I am an only child, 23M, from the UK.
My mum has had schizophrenia ever since I was a young child. She never took drugs, smoked or had a problem with alcohol (rarely drank). We believe her schizophrenia was triggered due to a rough divorce with my dad but we will never know for sure what caused it. She is 53 now.
This is my first post here and have only just discovered the forum as of today. I’m not really sure what I want out of this post but I will share a little of my situation as someone who is an only child, with divorced parents since I was 2 years old, and have not seen my dad until the latter of my life (around 16 years old), even then it is only once a year, if that, and of course he cannot begin to understand the severity of what has happened to my mum.
My mum and I have moved house three times due to her having an episode and spending all her money so therefore having to sell the house and downgrade to pay off the debts. I am now living alone with my mum in a one bedroom house, with my mother sleeping on a pull-out bed downstairs in the living room whilst I have the only bedroom and bed in the house (seems unfair on my mum but this is the way it is). My house is tiny and I guess you can imagine what that’s like, 24 hours a day being only one bedroom door away from my mum and the horrible traits of schizophrenia.
Just like most people with schizophrenia, my mum does not think she is ill and thinks just about everyone, family included, is out to get her. Due to this, she never leaves the house and she has had a very hard time taking her medication and not just spitting it out when I’m not looking or just not taking it at all. When she doesn’t take the meds the schizophrenia gets worse and eventually she has a full on psychotic episode. During an episode she will do unlawful things (unknowingly) as well as spend crazy money (which she doesn’t have) / selling the house etc. eventually she will be sectioned by law to the psychiatric ward in a mental hospital and put back on the meds and after a few months she can come home again. During this time I would usually have to live with my grandparents. It most recently happened when I was 18 so I could just stay in the house on my own this time as I was old enough to do so. We have only just now, ~16 years after her schizophrenia diagnosis, got her into a good routine where she takes the medication every night (or so we think).
However, the point is here that every time she didn’t take the meds and had an episode, when she returned to ‘normal’ her ‘normal’ became worse and worse with each episode. It is now that my mum cannot return to how she was and she is very much so gone. She is no longer that person she was. She is still a very loving, caring devoted mother, but just has all the wrong intentions for me, her only child, which is understandable due to her condition.
In the past, I used to resent my mum (I love her but hate the schizophrenia). I tried absolutely everything to snap her out of it, of course to no avail. I hated being seen in public with her (back when she actually used to leave the house). I would also get so angry with her and I would say some pretty nasty things and sometimes I would even get physical; not my proudest of moments. I constantly feel guilty because of how I have treated her in the past. For the latter of my life, I have hardly said a word to her, even on mother’s day or her birthday etc. (we live in the same house and I always shut her out and say nothing - kinda weird but hay-ho). I don’t know what it is, but I have found it so hard to talk to her. Even now, our relationship is far from ideal. I find it really hard to go along and agree with whatever fantasy she is talking to me about this time. Only recently I have been making more of an effort to go along with it.
My friends know about my mother’s condition but I will never openly talk about it, in fact, I actually hate talking about it and even when people who are close to me ask ‘how is your mother doing?’ it just instantly gets me thinking about my mum and the guilt (and all the other emotions…) I have surrounding the situation, which is hard to snap out of. These people are just being nice but at the same time they really do not understand the gravity of the situation and the toll it’s taken on me and my family. Maybe I should start getting therapy as I have never tried it but have been recommended it by just about everyone.
I have been at university for the past 5 years and during term time I have been living away from my mum as I had a house with my friends at university. Sometimes I wouldn’t even go back home when the semester finished as I enjoyed the freedom. I can’t lie, I really enjoyed the peace of mind and the time away but I have now finished university and am living in the one bedroom house again with my mum. I will be living here for the foreseeable future as I have no idea what I want to do with myself.
In my teenage years up until around 21 I was drinking, smoking and doing a lot of drugs as well. I have been to a lot of parties and had great times but all of this substance ‘abuse’ was just masking my social anxiety as I am a completely different person when sober; it was some sort of coping mechanism for me. I still drink when I go out now, but I don’t go out nearly as much anymore. I worry about my mental health nowadays and really do not want to end up like my mother.
The scary thing is I read here that someone else’s mother also has schizophrenia, and when this person went onto having kids of their own, one of their kids now has schizophrenia at a very young age. This was something I had not even thought of the possibility of happening. Not to mention what the likelihood of me (someone with pretty severe daily anxiety and likes to isolate themselves a lot) developing schizophrenia is.
The sad thing now is that my mum is 53, and although she is doing ‘relatively’ good, people with schizophrenia tend to die 15-25 years younger, or so I’ve read. So the day is creeping up on me. I love my mum with all my heart and that day will be the next challenge…