I have noticed that there are two distinct schools of thought about the origin of SZ. One is that it is brought on by early childhood trauma and the other that it is present at birth. Lots of articles I have read where the underlying assumption is one of trauma have left me wondering if what they are describing isn’t PTSD? To the very best of my knowledge my son did not undergo what I would call major trauma. We also have two other sons that show no signs of past trauma, even though they had basically the same upbringing as my son who suffers. However, my son who has SZ was an unusual baby. He was so very agreeable and hardly ever fussed or cried. When he got a little older I noticed how his reactions to my upset if he did something naughty were completely level headed. He would just say, “oh ok, I won’t do that again.” No protesting like the other two might have done. He also had difficulty conveying where he was hurting if he was sick. It was as if I was asking another person where he was feeling things. Anyway, I am wondering if you remember anything strikingly different about your son or daughter when they were quite young?
I remember while giving birth the doc asked me to push hard as my son was in distress and lacking oxygen . Also when he was about 8 years old he slid on a water slide and smacked the front part of his head hard . They glued it instead of stitches . Growing up he really seemed like a normal kid but a little moody. His dad has a mental illness . Im guessing it was a combination of everything especially not growing up with a dad .
My son was always socially anxious as a child. AFAIK, the real trauma came as a young adult from a relationship, marriage and divorce. He started hearing voices after that relationship ended.
Our son was awesome from day one, and all the way thru, great personality, smart, funny, play sports lots of friends, we did not see this coming, no experience with it, he is a beautiful soul and sad he is enduring this. I remember reading someone mentioned they tend to have the same traits/personality when they are ill and I believe that, he is still an awesome person, great soul, very kind, polite, helpful, med compliant, he is still all that just a bit different manner and struggles with hygiene, anxiety but tries really hard.
My son was ADHD, but had tons of friends. Always seemed defiant , like did something because we told him not too. my brother committed Suicide when he was in 8th grade. Shortly followed by losing a friend in an accident. Both events affected him horribly. After that he started acting odd. We thought he was on drugs. Took us a year to know it was schizophrenia. But was he self medicating? As he was doing some drugs. Who knows. If only he would take medication.
Interesting point Lovemom. I am always waiting for my son to do something terrible, but the facts are that for the most part he remains calm and does not burden others with his suffering. A continuation of his childhood personality as you have noticed in your son.
All of your observations are so interesting and I am amazed that psychiatrists do not take a greater interest in our children’s history. Apart from themselves, we know our children better than anyone.
My daughter was the easiest of the 4. She has always been a sleeper, to the point where I thought she had narcolepsy lol. She is very laid back and easy going. With that said she is the most sensitive though. It was always hard for her to know when someone was joking.
Academically I had to pull her out of school and homeschool her because she could study for hours and not remember a thing. She is great with hands on learning just not testing. Some kids are like this so I don’t know if it has anything to do with SZ. She could have a list of vocabulary words beside her and start writing it wrong on her own paper.
We noticed early on, and called it “ditzy,” that she would take the longest time telling an event/story. It could have been told in a third of the time lol.
In the delivery room she was a harder delivery but no medication other than patocin. No patocin for the other kids.
She is just the sweetest soul and so special
I had to homeschool my son, too, after 8th grade. He couldn’t do the academics. Also he wanted friends so badly that he got into a wild group because they would tolerate his odd behavior.
He has really become sweeter again once he got on better meds.
Looking back, I didn’t realize how unusual he was because his brothers had severe autism. I was so glad he could talk and be somewhat social that I overlooked some of his early struggles.
That’s similar to me Linda, I was in labour for so long he got stressed .
Also at aged 5 my son decided to in his words “see what it feels l ike to be blind “ while riding his bike.
So he closed his eyes and promptly crashed his big , ended up with a huge egg shaped bump in the middle of his forehead . I often wonder about this too.
He was a super happy, confident friendly little boy. Till puberty hit .
My daughter was physically very ill as a child. I believe her illness led to separation anxiety. She had ADHD. But she also showed subtle symptoms of autism spectrum- nothing serious enough to alarm us or her doctors. She still flaps her hands sometimes. Interestingly, they are now studying sz and autism as on the same spectrum.
I’ve always wondered too if I missed many signs of SZ when my daughter, now 40, was young. As a baby she did show early signs of anxiety around people but was fearless when it came to physical development, always the first to excel in sports etc. As a baby she slept well and was very sweet. She started to really show troubled behavior in junior high, hanging out with a more eclictic group where she started smoking and experimenting in drugs. I thought it was a phase but later she told me she was experiencing extreme social anxiety at that time. She also told me when she was 3 that she believed she heard her first voice. I was so clueless.
Interesting you just took me back to my brother childhood, same thing he never complains! Or protests, but was a smart boy good in school and very active
Oh wow, Steadfast. You just described my SZ son. He was such a compliant child. So easy to get along with. Nothing really seemed to really bother him. While I never really saw any temper tantrums, I honestly do not recall any real passionate excitements either. I always racked it up to him just having an attention seeking and demanding sister (16 mos older). His older sister also suffers from MI but, her symptoms and behaviors are very different.
My son did have trauma…the death (suicide) of his father when he was 10 and even with that his response was "oh well, Dad is really missing out. ". He never really grieved…and still has not.
I believe many (my kids for sure) are born w/ a propensity…it just sometimes takes a trauma/stress or drug use for the MI to raise it’s ugly head.
From my own experience: My son and I both had our DNA done for genealogy purposes (my escape) and just for shi*$ and giggles, I uploaded our DNA kits to a secondary site that uses SNPedia to identify mutations and variations. In his report in bold text he had “Six times higher risk of SZ”. I cried.
That’s interesting that your son had an older sibling by just 16 months. That was the case for my son as well. I have been delving into the question of where my son could have suffered trauma as a baby. He was so uncomplaining that I am sure I neglected him in what I considered minor ways (not getting his diaper changed right away, not arriving immediately when he was crying in the middle of the night, etc.) partly because I was just overwhelmed with two under two.
My current theory of how this illness played out is that my son had a minor brain anomaly at birth (as evidenced by minor facial anomalies that I mentioned in another post). This brain anomaly means that he processes emotions in a different way then “normal” people. Infantile trauma can be something as simple as mom doesn’t come when I cry and we all carry this trauma in ourselves (unless we get therapy and work it out). “Normal” people express this trauma when they are triggered by life’s circumstances - we think we are mad at our mate because of something they did, but we are actually reexperiencing infantile trauma. In my son’s mind this sort of “normal” processing doesn’t occur and he is stuck reexperiencing his trauma 24/7 through an adult mind.
I think the error that people make when considering the trauma theory of schizophrenia is that even minor events can be traumatic to the helpless child, and that these minor events cause future suffering BECAUSE the brain has a structural anomaly. A lot of what I read people describing as schizophrenia, I think is PTSD. What I mean by that is that these people do not have a structural anomaly, but they have suffered such a god awful trauma that their brain copes with psychosis.
Ive had schizophrenia since 2002, but I truly believe I may had childhood trauma that I only recognized as an adult…as a kid in high school one must remember that stress is a huge factor, some kids cant handle stress as well as others, and some go far and beyond to excel, thats why I feel that if your son/daughter is receiving bad grades, and being bullied and such one as a parent must think and maybe retract from the usual daily events and take a breather, a vacation maybe to speak and havea one on one, or even to share time with him or her. Schizophrenia I believe is more of a spiritual/mental problem that can escalate if not taken care of. So remember if you notice your child a little down, have a moment an hour a day with him/her and dedicate more time before having to condemn him/her to a life of pills.
Our daughter did have a traumatic birth and the OB doc intubated her so she could breathe. She had two accidents as a toddler: one where she choked on a small piece of carrot but my husband was able to force it out. The other one she fell from a small table she climbed and hit her mouth with tongue out and almost lost her tongue. She ended up vomiting copious amounts of blood and ended up in surgery to stitch up the tongue which they usually don’t do. I have felt guilty sometimes as I was right by her when she fell. She was a strong willed child and she and her Dad often didn’t get along maybe because they are so much alike.
Now the good news is that she functioned well until her mid 30s before she had her psychotic episode and was involuntary hospitalized for a few months. But she is now completing her Psy.d and will be starting a post doc to get licensed.
What made a difference for her is her ability to work through problems in her life and seeking support from family and friends as well as NAMI support groups. She also has the strong support from us, her parents. We now live in different states but connect with her on a daily basis. It hasn’t been an easy journey and like you all not one we want for our child or ourselves. We are thankful to God for so many answers to prayer.
looking back (30 years), I can’t say I recall anything alarming or overly strange in terms of behavior. The one POSSIBLE exception would be his spontaneity in both starting and stopping activities. For example, I recall several times where he would-out of the blue!-literally throw the baseball mitt at me to indicate his desire to play catch.
When he had had enough, he would silently walk back inside, often times, BEFORE I even noticed (like when I missed an overthrow and had to turn my back to him to retrieve it. Turn back around and no one to throw to!!).