Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I Am A Very Concerned Sister, Please Help Me Find Clarity!


#1

Hello all! I’d like to introduce myself since this is my first time posting. My name is Marie and I am a 28 year old female from New York–currently a stay at home mom to a wonderful 1 year old (been with her father for 12 years). I’ve come to this forum because I’ve been very depressed regarding my only sister who is younger than me. My main concern is whether my sister is paranoid schizophrenic or not. If she is, I want to make sure I do what I can to get her help. If she isn’t then i’ll let her be and just pray that everything works out for her in her life. So I will describe my sister and her situation as best as I can and it would mean so much to me if any of you who are familiar with this mental illness can tell me whether or not I should be concerned and what actions to take. Please, this is one of my only hopes!

Our backround-- My parents immigrated from the Dominican Republic. There wasn’t much love between them, my father married for his papers and my mom came to the US for a better life and believed my father would provide that for her. My mothers first pregnancy was a still born. A few years later she had me and then 7 years later came my sister. We lived in Queens NY up until I was 9. Our life in queens was good. Once we moved to Long Island, problems started. My parents bought a house and money was tight. My mother has a terrible personality–she is very controlling, spoiled, angry, emotionally abusive, and is just a negative person. My father (who we later find out is gay) is more soft and passive agressive. They fought a lot and my mother would call him all kinds of names like lazy, fat, sissy, etc. They never showed love to one another and didn’t sleep together. My mother grew up poor and she constantly complained about money, even till this day. When I was about 14 ( my sister 7) they separated and my dad went to go live in FL. We visited him in the summers (up until I was 17). My mother had few bfs, they were nice guys–she was the issue mostly. So the reason I am telling you all of this is because this comes into play as to what is going on with my sister.

My Sister- She is 21 years old with striking green eyes and dark hair. Beautiful girl that most guys found attractive. My sister was a tomboy when she was younger, very active with an active imagination. She always did well in school (unlike me) and never had any behavioral problems. She was a moody kid, rarely showed anger or much emotion–for the most part emotionally reserved. When she was 16, she was like most females–thought everything was the end of the world! When she started college at 18, she had some issues with anxiety but it wasn’t anything to be so concerned about because for the most part she seemed okay. She was just more moody than she was in her younger years and seemed to get sad over what most would consider “trivial things”. She didn’t have any substance abuses, rarely drank but she did begin smoking pot at 15.
So my sister was about 19,20 when she met her boyfriend. She met him at her job, he was a bartender and she was a caterer. My sister spoke very highly of him, how beautiful he was and how amazing he was. I supported her and was very happy she had found someone she felt this good about. (she had a previous relationship for about 2 years, he was a bit of a flirt). I can’t recall if he introduced her or if she did but they started embarking on a very spiritual path. From what I know they weren’t doing any drugs just smoking pot, eating pot brownies and chocolates. The very first changes I started noticing in my sister was that she couldn’t eat. She would be hungry and order a decent sized meal, but would take a few bites and never finished her food. She went to doctors and they couldn’t find anything wrong. This went on forever (probably till this day) and she started losing a lot of weight. As the relationship progressed, they were very far into their spiritual path. I can’t recall precisely the sequence of events, but at some point my sister did something called ayahuasca , which is a tropical vine native to the Amazon region, noted for its hallucinogenic properties.It’s a drink that is monitored by a shaman. It’s not legal here in NY but she did it in a ceremony that she trusted. Not sure how long after but my sister told me she had been hearing voices she believed were spirits. She heard a little girl and I think saw a shadow. She would tell me she would hear voices on occasion and attributed all of this to her being spiritual and having the ability to hear and see these things. My sister was slowly declining from here on out. We were extremely close, we lived in the same house and she would every day come to my room when she would wake up and ask me if I was hungry–we’d either make food at home or go out to get something to eat. My sister was naturally a funny, happy person who was extremely caring. Once we moved into a new house, my sister took a turn for the worse. Her physical appearance was changing, she stopped wearing makeup the way she use to, didn’t care much about her clothes or shoes, and not sure how often she bathed. The look on her face changed drastically. She wasn’t moody, it was a permanent look—this expressionless gaze like she had no soul almost. She stopped asking me if I was hungry and would sneak out the house to get something to eat. She started to kind of distance herself from me and when she was with me, she just seemed so depressed and dead. I really took it personal but she was like this to everyone, especially her best friend who was a gay guy. She slowly started backing away from him, rarely talked to him or hung out with him. The only person she hung out with was her bf, and it was the only company she seemed to enjoy. Things got even worse around December. I believe the pot brownie she took did a really bad effect on her. She spent about a month with an intense paranoia about my mom. Like i previously mentioned, my mother has always been very hard to get along with, people stay away because she’s annoying and we’re pretty sure shes some sort of narcissist–but it wasn’t the worst. She was a good mother for the most part just very hard to get a long with. She spanked us on ocassion but never hard enough to draw blood or bruises. With that said, I didn’t know where this paranoia came from. My sister was convinced my mom was trying to kill us. At first I thought it was just her saying stuff, like we all think crazy stuff at some points then just get over it, but she was CONVINCED. She refused to eat her food and told me to hide my daughters formula and to double think if I wanted to have her babysit. When she was at her boyfriends, she would constantly text me asking me if I was okay. I tried telling her time after time that she needs to relax and that nothing is going to happen. One time she even parked her car 3 blocks away and hid in a closet to see if our mom was going to do anything. One time my mom had a stomach ache and she started getting paranoid about that! Another time she went into her car to look for clues and I think she thought my mom saw her and she started hyperventilating, thinking my mom was going to do something to her because she saw her. Then another weird thing my sister said was that my mothers male friend (some guy she works with who agreed to put his name on the house) was my dad. I don’t look much like my dad but I know he’s my father because we have similar traits both physical and non physical, but my sister was convinced that the other guy was my dad. So at this point my sister kind of snaps out of the delusional but isn’t better by any means. The look on her face is still the same, she’d rather go out to eat, go to the mall, etc alone than ask me to go with her, and she wasn’t telling me all the details in her life like she use to. Actually she barely told me anything unless I asked, and even then she still didn’t really tell me much. Then some time after, another strange incident happened. She said she was in the car and she heard some kind of demon in her ear and that she felt the demon wanted her to crash the car, it wanted her to kill herself. She called it a demon attack. She spoke to some light workers and they said it was a psychic attack. So my sisters interpretation of all that was going was that she was meant to be a healer and that she has psychic abilities. She claimed she was also empathic and could feel everyones emotions in a room, and wouldn’t know if she was feeling someone else’s emotions or her own. She had to constantly carry around crystals and light up her room with sage to protect herself from negative energy, especially mom who she started referring to as “Satan”. Other weird things my sister was doing— she said she would get “messages” to do things, not sure if these were voices or intuitions but she constantly spoke about “i keep getting these messages to blah blah”. Then one of these messages or “flashbacks” was that our mom sexually molested her. She was convinced that she remebered a time when mom was touching her and asked her if it felt good. Now i can’t tell someone their lying because that’s a very hefty accusation. I know my mom, and she always liked to check us but she never came across as a molester, my mother never touched me or did anything remotely sexual. I never even caught her or heard her having sex. Where my sister got this from or if she was telling the truth, I have no freaking idea. Maybe someone else did it and she was accusing mom? I don’t know!! So as time was passing, I actually wasn’t enjoying my sisters company. I didn’t want to admit it, but I didn’t like being around her anymore and found myself not inviting her places like I use to. She wasn’t fun anymore and when she was pleasant and fun, it felt forced which I found odd. She constantly had this look on her face and this aura of death, hate and depression about her. She kept blaming it all on mom, that the years of emotional abuse and sexual abuse from mom were getting to her, and when shes at the house she can feel moms restless energy. She started to get more in tune with her “abilities” and would accuse everyone (me, my bf and her best friend) that we were angry and weren’t dealing with our issues. This made me not want to really be around her because she made me feel like I was a nuisance. I was in such denial, I really was. Hoping she’d snap out of whatever the hell was happening. But she never did. My sister withdrew herself from everyone and just kept acquaintances. Late June, my sister left the house and took a few belongings and went to go live with her bf. He lives in the same town as us, but she doesn’t want to see anyone, including me. It’s been 2 months since i’ve seen her face to face. She wanted to pick up her mail one day and said she “had to go to work but was going to quickly pick up her mail before she left” and instead of me handing it to her, she wanted me to put it in the mailbox. I asked her why she didn’t even want to say hi, she said “its not about you, its me and what i’m going through”.
We still talk through text once in a while, but nothing is remotely the same. My sister is gone and it has been the most painful thing to watch someone you love die right before your eyes. Dealing with my mom who i’ve never gotten along with, and the betrayal of so many female friends in my life, my sister was the only thing I relied on, our bond made me so happy I begged my parents to give me a sibling, and now for no reason none of that exists anymore. I was so good to her, always heard her out and gave her advice, and most of all, so much sisterly love. Played with her all the time when we were young. Granted, I wasn’t the perfect sister, but I was good, and to come to the realization that my sister is this person I don’t even know, kills me so bad. I cry with such emotion almost every day when I think of her and what kills me is the not knowing. I believed her every time she told me all this was because of her spiritual awakening, I never questioned it. At one point I thought her bf put a spell on her to only enjoy his company, I mean i just didn’t know what to think. It wasn’t until my mother brought up schizophrenia that I started to question it. I looked it up and many of her behaviors coincided with paranoid schizophrenia. For about a week i’ve been researching, calling, and i’m still in the same spot. I just need someone to tell me if I need to be concerned or if I should just let it go. My sister has so much potential–she’s a smart girl who wanted to go away to college, and be a radiologist. My sister still (from what I know, she doesn’t really answer my questions directly) is still a caterer but she started other jobs along the way and she quits all of them after a few days, for one reason or the other. She doesn’t like the energies, or what the job represents, or the job doesn’t have real purpose. That’s horrible for someone intelligent like my sister to quit job after job because of things like that. I try telling her that she can’t live her life running away from bad energy, but she doesn’t listen. She’s very set on this path and believes this is what HAS to be done. She wants me to leave my mom also but at the moment I can’t—so she says that I am “in the darkness”. Speaking of darkness, my sister started loving anything dark. Her sheets were black, her blanket was black, and she even tried to make the lighting of her room as dim as possible. Before I conclude this long story I wanted to talk a little bit about her bf, who plays a major role in this because all of these changes didn’t come about until he entered her life. He introduced her to the ayahuasca, theta healers (what she wants to do), and all of this spiritual stuff (he’s super spiritual himself). They both stopped eating meat, both lost a lot of weight, and consider eachother “twin flames”. She believes he awoke her after so many years of “being asleep”. Her bf is 3 years older than her. His mother died from a drug overdose when he was in highschool and his father was in jail for a mortgage scam. I don’t know how emotionally damaged this guy is, don’t know how deep his relations to the occult and spiritual world are (i’m going to say very very very deep) and I don’t know if he’s taken my sisters soul. My mother hated him from the go. That is why my sister started hating my mom, but she disguised it with other stuff. Every time my mom said something about her bf, she would hate her even more. My sister completely cut contanct with my mom–changed her number and everything. The last texts my mom sent to my sister was something about him putting a spell on her, which is what I said to her a few months back when I noticed that she looked miserable everytime she wasn’t near him, or just at home in general. Since then, she stopped talking to me as much and I feel like she doesn’t trust me with anything. I told her it was a coincidence, but she believes mom is going to get to me.

I apologize for writing so much! I just needed to get that off my chest and give you all a clear image of what’s going on, so any of you that have a good understanding of schizophrenic people can tell me if I need to be concerned and what measures to take. You can ask me any questions about her, and her bf and I will answer them the best to my knowledge. Yes i’ve asked her questions since i’ve suspected this and like I said, she just dances around my questions, or doesn’t answer at all. All she does is talk spiritual, thats it, its her only language and the only life she is consumed by. I also suspected they may have “shared personality disorder”…but that’s difficult to assess. Once again, please help me, I am going through a tough time with this, it’s affecting my life at this point because I miss my sister so much, I love her and want her to be happy and to live her life to its fullest potential. I don’t think our relationship could ever go back to what it was, but i’d like to try if this is because of a mental illness. Before mental illness came to my mind, I just thought she was just being selfish and didn’t want anything to do with her old life. I am open to all posts, thanks for your time and your honest responses are greatly appreciated, bless you all!!!


#2

First thought that came to mind when I read your post is that how proud I would be to have a daughter like you that is looking after her sister as you are!
My son has schizophrenia but has never used drugs, so I’ll let others who have that experience give you advice.

If she does have schizophrenia there are many books on the subject, that can help you to understand this illness, and what words to use when you are talking to her that can try to help the situation. If you can read the other postings here, you will find many videos on different topics that are helpful!

Sorry I can’t give you more help on your sister with her drug use, I just wanted you to know we are glad you are at this forum🌺


#3

You are a very loving sister.

My husband has a substance abuse issue and delusions. What you have said reminds me of him. We DON’T have a firm diagnosis.

All I can say is I know how painful it is. There are a lot of people here who can give you great insight. I’m still learning and in the thick of things- I’m pretty clueless- but this is a great place to share your feelings. My husband’s “breakdown”- for lack of a better word- was almost 3 months ago and the people here have been a lifeline to me. I’ll be thinking of you.


#4

Thank you both for your kind words! It means a lot to me. To be honest, the pain gets worse as the days go by, wish it wasn’t this way. I will be a part of this forum, updating you all on everything. I might snapshot (if I am able to upload pictures) of our text messages, maybe if you spot anything odd let me know. I just wish all of this was some kind of nightmare. Anyway, I will be in touch!


#5

I think you are wise to ask questions and keep an open communication with her. Keep working in the trust and relationship so that when and if the time is right, you will be there to help. I know this must be a very scary time for your family. It could be a lot of things and I hope you are able to discern the truth soon. Hang in there.


#6

As a second job, I’m a freelance writer for the cannabis industry, so I’ve done an incredible amount of research.

Some people say that marijuana use can trigger schizophrenia in people with a genetic predisposition. Others say that people are simply more likely to experiment with drugs as a way to self-medicate when they have a mental health issue.

Here’s what I know from experience:

  1. I’ve talked to and know lots of people who use marijuana in many forms and never have had psychotic issues.
  2. I have no mental issues normally, but when I was younger and smoked, it made me paranoia - I am the least paranoid person otherwise. So, I don’t smoke.
  3. My son did not smoke when he had his first psychotic break at 15, but he has smoked since. He will say that too much or the wrong kind will make his symptoms worse - but, if he smokes only a little, he thinks he’s OK. I discourage it.

My opinion is that while your sister’s issues could be from drug use alone, I’d bet they’re not - but the drugs certainly aren’t helping. The spiritual stuff you’re talking about sounds like classic magical thinking that’s a symptom of psychosis - of course, I’m not religious or spiritual, so someone who is might have different thoughts on the matter.

Whether or not your sister is ill, you might want to read a book I’m trying to wrap my head around called “I’m not sick, I don’t need help” by Dr Xavier Amador. I’m sure lots of people here have read it. Even if she’s not sick, it will help you reconnect with her and find out more about what’s really going on. I think it’s got some good advice for communication in general.

I agree with everyone else - you’re a great sister to care so much & want to help.


#7

There are a couple videos on this site also from this author.


#8

I would talk to a mental health support group, they have them all over. Look under mental health support groups on the internet.
Perhaps they can help you. Don’t know anything about side effects of taking drugs, could be part of it?
Good luck.


#9

@ConcernedSister6:

  1. Someone recommended I talk to 1-800-273-8255(http://suicide.org/) to get some help in right direction. I spoke to them for about an hour trying to explain everything happening with my SZ brother(refusing to take medication) and they pointed me to some local resources to talk to.

  2. Also please register yourself to caregiver support group at your local NAMI(National Alliance on Mental Illness). Here is the link to find your local NAMI: http://www.nami.org/Find-Your-Local-NAMI

  3. Please try calling local Crisis Intervention teams, and tell them what you are experiencing and they will be able to guide too.

  4. I’m also looking into option of getting an appointment with psychiatrist for myself - to talk through everything happening and check to see if they may have some suggestions being in the field, and having experience dealing with patients.