Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How many are capable of still working?

My husband has a 32 hr a week job (40 if u count the traveling). I notice when he stays busy with it (and he enjoys his job), he has much less symptoms. He just took 10 days off during the holidays which = major symptoms and decompensation. He worked yesterday (he makes his own schedule and works as much and how little he wants and now that he’s having symptoms, he doesn’t feel up to working, even tho work makes him better. Kinda like the circle of meds? He already has yesterdays job on the schedule so he had to go. Scares me that soon he will unable to work.

I make a decent living with my military pension and SS disability that would cover the bills but not much in savings and not many vacays. Not the $ I’m worried aboout - its the quick decline without him staying busy. He really does go downhill when he’s not challenged. We’re buying a house and I thought maybe a fixer upper would be good for him. But using my VA loan and they won;t lend for fixers - has to be a turn key. I will find something for him to do (replace a kitchen countertop, new paint, new deck, something to keep him busy).

Just curious how many people are able to continue to work? Hoping he will accept a new med (barely accepted the med he’s currently on {Depakote - which doesn’t seem to be working}) in addition to the Seroquel he’s been taking for 100 yrs and he will be better functioning. If he get’s back to maybe 80%, will he continue to be able to work? Is your loved one able to work? How do they live?

Marci

Marci,

I’ve worked or been in school or both the entirety of my 33 year illness. My work before becoming ill was in food service and retail. Afterwards, I worked mostly full time scientific and technical white collar jobs.

I recommend it to anyone who can handle any added stress it may cause, as it helps focus your thinking and challenges you to develop coping and social skills you might not know you need. Elyn Saks, who wrote The Center Cannot Hold, did a study of ‘highly functioning’ people with SZ in the LA area, and most cited work as a positive step in their recovery and day-to-day maintenance of their illness.

1 Like

@Marfar77 My son works. He is currently on Invega. He works nights, stocking shelves. I think it helps him to keep busy.

1 Like

My husband’s relapse coincided with a pre-planned extended absence from work (not illness related) because in contrast to your husband, mine was not enjoying his job and given that he had the opportunity to take some time off, I encouraged him to do so.

I do think the relapse was doing to needing to go off an incredibly minimal dose of antipsychotic medication due to side effects.

That said, in retrospect, I think the fact that he has not had to work has made things worse and I do think that part of what was holding him together was his work.

He is supposed to return in a few months, which is good as I think it will give him some much needed purpose and motivation. If he is willing to give medication another try, I think his chances of being able to return are relatively good. But we’ll see.

My son 22 today bless him , barely works , he definitely has racing thoughts and delays answers to any questions i ask him . He used to do food deliveries but now he’s much worse with it and only leaves the house to see me or get food . But he is busy at home working on Law suits and believe it or not , shockingly he got a settlement on one of them , He was in a car accident in an Uber ride as a passenger , so now he is working on his other lawsuit to use this money and sue his first psychiatrist and im not looking forward to that one ! So he is keeping busy i guess at home on the phone and with lots of sticky notes around … i guess that’s work too …Help me Lord ! lol

3 Likes

LOL. I’m picturing sticky notes all over the house. Sounds a little like my husband who thinks the world is stealing from him and who ever isn’t, will be sued. He was taken aback when about 4 months ago I received a check in the mail for $95 from a class action lawsuit from something I had no clue I was even in. It was basically given to me, easy peasy. Easiest $95 I’ve ever made!

It’s not easy to sue a dr, especially a psych. I wish him well. I also wish u well!

Marci

Thank you Marci , really not looking forward to it as im so afraid they will baker act him in court .He is convinced he will win this case and get a big fat check . Im sure he will rage if he doesn’t get what he wants …

My sz partner, with anosagnosia, has always worked but for his family’s company, which is to say its likely he wouldn’t have been able to keep his job 5yrs ago, however his job position and requirements have changed since then requiring more responsibility and social interaction (from isolated driving a truck all day and engaging very rarely with the office to field work where he has to work closely with other workers on job sites) which I’m not sure if that has any direct correlation or not on the lower intensity and frequency of him being in crisis or not, but I personally have often thought so. Hard to say definitively but yes I think it helps. He still does not maintain any other meaningful relationships outside of family and can still be awkward out in public but much less so and episodes at home are more spread out… also, physical activity seems to be HUGE for his mental health and fortunately he enjoys it so I’d say if at all possible to get your loved one involved in a sport or at least go to the gym if you/they can… I suppose in both cases it the focus and the stimulation together that seem to be the key…

My son worked for a few weeks on a night shift at Walmart but was let go as he was not able to do the work. I don’t think the night shift was the best option but my partner at the time had a friend get the job for him.

A friend of the family has a spouse who was hospitalized with schizophrenia and has worked at a high paying factory job until he retired. He never stopped taking his medication and the treatment he had worked well for him.

Our daughter, 37 y.o., has a masters in social work. She has never worked. The Invega shot has caused pituitary problems and she gained over 100 lbs. While ten years stable then had another manic/psychotic break. She has an ECT series at McLean this summer – the hospital has many issues but the ECT has worked well. She is social, has an apartment, drives but shies away from volunteering, working. We feel this is where the system breaks down. She is on disabiity but if she had a mentor, group support guiding her towards something she could do. It would give her routine, structure all things she responds well to. But again, the system fails in so many ways and Mass is one of the better states.

1 Like

My grandson has been working 40 hours or more for almost 5 years. Doing great since he started Clozapine

1 Like

My 28 yr old son started working construction with who was to become his stepdad, but the stress has increased paired with symptoms that just won’t let him be comfortably. He doesn’t believe he has an illness and desperately wants to move out. Looking on Zillow, really wanting to move out. My heart breaks for him. Realistically $3500 isn’t enough to go. His car is not in great shape and says he can just ride his bicycle.
His stepdad told me 6 months ago he isn’t sure he himself could handle the illness and all it entails. We’ve been together 10 years, engaged last Xmas before round 2 hospitalizations.
I’m trying to be supportive and tell my son that I know he wants independence and he will get there but he doesn’t have the funds yet and really needs to not go back to marijuana. Luckily he made an appointment with his therapist he hasn’t seen since November.
He thinks he was misdiagnosed and he doesn’t have anything and his doctors are all wrong :slightly_frowning_face:
Wishing he’d get a less stressful job, longing for him to be ok.

This sounds so familiar. Our 27 year old son really wants to move out but has only been working Uber for the last year. Last time he moved out we paid 2/3 of his rent and we have lost a few deposits for last months rent when he had a difficult time with roommates. He is not on meds, self medicates with marijuana and nicotine. His Dad and I went to talk to a family counselor at our local mental health center. She says that now is a crucial time to stop enabling him, that she knows people who are in their 80’s whose 50 year old adult son is still dependent and living with them because they did not have the strength to deal with it earlier when he was in his 20’s. When they pass on or need to sell their house and move to assisted living, he will have nowhere to do.

She recommended having our son pay rent to us to see if he can work and earn enough to be able to move out. For example, if he wants to move to an $800 apartment, he will need to first work enough hours that he can pay us $400 and keep $400 per month (of course that doesn’t account for food, gas, entertainment, pot and cigs.) If he is able to do that, great, then figure out how many hours he would have to work to pay for the other things besides rent.

That way he will know that he can support himself to move out. If he doesn’t want to do that, they said to let him move out on his own, and also tell him where the local homeless shelter and food kitchen is.
They said that at first he might just want to leave and be on his own, but will soon find how difficult that is.
If he is unable to tolerate working enough hours to support himself due to mental health issues, they recommend having him go to County Mental Health to be evaluated for disability and put on a list for housing. This would be explained as a temporary situation until he is on his feet enough to be able to support himself. He would be allowed to work part time. It would also fulfill the wish to be out of his parents home and have more independence.

We are planning on having the conversation next month. I am really dreading it because I know he will be angry and upset and feel that we are manipulating him. But like the counselor told us, if we don’t do it soon, and stop enabling him, the window of opportunity may start to close.

1 Like

Try 90’s and 60+ year old son in my parent’s case. They had to buy him a house and move him out when he became violent, so you might have to invest for that expense too.

I’m pretty sure I was 27 when I moved out, but I had no subsidy other than help with paying off some credit cards. I resented them charging rent at home before I moved out when they didn’t for my brother, but it was the best thing they could have done for me.

Worked out for me, but I was under medication, didn’t abuse substances and had some insight. I agree with the counselor, you need to at least try this or you will set up a dependence situation that will last a lifetime. You may want to take the extra step of touring the homeless areas of LA with him, and show him what his future home might be like if he doesn’t get it together.

Believe it or not, in some states it’s possible to eek out a living this way with the right lawyer. Depends a bit on the way the liability and insurance laws are structured.

The insurance companies pay out, just to get rid of the cases. Consumers end up paying for this in the end, but arguably it’s more efficient than government subsidy and keeps the client and lawyer occupied and out of mischief.

1 Like