Good morning- First off I want to thank you for letting me share my frustrations here. Your listening ear and stories are an encouragement.
My 27 year old, un-medicated son (schizo-effective & aspie) has been functional and doing surprisingly well over the last few months. Within the last few weeks though, there have been a lot of changes in our house. His oldest brother is staying with us for a few months, and is helping me with some remodeling. So everything is kind of all over the place, and with any remodel once you get started it tends to lead to something else that needs to be done. Everything is out of order in the house.
My 27 yr. old son does not deal well with change and I’ve tried to prepare him and inform him of what’s going to be happening in advance so he has some time to “ponder” and adjust. That worked fairly well up until this past weekend.
He has only slept for a total of 6 hours since Sunday. He’s become very rude to his brother and myself, and is completely out of touch with reality. There’s no carrying on any type of conversation with him at all. I asked him what he wanted for breakfast this morning and his response was that he wanted to knock the crap out of my father- my father has been deceased for 39 years and obviously never met any of my children.
I’ve taken the online courses “I’m not sick, I don’t need help”, and was involved with a support group but with Covid those meetings are on hold. What I’ve learned so far with Dr. Amador’s on line courses and book has helped tremendously in building trust, but I’m feeling like I’ve hit a wall now and can’t seem to get through. Of course I’ve suggested that we go talk to his doctor or therapist, and his response is that I need to go get checked out because there’s something wrong with me- my response back to him has been then come with me to help explain what you think is wrong with me because I want to get help. He doesn’t say anything to that. We’ve come so far with the trust that I don’t want it all to crumble by having him committed, but he needs help.
I feel like I have one more option before heading to the Magistrates office to have him involuntarily committed. The one option is to put things back together at the house and hold off on any more reno projects- let him see that everything is “back to normal” and maybe he will calm down and get real sleep. A full belly and a solid 8-10 hours sleep seem to help him tremendously. I was really hoping and praying that would have happened last night, but it didn’t.
Any suggestions or similar experiences? Thanks again in advance-
Good morning- First off I want to thank you for letting me share my frustrations here. Your listening ear and stories are an encouragement.
Yep, things can go south very quickly.
If the renovation and/or older brother is triggering him, what about finding some place for him to live while the renovation is going on. People do move out of their houses during renovations. It would be expensive, though, but maybe a couple of months is feasible. You could offer to check in on him every day if that’s what he wants.
Regarding having him committed, can you document that he’s a danger to himself or others? Being rude and not following normal household manners might not qualify. If he can’t live in harmony, then moving out might be the best option, which I suppose you would have to help him with.
Hi. I’m sorry your son is in such a bad way.
Does he have a history of physical aggression towards people or objects? It’s worrisome that he made that angry and threatening comment about your father. To me, it sounds like he’s being tormented by your father’s voice.
It sounds like the psychosis is getting to be too much now. Stay safe.
He seemed to handle pretty well his brother coming- he’s only been here about a month. So I think the big trigger point is the renovation and everything being in disarray. I mentioned this to his brother just a little bit ago, but there’s not a lot of “compassion” there and I was told that he wasn’t stopping reno “because of this” which really ticked me off. I again communicated what the goal is for reno today and that one room will be complete tonight so I can get it put back together. I like your idea about him going to stay somewhere else while this is going on but I have no idea where I could send him unless it’s a hotel. And that might send him over the edge by being displaced. I don’t think a group home would take him if he’s refusing to take medication. I really like your suggestion though and will see if I can figure something out! Thanks!
I assume you’re going for an Ex-Parte order so you can have him picked up whenever he gets out of control. You have to be frank and blunt and put embarrassing moments aside for the time being because they need to hear why someone NEEDS to be locked up. Can your son “help” your other son with the remodel? Even if it just means going with him to the store to pick up/pick out supplies or bringing them in? Bad/sad thing is that you can never tell what might be a new trigger. When my son (who is 40) goes off the deep end, often there is no warning. He used to sleep 10 hours a day but last night he was sitting at the mini mart near our house just smoking until maybe 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. He got up about an hour ago - to smoke. I went looking for him at 11:30 and he said he’d be home “in a little while” that turned into approx 4 hours. My son often talks about people who have died as if they’re still here. Its just another realm of THEIR world. Half the time, when my son starts screaming, what he says makes no sense so I have a hard time remembering or repeating it. Something might come out like “I’m going to kill you and put a stringer through your lip out in the Okefenokee.” To that, my answer lately has been “whatever”. He doesn’t understand why I’m not afraid of him any longer - I guess I rely on faith and common sense, knowing when to back off and let things calm down. But at the same time, I won’t hesitate to have hi admitted if need be. I hope things go well with you today - keep us posted.
I agree that some rest and food would help significantly. Racing thoughts tend to build on themselves and cause more elaborate delusions and vivid hallucinations.
Building on the idea of staying away from the home while renovating is done, maybe you can frame this as some sort of vacation or adventure, perhaps something or someplace he might enjoy or enjoyed in the past. With the pandemic many locations and attractions have low occupancy so you may find unique experiences through AirBnB and the like. Considering he’s an aspie, someplace familiar or another family member’s home may be preferable. I know I prefer familiarity when I’m stressed.
There’s a paradox that you feel the need to get away from your stressors, but be in a familiar place when you are in distress. Depending on the facility that can be a hospital, but given costs of health care and added risks and restrictions due to COVID-19, maybe there’s a less expensive middle ground.
Disclaimer: While I am a part-time caregiver of my brother and father with SMI, I was diagnosed with SZA over thirty years ago. I’m an advocate of appropriate drug treatments for SMI, but I feel they are incomplete treatments and additional CBT, supportive talk and psychosocial therapies are helpful where feasible. Any drug advice is from personal experience or research and not a substitute for qualified Psychiatric care.
Thank you! I just asked him to try to get some sleep so that we can go get him some clothes (he’s gained weight) this evening. He seemed interested in that, but then wondered off in the conversation. I’ll give him some time to think about it and ask him again. I might suggest to him that once I’m done with my part of the reno, he and I will take a weekend trip to one of his favorite places. There are parts of the reno that I have to be there for and help with. Unfortunately staying with other family members is not an option at this time- I wish it was. Being in a familiar place is so important for him. He feels safe and it’s perfectly understandable.
Also, I just found out from one of the counselors that there is an opening in a facility that is more geared towards his current issues. I think I would have real trouble at this point trying to convince him to go on his own accord but it’s nice to know there’s currently a place for him.
I really would love for him to get sleep and agree 100% that it would help significantly. So maybe he will do that this afternoon.
UPDATE: Late afternoon yesterday everything went south really quickly. My son was threatening to cut himself and also cut his eyes “to make them red”. So I immediately went to the magistrates office and they came to pick him up and take him to the hospital. He’s had one other suicide attempt in the past and I took his comments very seriously. It’s heartbreaking and gut wrenching for me and I cannot fathom what he is experiencing. I’m expecting a call this morning to update me on how he is and what their regulations are for visitation with Covid.
@Modi, it’s heart wrenching when you’re forced to break that trust you have built with your son. They’re already paranoid and delusional, and when you’re forced to have them committed, it takes a very long time to get the mutual peaceful understanding back.
When I 302’d my son, after he got out of hospital, he said, “mom, promise me you will never ever do that again”. I responded by saying “I can’t promise that. It would all depend on that situation at the time”. He didn’t like that answer.
Needless to say he was angry with me for a very long time, at least a year after he got out of hospital. Trust is such a huge part of this illness, especially when they’re already thinking “people are out to get them”.
I feel for you, torn between knowing what you have to do and the heartbreak that comes with that decision and the eventual conflict this will cause.
@Modi, my son spent 3 days in the ER and then transferred to a hospital where they had a bed and spent 9 days there. So far, he’s been back home for 7 days without showing any COVID-19 symptoms. In the hospital nobody was wearing masks, he said, on his locked ward. He said he was told it was a “COVID-free zone”. Have no idea how they do that.
Now at home he is heavily medicated (20 mg olanzapine, 400 mg Seroquel, 2 mg clonazepam) but acting less paranoid, though still hearing voices, which get worse at night. We are in frequent communication with his psychiatrist by telephone. I’m going to see if he’ll reduce the olanzapine by 5 mg because it causes horrible weight gain.)
I am so glad you acted quickly when he began threatening to cut himself and make his eyes red. My son has cut into his face attempting to locate what he believed was an implant under his skin. You did the right thing, we have to make decisions we never expected for our family members.
I hope your son is doing much better now. Thank you for sharing your experience. This was a first for me in regard to cutting himself, and especially his eyes. It was an open door to get him help immediately.
My son is doing better, thanks. You really did a great job in responding so quickly, tragic things can happen, we have a tricky job as parents.
Monday update: I went to visit last week. It was a very short visit because my son started cussing me out for him being there. I have to set boundaries, and will not allow him to talk to me in that manner so I ended the visit. I do want to explain to him why I did what I did and I believe that one day he will forgive me and appreciate that I did what I could to get him help. I haven’t been able to visit since then because of my own health issues but am feeling much better today.
He is on medicaid and in our state there is only one hospital that will take him for long term care. Their waiting list is almost a year and that’s with a hospital recommending he go. Possibly shorter if I drive him 2 hours there to their ER which I don’t see him agreeing with that at all.
Tomorrow morning I have a meeting with the doctors who have been treating him. They are discussing a group home which would be wonderful. I guess my biggest concern there is that he would be free to walk out anytime he wanted and then the search would be on. Maybe I’m wrong- hoping so.
I would love to hear your experiences and suggestions. And tonight I’ll be doing another crash course with LEAP just to refresh myself again.
Again thank you all for your responses. They have really helped and given me some wonderful ideas!
So sorry about your ongoing struggles. You are doing what is best for him, even though he is not recognizing that now. I have also had to cut visits short when my son became verbally abusive toward me.
My son now tells me he loves me, and is happy to see me. It can improve, I wish you the best.
Hey Modi, How is your son doing?
Thank you so much for asking- I went to the magistrates office and had him involuntarily committed. It’s so heartbreaking to do that but I had to keep reminding myself that it was for his own safety. He was in the hospital for months while they tried to place him in a facility where he could receive the consistent care he needs. During that time, DSS took over (temporarily) legal guardianship. There were 3 places that we were considering placing him and were waiting on availability. We had a court hearing the beginning of December (that’s when DSS was designated legal guardian) and that’s when I found out that they were placing him in a group home apartment facility.
So this has been my first experience with a group home and I wasn’t sure what to expect. And it’s been an eye opener. I had assumed that in a group home, everything is pretty much provided and all the patient needed to do was bring personal items. Not this place- I had to get everything- linens, lamps, kitchen items (dishes, pots, flatware, etc.) food, literally everything. So there went any Christmas and I had to put off paying some bills. The apartment is in an area that is not great nor safe- or at least what we are accustomed to. And I spent most of the time (before he was discharged from the hospital and taken to the apartment) spraying for bugs and cleaning- then unpacked everything I had gotten him. He was going to have a roommate who was also a patient at the same hospital, so that was a positive- at least he would know someone.
The day after he moved in, I did a little research on one of the people in charge of him and the property and found that this person is a level 3 sex offender. I flipped out. And since then (my son has been living there for 2 weeks as of yesterday) his roommate has been hospitalized again, and the roommates mom came and took her son’s personal belongings. So my son is trying not to get manic about all of the changes- he not only has a diagnosis of schizo-effective but also aspergers. So change is something that needs to be gradual with preparation.
There’s another court hearing the end of January to see how he is doing and to designate DSS as the legal guardian. I’m clearly not happy with them- to them my son is just a number. The gal hasn’t even reached out to him or met him. And I don’t have nor can I provide what my son needs in terms of care so I’m trying to figure out what to do about this court hearing.
The good news is that my son has been (required to) taking medication regularly and is probably the best he’s been in years. He’s calmer, and seems more aware of trigger points and is setting some reasonable goals. I couldn’t be happier about that, and I’m very proud of him.
I can see why you think the remo is the trigger but wondering if the trigger is also the long presence of the brother He may feel like the brother is taking your attention and feel insecure. The anger being a way for him to cope. Would carving out time just with him daily would work? Like going for a walk, having breakfast together, a particular remo task you and him can do together, etc.
Crisis stabilization units, psych wards or mental hospitals are the only ones who legally can “lock down” a facility - at least here in the state of Florida. I tried checking on group homes in our area and spoke to some of the police officers who patrol the area. I had hopes of him wanting to be on his own, in a safe facility but found out from the officers that residents of the home were allowed to freely roam the streets - in a pretty rural area - but if they caused problems, the facility usually called the police to have them Baker Acted again into a hospital. So, around and around it goes … where it stops, one never knows. I did find a group of apartments for the mentally and physically disabled, with another roommate and a visiting life coach - but, because my son is typically non-compliant and a bit intimidating at 6’8" and probably 190 lbs, one of the directors I spoke with didn’t think it would be a good “fit”. So, I keep looking but most group homes here are not in great neighborhoods and the ones that are in nicer neighborhoods are not wanted by their neighbors. So sad …
At the moment, my son has been sick since Christmas Eve and I’ve picked up a cold from him. Its 12:00 a.m. and he’s ridden his bicycle to the convenience store - again…night humid air which I told him earlier could make him even sicker. He just doesn’t care and reasoning with him is pointless.
Like you said, at least your son is on his meds and so is mine - as long as I lay them out for him. I believe that AHCA has partial oversight over group homes so I would keep that in mind should any serious issues arise. You’ll probably know more by the time the hearing comes around. I wish you all the best…there’s always that light at the end of the tunnel. Take care,