Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My mom and our situation


I’ve been reading the posts here for quite a while and finally decided to speak about what’s going on in my Family.

My mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about 14 years ago (I was 9 at that time).
Shes been stable every now and then for up to 3 years, however, she stopped medication ~1yr ago and, as expected, her illness completely controls her again.
I’m guessing it also happened because my Family has been really abusive, trying to force medication and treatment on her.

Fast forward, she kicked my father out of the Apartment (lucky he found an apt the last Minute), my Brother has been married for a few years now and my sister moved out about 1.5 years ago with her fiance, so i’m the only one left at home.

There have been a few really traumatic events happening - One night i woke up and she was standing in front of me, laughing for hours staring at me. She’s locking the door every other day and the door can’t be opened from the outside, so about 3-4 days per week im sleeping at the stairs.

I couldn’t really sleep anywhere else, my brother has a “Deal with it” mentality about it, my dad is living in a tiny 1 room apt (and is also suffering from heavy Depression) and my sister, well, i guess my mothers illness hit her the most and she’s trying to keep a distance, can’t really take that away from her.

Since everyone else has found “a way out”, the only response i get when asking for help is that i should just be patient and hope that one day i’ll also get a shot of moving out.

I’m currently studying Computer Science in a known university in Germany and also got a job as a working student with pretty good salary (~20k per year). While i know this situation will eventually end and i’ll be fine, i just can’t continue studying.I used to be one of the best in my classes ever since i started going to school - now i hardly get anything done. It’s not even that i’m not capable of studying, it’s really simply the fact that taking care of my mother and everything else about it is just so time consuming that I just can’t keep up with anything else. It’s been getting so difficult to try to maintain a “normal life”.

I’ve tried to get my own Apartment, landlords pretty much seemed to ignore any request (housing in the City I live is really messed up right now) - most likely because 1room apts are pretty rare and giving it away to a student might not be the best idea.

I’ve been to my local Sozialamt (not sure what the exact English Word is), the woman was really nice to me but in the end her response was Kind of the same:" I really feel sorry for you, and I hope you’ll be able to finish university, but there is nothing I can do for you other than listening."

I thought about getting a room in a shared flat, however I feel like once I’m actually going to leave, given my backstory, I’m going to be a burden to potential flatmates, so i’d really prefer just having my own space right now, and hopefully finding time to actually get treatment myself (as in finding a therapist to Talk about these things).

Any Kind of advice, be it about getting an apt or whatever someone feels like telling me, is appreciated.

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I think we all know how stressful and scary it can be to deal with a family member who’s not in any kind of treatment. It’s exhausting too.

I’m going to give you some advice that I have a really hard time following myself - you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else.

Considering you’re sleeping on the stairs as much as in your own bed, it might be time to find someplace else to live even if it is a shared space just so you have some time to decompress, regroup and plan a better way to help her.

I don’t think trying to force medication/treatment on her was abusive - maybe you chose the wrong word? You all were just trying to help in any way you could think of. It’s natural, and most of us, if not all, have been there. However, it does kind of put a lot of stress on your relationship with your family member when you do that.

If you’ve been lurking in the forum, you’ve probably heard people recommend “I’m not sick, I don’t need help” by Dr Xaviar Amador. It really does help. Even if you can’t use it to convince her to take her medication, it can help you find new ways to deal with her that might take a little bit of pressure off you. I’m still not great at the techniques described in the book, but the parts I have picked up have helped me a lot.

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Is there any way you can have your mother institutionalized? It sounds like she really needs the help and you need mental peace. I suggest you do that so that you can continue studying and have a break. You really need it. You won’t be able to take care of yourself if you’re going to end up taking care of her in the future, otherwise your health is going to deteriorate as well.

I had a similar occurrence this semester as well. My sister was diagnosed with parinoid schizophrenia and was hospitalized and admitted to an institution the week of finals. I failed my accounting class by two points. A class that I do not look forward to repeating. I think the best advice I got from others on here as well as personally is to never forget that you are a person with a life as well. I had to alter my life around my sister and I too have been a little upset my other siblings aren’t assisting. But you will bring yourself down if you do not spare time for yourself. Never give up no matter what obstacles are thrown at you. There will be many other road blocks ahead as well so brace yourself. You have to have the will to overcome these issues. Where there is a will there is a way. And in the end once the storm has calmed you will be able to say you define all odds against you and succeeded. It makes the achievement even more enjoyable. Take one issue at a time don’t bite off more than you can chew. And maybe an institution will either give you the break you need to get other obsitcles rolling or bring awareness from other family member to help you. You sound like me. Don’t ever feel you are obligated to face all this yourself. Reason or emply assistance from resources and family members and never give up.

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I hope you can find a good living situation for yourself so you can continue your studies.

Your mother is ill and you cannot take care of her alone. The help she needs might or might not come.

I am speaking as a mother. One mother’s subjective opinion: if my child were stopping his studies to care for me for an undetermined, long period of time and my child had no help from doctors or family, I would want him to let go of the responsibility of me and take care of himself and move towards his goals. Maybe he would have a chance to alert local crisis teams that I needed help or find me a case manager during the process of moving out (or having me placed in assisted living).

When your mother is healthy again, after she receives good medical treatment and social supports, which you alone cannot provide, perhaps try to find resources and allies, she will be so proud of you and what you have accomplished with your life. The heart of a mother does not wish to stand in the way of her child’s future. Her illness is severe and now affecting both of you.

She cannot control the illness; neither can you. It’s not her fault; it’s not your fault.

Best to you. I truly hope you find a way for yourself to finish your studies and always a way to sleep in your own bed instead of on the stairs. And I hope your mother’s illness is treated by professionals and she does as well as she can.