Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My brother is not doing so well. Advice please

Hello all,

I need some help. My brother was first diagnosed with schizophrenia 5 years ago. He cane out and told us that he had been suffering for a long time, hearing voices, etc. it finally got to him. He had a car accident in 2011 that made it worse. He was given the proper treatment and medication and has been doing fine since today.
He started working with my stepdad a couple of weeks ago doing apartment maintenance. He seemed like he was doing okay. But last night he started talking incoherently. He hasn’t been able to speak, and my mom says she thinks he thinks he’s at work. He’s doing motions like he’s building and polishing things. His cat scan came back normal. He’s unable to walk and talk, he even urinated on himself… They’re not sure what’s going on with him, and we’re not either. This has never happened to him before. He’s only 26.
Does anyone have any insight as to what could be going on with him? Will he ever come back to us?
TIA

Sorry things aren’t going well right now!

My brother has also been diagnosed for about 5 years.
He has suffered from Schizophrenic Catatonia in the past, where his hallucinations are so intense that he is unable to communicate, unable to move beyond meaningless gestures and poses, and clearly not cognizant of the present.
These episodes would usually last a couple of hours.

After the fact, he would say that he remembers his hallucinations (visual, tactile, olfactory) vividly, but was only barely aware of his physical surroundings or attempts to communicate with people who were actually there.

Working with doctors to start Antipsychotic medication has helped clear those symptoms extremely well. He is no longer rendered helpless by his episodes.

What you described sounds similar. But, I definitely couldn’t be sure just from reading a post about it.

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I’m sorry to hear about your brother. It is horrible to have to watch someone suffer like that. What you’re describing sounds very similar to what my brother is doing, except this has been going on for 18 hours. He seems like he’s slowly coming back to us. When I first got to the hospital around 12, he didn’t even know who I was. When I left around 4, he seemed to warm up to me. He’s not making any sense whatsoever, talking about random gibberish. But when it first started, he wasn’t even able to speak, just mumbling. He’s able to walk and use the bathroom on his own now, so he’s definitely improving.

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Not good to reach this stage at only 26. Hopefully it is just a side effect to a med he can not tolerate, Best of Luck…

This happened to my brother but it happened all at once in a few days, after he admitted to my dad he was hearing voices and stuff. He had a major psychotic episode and then slowly it developed to look more and more like scz. I’m so sorry about what you’re going through…As a sister I can tell you it’s been mostly suffering for me all of my life being around my brother and his illness. I hope you have a better outcome than my family did. I hope your brother gets better. Mine has never been able to work.

Please reach out again whenever. I am here for you. Remember to take care of yourself. I mean this in a compassionate way for you. It’s easy to lose yourself when you suffer for someone you love. But later on you might resent yourself or him for that…So try to keep a certain distance and live your own life - protect your life and understand you can still be happy.

You might get your brother back but you also might not - at least not the way you expect him to be back…

18 hours does seem like a very long time!
From what you described, he may be suffering some very intense hallucinations and/or psychosis. Considering these things often are physically, mentally and emotionally taxing, it isn’t surprising to hear that he is disoriented and his memory is poor.
Just remember that this diagnosis isn’t anyone’s fault.
Not his fault and not yours or anyone else’s.

He doesn’t want to have these problems any more than you or I would. And he definitely doesn’t want to deal with the symptoms or fall out.

So, try to emphasize. Help him by being a consistent source of calm temperament and reliable support. He has more emotional and mental chaos inside his own head than any person could reasonably endure. Assure him that you want to understand the hardships he is dealing with, and maybe even help if you can.

One of the most important first lessons I learned with my brother was that inconsistency (promising to help, then displaying anger, impatience or becoming over bearing in expectations and demands) was the hardest thing for him to deal with. He felt this kind of betrayal like a deep-rooted psychological trigger. So, I practiced being even tempered and rational with him as much as is humanly possible. Especially when he displays behavior of feeling overwhelmed, or upset, or self-conscious.

It’s a hard balance to strike between that and setting your own personal boundaries (how much swearing is too much, how long do you hang out with him before you go your own way, how many times does the topic of conversation turn loopy before you hang up the phone). But it’s important to try, if you intend to be close with your brother.