Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Mom appears to have schizophrenia w/paranoia & delusions, focused on parasites. And no one will help me

Hi. I hope my post stays within requirements. I’m just so desperate to find people in my situation or guidance or hope of some kind. In June Mom’s behavior became alarming. She claimed that due to the hole in the wall the internet company drilled and didn’t patch properly, bugs came into her home. They burrowed into her head and she’s now infected w parasites. We both have always had eczema but now little skin sensations associated w eczema she believes are bugs biting her and there is no convincing her otherwise. The skin sensations of our type of eczema are random itchiness and sometimes I feel little stings which is what I’m positive she’s confusing as bites. It’s because our type of eczema includes a kind of nerve damage but she doesn’t grasp that anymore. She is claiming that lint and general house debris are bugs and if I don’t just placate by saying “yes I see it” the day turns into hysteria. I should also disclose mom was a victim of severe domestic violence. Altho I believe she was likely predisposed with mental illness, abuse from her family, before her arranged marriage to my dad who beat her sometimes almost to death on and off for 8 years is why I believe she is here now. That and the fact that she never would take my advice when we were younger to see a counselor herself to face her traumas. I did and it helped me have a healthier life. She left dad when I was 1. So it’s been 40 years since the abuse. Over the last 7 months I’ve taken her to 27 doctors in a variety of specialties (not to mention those she’s gone to alone) except the one she needs, Psychiatry, because she refuses to accept this is not real and becomes angry at me and anyone else who suggests it. The behavior has had her and me covering her home in pesticides. We’ve had multiple companies come out and let her know there are no indications of bugs. So many physical exams. CTs, MRIs. Endless blood tests. The first few months were some of the worst for me because she was digging through her own poop in the toilet to find signs of parasites and sending me pics and showing me in person. At least she would wear protective gear. She did more than 6 ova parasite stool tests which all came back negative which made her upset. Even after a cholonoscopy showed her insides completely clear she was sad bc she just knows they’re in there. You would think I could baker act her or something based on just this right? No. Unless a person is a threat, as in potential suicide, or going to potentially harm someone else, me calling 911 to get her mental help forcefully (because she refuses to accept it willingly) will lead to, at most, a 3 day lockdown evaluation and then they will release her into my care. She would be traumatized and still never accept this is mental health related therefore what am I supposed to do with that aftermath? The more I read the more find stats on how high the rate of suicide is In schizophrenics, even those that end up in treatment, so I keep reading that I’m supposed to tread lightly. Because Google research and books is the only help I can find since the medical system won’t. I can’t even meet with someone privately to line up care for her and present it to her because no will meet with me first. Aside from her bug delusions and some enhanced paranoia about more things around her, she is still too functional for me to do anything legally. I’m trying to record and collect enough evidence for a guardianship but I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do with that and also people throw that suggestion around like it’s so easy. It’s so not. And again, because she’s not a physical threat to herself or others I can’t force anything on her, and she is getting out of hand. She is now trying to find a lawyer to help her sue the person who I bought the house from and against the internet company who drilled the hole. She called the police department to report a hotel for prostitution (which I really don’t know if that’s true or false but it’s likely false) and also for their bugs. Because why she was at the hotel she said another fly burrowed into her head. If I don’t just placate her delusions she becomes incredibly hostile towards me…and sometimes I won’t even be saying anything and she becomes hostile. She has moments of awareness and apologizes, which actually makes me more sad because of how frustrated I am with her all the time. There are some claims she’s made that sound like hallucinations. Seeing a man in the window that she knows wasn’t human. And similar claims like that when I was a kid. The more I learn the more I realize Mom’s been showing signs of schizophrenia with paranoia and delusions since I was a kid, but I just thought she was wacky and mean so left home when I was 18 to get away. She was so unbalanced I got close to attempting suicide twice before graduating high school but I would always realize I never really wanted to die. I just needed to get away from her, so I did as soon as high school was over and had some decent years of freedom…but for the last 20 years she’s always needed me. Whenever I cut her off she’d end up homeless and living in her car. By the time I was 13 she stopped being able to hold down jobs. Someone was always out to get her. So I worked hard and bought her a house a couple years ago. And things were stable and kind of nice for a little while. But now I’m 42 and she’s 69. She’s left that house that I still pay for and she’s fighting me tooth and nail on selling because she believes whoever lives in it next will catch the parasites. Wants me to use a lawyer to disclose the parasites which is insane. She’s technically a co-owner even though I pay for everything but I do have financial power of attorney so I will have a very sad and ugly road ahead of me to sell the house behind her back just so I can make a profit to afford to continue caring for her financially. She’s currently renting a room that I’m paying for also. The bugs followed her from the house, to the hotel, to this room rental. No one will help me unless she will receive it. Psychiatrists won’t talk to me. Places specifically designed for mental help won’t talk to me. The only one who got me thru the last 7 months was my LMHC to help me cope w my PTSD from a lifetime of trauma being raised by 2 mentally ill people, but honestly the constant reminder of self care isn’t even working anymore…and now I can’t afford my own therapist because Mom’s too expensive. I have friends and my own little family that I’m so grateful for. It would be unbearable without them. But what do us kids do when we can’t convince our parents to get the actual mental help they need? I just feel so helpless and hopeless and angry at our broken system all the time.

I am so sorry you find yourself in the position you are in trying to help your mother against her wishes to get psychiatric help. That situation is very very common. I recommend reading, if you have not yet, Dr. Amador’s book “I am not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”. It helped me greatly to understand my daughter’s situation and to eventually help her through forced treatment as she would NEVER have gotten onto meds willingly for long enough.

There is something called ex-parte involuntary commitment that you apply for from a judge at the courthouse. The rules for an ex-parte hold are different than what the police must apply. I know of one family that used it 3 times for their son, who greatly improved his behavior and went on meds on and off for the last few years because of their actions. Before they could not get a hold from the police, except once, when he was stalking their neighbors.

My opinion, and it is only opinion which you can accept or reject, is that you cannot suffer financially to the point where you cannot afford your own care or therapy, in trying to care for your mother. To have a house for her, and an apartment for her, is quite a lot. Especially as she appreciates neither. Remember always in dealing with her that her odd behavior and beliefs are the illness speaking, and that she may be unable totally to ever see her delusions as delusions. Me personally, I would take steps to sell the house, it is a good real estate market right now in most places and you need the money. Go ahead and tell your mother you will disclose that the house has been treated for bugs (negative bugs found can also be disclosed). I didn’t fight my daughter’s delusions, I still don’t as she still has them even medicated for the past 3 years. I found a way to work with her despite her delusions to better both of our lives. And you may have to be the controlling person even without guardianship. Also remember that guardianship does not automatically give you the right to force her into medical treatment, so it may not be that useful to you in the end. Nor does an involuntary hold guarantee your mother would STAY on meds they give her in the hospital once she is released.

I wish you luck sorting this out. Do use this forum to vent, learn and post. And especially keep using your friends and your own little family to give yourself emotional support.

Since trying to argue her out of her beliefs doesn’t work, perhaps you could approach it as a problem to be solved.

Does she say what is the specific kind of parasite? The only ones I can think of which might infect a house are bedbugs, lice and maybe dust mites.

Locate a parasite specialist, which you might be able to find via the internet, and arrange a telehealth visit if they are not local. That person should be able provide direction forward.

I would not go for any further application of pesticides without proof of the existence of bugs. The pesticides might be harmful.

Ty for these replies. They actually really helped me feel not alone that someone replied. Thank so much. And I’m gonna continue reading more stories on here bc it is helpful to understand what others go thru and how they handle it. Idk if I handled everything the best this week…but I don’t feel regret about it. I faced mom on Monday. I tried to do it as gently as possible. “Mom I’m really concerned about the rate ur health is regressing. U know that ur communication is becoming more disorganized and that ur memory is becoming worse. It also appears that this parasite/bug issue is following u everywhere u go. I see u in so much pain and I want to help u get ur life back and sincerely think we can do it if you would be open to coming with me to a health and wellness center.” I had to explain it was related to mental health. I also confessed that I don’t believe the pieces of lint and debris she’s been showing me everywhere are insects and that if she would come with me to my immunologist we would be able to get her eczema under control and the feeling of “bites” would stop. I already understood that was going to be too much for her to handle. Already mentally prepped for the 6 hours that followed where she verbally attacked me. Told me that she always knew I was evil like my father. That she regrets wasting her life on me. That people had warned her I would turn on her like a *****. (Our family last name.) Called me a liar. Said I had been conspiring against her all these years. I let her vent in person for a few hours. Then I took her 13 phone calls and allowed her to vent until midnight at which time I stopped it by calmly and firmly saying “ok mom. I’m really sorry I’ve hurt u but that’s enough for tonight. The calls need to stop now.” She said ok and stopped Monday. Then Tuesday called and laid into me once more. Then her brother in NY called who is aware of what’s going on but didn’t know I faced her. Mom had called him and told him to stay away from her and to never speak to me again because I’m evil. But mom truthfully has been doing this my entire life. Saying these specific things, it’s just for the last 40 years it’s been sporadic, when something triggered her. Like a bad day at work. And now that I look back I see all the signs. She hasn’t held a steady job since I was 13. When I would tell her no when she asked for money in my twenties and thirties, she’d end up homeless, which is why I always caved and gave up goal after goal, dream after dream, to pay for her. Once I went to the hospital for malnutrition for 3 days after passing out at my 2nd job because I had been giving her my food money. And no matter what I’ve ever done, it was never enough. She would always eventually cut me down by saying I don’t love her and guilt trip me into giving her more. But today after I spent the day buying her a heater and bringing over the list of things she asked me for, because of course even after verbally attacking me for 2 days, she still called me with her honey do list, and I did it like the obedient daughter I’ve always been. I just felt so much rage and anger by the time I left tonight. I tried to leave 7 times this evening. I would calmly let her know once she started verbally attacking me that I am going to have to leave. But then she would throw herself in front of the door and cry don’t leave me. And I would tell her “I will stay but I will leave if u continue to call me names”. Finally at the end she stopped and just laid in my lap so I could rub her back. I know she’s lonely and mentally ill. But I’ve realized. I’m really tapped out. I understand my dad and her family abused her. But she used me my entire life as her punching bag instead of humbling herself and getting therapy. Even tho I begged her to for years. Ur not supposed to be 7 years old listening to ur mother tell u stories about rape and women locked in a basement and swear words about ur father. Then be ordered around like a slave while also being brainwashed into believing u are supposed to take care of ur mother unconditionally no matter what she says or does to me. But that’s what happened. And tonight after yet another night of unbelievable patience and tolerance I’m coming down from anger at her AND myself. For it to have taken 42 years to stand my ground with her and not allow her to abuse me and to not allow her to make another bad financial choice so that I can’t take care of her and myself. I put my foot down that I will be selling the house I bought for her because otherwise I cannot afford to take care of her and move her closer to me. I just didn’t reply when she asked “how will u do that if I refuse to sign it?” She forgot, because she’s ill, that she signed a legally binding durable power of attorney over her finances. So she doesn’t know I can sell the house without her. And I’m doing it to take care of her. It’s very very very difficult to be as empathetic as I read so many others are with their family when my father abused me, abandoned me, basically broke my mom and left me to take care of her, then she mentally abused me for 4 decades. And now. She’s so mentally ill…there is nothing I can do but set my boundaries. Continue to do my best to care for her. Try to forgive her. Vent. And try to keep away from substances so that I don’t end up like my 32 year old little brother who passed away a few months from alcoholism because of our dad and his mom’s lifetime of physical and mental abuse. I got the ex-parte paperwork today and will use it if mom does something extreme. For now, she just cries and manipulates and says nutty things so I don’t feel that it’s worth traumatizing her for what they explained would be law enforcement handcuffing her and holding her for a max of 3 days unless she appeared to be a danger, which she won’t. She’s 69 and Indian. She’ll never voluntarily take medication. So, I think what I did to her by telling her the truth and asking her to come to treatment is as badly as I’m willing to hurt her right now. And I had to do something because she did go thru with starting a legal case to try and prevent me from selling my completely safe and equity filled house. She’s causing too much trouble. I can’t have her calling the police on others and potentially end up fined or arrested. And I think all that will stop now that she knows that I don’t agree that the lint are bugs. I truly believe that unless she does something outrageous I should just let her be so she can at least have her freedom, even if it’s a shitty kind of freedom. I hope she doesn’t do something extreme right now. But I do have this gut feeling that if I do something to her forcefully in her current state, once she’s released. She could do the unimaginable. I pray I’m not wrong, but I swear. I don’t feel like there’s any way to really ever know if you’re doing the right thing in a situation like this. So I’m just gonna try and manage my anger at my parents for never addressing their own mental illnesses and robbing my brother of his actual life and almost ruining mine. And continue to be there for her, as I’ve always been. I’ve been trying to get her to the right doctors to treat her actual physical issues along with mental. She’s refusing. So. I think it just is what it is. And what it is…is so very sad. But I do feel better writing this all out. Thank for the forum and for others sharing their stories. May we all find our peace. Those that are ill and those that take care of them.

Since you are paying for her apartment, I think maybe you are right, and you will have some freedom too from her verbal abuse. Perhaps though she will agree to see a doctor and get medication.