First, I honor you and all family members who are walking this path of assisting our loved ones to recover from this illness. I say recover, because my son’s psychiatrist told me my son’s brain is healing and that it takes time, and I believe in this is true, while at the same time, this is a lifelong illness that will always need to be treated medically. As well as the fact that this illness brings so many changes that need to be addressed, for this healing to occur.
From the beginning, my son just had monthly Invega shots, without pills, as he was very against the pills, having had negative reactions from them. His doctor acquiesced. My son started getting better right away and continually improved, over time. It has been years, and he is still improving. (He is now on the quarterly injections, which my son chose, when he was offered the choice of continuing with monthly or trying the quarterly.) He is doing so well that no one can tell he has this illness, when they meet him. He is peaceful and happy. He has a deep spirituality, connection to nature, and respect for all life. He still lives with me and our two cats, in a studio in the large private back yard of the house I rent (minus a stove, as I don’t think he’s ready for that, yet; but that will come). This is far different than the way he was at the beginning, when he did not recognize anyone and thought everyone were aliens, when he tried to swim 40 miles to an island, when he lived in bushes near the beach and was starving, when he twice had to be hospitalized for a year.
I have seen a truly wonderful therapist myself, though all of this, so I have someone to help me to know all I can do to help my son. He told me it is important that my son feel safe and welcome, for the healing of his psyche to occur, and it has been and still is a top priority to maintain that environment for him.
I choose to respect my son's wishes, when he feels strongly about something, as long as he is getting his injections and improving. To me, it is important to not only get his head clear with meds, so his brain can heal, but also to help him feel safe, heard, and respected. I have been working on building trust with my son, from the beginning of this, as I read and believe to be true that he needs someone he can trust, so that person can help him when he doesn’t understand. This has worked very well, and been extremely beneficial.
An example of how this has benefited him is that recently, we were forced to relocate away from the area we had lived for so long, far inland and to the desert area, away from the ocean he loves so well, because the rents had skyrocketed in our area. One of his delusions was that he would die if he left the ocean area, and he at first flatly refused to leave, saying he would camp out. This went on for a month, and we only had two months notice. I knew his camping out would not work and was terrified for him. I found our wonderful house in a small town that we could afford, which is in the desert. I showed him photos of the house, the yard, and his studio, and asked him to trust me, that I would make sure it was a good place for him, and that I would take him back to visit the ocean regularly. He agreed to come, and he is happy here. (Actually it is even better for him here, and his healing has accelerated.) He was able to let go of that delusion, and take a step that he could not have, before. This happened as a direct result of the deep trust I have worked on building with him.
With very best wishes,