Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do you help? Which way is right?

Hello all,

I wrote my story with my brother who has sz about a year ago on here and got some very valuable feedback from some people. I have been learning about the illness and what I was doing wrong.

Since then, nothing much changed. My brother still refuses treatment and because we live in different cities, quite far away, I don’t interact with him much.(He says bizarre things sometimes and accuses me so I try to keep the interaction at the minimum and let my spouse do the connection whenever needed since my brother feels closer to him )

Anyway, as I told before he has no income, no job so I’ve been supporting him financially as much as I can. He lives in an apartment my late dad owned so he is not out in the streets and I try to make sure that he has enough food etc.But life changes all the time and lately my spouse is going through some personal issues so can’t focus on his job as he used to which affects our financial life.I am still supporting my bro but I may not in future.By the way, we have an inheritance lawsuit going on between us and my dad’s wife. I try to protect my bro’s rights also since he is not interested in anything. I explain what is going on to him from time to time but not sure if he understands.

Our lawyer says, it might take quite a while for us to get the inheritance from my dad which is not a lot but enough to buy a small apartment for my bro so he could have a home.

Anyway,since I may not support him in the future, I consulted our lawyer and asked if there was anything that could be done. (I live in a European country)The lawyer said if my bro is under guardianship, he could get some of my late father’s
retirement pension and have a small income at least and if we buy a small apartment for him with his share of inheritance, he will at least be a little safe.But in order to do this, someone must be his guardian and that is me naturally.

It made me feel really bad at first because the idea of taking the responsibility of someone’s life overwhelms me.I am not an irresponsible person, on the contrary I am quite the opposite but dealing with insanity is so tiring.Later on, I decided I had to do this and gave permission to my lawyer to take action. And she started the procedures a few months ago. According to our laws, my bro has to have a full medical inspection thoroughly in order to be under guardianship. I knew he would reject this but I tried to explain him the whole situation, that I might not help him anymore and showed him the benefits of having a steady income, he seemed like he liked the idea.

So we went to the city he lives to help him go through the hospital procedures.Everything was ok first but then the idea of guardianship seemed impossible to him. He said, he could not give up his freedom and that he wanted to go trips abroad when he got his share of inheritance etc.etc.I think the people who read this will understand what I mean…they live in a dream, have no reality concept. Anyhow he stopped the procedures in the middle and said that is his life and these are things about him.My husband and I did whatever we could,said whatever
can be said but as you might guess,nothing helped.We waited there a few more days then left with empty hands when he didn’t answer his phone.We thought going to his home but knew he wouldn’t open the door.

The thing is, when we came home and talked to the lawyer, we learned that we could not stop the whole thing at this point and it is a public case now and if he won’t complete the medical inspection, he will be forced to do so by the help of police. I don’t know what to do. I would really hate to see him in that situation. I don’t want to give him any traumatic experiences.Our lawyer will try to talk to him and persuade him to complete the procedure but I don’t think she will be successful.And I really don’t know what to do or how to act. Just trying to get over the emotional storm the experience gave me when I went through the whole thing.Seeing him in his living conditions, imagining his life is another point that makes me cry whenever I remember.

How do you help someone who doesn’t know where his own good lies ?

This may not offer you much comfort, but least you have something in motion that could work out to his benefit.

We all struggle with your question every day. Scz is exhausting for the family members. Which way is the right way is something we never know until much later. Our Family to Family instructor said “only hindsight is 20/20 when dealing with scz”.

When I think about not wanting to cause my son any traumatic experiences, I try to remember that a lot of his experiences with his scz are traumatic already.

Thank you both for your responses…

After reading your responses, I remembered my late mother and her denial.She never accepted my brother’s illness. Did she do the right thing? Things for my bro could have been better if only she had taken the right actions.

When I was in my brother’s city and when I saw he suddenly became very depressed about the thought of being guardianed, I felt " does it worth it ? Does it worth to make him so unhappy while he has had such a deprived life?" That kind of thoughts sometimes make me question if I am doing the right thing.

I need to look at the situation less emotionally and do what needs to be done.How? Don’t know how but need to figure it out. Any suggestions are welcome.

I was like this as well. Unfortunately, I think he may have to have something a bit traumatic happen to get him the help he needs. Going through it will be rough but hopefully, the outcome will be positive. I had the police bust down the door and take my son to ER - he’s now on court ordered meds, working and somewhat “normal”. He actually looks me in the eye even. I think you are on the right road. I imagine you may be able talk to the police prior and explain the situation so they are aware of his illness?


Hi Venetian, What scares me in dealing with my daughter is that I will not always be here to help. I provide her living place and minimum living needs now, because my home is big enough and I can spend the same amount on groceries, but stretch the food to feed more with the same amount of money. However, when it is my time to go, there will be no one to care for her: her father is dead and her brothers don’t feel responsible. I cannot leave any legacy or inheritance, and her father didn’t when he passed on.

The fact that you set in play factors that will have your brother evaluated and perhaps forced into treatment seem good to me. You are already struggling financially, eventually, your brother will be on his own and the government will have to step in or he will be homeless.

I tried to have my daughter forced into treatment and onto meds 4 times, however, she is “not that bad” that the state where I live will step in. Even with guardianship, I can’t force medications, from what I understand. I am researching guardianship more, but it will be a long road, and one I can barely afford, well, in fact, probably can’t afford. I am so depressed that I see nothing in her future but homelessness once I die. I can’t kid myself, I have more and more brushes with death in near family and friends each year. My friend just lost a brother in a vehicle accident three weeks ago.

Don’t be hard on yourself. Let the path you started to get your brother guardianship continue. It may be best for your brother even if he doesn’t see it. Good luck finding answers, and peace.