Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Loved ones with schizophrenia and hoping


I chose Love & Hope, I joined this forum just today! As I need support, I’ve been having no one around me who understand how I feel having a family member who refuses medication, refuses to talk, to leave their room, to end their isolation.

I found many of your names derived from Hope, Hopeful, … I feel like you’re feeling similar feelings though our circumstances are different.

Can anyone tell me how can I let my unwell family member interact back with me?


Welcome to the forum Hopes - yes, there are many of us with hope in our names - I think of us as the “hope squad”.

Have you read Dr Amador’s book “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”? It can be helpful in teaching you how to make conversations comfortable between you and your sister.

I think you mentioned that she is eating, so that is good. When my son with scz was keeping to himself a good deal, he was eating. His brother pointed out to me, “at least he is enjoying something”.


Yes, we must keep hoping. Small changes are the best to hope for: one day at a time. If she won’t talk to you at all, reading Dr. Amador’s book may seem puzzling at first as it is all based on listening. My daughter still won’t talk to me much, but I read the whole book and keep hoping I can use it. I got my daughter to improve two aspects of her life by repeating the same small things daily: Knock on the door, tell her I have food (which at first she wouldn’t take). Later, knock on the door, ask her if she wants to go on a walk with me (which at first she wouldn’t). Now, after a few months, it is a sort of daily routine (she accepts the food and usually will take a walk).


@hope you’re giving me hope by your kind responses which I appreciate greatly, I just sighed a sigh of relief to have found this place. Thank You, I’ll search for the book you suggested :heart:


@oldladyblue you are amazing, may you be granted health and strength to continue doing that and achieve what you aspire for. I wish my mom does this with my sister, my mom has issues of her own but I cannot speak about my mom here now. I don’t live with my sister to be able to do that for a long time although a CBT psychologist advised me to do a hi and I love you routine everyday for three months in a row for me to be able to re-gain my sister’s trust and re-build relation that could lead to her talking back to me but there are circumstances that I cannot stay three months with her, I live somewhere else and just able to visit her almost every six months (one month each visit if I could)…


Welcome! I understand some of what you’re experiencing. I have a sister who has been diagnosed as schizo affective and she is chronically isolated by choice. She takes one mood medication willingly (Wellbutrin) but it is not really the correct treatment for her many issues. She also smokes pot and will always lie about it if a doctor or anyone asks. She is 57. I love her unconditionally and through the years there have been times I have drawn her out of her tiny dark efficiency apartment and into my world. When she is with me I have a difficult time abstaining from trying to fix all of her many problems. Usually I go through all of her cupboards and her fridge where there are always seriously expired foods, like canned goods 10 years past expect all rusty etc… moldy food in the fridge…once she had a Burger King hamburger loosely wrapped in the freezer that she said had been in there a couple of years. Then there’s the issue of her never doing laundry. She washes her personal items in a wash tub, but everything she owns has an unpleasant odor. She won’t shower and only bathes in the sink. I once found her sleeping on a box spring only because she said her neighbor wanted her mattress and she let him have it. The only time she goes out is to cash her disability check and get food and she only goes to one nearby grocery store. I believe her pot supplier lives nearby, she has had some suppliers that have robbed her. Anyway…the thing that worked best for me to draw her out was a letter writing campaign I launched a couple of years ago… pleasant upbeat letters that never ever mentioned her problems or my problem with her problems. I drew smiley faces, hearts, and flowers, picked out pleasant blank cards with cute animal pictures on he front to write my letters in, always wrote my phone number and address in each card. Always said things like how much I love her and that I’m proud of her no matter what. Etc…It took about a year of this… sending a card about every week or two…and one day I got an almost unreadable letter from her, but I could make out enough to know the letters worked and she wanted to spend the holidays with me. Huge milestone for her. Coming from never answering her front door or her phone to planning a visit. Anyway this was a couple of years ago… I tried to remain calm and not help too much because it seems helping her is oddly part of what drives her away, that and my inability to deal with her manner of speech which is one long deluded uninterrupted run-on sentence that starts when she sees me and ends when I can’t see her anymore because she has closed her front door once again. I can’t get a word in and I can’t respond or interact in any effective way…she never takes a breath or shuts up or listens. Our last interaction ended without any real precipitating conflict or argument. I hugged her goodbye and that was it. No more letters and no more visits. It’s been almost 2 years and I have just started slowly sending a letter or two again. I am doubtful though that we are good for each other, loving sisters or not. The stress I feel around her makes me physically ill. I try to behave calm and loving around her but over time my nerves become jangled. Her nerves and her illness preclude her from ever truly enjoying visiting anyone. She only finds serenity in the confines of her very dark and very tiny closet like efficiency apartment. I have come to believe that place is her future casket and when she passes, I may never know. I am not sure my long winded reply helped at all but suffice to say, I know the frustration and sadness very well. She needs a legal guardian but I am legal guardian to my adult sz son and that is my limit. Sorry so long winded…


@Catherine thank you for sharing, I cannot believe I’m not alone, I never wished what I experienced upon anyone… thank you for being here


Thank you for the compliment. I am still smiling. I am willing to do what I can, and have learned, finally, what I cannot do (and am no longer upset by it). My daughter says “I love you” to me now, several times a week, sometimes several days in a row, either when I give her dinner or we go for a walk. That was a long time coming as she was so paranoid of me at first. You must try to get your mother to tackle only one idea at a time with your sister and to try and love her as she is. Your sister and your mother will both do better if they don’t make more animosity. You can only do what you can do too, don’t upset yourself with what you can’t do. Good luck and take things one day, and one step at a time.


Thank you for sharing this aspect of your life with your sister. I appreciate the kindness you have shown her and do understand the jangling of the nerves when you are with her. Your post has reinforced with me my desire to quell the jangling in my life. I don’t think two years seems like a long time to your sister, just my opinion, I know my daughter has been ill for two years and she doesn’t seem to act like it has been a long time at all. I hope you find sunshine in your life to help wash out the sadness sometimes.


@oldladyblue thank you so much, the beneficial information you and everyone is sharing is priceless to me, you cannot imagine how much I need this. Thank you for being here


@Love_Hope I do understand your feelings. When I found this site I was hopelessly depressed because my daughter was doing so poorly. I received support and ideas from many persons on here, and it was worth a fortune to me. I’m very glad you are here.


I agree time is different with the mentally ill people I know. I have to admit that in spite of knowing that it is my sister’s nature to suddenly pull away and isolate without a word. She has done it her whole life. This last time really hurt my heart deeply. I understand all the reasons why it shouldn’t, and I am not holding any grudges. I just decided for the first time, I would recognize how hurt and sad I was in my heart, and that there is nothing effective or lasting that I can do to help my sister or to make her be a part of my life, even minimally. I will still send an occasional letter or card to let her know I am thinking of her but I’m not trying to get her to change for what I feel is “better” anymore. I have to also recognize that good, bad, or indifferent, she has somehow managed to survive to the age of 57, and for some that is already a lifetime. I will try to stay in touch with her and should she ever show up at my door I will greet her with hug and I will certainly miss the idea of her as my sister when she is gone. This subject really hits home for me.


@Catherine what you said made me cry, the fact that you are here and sharing and feeling all those feelings says that you love her. Your sister is in her 50s and managed, mine is in her 30s, it’s giving me hope… I was scared in my little bubble and little amount of knowledge and now a bit by bit I’m learning…


Sorry for the tears. I have learned so much in the years I’ve cared for my sz son and my sister… more than I cared to. I hope you can find a way to bridge your relationship with your sister. My best to you.


Hang in there! I too, have found some relief in this forum. It breaks my heart that so many people live with these illnesses and family/caretakers do their best cuz we love them. Very challenging. My son suffers from Anosognosia and insists everyone puts stuff in his food, shampoo on the door handles, etc. Even insists that people spray him with medication in the grocery store or comes in at night while he is sleeping and sprays him. He isolates himself a lot and trusts no one, insists the cops follow him and even went so far last week to call 911 to file a complaint against the sheriffs dept. for harassment. :frowning: I am reading Dr. Amadors book and have watched countless videos, however my son will barely have a conversation so hard to use the examples given.
Glad you found this forum and I hope it helps you personally deal with this debilitating de-sease. I watch and read a lot from Hay and that also helps to stay positive and grounded.
Take Care of yourself.


I think we all struggle with those issues at different times. When someone doesn’t believe they have an issue it is difficult to get them to take something. There are ups and downs all the time. There is no real answer but to be patient. Finding help for yourself can sometimes be as important as the help the patient receives. Good luck!


Yes, I totally understand. When I first read the book, I figured that it didn’t apply to us at all, as the Listen step didn’t exist. That is the case most times with my daughter. She doesn’t talk much to real people (like me) I’ve sometimes picked up something she is upset about by standing in front of her door and listening to her talk to her voices.


Welcome to the group. People here know and understand what you are going through. I see that others have already mentioned Dr Amador’s book “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”?. I will second that idea. I found it very helpful. Be patient and take good care of yourself. There is someone there who really needs you, whether they know it or not right now. Things can and quite possibly will improve. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. They will also happen. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.


@2frustrated That HayHouse is quite something. I downloaded her free sample. I think a little of that goes a long way. Maybe just a few minutes daily can help. Thanks for sharing that.


Absolutely. I find they have a variety of wonderful inspirational things that help ME to get thru the day. I love when they have stuff from Wayne Dyer.