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I need some advice please! Overwhelmed


#1

I need some advice from people that understand. My boyfriend is 47 years old and we have been together (and lived together) for 6 years. I have known the whole time that he was schizophrenic and he believes he is God. He believes that he visits Heaven and runs things there.

He will not get treatment because he says he does not have schizophrenia. He was committed to a mental facility 3 times by his mom in the past and they diagnosed him and he receives social security for it. He cannot work, as he cannot go very long without having to take time for himself to work through things. He lives with me and my adult daughter.

He had a mental breakdown last fall, which he worked through on his own, but not until he became violent after drinking and I had to make him move out for 6 months. He then came back. It started again a couple of months ago, with him seeming out of it most of the time and needing time to himself, not talking much and he will not even look at his cell phone. I have never seen him this bad. He still talks to me, but mostly it’s just about what he’s going through.

I’m very good at being here and understanding mental illness, as I have always been able to research and help and I also have bipolar disorder type 2 and ADHD, but I stay on medication and I have no issues with it. I have a post graduate degree and (although laid off now) usually have a decent job.

Knowing the whole background now, I don’t know what to do at this point. I feel like I’m alone in this relationship. I’m a caregiver and not part of a couple. I want to take trips and do things, but I can’t because I would have to pay for both of us. I have to buy his clothes and take care of him.

I think maybe I have hit my point of exhaustion, both mentally and financially. My daughter gets scared because she’s afraid he becomes violent because his schizophrenia seems to be getting worse. She is a Psychology major and she graduates in May, so she has read a lot about it. I would feel terrible to make him leave and go back to his mom’s house, but I don’t know what to do.

Has anyone had issues with schizophrenia getting worse with age? This seems to be what is happening with him. Any advice would be great. I truly love this man, but I am not sure what to do any more.


#2

I have read that sz improves with age, especially for males. Women might go through a worse phase during menopause as estrogen is theorized to be somewhat protective.

Anyway, drinking might make it worse. Or he might be very ill or experiencing a more severe episode.

Since you are overwhelmed, I hope you could find a good counselor for yourself or even speak with some local crisis social workers to help assess your boyfriend’s health from afar and see what your options are.

I’m glad you posted here. None of us know what to do…


#3

First of all, I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. I am guessing if he does not think he is ill then he does not take meds? That would be the first thing to convince him of even if you approached it from another angle like getting help for his “mood or anxiety” some schizophrenics will accept certain traits like that, but not admit to a full blown illness even though that is the real diagnosis. Maybe he would agree to getting the monthly shots so he wouldn’t have to take the pills every day and maybe do it to maintain a relationship with you if he understands that you need him to do that. You can make it a condition of him getting some of the things that he wants you to buy. He wont make sound or logical decisions while he is deluded. Secondly, is he on Social Security disability? If not, he should be, it really helps financially. If he is not stable then maybe you could serve as his rep payee until he is stable again…that way you could be sure the money is used for what is really needed. I have not personally seen schizophrenia get worse with age. Without treatment I would imagine that is the course it would take. My son’s schizophrenia was at it’s worse in his early 20’s. After I got him on SSI and I got legal guardianship of him (so I could force the issue of treatment when needed and speak on his behalf when he could not) and I moved him in with me AND got him on the right meds (finally) and made sure he took them every day, He has gotten so much better. It took a long while to achieve this level of wellness. Not cured but very manage able now and he is 32. I know it is very different caring for a child rather than caring for a husband or boyfriend-the dynamics are so different-- but in either case finding a way to lead our loved ones to and through treatment is about the only way to manage. In spite of that you and your daughter still have to care for yourselves as well and if your living situation with him becomes or remains intolerable or dangerous, you may have to have him live elsewhere. Maybe you and your daughter could contact a NAMI group in your area (if there is one) They have free support groups that are very enlightening and helpful. These are just suggestions- @Hereandhere is correct that no one has “the answer” just ideas and life experience to share for what it is worth. My sincere best to you. https://www.nami.org/Find-Support


#4

Yes, it usually does get worse with age. I have an aunt who’s committed for life [in an asylum] and one uncle with it who had committed suicide. You should speak to his mother and have him hospitalized, he really needs the treatment. It can be anywhere from a few days, weeks, or even months, but it seems like it’s what he needs.


#5

I read your story and I’m glad you are here. Most of us on this forum can relate to your plight. I’m wondering how much influence his mother has on him. Can she convince him to take his medication and instead of pills would he consider getting a shot every two week or once a month. For a time I was involved with NAMI and I have met folks who took shots and looking from the outside it seems to really work on keeping symptoms under control. So sorry you are going through this and I hope you will find this forum helpful and supportive.


#6

I am sorry you have to be going through this. Do you have a local mental health center that you could contact and talk to? Maybe they could help get him in for treatment. Or contact your local Nami. It sounds like he does need to be on medication. It is so hard for you to convince him of this yourself though. You could become the enemy in his mind so you may have to tread carefully. However you should seek help for you and your daughter. I think it is wonderful you have chosen to love and support this man and understand where he is at.
It is hard to be a caregiver and take care of yourself as well. I hope you can find some support somewhere. A little bit of a side note. My son seems to get worse during change from summer to winter… And you talked about last Fall and now again. Could be that as well. Seasonal Affective Disorder. My son has schizophrenia as well. All the best to you…


#7

I want to thank you all of you for responding to me. I want to answer some of the questions that I was asked.

First, yes he does get SSI but when he gets it, it’s basically gone for his bills. Once those are paid off, it will free some of that money up for him to use for himself.

Second, I actually do have a counselor, as I’m bipolar type 2 and ADHD, so to continue to get my meds, I go faithfully to counseling. Mine is all under control, so since I really don’t need the counseling for me, I talk about his issues with her. She says that he needs meds and counseling or I need to decide if I want him to leave.

Third, I was asked about his mother. She is very different. And by that, I mean that although I know she loves him, she can be kind if cruel to him. She doesn’t sit and talk to him like a person or even about his illness. When he visits her, he comes back agitated. When he lived with her, it was intolerable for him. That’s a lot of my issue with asking him to leave, because he would have to go back to live with his mom. She would cook for him, give him a place to live…very supportive in all of those ways, but with emotions, she is not there. She did have him committed 3 times in the past, but then he got out and wouldn’t take the meds.

I have a question. What is the shot that he can take?


#8

You are the first that said it progresses. How old was your aunt when she went to an asylum? I am going to talk to his mom again.


#9

I was wondering about the seasonal component. He does seem to go downhill in the fall and then gets better in the spring, so part of it could be SAD. I’m trying not to become the enemy, but at the same time, I want to do the right thing for him. I’m so scared to have his family put him in the hospital and it’s the wrong thing. I mean, I doubt it’s wrong, but he would feel that way. My heart is just breaking for him.


#10

I hope you find a good pathway.


#11

Aunt was 63, uncle was 44, I’m unsure about the other one (third male relative to be clear, hadn’t mention him before since I have no idea where he ended up). I’ve never met a schizophrenic/Schizoaffective in my whole life who’s condition has gotten better with age, especially if they’re unmedicated. Some say it gets better with age, but I think those are the rare cases.


#12

I think as people grows older, especially if on medication, they tend to develop some habits that are comfortable and that make their lives predictable. While their MI doesn’t necessarily improve, they develop some coping skills, and also people in their lives learn about their illness and behaviors and life gets a little easier.


#13

I think that for some people that could be true, I am mentally ill myself, and sure, I have coping habits and certain things that would be predictable of me to perform. I just think that based on what I’ve seen with schizophrenia and am currently seeing it’s not really true. One month they think they’re God and the next they’re putting olive oil in the freezer because if things are not refrigerated they go bad… I feel like they’re habits are not very predictable as one would like to think and hope. They’re not in control and we honestly aren’t either to have a set pathway of, “If I do this, they will do this.”


#14

Im sorry I didn’t mean you are the enemy. Just my son sees me as the enemy when I make him take meds or have had to hospitalize him. Once he’s feeling better I am not. And yes I see SAD in my son every year. Hospitilaztion is not a happy place by any means and sometimes necessary but if he could start meds and avoid that would be awesome.


#15

Here is some info on one of the shots available, there may be others, I think this is one of the most popular ones. Definitely worth a try. https://www.invegasustenna.com/about-invega-sustenna


#16

Hi Nickie, I know of people getting shots for their sz but I don’t know how safe it is. Here is a link for injections every 2-3 weeks. I also saw on sz.com a link for every 3 months.

http://www.uptodate.com/contents/pharmacotherapy-for-schizophrenia-long-acting-injectable-antipsychotic-drugs

https://bbrfoundation.org/brain-matters-discoveries/three-month-dosage-of-injectable-antipsychotic-prevents-return-of


#17

My son is 24 and takes the once-a-month shot of Invega Sustenna. I have a lot of conditions placed on him. If he doesn’t take the shot, can’t live here, won’t get your SSI, etc. There are more and I worded these things gently. “I can’t have you living here with psychosis because it scares me. You have to stay on your medication from now on. And if you want to get SSI so you can move out, you have to be on medication because they can check and find out if you’re going to your doctor, etc.” There’s a few other things as well. I just make it appealing instead of a threat. He does very well on the shot. In my opinion he is still improving, and the shot was first given this year in May. Also, I just went to my first NAMI meeting last night and three people there said that sz is supposed to “get better” with age. That said, I took that to mean if you’re taking medicine, some of the symptoms and side effects get better. As Doctor said though, I’m sure it goes both ways. I agree with Vallpen, I think life gets easier for them in many ways. I can’t imagine it getting better if they aren’t medicated, but I’m not a doctor so who knows. Good luck to you. I wish you well.


#18

I don’t know if the illness progresses with age, but I do know aging brings on other illnesses that have similar symptoms. Without proper treatment, episodes do worsen and lengthen. Drinking to ease the symptoms is common, but it makes the caretakers life hell. From my experience with both alcoholic and a schizophrenic family members, it is the alcohol that brings about the violent behavior. Here is the hard part, even people with mental health illnesses need to be accountable. I wish I could just tell you, here is what you need to say and do, but every situation is unique. Perhaps your counselor could help you work out how to approach him with what you can and cannot live with. Best wishes for you. PS This forum is a great place to get support. Glad you found it!


#19

Please please, get and read Niacin the real story by Dr Abram Hoffer. As mother of a recovering SZ -3 weeks in and getting better by the day I urge you to do this. He tried to commit suicide just over a month ago.
Also to all families of people with SZ look at yourself and your families and consider how many of you have alcoholics, heavy smokers and people with general depression in it. It is in OUR genes and we need to educate ourselves about this fact and discover the remedy for all of these conditions. You will be delighted and surprised that it’s not far away and has actually been around for about 60 years.


#20

Sz episodes can establish a pattern of breaks. My sons seem to be every 10 to 12 months apart with; occasional small breaks in between.