Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

"I have to fake it with them"

“I have to fake it with them”

That’s what I overheard my daughter saying to her sister in tears. I have no idea what the context was… What she was upset about, or who the “Them” she feels she has to fake it with. That is all I overheard of the conversation.

Makes me wonder… has she been faking with us about things being fine? Up to now, there has been no signs of a downturn. Since she started treatment, she has seemed to happy and confident… something she hasn’t been in a long time…

And this happening 5 hours after the best news she has received… being accepted into art school… She even told her grandmother that things are going great.

Can a good thing be too much for our loved ones??? Too overwhelming? I don’t understand how things changed around so fast… from excitement to tears.

Should I be concerned? Obviously I should be alert if this happens again… or other signs. Is this just an isolated thing.

When I asked her about it, she replied, “You don’t need be concerned, Dad.” When my wife asked her… “it’s nothing I can’t handle.”

Thirty minutes later, she comes down and says that she was just being overdramatic about some situation.

I have no idea what the situation was that she “overdramatic” about.

It is possible that this conversation happened before she took her medication… and once she took her medication, she was fine.

It seams that she fully understands that she is very ill, this is a good thing.

I doubt it, meds are not that fast, SZ will typically say so many crazy things, just blow it off as nothing is real…

nope

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@Windyhill63 You are a wonderful parent and sensitive to her feelings. Even though things are going so wonderfully in other areas, she still has an illness. It seems as if she wants to be independent and therefore does not want to burden you. Her therapist should be able to help here. It seems as if she is doing a good job of recognizing the challenges she has due to the illness and that she is using the tools she has learned to manage the symptoms of illness and get through the challenges. You can applaud her for this and just let her know you are available if she ever wants to talk about it. You will continue to be proud of her no matter what, and even more so knowing that there may be ups and downs in this journey. Life is like that. She can find a few persons she trusts to be “real” with. You do not expect her life to be perfect, and welcome her sharing about the challenges as well as the joys! Do you ever have family counseling together? That is an idea if she would embrace that.

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This is important and something all caregivers should realize. Medication is not a switch. It takes time to build up and time to titrate down. Even when you take the medication it takes a while to fully understand this. When first starting medication or when dosages are adjusted, you can get anxious or worried you forgot a dose or that is isn’t working. I remember going home from work at lunch and counting pills to make sure I took my dose. Some medications have longer half-lives than others, you can look this up online and get an idea, it varies and is usually multiple days or weeks or months when you get into some of the atypicals and the time released injections.

Per “having to fake it with them”, this could be pretty much anyone in her life, but my guess would be new or former friends or classmates or acquaintances. I’d hazard a guess it’s someone her sister knows. And frankly, you probably should leave this between the two of them. You may want to have a talk with her sister and ask her to speak with you if there’s anything that has her concerned. I think all parents need to give their children some space to learn things on their own, and try helicopter parenting less. Anxiety can be contagious.

Caregivers need to appreciate when you have a MI, people you interact with have varying degrees of understanding or need-to-know, and you have to make choices in various social contexts and it can be complex to navigate. For example, answering a question as simple as someone asking you “How are you doing?” can be complex. Do you mention anxiety, or delusions or hallucinations or what have you, or say “fine” when things aren’t exactly fine, but too complex to get into? Not that these things don’t happen to people who are well, but you need to think of your worst feelings in these circumstances and turn them up to 11 to get an idea what it can be like.

To cope and interact with the world when you have a MI, especially when you venture out and do more than just staying home means you have to learn these coping and survival mechanisms for your own protection. You have to be different things to different people, or it can cost you. And with social media in the picture it can be even more complex for young people- MI or not.

She’ll learn if you let her, just keep the lines of communication open and give her access to multiple avenues of support and encourage her to go to people who she trusts when she has a problem.

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It occurred to me that my daughter has recently returned from having dinner with an old friend and her family… she was her best friend but my daughter lost contact with her when we changed schools for my daughters. This was before my daughter’s diagnosis. She used to camping in the Adirondacks with every summer.

In that context what my daughter said makes a lot of sense and it is perfectly understandable why she was so upset.

Most likely I was reading to much into what I overheard… something that is related to my own mental health issues… when I overhear things out of their context or hear pearls whispering, I do tend to think they are talking about me… especially if it is something negative… I mean I know they aren’t but the thought that they are is in the back of my mind. This seems to go along with my ADHD from things I have read.

@Windyhill63 my apologies, I feel I was a little hard on you. I’d forgotten about your ADHD.

What you are describing is very much my source of delusions and paranoia if I’m not vigilant. I have sensitive hearing which means I often hear or think I hear fragments of conversations all the time. I suppose it’s similar to what people go through when losing their hearing. They hear bits and snatches of conversations, or are not quite sure what they hear.

I find the trick to dealing with it is to counter-program my internal awful-izer with less ominous and more plausible explanations. It’s my made-up version of CBT. The premise is that people are generally good or have good intentions, and I should suspend judgement that something is bad or a threat until I have reason to think otherwise, and my job should be to explore alternate explanations until then.

Clearly you were trying to reality-check your intuitions by your post. I guess I projected my concerns about helicopter parenting onto you and I’m sorry about that. Everything I’ve seen you post tells me that you’re a good parent and want the best for your daughter, as we all do. There’s nothing I want more than young people with SZ related diseases having the best lives possible.

Living a high-functioning life isn’t easy and there isn’t much of a roadmap for people or their caregivers to follow, because it seems a rarity, either because it really is rare or it isn’t much talked about. You have to kind of make it up as you go along. Best of luck to you and your daughter.

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Thank you, again, for sharing and giving us this insight. I am thrilled for your high functioning life and I’m still gaining appreciation for what it is like for you and others to live with MI. I find this very helpful to better understand what could be going on with my loved one and to think about things from a different perspective.

Thanks, it seems mundane and routine for me. I’ve been at this a long time, and the coping mechanisms become engrained instinctive habits. My last period of symptoms was about three year ago and was mild and short-lived.

I’ve been writing various essays lately, trying to break down elements of my successes and how my experiences color my point of view. So many of these ideas are fresh in my mind. I think visit the forum to procrastinate when I get blocked. I’m a sucker for distraction.

I think Elyn Saks’ book 'The Center Cannot Hold" is the closest to my experience, and we developed similar coping mechanisms independently. She lists many of them toward the end of the book.

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I actually live in the Adirondack mountains in Lake George! Did she camp close to there?