Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

I'm being smothered

My son has been fighting mental illness for the past 7 years. He’s 24 years old next month. Our lives have been a nightmare for the past 7 years. He’s been hospitalize so many times I lost count about a year ago. Pretty sure he is has both schizophrenic and bipolar. One good thing, his bipolar part is mostly manic episodes. He did a lot of drug when he was a teenager and if he has 20 extra bucks he tries to find some cocaine. He drinks alcohol everyday and yes I buy it for him. Every night around 5 PM I give him a few beers to get him through the nite. If I don’t he gets mean an nasty. So much has happened, no one would believe it. His dad and I love him very much and are doing what our heart tells us. Have we sent him away to get help, yes. Many times. The last time after a month they called me and told me I had to come get him because since he had been there he hadn’t showered and he had stop eating the previous week before. When he is home we have some control. We get him to take his medicine every night if he want his beers. I got him a job before Christmas but it only lasted 4 weeks and they let him go. They said it was because he couldn’t take any criticism. They said training was suppose to last 2 weeks and he was going on 4 weeks of training and was having a hard time still. They said he would zone out some time and just stare. All this being said, he really wants a job. He has not one friend. Hasn’t for a few years. The only texts he gets on his phone is from either myself, his dad or his two siblings. He use to be lovable. He doesn’t talk much anymore and he is always on the defensive. I am the cause of that. I spend almost 24/7 with him and I get crazy from being with his so much. God I love him but sometimes I just need some space from him. I don’t know how to stop criticizing everything he does. Example, he went to the corner store again and bummed money and came home with a cigar. I asked him where he got the money, he told me, (he’s honest to a fault), I told him he was embarrassing me again. We live in a small town. I told him everyone is always talking about him how he is always short money at the store and bums people. I know that I am part of the reason he can’t take any criticism from anyone. How do I except him for who he is!? I just needed to vent. Actually cry. So much more but that’s for another day. Who ever reads this, thanks for listening.


@Robin - Can you get out and go to some classes during the day or maybe a part-time job? I couldn’t imagine spending all my time with anyone. I don’t spend any time with my son as she isolates and is now apparently doing some drugs and I’m still overwhelmed with the situation. The bumming money must be really frustrating for you (esp. in a small town). Sorry you are having a hard time. This past week has been my worst. It involved the police and upcoming court time - which is conflicting with a planned trip to HI. (super annoying), but I’m still hoping it will work.



From what I’ve read and what I’ve also experienced, criticism is one of the triggers that brings on psychosis. It’s so predictable with my own son. When he’s being a total jerk, I have to stop myself and remove myself from his presence, so I don’t escalate things. You didn’t cause this and you can’t fix it. You are not the reason he can’t handle criticism. That’s from his illness. Do not beat yourself up about losing control. We all do. This is an extremely difficult illness to deal with.

Stay with us. Talk. Vent. I think it’ll help you.


My family member begged for food, clothing, money. In a small town. And refused to accept these things from us. That was a few years ago and it was bewildering and upsetting.

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Im dealling with same situation with my 23 year son. is very dificut. but please dont give him alcohol. that dont help. he medication wouldnt work the way it should. Let hope for a better future.


I feel the same way lately. My son is 14, and had his first real psychotic episode in February. He was hospitalized for two weeks, and is now on medication, in therapy, in a special school program. Things are much better - in some ways.
On the down side, I have had to quit my job so that I can stay home with him. He often couldn’t make it through a full school day, so I would have to drive 45 minutes each way to get him. He can’t be left alone for any long period of time because he self-harms and can become violent and destructive. Fortunately I have a wonderful, supportive husband (who has to work extra jobs now) and a few loyal friends. (Our extended families have pretty much cut us off - I think they are afraid of him.) I don’t know how we’re going to get through the summer. (There’s no “Schizophrenia Camp” I can send him to, is there? Oh, how I wish school was 12 months a year!)
A day at a time.

Krs—can you join a pool club together? Maybe, eventually, he’d join some teen activity there. Does he play sports? There may be a sports day camp close to home.

To update regarding my son. Since the end of April he has been so schizophrenic. He use to just have delusions but now he has loud voices that are tormenting him. He’s been hospitalized two time, each a week since May 1. They did raise his risperidone up to 4mg after the first hospitalization and up to 6mg last Wednesday. I brought him home from the hospital last Friday and he was to start a day program today. He made if half way and then just left. He told me the anxiety was just to much for him. He walks every single day between 25 and 30 miles. I go and find him and put him in the car and drive around for hours sometime so he isn’t walking. He’s lost over 100 pounds since March. So much more to the story, but I am one sad mom. I’m so worried I won’t get him back this time.

So how do I tell my SIL that she has to shower if she is coming to a family event? I’m 7 mos pregnant and I nearly threw up the last time I was around her, the tobacco smell was so bad. And I def don’t want her poor hygiene around a babe in arms.

Does anyone else complain about the hygiene? My guess is you’re not the only one, right? People need to speak up and set boundaries.

If it’s your family function, set expectations. If it’s your baby, set expectations. It’s very hard, especially when we’re talking about adults. It’s not her fault, but it’s not yours either. Your SIL has no self-awareness.

I know my response sounds harsh but multiple people in my family have rallied together to battle my son’s hygiene issue, and I do appreciate that they’ve been willing to take that uncomfortable step.

Basic hygiene is one of the main things that gives our loved ones a fighting chance at being accepted in society. I think it’s worth being uncomfortable about.

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I bribe my son with cigarettes to keep his hygiene. My mother criticized me and my sister for everything. My sister is so
Messed up. Yes, I think I was to critical with my kids. Two sons wit schizophrenia and a daughter with anxiety. For d for thought: I met my biological father a few times and my mom told me she couldn’t be with him because he was nuts. Also the biological brother I never met had bipolar. Both died at the age of 40.

I think it’s okay with the proper caring voice to say “We really look forward to seeing you, I would really appreciate it if you could clean up and wear that nice outfit i bought you or i really like that pink dress you have”. It let’s her know you care.

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I always presented hygiene to my son as a health issue. That you should bathe or shower at least once a week - with soap and shampoo. And, change clothes, brush your teeth, etc. I was just matter of fact about it with no apologies, no judgement - just that it was something that needed to be done. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. It depended on how sick he was.

And, sometimes, he’d be really ill and take 3 or 4 baths a day because the water relaxed him.

He had a habit of rinsing off but without soap, it wasn’t doing much good. And, he’d put the same dirty clothes back on.

Thankfully, he’s a little better now. He’ll still go a few days without bathing, but will clean up before we go anywhere now without being asked. He’s also taken to shaving his head and that helps him look neat. It was a shock at first, but he looks good now that I’m used to it.

He has a very patient dentist - a professor at the local school of dentistry - who is very, very calm, quiet and laid back who very gently talks to him about brushing his teeth and flossing regularly so they won’t have to start over again once his extensive dental work is done. That’s helped a lot too.

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I’m beginning to understand