After 3 violent attacks on family members, my husband and I filed for legal eviction of our 19-year old son at the urging of our sheriff. We also filed for Victim’s Protective Orders. He is presently in our local county jail and has been since July 2nd. As you all know, this pains me greatly to do this, but he is becoming increasingly unpredictable and his violence seems to know no bounds. The thought that my child will never live with me again is sad to say the least, but I also realize that the reality of him seriously hurting me or (more likely) his dad is great and even possibly killing one of us. I am puzzled because he is med compliant. I would think that the meds would lessen the violent tendencies? He has told me that the voices instruct him to do violent things from time to time. On some of those days, he asked me to stay home from work because he wasn’t sure what he would do. I felt secure (maybe stupidly at this point) in thinking that he would never harm me because we are very close. We have had no contact with him since he was arrested for this last violence although his older brother has talked to him and is putting money in his commissary account. He was in-patient the week before he was arrested. Typical of our state, they kept him a mere 3 days, did nothing with his meds and sent him home (this after he hoisted a gasoline can over his head, threatening to pour it over himself and me). If anyone else’s child or spouse is violent, I would love to hear from you on what you have done - did you remove them from your home? Did their meds get changed? Do you still have contact with them? I have been contacting every agency that can possibly assist him in finding a place to live and offer services such as a case manager, medication oversight, etc. So far, many promises, little follow through. So frustrating.
I am so very sorry this is happening to your family. It is extremely frustrating in so many ways. My son was not normally violent, the rare times he showed violent tendencies was when his medications were not right, or he was having a bad reaction to them or in a couple of cases where he attempted to do street drugs in addition to whatever he was talking, but I got his guardianship early on and so I had the ability to talk with his doctor and let him know that the medications were not doing the job and I reported every single bad or odd behavior back to his doctor sometimes on a daily basis. I also kept a journal. If I had left the doctor visits up to my son to attend alone, my son never would have made it. He would have always told the doctor he was “fine” and no changes would have occurred ( because his answers tie the doctors hands) and if changes hadn’t been made (many times) he would likely not be with me today at all. That’s all I personally know on the subject. I think that your son’s behavior speaks volumes for the lack of efficacy of the medications your son is currently on, provided that he is as compliant as you believe he is and that he is not self medicating in any other way. My heart goes out to you. You are in a difficult place and so is your son. Is gaining guardianship through probate possible for you? or perhaps suggesting that the court appoints your son a guardian of their choosing? At least with a legal guardian they have to legally insure that your son has some kind of safe housing and that he continues with his ongoing treatment. My best to you going forward.
LisaS, I will write more tomorrow, I had one question - is he on an injection med? Is that how you are sure he is med compliant?
In our experience, long-acting injections were the only way we could be sure meds were doing the best they could do to stabilize our son’s moods and lessen his psychosis. In my opinion, injections are a must for those with anosognosia…
Our son is on the highest dosage of Invega Sustenna.
I’m so sorry for the hell you all are going through. I want you to have your son back.
He is not on an injectable. I was putting his pills out daily (morning and night) and watching him take them, raising his tongue after taking. He has insight, knows he is ill. Funny thing, after talking to a lady with the Mental Heatlh Ass’n here, she thought maybe he is on too many meds, and she suggested Invega. But with him in jail presently, switching meds probably is not going to happen. The jail doesn’t have a psychiatrist on staff, only an MD that he will see. More than likely the MD will continue his present medical regimen.
If I remember right, he did get pretty stable on his meds at one point?
At NAMI family support group we once had visitors from what used to be called the consumer support group. The consumers had things they wanted all of us family members to know and they felt the most important thing was that we should never believe our family members about being med compliant. They said it was easy to fool us by pocketing meds in the mouth, slight of hand, etc.
The longer our son lived with us the closer he got to violence with us. Its very sad, but some of us can’t live with our adult children with scz.
One of our sheriff’s deputies advised us to evict our son after he threw a chunk of granite at me. Luckily, the rock was too heavy for him to throw it very far. My son’s psychiatrist was getting very concerned that my husband/his father was in actual danger. My son would not stop focusing on his dad with negative delusions.
I had already gotten him through the process of applying for SSDI and SSI. Its not a lot of money each month, it is enough for a simple apartment for him to live by himself and eat simply. You are allowed to pay for extra things like internet and telephone, you just can’t pay for food clothing or shelter items while they are on SSI.
Long story short, basically, we bribed our son to move away.
His delusions about his dad and I have grown so strong that I try to avoid excessive contact with my son. I do contact him regularly through texting about the other meds he takes and things he needs to text me for his records and insurance. I manage his Medicare (Medicaid takes care of itself) and I am his payee representative for his ssdi and ssi money.
I don’t call him because he hears voices that sound like me and he gets quite upset when I do talk to him. If he really needs something urgently he will call me, those times seem to go fine.
Basically I’m his case manager, there are no psych meds just the other meds. I mail him the check for his rent and he puts it in the box at the apartment complex.
Thank you for sharing this. Currently my son has been transferred to a state hospital again. I want my son to live with me but not until he is medication compliant. I never felt threatened, however when he left the first group home to come live with me against the staff recommendations, the staff feared for my safety and actually called the police department in my community. My son will go back to the current group home when he is discharged.
Your story really gives me something to think about for the future.
Lisa, I’m so sorry for what you are going through. My son did become violent many times. Mainly to my husband his father. My son too is med compliant but still has a hard time. He is like a box of chocolate, everyday you don’t know what mood he will be in. I’m curios how old your son is? My son is 25. Not sure what state you are in but here in upstate NY their is a agency called DePaul. They have given my son an apartment and they monitor him. It is a big building with many apartments that DePaul runs. There is always someone there. Two times daily he goes to the office in the building and gets his medicine. They are also his payee for the social services he receives. Read the book, “I’m not sick, I don’t need help” by Xavier Amador. It really helped me and I’ve read so many mental health books in the last 20 years. My oldest son who is 18 years older than my 25 also had severe mental health issues. Good luck. Robin
Robin - My son is 19 and he has had this since he was 7 1/2. We are in Oklahoma and the mental health services here are terrible. I call a place and they say “we’ll put our feelers out” and then I don’t hear back from anyone. I call them again and kind of the same response. He will end up homeless if one of these agencies doesn’t step up to the plate and get their ass in gear. Pardon my language but they are supposed to help and they are so slow to respond. I get that my son isn’t the only one they’re helping and they’re understaffed, underpaid, no funding, etc., but at the same time, if you SAY you’re going to do something, be a person of your word. When I say I’m going to do something at work, you better know that I will do it. If I can’t do it when I said I would, I will let you know why, when to expect it now, etc. This is a problem in our world now…no expectations of anyone. Don’t want to work? Fine, the gov’t will send you a check. BS. I know our loved ones are in a position not to work, they are too ill. But there are plenty of people receiving assistance who could work. It annoys me to no end that my son has been denied SS disability twice, but yet some grossly obese person who made themselves that way gets disability. Sorry, I am on a rant here. It just doesn’t seem fair. If you can’t see mental illness (which you can’t really) then they can’t qualify for benefits? Ridiculous. I have filled out mountains of paperwork, as I’m sure you all can relate. And for what? To be turned down time and time again. ARRRRGGHH!
Hi, Lisa, I am so sorry for all you are going through. I hope one of those agencies comes through for your son soon.
I was wondering if you had used a lawyer to try to get SSI for your son. With his history I don’t understand how they could deny him twice.
I will be sending positive thoughts.
Most people have to get an attorney for disability benefits!
My heart broke as I read your post. I feel your pain and hopelessness. I have nothing to offer except my care and concern and understanding. I am often thrown into despair at the lack of help for my daughter. I cannot fathom how little support and resources there are for people who have severe mental illness. And it’s not just your state - it is our country. Others in this group will have more practical words and experience for you. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone in your suffering and uncertainty. I am there with you and struggle also with my daughter who is also med compliant. I dont know what the answer is but I will keep looking for one. And most important, take care of yourself. You deserve to be safe and healthy and joyful. Know that your son wants that for you.
@LisaS I also am so sad and angry that what has happened in your family ever has to occur and we don’t get needed help, but not because we have not tried. You have rightly done what you need to do at present to protect yourself and your family. Each state and sometimes even localities can be so much different in the programs they offer and how they treat those with mental illness. Discharging a person after 3 days who is clearly a danger to himself is WRONG and potentially a LIABILITY ISSUE for the discharging facility. If you are aware that your loved one is going to be discharged, you can tell the facility that the person CANNOT come home and that THEY will be held accountable for finding a safe place for your loved one (or held accountable for any harm that comes to him). This is hard, but sometimes necessary.
Let me set the record straight on HIPAA. There is NO law that says you cannot talk TO a medical provider and GIVE THEM information. HIPAA is about who can get your information –whether or not you want it released. It does not prohibit doctors from listening to information provided by others about a patient. I suggest to anyone who does not have a HIPAA release from their loved one to share information with you, to put IN WRITING anything and everything you want to doctor or medical staff to know. Don’t rule out verbal conversations, but email works great if you have the right person to contact and their email address. Make your information as succinct as possible with as many facts as possible, and also your observations regarding behavior, what meds have been used…what worked what didn’t work. How many times hospitalized and when, etc. Get the NAME of someone of some authority to give it to (Case Managers are good if not the doctor), and clearly address any hard copy info to that person. Information in writing works well even when there IS a HIPAA release or Guardianship.
I have read medical articles that say some persons who are med-compliant may never be totally rid of their delusions, voices, or whatever, however, the purpose of medication is to greatly minimize these things. If the med is not working, the dose may need to be changed, the med may need to be changed entirely, or an “adjunct” medication added, or another treatment such as ECT tried. Also, counseling, if at all possible. If NOT med-compliant due to the illness itself, yes, read the book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help” and USE what you learn with every bit of intention that you can possible put together. Over and over again. Do NOT give up hope.
I totally understand Lisa. My unofficially adopted son is 29 almost 30. Been with me for almost 8 years except when he was incarcerated for being violent. Now I know all these years later his childhood trauma, lack of supervision/love/discipline and a family from being in the foster care system has been a huge downfall for him. He has had violent outbursts many times and I have had to have him removed several times from my home due to his unpredictable behavior. He goes from 1 to 10 in about 2 seconds at times and other times he is the most thoughtful respectful person. I see his struggle and pain but I have learned hard lessons over the years… Strict boundaries are a must as they know none… and will push all the limits. About 3 weeks ago I had to have him escorted out of my home and property Again as he was being rude, disrespectful and drinking alcohol which I do not allow. Now my response to him is: You chose that behavior and this is the consequence of that, so if you do not like the consequence don’t chose that. He is now homeless again and asking to come back. My response until I see something different and consistent with you, no way…otherwise the outcome will be the same. He is Anosognosia and refuses meds as he insists he is not sick and nothing wrong with him. So I know that if I let him back without any changes I am basically setting us both up for failure and I wont do that again as his behavior gets more and more unpredictable. I do allow him to come over during the day to do yard work, etc to earn money for gas, etc. let him take a shower and he eats with me and then tell him Goodbye. I cannot tell you how relieved it is to go to bed at night without the turmoil of him being in my home. His therapist is very supportive to me and reminds me to keep those hard line boundaries for him. Safety first. All of our county knows who my son is and aware of his illness and like you said nothing is being done as he is an adult and has to ask for help, which will never happen as he does not feel he needs any help, even though he is homeless. Hello, there is the lack of awareness!! I hate that there is nothing else I can do. I am in touch with the crisis unit, sheriff dept. his therapist and my hands are tied. I am sorry you and all of us are going thru this, it is heartbreaking and frustrating… I feel your pain.
Dudley - The company that is assisting us has attorneys on staff. However, with my son being in jail, that hampers their efforts. They can’t request a court appearance for him if he’s in jail. So their hands are tied till he gets released from jail. The DA is supposed to be keeping me updated on when that will be (since I was the “victim”). Of course, that isn’t happening. It is so aggravating. I get that our county is small, under-funded, etc., but how hard is it to make a 5 min. phone call?
Hope4us - Had a little ray of sunshine today that I wanted to share. I called back a lady who I spoke to last week that works for a state agency. The lady who answered the phone said “she’s no longer working here” and I thought “Oh no, I have to start over at Square One.” But the lady on the phone said she had been in the room when the other lady (who left) was speaking to me so she was familiar w/ my son’s situation. She looked at the outgoing email that lady sent to other agencies and one lady had responded and said she would go to the jail and do an assessment on my son. She then asked for my email and said she was forwarding a PACT Team Referral form that another agency had responded with. I had tried unsuccessfully in the past to get my son assisted by a PACT team but he didn’t meet the criteria then. He does now due to him being in patient and arrested so many times in the past 24 months. Whew! They haven’t officially accepted him yet, but it does look promising at this point. I made it very clear to her if some agency doesn’t pick up the ball and run with it, he will be homeless upon release from jail. I said he CANNOT live with us anymore period. Too unpredictable, too violent. So I immediately filled out the form and sent it back to her. If you’re so inclined, please pray for a positive outcome. That this PACT Team will accept him and help him. That would be an answered prayer on so many levels. I would be able to have some level of peace of mind.
Yes, this is a BIG ray of sunshine in our worlds! I have heard of PACT! This is probably the best next step for your loved one (and you) in the current situation! I WILL pray for the best possible next step and for his eventual recovery to a good life! There is hope!
Lisa and all of you. It is so hard at times I will pray for you. Your safety is important. I have gone through everything you have said. My step son got so much worse when he was with us. I even had to go to get help for my own piece of mind. I lived with my bedroom door locked for 10 years I would get so afraid of him. I think our adult children attack us the parents because they think were safe. This might sound awful but I dont ever want to see him again I am truly afraid. Please keep yourself safe. My stepson was in jail and luckily the DA was able to convinced the judge to put him in the state hospital for mentally I’ll. possibly see if you can talk to the DA. After a year he was released and did ok until he quit taking the meds. I could be wrong but the longer he goes in his physicotic world I dont think meds will help much anymore. He is 34 and in jail again and I’m hoping the courts force the same treatment again. I care for him very much but I know he went backwards living with us. He’s only been violent to us. My therapist helped me let go. Take care of yourself set boundaries for your sanity. This site helped me so much.
Question, if you are appointed guardianship can you be held responsible if (God forbid) they go and hurt someone?
Should not have been discharged from hospital with those symptons. He needed to be a couple of weeks and see if his meds are working and have a discharge plan.
My son now gets haloperidol shot once a month, because he would go off his meds. Now I don’t have to worry if he is taking his pills.
I copied part of your post to help me gain the strength to keep firm with my son and the boundaries I need to make should he ever come home to live with me, which we both want. He has never been physically violent with me or anyone to my knowledge, even as a child and young adult prior to this illness. Once he gets stabilized via hospitalizations, he starts to decline his medications.
I admire your strength.