How many of you have an unmedicated family member and what's happening today?


#61

The $50.00 is probably worth the aggravation. Wonder if the non-profit would charge less?


#62

I also tried coping with my sz husband’s choice not to take meds. But in his case, within 4 months of being off them, despite having some good days (and yes, there will be those) eventually he got very confrontational and threatening, and in Hawaii you can have them committed if they threaten you with harm (even if you feel they won’t-like s/w, it was an opportunity and I took it and called 911 and stressed that it was a mental crisis and I wanted an officer who was experienced in handling that type of call so he wouldn’t be arrested). I think you are doing the right thing. As long as he’s not threatening to hurt you or anyone or himself. I understand the worry of saying something that will hit him the wrong way depending on his mental state at the time, but if you periodically tell him that you are there if he needs someone to talk to, that may be acceptable? I also read Dr Amador’s book, but couldn’t work the conversations into usefulness.


#63

Thank you for looking into that for me. I really appreciate it. All has been quiet since court on Wednesday.


#64

Thank you AnneChang. The choices we have just don’t come with any guarantees do they? I have my son in a nice “box” where we can keep an eye on him. I did set his apartment up so he can not see other people except his dad and I through his windows.

No oven though, ovens represent quite the challenge for him, he started two fires. He can make himself sandwiches.


#65

I think you and your husband are amazing. Your son is very lucky that he has you both to look out for him and yet give him independence. We all have tough choices/decisions to make not knowing if they’ll come back to bite us or if it will be the best decision ever made. I admire your son’s courage and yours. I guess the best thing we all can do is keep trying and not give up.


#66

My son has had several calmer weeks in a row. Yesterday it all turned upside down. I was outside with a friend who had stopped by and could hear him talking loudly at us from inside his apartment. He began to get louder and louder so I asked her to leave. From what I can observe from here, he was probably up all night. At one point the dogs barked loudly around 1:40am. We have security cameras by our entrances and motion lights by our windows without camera coverage. Sometimes he will approach our house to yell at us from outside.

If it was him, he didn’t continue after the dog barked and I was awake. One of our dogs he is afraid of, for which we are grateful. The other dog can be counted on to alert when he is psychotic.

One of our family friends was saved by her dog when her daughter with mi was attempting to choke her. When I work outside in the yard I have both dogs with me. The one he is afraid of avoids him, the other greets him nicely and is friendly, as long as he is not psychotic.


#67

I went back to my NAMI support group last night. I fit in better there, more people are struggling with unmedicated family members there. Some of us don’t live in the world of constantly changing meds and med amounts. According to Dr E Fuller Torrey’s statistics, only 30% of people suffering from schizophrenia are on medications. 70% is quite a large majority.

The families who face danger in such attempts to get meds for their loved ones may trapped in their situations unable to respond. - maybe afraid or embarrassed to post on forums or basically unwelcome. Our struggles are the same, our loved ones suffer the same illness. I guess we suffer the added stigma of our loved ones being unmedicated.


#68

I hope no one feels embarrassed or unwelcome here.
I think maybe, with no hope of change, people get too exhausted & frustrated to reach out.

My son does not want to be medicated. It has taken forced medications & a lot of persuasion to get him on a shot & he still agreed to take the supplemental oral meds & then refuses.

I’m glad you found the support you needed though.


#69

Oh, @hope I did not understand that you felt unwelcome or stigmatized here, of all places.

Please know how welcome you are and how many of us have lived for years with a family member who chose not to take medication.

As you wrote, it’s far more likely that a person with this illness will not receive needed treatment, including treatments that are not pharmaceutical.

Only the courts can force a person to take medicine. Many US states do not have legal pathways for family members to even approach the courts to request this. Often, it is truly impossible for a family member to force medication. There are people who have not gone through this because laws in their states are more conducive to medical treatment; some people also have the financial, legal, and insurance resources they need (along with living in the right US state). They do not understand that many families lack basic resources, including state laws that would help and insurance to pay for treatment, then stigmatize those who do not have what they have.

I honestly don’t know what is best treatment or what would be the best legally as every person who develops this illness is unique and requires uniquely responsive care.


#70

Hope, I think I know how you feel because for probably the first couple of years I was not convinced that the medicine gave my son any better quality of life. And I felt like some of my family members were afraid for me. My son was unmedicated for approximately six months last year and progressively stopped participating in life as we know it. He would sit in the sun until I made him move to the shade. He didn’t say anything he would just be within himself a lot.

Every so often he would have outbursts and grab chairs and slam furniture and doors and windows and it became pretty unsafe. Finally he was punching the air and went up to a 5 foot window and punched it. it broke and he had a little cut. The cut was deep so I took him into the ER and that began the process of having him hospitalized and medicated involuntarily. They suggested the MIW to get him treatment.

I was told that the longer they’re off medication the harder it is to get them back. right now I wouldn’t argue that his quality-of-life is incredibly better but at least he’s talking. He’s able to cook for himself, bathe and get dressed most days. I still have to help him with hygiene deodorant, teeth, and hair.

I hope you don’t think your unwelcome here because you’re son is not medicated. As you mentioned a lot of our loved ones don’t take the medication as prescribed and at one time or the other are unmedicated. Sometimes we do need people with skin on as I call it but come back to the forum when you feel need for support. You are most welcome here!


#71

Thanks Mom2.

When we were able to get our son on meds by following set out strategies, the longest he was medicated was one week. After the first couple of groggy days, we could see a really positive difference. We were so hopeful and excited. At least we were able to know we could check the box for him having a good reaction to meds. He is split 50/50 on the predictors for long term prognosis. He has five or the worst factors and five of the best factors. We always keep in mind that Dr Torrey says the predictors are just probabilities.

You and Hereandhere and my support group have made me realize I need to be thicker skinned about this particular subject. None of us have walked in each other’s shoes, our experiences are the same and different. Our family members suffer and react in different ways. We are all limited to the resources that are available to us, be they are own resources or state laws and such.

I can’t even write everything I would like to get off my chest about what goes on with my son day to day. My fear? That he is reading it. Too many details and he would recognize himself easily. I don’t want to wake up to a shotgun blast through my bedroom window.

So many families are trapped and so, so, many in much more threatening circumstances than us. I need to write for the people in such situations that read and are afraid to respond or unable.

I was angry for a long time at a couple I knew that were killed by their son. I was angry because we had tried to get them to do what needed to be done to have their son removed from their home by the police. He was threatening to kill them daily. They did nothing. Now he sits in the highest security part of a state hospital. He is one of those few that schizophrenia turns into a wildly, violent animal.

I was angry for a long time that they hadn’t done more to save themselves or help him.

I have read everything I can find about violence and schizophrenia. Finally, I found a way to have peace with those poor murdered parents after I read an account from a mom whose son suffered in the same way as their son.

She said that it happened gradually as their son’s illness progress. As he grew more violent toward them, she and her husband just shut down inside themselves. Basically, they found themselves feeling as though they were in the middle of a swirling storm, unable to see a way out, feeling helplessly unable to help him or themselves.

I began to understand as I remembered the time before we knew what was happening and my son visited home for the holidays. He entered our house psychotic and wildly angry. Our dog jumped up and stood in his path barking furiously at him. The dog had never done anything like that, she loved him. He stormed through our house and went to his old room. We had never seen him like that before that day. My husband and I retreated into our bathroom together at the other end of the house.

I felt numb and frozen, not only in my body, but in my mind too. Shaking inside and out. We quietly packed some stuff and snuck out of the house with the dog. I remember us sitting on a bar patio with the dog, just sitting, not talking, not having words that could express anything. Just writing this now I can feel that horribly terrified feeling inside. We checked into a hotel later that night -thank goodness for La Quinta and their acceptance of guests with big dogs.

Those poor people who were murdered, they didn’t choose to not help themselves or their son. They had become frozen inside themselves after being terrorized day after day. They used to talk about how they would give money to their son to buy drugs. It wasn’t their fault. Sometimes with scz, the family members end up so overwhelmed in their daily life - their heads are underwater- they are literally drowning, unable to help themselves.

If anyone thinks I am choosing to not have my son medicated- they are totally clueless. If anyone thinks my son is choosing to not be medicated, they are truly ignorant about this illness.

If anyone thinks my sheriff is wrong to ask me to not have my son put on forced meds as in his experience this is the sort of situation that just keeps escalating with each encounter - well those people are worse than ignorant about this illness. They are dangerously ignorant.

Each situation is different. My son does cower and hide in his home in tortured, desperate fear from his paranoia and delusions. But, like some of the others who suffer from extreme paranoia from their schizophrenia, he is highly, highly dangerous. Every single time he has been in a paranoid state and has been cornered, he has come out of that corner - hard.

We are grateful to have reached coping. We know we didn’t cause it, we know he didn’t cause it. We know we can’t control it, we know he can’t control it. We are coping with it and we can only hope his recent decision to work with a therapist is helping him cope with it. He’s been going for several months now.


#72

I wouldn’t want anybody with an unmedicated family member to feel any stigma. It’s not easy to get some people to take medication, and I could be back in that situation at any point, since my son has no insight into his illness. I always make sure I take my phone in with me when visiting my son, and if he is agitated, keep both it and my keys on my person.

For the most part I think we are all just doing the best we can in the face of this terrible illness.


#73

Hope and others,

I’m new to this forum. Spent a couple years at out of the fog but am excited to find a forum that focuses on schizophrenia. My wife began exhibiting noticeable symptoms after her mother’s death. Of course, looking back over the early years of our marriage, I see indicators. My wife has had two very major episodes with recurring minor ones. In the midst of her first major episode, I convinced her to see a marriage counselor. After a few months of spiritualized CBT, she came out of her major episode. I was still ignorant of her illness and thought it was panic attacks and OCD. She managed her symptoms for about 6 years. She still had underlying suspicions but was able to function. Then, due to financial reasons, about four years ago she went back to work full-time. Apparently the stress of a full-time job sent her on another episode that last over a year. Got so bad she thought her boss colluded with the government in a plot to kill her. Everyone except her three children were involved in the plot, poisoning her, sneaking in to her bed room in the middle of the night, formulating toxins that only would harm her, etc. Her work had to let her go because of her weird behavior. All the while she denied having any problems no matter how bizarre her behavior became.

Today, she is still in denial, though she does not have the severe paranoia at present. She now denies she ever had a problem, even justifying why she accused me of cheating on her and poisoning her food. She tried medication for depression a decade ago and because she was psycho-somatic instantly got all the negative side effects listed on the bottle. Since she has refused any medical or psychological treatments. After she lost her job, she locked herself in her room for over a year, and then her OCDpd overtook our house. Her illness destroyed her personality, her career, her friendships, our marriage, and our family. My grown daughter moved out of the house as soon as she could to get away from my wife. After her repeatedly accusing me of physically threatening her, I separated from her at the beginning of the year. Still she will not seek treatment. After seeing how it affected my daughter, I felt I needed to provide a safe place for my two teenage sons.

Sorry, I don’t have a story about someone with the illness seeking treatment or meds. I have given up hope that she will ever have clarity. I just know I lost myself to the disease and needed to seek freedom for myself and my boys. I leave it in God’s hands to bring someone else to speak to her and am currently waiting on Him.


#74

I am hanging out at this forum mostly to get support taking care of my daughter, but…

My 47 year old brother is now again sending me an email after an email. According to his thinking patron, he cannot have a normal life because:

  • neither i, nor our cousin will help him geting a job (how?)
  • instead of just getting him a job (which, of course, would solve ALL of his issues and he would be able to be independent and find a woman and have children…), so instead of getting him a job, different family members constantly give him wrong advices (such as “take medication” or “ask for support from various agencies”) and these wrong advices influence and shape his personality in such a wrong way that he cannot get a job or start a family.

He is currently in… Europe, away from any medical and financial help that he could get here in Canada; but he wants my help in getting him a job over there, etc.
So, yes, I’ve read a book on how to talk to our loved ones who suffer from sz, but i am still unable to convince him to come back to the country where there is help available to him.


#75

Anosognosia makes saving our loved ones so difficult. But, to get the job done (to save them), we have to be hard. That means we don’t tolerate unsafe behavior to selves or others. Unsafe behavior to “selves” includes suicidal thoughts as well as the inability to care for selves (hygiene, neighborhood safety, need for a 24/7 caregiver) or make rational decisions about the benefits versus the side effects of anti-psychotic meds. Unsafe behaviors to “others” includes threats to harm or actual physical aggression to a person or their property. After going the non-medicated route, for way too long, I have learned that forced intervention (police support, court ordered hospitalization, and court ordered medication) is what “saving” actually is. Our loved ones don’t have to live in fear. Medication works.


#76

Brief texts do seem to work for our son too. Trouble is he busted his last phone and I’ve been hesitant to give him another until he is more stable. Does he live nearby or with you? Does he buy his own phones?
I appreciate your message. I think we are all just learning as we go here. Hope you have a good day.


#77

Istherehope,

Your conclusion paragraph really hits home with me. I often feel my son’s illness has taken our family and just thrown it down to break it into pieces. We can end up losing ourselves and our families to the illness. We have to seek freedom for ourselves in whatever manner is possible. Reducing the damage in our lives seems like the best we can hope to accomplish.

Take care of yourself and your sons. Best wishes to you, hope


#78

We can do all the right things and still not get the results we want. And it’s not because we did it wrong, didn’t try hard enough, or whatever people may think.

Their thinking patterns are so irrational - we are wired to be rational- made me feel crazy to try to find the right rational response so he could finally see reason - ha? Mine never responds to rationality, he is mentally ill. I gave up trying, which has just been better for me and hasn’t changed my son’s situation one little bit.


#79

Anosognosia is very misunderstood. One of the teachers in my NAMI Family to Family class actually thought it was another word for denial - yikes!

My son has never uttered a threat, he has never attacked a person, he has never threatened or attempted suicide. He has never been hospitalized for his schizophrenia. He showers regularly and he takes medicine twice a day to maintain his transplant. He was taken to jail once on a bench warrant for his car inspection sticker. When he still lived away from home, he called the police for help because he thought his neighbors were about to kill him. They could see the problem and took him into custody for the bench warrant. They tried, their CIT person tried, they could get nothing out of him to allow them to put a 3 day hold on him.

He kept a loaded gun next to his bed in preparation for the neighbors to come and attempt to kill him. He believed the entire city was in on a plot to kill him. He began driving around with the gun when he went grocery shopping. It was just a matter of time before someone approached him or his house and a tragedy would have occurred.

You must live in a state with excellent intervention - unless your loved one actually qualified for forced intervention. Even the new federal laws recently passed don’t do much for the mentally ill who aren’t frequently jailed or hospitalized. I live in a rural part of a state that is near the bottom of mental health spending - the last time we called for forced intervention - I’m lucky those rubes didn’t shoot me. Glad its worked so well for you.


#80

KWell, i just replied to my brother saying that I do support his goal of getting a job and that’s why i wish he would come back to Canada because here he could get help stabilizing his emotions (that’s my euphemism for sz when communicating with my brother), so he would be more successful facing his challenges

I guess, i was trying to tailor my response to his wants (an employment), while in reality i just hope to bring him here so he could get some medical help.

From the previous experience i know that i can never say the right thing to him and always get it “wrong”. But i am not goingto stress. My daughter is my priority at this point of time, and not my brother.

Just a quick update: my brother told me off in a very rude maner. So, there we ho again, another circle. Poor guy.