Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How do you vacation as a family?


#1

I miss my family vacations so much. We have an only child who is 22 and we’ve always managed to go somewhere together while he was growing up. Since his diagnosis, our world has become very small. It has affected us all I’m afraid but I hate to just give up and never plan anything again the rest of our lives. My husband says we’d just have to drive. I’m day dreaming I guess but how do you all manage? Or have you just resolved to not travel together? Separate vacations? There are so many of us on this site that just need a break. Any advice?


#2

No suggestions.

I just saw my suitcase last night. Haven’t used it in three and a half years.


#3

@Mom2 My sz son and I flew to California in 2013 and spent a little over a week with my other son and his then fiance (today wife) …Because my older son has issues of his own there was contention at times, he has no patience with his brother and kind of pities me for taking care of him full time, he loves us but being Asperger’s he is pragmatic verging on apathetic at times. My sz son did pretty well over all, he was more tired and more confused but he followed our lead and I think he enjoyed himself, there were a lot of good times, going to the beach was great and going out to eat all together was fun. I kept him on his meds and when he had to sleep while the rest of us did something we told him to call us when he woke up and we would come back and that worked. I am all about new experiences whenever they can be arranged. I feel like if something happened to my son I just want to know I tried to give him as many experiences as I could because he will not seek them out on his own…not the positive ones anyway. I probably would have to have my son stay with somebody if I went alone, and make it look like he was not being “watched” sadly I know nobody I would trust to do that right now, maybe down the road…for now having all of my mornings to myself serve me and my mental health very well. But I do understand about living in a much smaller world…I really do.


#4

The only vacations I have taken in the last few years have been at times when my son was hospitalized or in assisted living.

I reeeelly need to go see my mom, and I’d love to bring my son along, but it seems every time I think he might be stable enough to do that, he has a bad day, and I think, no, I can’t do that to my 90 yr old mom.


#5

It’s been over 5 years since my family has been on a vacation together. As our son became sicker, we would very rarely even leave the house unattended. Someone had to stay at home to watch over him and guard our home.

About three years ago, my adult daughter and I started taking a beach vacation every spring. My husband generously volunteered to stay at home so I could get away. Now that son is in a room & board home, hubs and I are discussing the possibility of finally getting away for a while. We will just have to see how things go.

I talked to son briefly two nights ago and I can tell he is not doing well at all. I feel sure he has become completely unmedicated :worried:


#6

We haven’t had a family vacation in 5 years. We tried to take our sz Son who is 23 to the coast in July and we ended up calling the police for help 3 hours after getting there… We don’t go when he’s hospitalized either because we visit him every day as his support system… Our world has gotten so small.


#7

Oh, this is such a painful topic…we usually pay a social worker to come and give him the medication and take care of the meals and the house. But our vacations are not really worry free. My son who is 28 (so technically an adult) likes to drink and he thinks it’s OK to take the medication and drink; that worries me a lot as he may end up dead one day if we won’t watch his drinking. So, we only go for short vacations- 5 to 8 days.
Recently we`ve got new neighbours , a retired couple and they go to Florida for 1 to 2 months. They are extremely nice people and offered to take care of my son and the house when we go away. We repay in kind by looking after their.property when they go away. But I guess we were lucky to have this people next door.
He would be ok to go away but we can’t take him in all inclusive resorts because of the alcohol available , he would constantly drink and that is dangerous. In other places, we need to avoid the crouds and loud places. So it is difficult and it did change our lives dramatically ad we used to travel a lot and all our families are overseas.


#8

I just realized the connection between novel experiences, even if potentially positive, and stress is really high for people with sz. My family member particularly dislikes flying since the onset of illness.

So, maybe our family will drive somewhere that we have been to before and enjoyed, if we get a chance.


#9

That’s a great idea! Might also stir up some wonderful memories.


#10

When it gets to me sometimes as a mother I have to be thankful for the fact that my son’s illness is pretty manageable now. He is 32. He has gone on family vacations but our whole family goes. My daughter and son in law, their 3 beautiful kids and me and my son. He does pretty well but I know it takes a lot. His illness has leveled off the past 5 years or so. He still talks to his “entourage” of invisible people. Says crazy stuff all the time but it could be worse.


#11

I’m assuming he is on his meds? You seem to have a great attitude. I hope things continue to go well for him and you. Thanks for sharing here. You’ve been at this longer than me.


#12

Thanks. I guess I just don’t think to much about “how it could have been” etc. Yes, it is incredibly sad and depressing when you do. I also have family around that is very supportive. My son just went on meds this year believe it or not! When his illness first presented they put him on horrible meds with side effects. Seemed then that the “cure’ was worse than the disease. We did have some harrowing times when he left home in his early 20’s and was homeless. I couldn’t find him. He got beat up. A friend saw him in the emergency room but by the time I got there he was gone. I finally found him living with a homeless family at a camp ground. To bring him home I invited the family to come and live on my property. I was living in the country up Mendocino way in Calif. I finally got him to “settle down” some and now many years later, he knows that living with me and his family is where he belongs. Please no one take offense when I say this, but at times my son is crazier than a hoot owl. I mean literally that is actually an endearing way to put it. He is mad. I have seen madness up close and personal. I have a few phone videos over the years that show what real madness looks like. The road is going to be a lifetime one, as any parent with a disabled child knows. My son is a handsome guy. If he doesn’t talk you would not know anything is wrong. But he isn’t going to be posting on this forum. I can’t imagine him being “well enough” to even bother with the computer. Or with communicating with other live people online etc. He has his what I call entourage of people he talks to. I try to take him with me to the store or shopping and try to laugh alot. I understand him because I have lived with him a long time. I don’t try to get him to see “reality” anymore. I don’t argue with him as much. We get along better these last I’d say 7 years. But the meds have toned down the voices some. Help him sleep better. It is what it is. I try to be positive. Try not to harp on him. ( Which considering the state of his room and his clothes etc can be depressing) I just let that go. He smokes like a fiend. He does drink. Everyday. A six pack. I decided along time ago that I truly can’t imagine what he thinks. Just when I thought I knew, kind of how his thinking worked, I was absolutely blown out of the water. Now I know I know nothing and I can’t imagine how hard life must be for him much less for me. He has no friends to speak of. He lives in his room for probably 22 out of 24 hours. Sometimes it gets noisey in there and I go in and tell him can he hold it down. When we moved from the country environment (to be closer to all the family here in New Orleans) I had to tell him emphatically that he is not to go outside at 3 AM and start yelling or being loud. That he could be hauled off by police! (one of my fears). But he does wander around some nights in the house, backyard, garage. People kind of know him now in our neighborhood. as he walks everyday to the store to get his beer. He waves his arms and talks to himself. But he stopped one day to help an old man with his garden supplies and went everyday to help him. Another neighbor was roofing his house. Willy asked if he needed help and for a few days helped there. They both offered him money but he wouldn’t accept it. I wonder at time what these people thought about him. I am sure that it didn’t escape them that he is fairly nuts…One day three normal sentences in and he says “Maggie speaks to me in Spanish sometimes” Maggie is our doberman. So I ask him “what does she say?” And he answers matter of factly with a straight face. " I don’t speak spanish” I kid you not! Now you have to laugh at that or you would cry! People ask me am I afraid of him getting violent. In the beginning he did get violent. he didn’t believe he was sick. There was lots of confrontation. probably why he ended up on the street for a time. But we have thankfully moved on past those early bad times and it is fairly even keel. And no, I am not afraid of him. I don’t think the past 6 months on meds had anything to do with our progression to this point. Yes they help him some. But we got here totally unmedicated for the past 12 or so years. Being a drooling zombie (beginning med therapy) was not an option. That was worst. I have awoken to find him standing over me with a hammer but he told me he was fixing something and I guess it was lucky it wasn’t me. I’m glad I have a sense of humor. I would be basket case if I didn’t. And I have to admit things are fairly normal for us now as normal as it has been. Seems the ups and downs have evened out and it has been okay. I am sorry to have run on like this. I guess once I had the chance to spill out some of my own experience with a schizophrenic child I just went on. And while their is volumes that I could write, everyone has a different degree to which the disease presents and continues. Reading in this forum has surely taught me the range that this disease has. Everyone is different. This is normal life for me. Somedays are better than others. But that is life anyway. It can always be worse! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to express some scenes along my journey


#13

Thank you for sharing. We have to get locks for our rooms.


#14

Do you have any close relatives or friends that might be willing to stay with your son? My daughter has done this for us. Otherwise, you might look at options that are not that far from home.


#15

That’s a good idea, but it seems that even short trips out bring on his symptoms of paranoia and people talking badly about him. He hears things through cars as they go by as well… It sure makes you appreciate the good moments together.


#16

We’re hoping to take a road trip next summer to Montana… Praying it’ll be low stress and enjoyable for him and for us…


#17

we are going on a vacation with my daughter and family for a week to “Dollywood” in TN. Willy is very excited about going! He loves rides! Loves going to carnivals. But this will be a real vacation. ( Not just the beach like we usually do) All the kids are going which he loves to play and swim with them. I am hoping this will really be an amazingly fun time for him! I will report back as to how it is going!


#18

sounds like a lot of fun, have a great time!


#19

Have a wonderful time!!


#20

What a great subject! When holidaying with somebody with mental illness it can be almost impossible to go anywhere where there will be a lot of people or noise, or anything that is going to raise their anxiety levels.

We’ve had a caravan for many years, even before our daughter became ill. It’s a good solution to the taking them on holiday problem as you can simply attach the van to the car, get in, and drive to a camp site 10 miles away, or 500 miles away, whatever you want. Many less family oriented campsites are very quiet, there’s no fuss, and your detached accommodation is yours, you can fill it with all your own stuff, and the things which make life bearable for the person with the illness. It’s a private refuge, your own home away from home, and you can choose how much you socialise. It’s the perfect solution.