Welcome to the forum! I too have a son who is now 34 and was diagnosed with disorganized schizophrenia at 21 but had symptoms when he was 15. My son also takes his medication faithfully and it has made his mind much more clear and he can communicate with me very well now, where he couldn’t before. Yet even though he is stable and more clear minded now his daily activities and abilities are very limited.
I was like you at first, thinking now that he is stable on medication he can go back to “normal”…and yes others like him may do more activities than he does.
First there are no two people with schizophrenia that are exactly alike. Everyone is completely different and individual, even people having the same diagnosis.
My son can do his basic daily activities, getting up, eating breakfast, getting dressed, etc…beyond that though he looks to me for direction. With me he will go to the gym, or go to the park to walk, or shopping, appointments, etc…he happens to like TV now and movies so that is not an issue…he couldn’t watch anything when he was still very ill though. Any kind of work requirements (that he is qualified for) are way to stressful for him and while he would attempt to perform what is asked of him, his mental stability would be jeopardized and degrade over time due to stress and the illness.
If he lived alone he would likely do very little. It is hard as a mom to accept this but much of it does have to be accepted at some point. I am not saying we should ever give up on trying to positively influence our son’s behaviors or activities, not at all. I am just saying that it seems to me from my own experience that change comes very VERY slowly if at all. I do see minor positive changes in my son but at a very slow rate and I have had to very gently nudge him into things a tiny half inch at a time… success takes forever and I never hound him in a way that stresses him out. If anything I use humor to coax him into things, but it is a little here and there and it spans months and years.
In my opinion, there are 2 things you can do that may help your son and also that may help how you see your son’s abilities in the future. 1) Make your son’s doctor aware of what your son can and cannot do. Explain how he generally spends his days and see if it is maybe medicine related or if it is strictly the illness that is the cause. Maybe medicine adjustments can be made to help. If you can’t speak to him directly due to HIPPA laws then just write the doctor a letter.
2/ If there is a NAMI group in your area, they offer very informative and free educational classes on caring for someone with a serious mental illness and when I took the Family to Family class it opened my eyes to so much on aspects that I didn’t fully understand at first. I went into the class assuming certain things and came out knowing much better. NAMI itself is a wealth of information and support so if it’s available to you in your area, I would look into it. Beyond that I am so glad your son is getting regular care and other than the low and missing abilities, it sounds like he may be pretty stable and that is a good thing. He is fortunate to have such a caring mom. My best to you both!
PS: I thought of a third idea if your area has this…some places have a Vocational Rehabilitation Center or here they call it the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services…sometimes they will assign a caseworker to someone like your son and they can try to assess his ability to do certain types of jobs and then help figure out how to make it happen. I tried this with my son and it didn’t work out so well for us at the time, but we may try it again in the future–but anything is worth a try if your son is up for trying it. If not now then maybe at a later time. https://nami.org/Find-Support/NAMI-Programs/NAMI-Family-to-Family