I will apologize in advance for my venting, I feel guilty saying anything seemingly so trivial, when so many of you have such extreme and severe situations to contend with, not that I have not had those very same situations in the beginning but I have learned that this world of schizophrenia is a strange and ever evolving thing. The issues I contend with nowadays are nuanced and often gradual although occasionally sudden oddities pop up as well. I still feel like I am on a roller coaster just a slower less adrenalin infused. Here’s what’s on my mind…Ever since my son was put on anti psychotics and ballooned up 100 pounds over weight he has been a hefty eater. He seemed propelled toward food and sweets 24/7 with no ability to limit himself in anyway --I worked hard to try to regulate his intake and prepare healthy and well balanced meals-cooked and served everything and limited any junk food that came into the house (as best as I could-he found ways) …Anyway it has been an uphill battle and the one saving grace has been that he will walk with me either at the gym or just in the neighborhood and we try to do that anywhere from 30-60 minutes a day as many days a week as we can. Here is the thing that is blowing my mind. Last night he announced that he needs to eat smaller portions and he needs to walk more. Sounds great right? First of all if you know him it sounds like he has been invaded by a body snatcher and my real son is nowhere to be found…secondly now all the things he insisted on buying for groceries last week are now his taboos, bread, cottage cheese, and a number of things that are actually not bad staples to have in moderation. Tonight he argued that vegetables were bad because I saute them in olive oil and use a little salt. I said “no, vegetables with olive oil are not bad at all, they are quite good for you but I can leave the olive oil out if you want me to” he is just not acting like himself at all and while its not negative or harmful behavior by any means (yet) I feel fear rising in me ever so slowly because I envision a full on hunger strike or some other far out behavior looming on the horizon…I mean I desperately hope not and I never want to “borrow” trouble by any means…but I guess when I see my son do a strange, totally uncharacteristic 180 degree switch in behavior-overnight - I get very scared. I would love for him to eat less and healthier and exercise more-absolutely and it is good for me too if he does that because we can do it together and support each other but my son does not think that way, not one bit. He does not do something to “reach a goal” he doesn’t think in terms of “cause and effect” he just suddenly will do something and have no explanation at all for why he is doing it even an obvious one. I asked him if he wanted to lose weight to have a better selection of clothes and he said “yeah I guess so who wouldn’t?” but that wasn’t his reason…so I asked if he was doing it so he could have a bike because I promised him a bicycle if he could get under 250 which is about the max weight allowance for an off-the-rack bicycle like you find at Walmart or somewhere affordable. He said “not particularly” …so I asked a few more questions and it got him aggravated with me and he said " I just want to do what I want to do do you have a problem with that!?" so…there you have it…I don’t have a crisis right now, I just have a son acting the opposite of how he has acted for the past 12 years…and it isn’t harmful yet so I need to stay calm I know, I am just hoping it stays like it is with no more drastic shifts one way or the other…I just made his dinner and it amounted to plain unseasoned chicken maybe close to 2 chicken legs worth and about a half a cup of rice and barely a cup of vegetables…so I can live with that but as he is eating he is arguing that the 1/2 cup of rice was still too much…so whatever. Normally I run the show around here with confidence and good perspective, right now my confidence is shaken and my perspective is all askew. I hope my worries are unfounded but I won’t know for awhile —it all may pass and disappear like nothing ever happened or it could escalate…or? and I am making myself nuts with all the scenarios…so I’ll stop. I am in treatment for PTSD myself weekly- not just for the past 12 years of crisis with my son but really as a result of my whole life from the beginning…I am no stranger to trauma and crisis and the mentally ill, having been raised (and I use that term loosely) by mentally ill and alcoholic parents…so I tend to react like this when I feel the ‘rug of familiarity’ has been ripped from under my feet suddenly. For now I will take my son’s turn around at face value and try to not to panic until panic is truly warranted. Fingers crossed that day is not around the corner. I have therapy next Thursday and i can vent more then. Thank you everyone for letting me spill my guts here —my best to all.
I get how you feel because I am feeling the same way right now, but I don’t do “vents” because it’s not going to solve my problems and it won’t necessarily make me feel better, it may just lead me to feel more depressed about it. And honestly, what your son is doing is normal. Noticing weight gain is not something that happens overnight, that stays in your mind for day, weeks, etc. time period. It’s not uncommon for someone to suddenly decide they want to make a change of lifestyle and there’s nothing wrong with that. You should encourage him and be happy for him. Ask him if he would like to get a gym membership with you and that way you two can have something to do together. Bread is actually bad for you, so it’s not a bad thing that he cut it off from his system. I haven’t ate bread in like 5 years and my fiancé cut bread off like 3 years ago. And I also go through periods where I’ll suddenly decide to change or do something differently, as long as it’s a positive change you shouldn’t really be worried.
Read the part about foods and dieting if you’re interested on here:
Occasionally my son will say he is going to make a healthy lifestyle choice but it is short lived. I think the medicine makes their appetite insatiable or at least that is how my son described it. Hang in there and try to change your perception. It’s a healthy choice so far and we could all use those reminders. I think I would praise him for the new attitude. God bless
I love to vent - and I think it’s healthy. I get very emotional about things and I need to get them out.
Forums are good, sometimes I do it with friends, and if nothing else, I’ll write it all out then throw it away.
My son has had lots of issues with food over the years, so I get what you’re saying. He was never a big eater even as a kid and if anything wasn’t right with his food, he simply wouldn’t eat. If it was supposed to be hot, it had to be hot. If anything seemed out of place when we got takeout, he wouldn’t eat it. And, sometimes, I’d swear he’d rather starve to death than eat something he didn’t want. At the same time, he’d try things I wouldn’t eat like oysters.
When he starts to get sick, sleep goes first, then he stops eating completely. Otherwise, he’ll vary from eating anything including lots of junk food to being super healthy. He was going to go vegan a few days ago, but that didn’t last long. His new healthy thing is raw spinach with hot sauce in place of salad dressing. That seems to be sticking.
I’m like you - I look for answers or clues in even the tiniest changes, but I’m trying to learn to keep my mouth shut and just wait to see what happens. Hopefully, he’ll find a healthy middle ground between the extremes of overeating and cutting out everything, but if it’s a sign of things to come, at least you’ve got some warning so you can be watching and maybe head things off before they get bad.
@Doctor I have to vent once in a blue moon or I will get depressed if I don’t. My son does have a gym membership and has had one for a long while. I have encouraged him daily to eat healthy and exercise more and got nothing back but sullen anger and an uncooperative attitude for the past 12 years. I get that schizophrenics often need a much longer time to assess things and then act on situations…but the reason I am floored by this is that I have encouraged him for 12 years and overnight he thinks he gets this ‘new idea’ he is going to try which happens to be the one I’ve been promoting for 12 years…I am very happy for him and I support him 100%…I just want it to be REAL and not a symptom of something else…all of my experience with his illness leads me to believe that “something else” is always a possibility BUT I am going to cling to hope and support what appears to be a new outlook on health and hope for the best down the road. PS: I do not eat bread either because it is bad for my health.
@Mom2 right now I am full of praise and support for him all of this ‘angst’ is hidden on my insides… and at this forum. (hugs)
Oh, I’m not saying not to, it works for some people, but I suffer from MDD and I get more down on it and start crying for hours sometimes, especially now that I’ve been living 3 weeks alone since my fiancé got hospitalized. I don’t have any friends either and I don’t go out, so for me it just makes me feel more sad. I also put “vent” in parenthesis because sometimes it’s more than a vent, it’s a cry for help or asking for advice. That’s good though, you need to keep up your hopes that it could be something permanent. I also understand how you’re afraid of being disappointed, we all are, I am today.
Anytime. It might sound weird, but I actually enjoy reading the stories on here because it serves as a distraction from my present time in a way.
I think everyone’s different.
I get depressed if I don’t vent, I feel better if I do - it seems to calm me and help me come up with a plan.
I need to get to the planning stage so I can feel like I’ve got some sense of control.
That’s one of the scariest things about all this for me. It’s not that I have to have control over the situation, although I’d like it - it’s that no one has any control. Not me, not him, not the doctors - no one.
Yeah, that’s true and I get that – I’m a planner too. Though the thing with mental illness is that there’s no planning for it, life will throw things your way unexpectedly. I got a reminder of that today in the hospital.
I’m sorry if it was a bad day.
I have to remind myself when my son has one that we’re all entitled to them.
Maybe, tomorrow will be different. For us, it often is.
It’s okay. Yes, very true.
Your son sounds like he’s doing great. Focus on gratitude for that as you are truly blessed because this is an unusually positive situation. What are you doing to reduce your stress and take positive steps toward a healthier attitude? I ask from a place of love… I say the word “walk” and my dog is heading toward the door. Come on we can do this! I come from a more screwed up upbringing. This time is ours!
It is an unusually positive situation for now…I am supporting it and happy for it for as long as it stays positive, I can only feel what I feel based on my life history and my years of experiences with my son and his illness, this is very positive and great yes and 1000% uncharacteristic and sudden- so hence-my nerves…which I control with therapy every other Thursday and a DBT group on Fridays, and I use Delta wave music to sleep with -very calming and serene…I’ll make it. Thanks
Hi @Catherine, Yes, vent here.
I have similar upbringing as you and PTSD with dissociative features. When I am under lots of stress, I cannot trace my movement through space and time or remember things from even five minutes before. This is one of the reasons I don’t like it when things change: I need external markers to let me know where I am and what is happening. Even positive change upsets me because I have a hard time orienting.
As you know, it’s actually good news your son is interested in his diet. I understand, in my own way, how even positive changes and stimulii can make PTSD symptoms worse. Sometimes I even hate the feeling of a gentle breeze (a feeling I love!) because it is extra sensory information to process.
For me, PTSD symptoms seem to be more manageable if I can limit sensory stimulation/ disengage from situation. Also, I take propanolol if I get really anxious (once or twice a week). What works for you?
Oh, you just answered my question while I was typing it:)
@Hereandhere I have been through the whole gamut of medicines through the years and they eventually turn me into an invalid so now I take none…and I do anything natural and I am always studying things that effect the brain----foods, drinks, smells (like lavendar and clove), and like the Delta wave music I recently discovered, I am in love with it for its good affect on my sleep.
Thanks for sharing that you deal with the same thing I have, I don’t know anyone else outside of my DBT group that has it. I understand overstimulating the senses. I often have to just go home during the day no matter what I am doing just to recenter and regroup…depending on how warm it is -or the weather or how many people I have to deal with, like large crowds–often way too much. Thanks again.
Catherine, you are an awesome parent and I admire you! How long did it take for your son to gain insight and agree to treatment?
I’m going to try clove; I like lavender quite a bit.