Needing insight, advice, help
I’m not sure if this is allowed or if this is even the right place, but I’m not sure what else to do. I’m 26F, and my dad is schizophrenic and also has major depressive episodes. My dad’s family is from a small town in the south, and very religious, and has always kept my dad’s illness “hush hush.” My mother is a first gen immigrant from Asia, and she and my dad have been married for almost 30 years. I think that it’s part of my mother’s culture to “hide” mental issues as well. My dad has always had “issues,” and my family tried to shelter me from them, but I always knew something was troubling my dad. As I got older, I was told a bit more here and there, how my dad was hospitalized twice, how he needed to take medication daily, that type of thing. Throughout my childhood, my dad was pretty fun-loving and goofy, and I loved spending time with him, but there were days, weeks, sometimes months where he would become someone else and I was afraid to do or say the wrong thing and make it worse. As I got older, I learned that my dad and his siblings were abused by their parents (my grandparents,) and that my dad, as the middle child, got it the worst. Verbal abuse, physical, mental, you name it. My grandfather has since apologized to his children for the abuse, but my grandmother refuses to acknowledge the extent of the abuse.
I don’t know if that’s a good summation or explanation, but I can answer any questions to clarify something. My dad has always had a hard time with transitions, or life changes, and they will usually send him into a depressive episode. Not eating, not sleeping, not taking his medications, sometimes auditory or visual delusions. My graduating college was very difficult for him. I recently got married to my best friend, and my dad honestly adores my husband, but I think this huge life event for me has totally overwhelmed my dad. A few months ago he decided he wanted to be Catholic, after being in a traditional church of Christ his whole life. This didn’t bother me at all, as I believe the church of Christ is more harmful than beneficial to most people. But as we got closer to the wedding, my dad dove head first in Catholicism. Daily mass, all the books, watching mass on TV at home, he stopped eating meat, the whole 9 yards. The day my husband and I got back from our honeymoon, my dad threw out or gave away a lot of my mom’s possessions, and she’s been staying with us for the last two weeks. I’ve been trying to be compassionate with my dad and know that he has an illness and isn’t thinking clearly right now. He has been telling me that he believes his grandfather is real dad (I think this is a coping mechanism from his abuse,) that god is speaking to him and making him make promises, that my real name is Anne after Saint Anne. I want to support him and not make him feel like he’s “crazy,” but I don’t want to feed into his delusions and make it worse.
This probably makes little to no sense, but I’m just kind of hopeless right now and I want to help him but I don’t know how.