Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Keeping hold of the helm when your son is having acute symptoms


Today is a little better. I have just lived through 5 days of absolutely insane shizophrenia acute symptoms. My son had been pacing, rocking, restless, banging doors, walking up and down stairs, talking to himself; banging walls till his knuckles bleed, repeating the same jibberish over and over and over until I thought I would go insane myself. But I tried to get him to talk (I’ve lived with this for 9 years i know it can work) and address the voices and tell me what they are saying, tried to agree with the voices (since they are part of him and to offend them is to offend him -create anger- and perhaps provoke another episode of cutting…trying to cut them out)…but also tell him that sometimes the voices just give one side of the problem and that to discuss them with me I can help him see also another side so he is not always feeling they are completely in control of him.

But the problem is trying to make sense of the jibberish!!! The word salad. How do you other carers do it? The auditory hallucinations are such a mess, even the words themselves overlap and sometimes sentences he makes are fused with 3 or 4 thoughts and almost always connected to events in the past which he gets irritated with me if I don’t remember or “get” at once. It is beyond frustrating trying to communicate. Sometimes I just wish I could get inside his head and tape shut the mouths of all his voices.

He says it is like having the TV on constantly on 8 channels. So very sad. Wasted youth, life of a beautiful gentle soul. And Freud refused to see schizophrenics??? Too troublesome, he set the earliest stigma. That’s why I never read his work. Because somebody has to do better with this disease. Somebody HAS to make it known to the world that these lonely people suffer every little bit as much as a physical sickness…and yet are scorned and laughed at and ridiculed and people run from them in fear.

Empathy and kindness and understanding…is the only cure (with meds) …how can we make people change the stigma…I live for the time this happens. The time when society forgives and accepts and understands this isolating sickness and how it tears families apart and drags the carer down like a heavy anchor on a sinking ship.


I haven’t had much experience with word salad or with my son being in full psychosis. When he was he was so distracted by his voices that talking to me was difficult so I don’t think he heard much of what I had to say.

How long do these episodes usually last?


Thanks for replying Barbie :blush: I just needed to share. I know there isn’t any constructive reply to what i wrote, but it is nice to be able to rant in here to people also living with schizophrenia. It’s so tiring trying to get inside his head and not being able to when he is like this.

I understand word salad isn’t part of everyone’s experience. In our case it is kind of aggravated as my son is bilingual/mixed race so that all plays a part in the voices. I miss the days he was so lucid and so normal (for long enough stretches to give me back my strength for one thing, and perhaps him too). It just seems like this pschycotic episode has gone on much longer than usual. I know he needs new meds, about 3 weeks with a few days here and there where he can express himself well and is “in control”… rysperdal seems to not work anymore for him. Although I was away on business for 3 days and dont if he took his meds then…that was 2 weeks ago…and I live alone with him so he had to be alone which i know really stresses him.

We will be seeing a new doc soon, but have to wait 6 weeks for his next free slot!!! he gets very frustrated trying to explain and I feel so useless as all I can do is just try to guess or tell him i don’t understand.


I have been by my older brothers side as he’s battled SZ he used to slide into the word salad a lot. It went with his racing thoughts. During his onset, his word salad would slide between English and Spanish and it would last until he passed out from exhaustion or he was hospitalized.

I hate that helpless feeling. There is nothing that really pulled my brother out of it. Sometimes I would tell him that my Spanish was fading, and could he write it out for me. He would try and once in a great while that would slow the racing thoughts and then slow the talking. Sometimes no one could understand him.

It would take meds to pull him out of it. Now that he’s 29 and has been med compliant for many years, and has been going to therapy, his word salad isn’t as bad as it used to be. When he does slide into it, he pulls out of it faster. But as far as being on the outside looking in, I too have never known what to do to help my brother when this happens to him. I listen and I try to get him to show me what he means. But when he’s frustrated with me, that ends it.

I wish I had some ideas and advice, but I don’t. I’m sorry you have to go through this and your poor son must be getting so tired by now too. I hope he manages to get some sleep and get on track and get his meds adjusted very soon.


why not take him to the hospital? why keep him home like this, I would not be able to handle this alone myself


I also am a single mom. My son is living on his own now ( or has his own place ). My heart is with you. This is SO hard to go through! My son used to get a few salads in once i awhile-but he would laugh when he did it, or go silent. He stayed in his head a lot. Wondering if he can go to a regular doc for now. He may be able to prescribe something that will calm him down until he can see his other doctor. Sounds like resperdal is not working for your son. Getting med injections may be better if hes not compliant. Sometimes my son would forget to take his, or take too many, most of the time, he just didnt want to take them.
Come back here often-there is so much good advice on this site. Even just “ranting” helps. XXX


Thank you so much bridgecomet. Very kind and helpful reply. And yes, being a single Mom is really hard as we have to work and are out so they are alone more than we would like. We do have a stash of tranquilizers and sleeping pills for him which take an hour or so to kick in and I do make him take them when things get super neurotic. However I always feel bad about it, like i am not addressing his worries and fears (which are obviously at max when he slides into salad) and instead just putting him to sleep to save my own sanity :frowning:


Thank you kidsister!!! It’s very comforting to hear others know what i mean. He is so restless and frustration is infectious! All I want to do is understand him. Two languages mixed up plus SZ is a kind of double wordsalad! I have at times been able to understand as he has pointed to words or writen words to me and I have connected triggers, I just got overwhelmed recently. I don’t want to drug him unconcious which is what they do here in my country if I take him into hospital -he isn’t dangerous to anyone or himself- I am just frustrated and him too at our lack of ability to read his mind.

Thank you for understanding and replying kindly!!! :blush:


If you can`t get the help for him you need, you have to be creative. Resources always seem to be low. You are doing the best you can with what you have.
How old is your son? Is there anyone that can give you some time to your self once in awhile? So important! take care of yourself so you can keep going. I keep pushing NAMI groups. Is there one in your area? Wishing some peace for you–and I agree with you…this is so hard to do alone. At some point, it WILL get better.XXXXXXXX


It will. It will. If we stop believing that we will sink. I don’t know NAMI as I don’t live in the states but I do try to get my 22 yr old son to come with me to the rehab center where I help out. He doesn’t like to go…today is a little better. I managed to talk with him and he is calmer. Thanks again for your support and comforting words xxxx


He has a lot of paranoia and fear of hospitals and being seen in this condition. It tends to make things worse. He has been hospitalized when he was a danger to himself. However, we are in control here and today he is actually fine. I am beginning to see a pattern in how his acute phases pan out. Thanks for your comment and concern.