillis, it’s usually over nothing! And shortly after he’s calmed down he acts like it never happened, meanwhile we’re still reeling and wondering what the heck just occurred.

Thank you @luv_books !

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@ cat nip One thing we did was to say “take space until your less stressed”, so he realized we did not tolerate that behavior (posturing, yelling swearing. property destruction, throwing things…)

If he could not disengage we left the room, if he followed us we’d say “we can talk when your less stressed.” The key is to remain calm and not take anything personally. Much easier said than done! As someone said above our reactions only exacerbate things. This approach did not stop the crazy behavior, but it led to less escalation and modeled better behavior when he could manage it.

@Cat_Nip , I love this question and have thought about it off and on since you started the thread. Yesterday was a tricky day with my son, next week will be particularly challenging as he has a doctor appointment and he is already doing the pre-episode spin up routine.

This morning, one glance at your question and I thought - We have to make sure we enjoy the good days otherwise all we will have is bad days.

For me, its like managing a healthy weight. As adults, we all have to figure out how to manage our weight. Weight management is not the same for everyone, once we can figure out what works for us, its very self empowering. For people who don’ have to struggle to maintain a healthy weight, being empowered by being able to choose a walk over a cookie must sound pretty silly. :laughing: For me, I will let myself have the cookie, but I have to take a walk afterwards. Sometimes I look at a food temptation and think “I just don’t have time to walk those calories off”. Because I like walking a lot, its not a punishment.

There was a long time after my son’s scz made itself known when I didn’t have any good days to enjoy. My son was having good days, but I couldn’t enjoy them because I stayed in a state of apprehension and worry. Finally an old friend lured me back to volunteering my job skills for a couple of hours a week. My work is the sort that you really have to focus, your entire brain becomes engaged. I found new life for me in those 2 hours a week when my brain could take a break from thinking about my son and focus on something else. Once I started having those mental timeoffs from thinking about my son - and they felt great(!), I got better at not thinking about my son constantly.

Those mental timeoffs from worry refreshed me so much more than I would have thought possible. I strongly believe I became a better caregiver and my life became happier.

My friend swears by quilting, she says you quilt and the whole world slips away. We each just have to find the thing that will give our brains a rest from worry and apprehension and let it refresh our brains. Like weight management, we all have to figure out how to get there on our own.

If anyone knows how fragile and special brains can be, its all of us. We need to take care of our brains.

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Thank you @hope ! You are absolutely right! Your statement that “We have to make sure we enjoy the good days otherwise all we will have is bad days”- is so on point! It’s funny how a sentiment so simple can readjust perspective!

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