Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How Does Your Family Member Reason Things Away?


#1

My son still doesn’t recognize why he’s gone to the hospital.

When he was evaluated by our local crisis team & transported by the police, he says he was arrested for trying to pay for a hug.

When he’s went directly to the hospital after not sleeping for days, it’s not that he needed to sleep, but that he told me that just because he wanted to go to the hospital to hang out.

However, I had an a-ha moment today. All his talk of being psychic, having ESP, astral projection, seeing through other people’s/animals eyes, etc, is his way of describing his hallucinations and voices. Maybe it should have been obvious to me because I’m feeling like a dummy for not figuring this out before.

Yesterday, he said, you know, sometimes I have people talking in my head (always famous people he can name, so it doesn’t scare him & they don’t tell him to do things. It’s just like conversations.) I told him that could be hearing voices. He didn’t agree, so I said I could be wrong and let it go.

Today, he asked me what a hallucination would be like. I said I don’t know. I guess it’s anything that you see but other people don’t. He was sure everyone else in the hospital saw what he could see because they clapped or commented on it. I’m guessing that was more of a hallucination.

On a positive note, he said he hasn’t seen things since he since a couple hospital stays back, and the voices aren’t there all the time. I guess he’s making very slow progress.

For those of you with family members who lack insight, have have they explained their symptoms?


#2

Hallucinations are experienced as actual perceptions, which, technically, to the brain that perceives them, they are.

Symptoms brought to the person’s attention are explained by delusions with evidence found in and delivered by the envrionment… Hallucinated or “self-referential” evidence also reinforces delusions…

There is nothing the mind cannot annex or create/ synthesize.

Logic and rationality in the day to day sense are thought systems with agreed-upon evidence and references.

Delusions have their own logic and evidence. Most people’s delusions will be reinforced by someone arguing against them because the person experiencing psychosis will simply seek more evidence for their ideas (just like everyone else does while using generally-ageed-upon-reality based evidence).

The brain with psychosis works overtime, but operates in/ with an internal world rather than and along with the shared one. What we see as a hallucinated or delusional world is completely real; no one would never have to reason it away or explain it, not any more than we would have to defend our version(s) of reality.

With medication, reality testing, some kinds of therapy, the delusions can be navigated and a person can hopefully spend more positive time in the shared world.

I think it’s not reason or explanation at first, but relying on another person to reality test with them. I think it’s trust. Imagine if someone was telling you your world was not real and you had to agree with them and do the things they prioritize; you would really have to trust that person to go along with them.


#3

I don’t do that, but I’m not sure I’m doing the right thing either.

He’s desperate for me to believe him. So, he’ll flat out ask me.
I tell him that I know he’d never lie to me, so I’ll take his word for it, but I don’t personally know for sure.

I am starting to see the meds work, but I don’t think he’s ready for reality testing yet.
And, I don’t think I’m the right person to do it.

In the past, when his mind cleared after very short periods of acute psychosis, he could recognize for himself that his thoughts weren’t correct - I’m not sure it will happen this way again because he’s been acutely psychotic for the majority of the past year or maybe a little more, but I’m kind of hoping it will.


#4

Problem with my son is that his cognition is so damaged he can’t really explain anything. I don’t even know if he truly believes he has Sz. He’s always denied voices (it’s not required for dx) so I’ve believed him, but his dad says oh yes he did! My son lives with his dad, my ex husband. I confronted him with this new knowledge and here’s how he explained it away: Ummm … uh… oh that’s just um how you say it (something along those lines) I say ummmm What???


#5

I don’t think my son recognizes the voices & hallucinations for what they are.

His mind looked for a reason why these things were happening, and it came up with that he must be psychic, and have ESP, and be able to astrally project, and be telepathic.

That’s what made sense to him.

All along I thought they were simply delusions, which they are, but I didn’t realize that’s how he rationalized that he was not hearing voices or seeing things.

Maybe that’s the same kind of thing that went on with your son?

My son’s cognition must still be there because his thoughts about this get more intricate all the time. I don’t confront him or tell him he’s wrong, but I do ask questions so he knows I’m interested. He has an answer for everything so he’s given it a lot of thought.


#6

Very well said.

As far as my son…he states it is his belief system. And everyone is entitled to believe want they want.There is a certain amount of truth in that, but it doesn’t change the fact with no insight, lack of meds, and mistrust of everyone he is pretty miserable to be around.


#7

Confabulation - the replacement of a gap in a person’s memory by a falsification that he or she believes to be true. Reality is a slippery slope for my son. Like the others, his psychosis is all real to him. If you face him with reality, his mind just shifts over to make an excuse. They don’t even realize they are making an “excuse”. Their brain does it for them and they believe their brain.

Now that the paranoia has taken over, if someone tries to tell his reality isn’t reality, he suspects them of trying to fool him and it actually feeds the paranoia delusion. Whoever tries to rationalize with him becomes a part of the delusion.

If i just do the LEAP stuff, he stays calmer and I am able to keep the “door” open between us. He closed it once when I didn’t know better and I tried to get him to rationalize.

In short, for my son, he doesn’t have symptoms, he just has his reality. The voices are real (research tells us the “voices” show up on brain scans just like real voices) the paranoid concerns are real - to him its all real. He doesn’t need to explain symptoms. There’s nothing wrong with him in his mind.

I’m glad you had an A-ha moment. I think our understanding of their illness opens up bit by bit. I wish my son would still talk to me enough so I could know what his current psychosis is up to these days.


#8

The one demonstration Amador does with an audience member brought it home for me. What if someone tried to convince me that this wasn’t my home, that’s not my husband and my nice orderly life isn’t real at all?

No one would be able to convince me otherwise. I know reality, I can see it with my eyes and hear it with my ears.

My son feels the same way.


#9

All of this is definitely very real to my son, but trying to figure out what’s going on with him internally by figuring out how he communicates his symptoms is like learning a new language for me.

Now that I understand that he explains hallucinations as he must be “seeing through someone else’s head” felt like a major piece of the puzzle to me. And now that I understand, I can’t figure out how I didn’t understand earlier.

Yesterday, he said once he saw through our old cat’s head too. Just to make sure I was understanding correctly, I asked him what it was like. He said he wasn’t looking at the TV, but he could see scenes from a TV, so he didn’t understand. Then, he saw the cat on the bed and her head was facing the TV, so he must have been able to see what she was seeing.

Just a few days ago, when he would say that, I thought he just believed he could do it - like when he says he can predict the future. Now, I know that’s how he explains hallucinations.


#10

Reading the above conversation, I am confused, but feel like I am learning from what you’ve all said. It is so hard to comprehend that a person with Sz ( love the abbreviation!) lives in a different reality than most. This is the case with my 62 year old Big Brother. He lived homeless off and on for most of his life because of this disease. No one in our familty has ever tried to help him. I am trying to help him now - and I am getting to know him for the first time in my life. At first I though he was lying to me about various things, but am now starting to understand that he’s not lying - just giving me information from his own (different) reality. My Daughter and I have discussed him at length. Sometimes we wonder if his reality is actually the truth. Do any of you ever think along this line?


#11

No - I don’t wonder about that.

My son has always been very sensitive & able to pick up on body language, tone of voice, facial expressions as good as, if not better, than listening to the actual words someone says.

But, he is not psychic, he can not tell the future, he can not read minds, he does not know famous people, he had not had children, he is not Jesus, people are not coming to kill him, he does not have secret information, he can not make people faint over the phone …

It’s easy to get caught up in their world, especially when you try so desperately to understand.
And, I willingly go down into the hole that I see as his psychosis to try to lift him out or at least keep my connection to him.
But, I never let it make me lose sight of what’s real & what’s not.


#12

I have wondered if my daughter has any psychosis that she (and we) are unaware of just because she doesn’t​ know it’s not real, but hasn’t expressed it to us. But, for the most part she has insight, although I wonder if it will stay that way.

She says it’s very tricky trying to tell what’s real and what isn’t sometimes. With visual hallucinations, she says she can sometimes tell because the lighting on them seems different from the lighting in the room, or they move in a sort of off way from what you would expect. With auditory hallucinations, she says that sometimes the voices sound a little different than the other noises in the room. In order to differentiate, she has to hold very still in a quiet place and really pay attention to her surroundings and then she can figure it out.

I can imagine that one’s brain would try to make sense of such input, so thinking you are psychic or whatnot could seem as logical as other explanations.


#13

It’s your brother’s truth.

We need to find ways to join up with our family members for their support and benefit and for ours. Shared reality is the place where we all try to get food, shelter, medical care, so it’s best for our survival to spend time here. There’s a lot of delusions I wish my family member could channel into creativity like writing or drawing so unusual beliefs could be shared in the imaginary context where they belong. That would be healthy and interesting.

I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, but my family member was describing some of their experiences to me and all of a sudden I realized that they were being completely open and honest with me about something very difficult that led to hospitalization, and my genuine response was, “I believe you.” Because I really did believe they went through what they described.

They believe things so deeply that they become very compelling; they have conviction.

PS I use the awkward, gender-neutral they and am only talking about one person most of the time.


#14

In the early days my son used to ask me “did you hear that?” Usually, the answer was yes, he was asking about real sounds. Maybe he was trying to figure out a difference.


#15

I have wondered about the long term effect on people living with people with mi and no one knows about the mental illness.

My mother-in-law used to tell people I had said all kinds of things I had not said. We know for a fact her sister had scz. Her other son (not my husband) tells all kinds of ridiculous lies,just like his mom always did. His wife, seems to believe everything he says.

Is she ill too or has living with him all these years altered her reality?


#16

My son says he needs to have his eyes opened , he needs to learn to read minds, he says he has heard other people’s inner thoughts and that others can read minds and he is lacking because he is 25 and can’t. He says he was protected but now he’s not .


#17

My son still does that sometimes, but it’s usually asking if I was talking to him or if there were other people in a next room talking. It’s like he’s got some noise going on.


#18

I have a friend who now believes that her dad had schizophrenia after knowing my daughter and learning of some of the symptoms. She has memories of him accusing their neighbors of spying on their house and coming in while they were gone. He would stand outside their house and yell at them and tell her to throw things at them. She says he was always paranoid about the government and being watched. It was very confusing for her. He used marijuana and other drugs, so I imagine that exacerbated things too.


#19

Another similarity between our son and their scz experience. Since my mother-in-law said I was saying things I wasn’t, I wonder if my son’s scz is similar to hers due to the genetic connection? I wonder, do similar scz symptoms run in families?


#20

I don’t know if similar SZ symptoms run in families, but I think hearing voices as real people saying things they never said is a common symptom - maybe more common than an inner dialog where the voices tell you to do things or call you names.

But, I’m guessing that if what the person says other people say is within reason, other people may never figure out that’s what’s happening.

I had to see it happen to figure it out myself because it wasn’t all that bizarre to start out. Then, I blamed it all kinds of things like his social anxiety before I accepted it was a form of auditory hallucinations.