My mother gave birth to my youngest sibling eighteen years ago and shortly after she started with erratic behaviors. She would accuse my dad of cheating, said that he was sleeping with our neighbor and accused him of having a mistress in Mexico. As my sister got older my mom became an empty shell. She’s was taking orders from a one year old. While in my mothers arms, my sister would point and my mother would follow. There were times she would get aggressive both verbally and physically (more so towards my dad). One night, she had an unforgettable episode. My dads father passed away and my father went to Mexico to show his respects and attended the funeral. The day of his return will be forever be imbedded in my brain. It was raining that day, my dad pulled in the driveway inside of a taxi. My siblings and couldn’t wait to hug him and tell him how we missed him. My mother on the other hand was waiting for him with a broom. My mom was angry and accused my dad of cheating and started hitting him with a broom as he came inside the house. My dad tried calming her down, telling her that it was not true. After defusing the situation my mother dropped to her knees, started barking, and was licking water off the ground as if she were a dog. We called 911 and she was taken to the emergency room. Months later, we were told my mother suffered from postpartum depression and that because it was left untreated it developed into schizophrenia. I was 10 years old when all this happens and this memory lingers till this day. I was a kid, I didn’t know better there wasn’t much I could do. My dad was an illegal alien and hardly spoke a word of English and when he tried his speech impediment (stutters) got in the way. I am in my late 20’s now and I need help. My mom is getting help and taking medication. She hasn’t had any episodes in years; however, she still has certain symptoms. She is constantly pacing back and forth, opening and closing doors, speaking to herself, always cleaning. She keeps saying that nothing is wrong with her, that we keep holding her traumatic episode against her. She still accuses my father of cheating. I know this sounds horrible but I remember my mom before her episode and the way she behaved the way she carried herself the way she was with people is not that of my mother today. This person after the episode is nothing like the mother I remember. I am not an ungrateful son, I love my mom. I am looking for help. I can’t stand seeing her cry anymore, saying her head hurts all the time, saying she is sad, saying that we don’t lover her, saying that we don’t understand her. I don’t know where to start and this has been going on for far too long. It’s needs to stop. Is it normal for her to feel this way even though she’s on medication? Thank you for reeding and any feedback helps.
Medication can help with a lot of the symptoms but practically no medication that I know of helps with ALL the symptoms. There will always be some symptoms. Many people with schizophrenia (including me) have some of their symptoms go away as they age.
How long has she been on her current medication? Sometimes a person can be on a particular medication for a number of years and the medication will just stop working. She may need to have a doctor change her medication to a new, different medication. It also might be that she needs the dosage she’s on now to be lowered or raised. Only a doctor can tell you if this is the case.
When you write that she thinks you don’t love her or she thinks that you don’t understand her, this might not be the schizophrenia talking. it just may be her personality. You can’t blame everything on the schizophrenia, people just have problems, but it could be a combination of the schizophrenia and her personality and her upbringing. Who knows for sure?
I’m sorry you’re going through all this.
Does she take medication?
It sounds like you love your mother very much. As you wrote, “I need help.” There are family support groups and family education through NAMI in many places if you are in the USA. Also, individual counseling might help you orient yourself. All of your mother’s difficulties might not stop, but you will be able to love her and have a relationship with her.
As Nick wrote, different medications and doses have different effects. If she will let you go to the prescriber with her, it might be helpful to tell the provider what you are witnessing. Or, you could call them and speak to them. Because of privacy laws, they are not allowed to give you information about her, but it’s 100% okay for them to listen to you.
From another part of this website: http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/60tip.html
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. I applaud your courage. I feel pride for you - for enduring the situation for so so long. I can’t imagine how you feel. I am the dad of a mid-20’s young man with sz. At times I feel like my life has been splatted up against a huge wall, and I’m looking in all directions to feel better.
These situations are much more wide-spread than most people know. While I’m certain that everyone has a story, we are definitely called upon to have more strength than many other people.
We try to translate odd behaviors into something we can cope with. It’s taken me a lot of practice to balance “loving allowance” with “a healthy sense of self-care.” I like “loving allowance” better than “tolerance.” Tolerance still carries irritation somewhere in there. Allowing is more unconditional. But I’m certainly no where perfect. But I’ll share some ideas…
"I can’t stand seeing her cry anymore"
Understandable that you would feel this way. You must be exhausted. Try an experiment: breathe, and then allow the crying to be a little more OK. Imagine it bothers you less. Pretend you can read her words like type-written letters on a page. Frame it differently. Don’t deny how it normally feels, but just try to “segment” the situation from an “outside” viewpoint. Do this as an option, not as a requirement. She’s communicating. Try to be open to a different “vibration” - to conserve your own energy.
"saying her head hurts all the time"
It probably does. She could very well have inflammation or some kind of chronic infection. If it was a bruise on her arm it would be easier to diagnose, treat and comfort. Advil can help lessen inflammation (I don’t care for Tylenol).
Charlotte’s Web Hemp Oil is also an anti-inflammatory. It’s a legal dietary supplement shipped to all states but New York and Florida. www.theroc.us Charlotte’s Web’s active ingredient is CBD (cannabidiol) which clinical studies show to reduce psychosis in schizophrenia with no side effects. It is not a substitute for prescribed medicine any more than vitamins are a substitute solid food. More info here http://bipolarhealthgroup.com/cannabis_new_mood_stabilizer/
I’m NOT a salesperson for this stuff. I use CW because the CBDs take the edge of my anxiety, and it helps my son be more “level.” NEVER give her any “medical marijuana” unless it is extremely HIGH in CBDs (cannabidiol) and very LOW in THC. Charlotte’s Web is considered a dietary supplement because it is only 0.3% THC. NEVER stop any prescribed medicine without a DOCTOR’s direction.
"saying she is sad"
Allow her to feel sad and feel your heart warm up, and then send her some love, or hug her if you can. It’s ok to say, “I’m so sorry you are sad, mama. If we can, we’ll try to think of one thing that we have felt grateful about sometime.” If you’re really off-balance, ask another family member to step up to send the love while you rest.
"saying that we don’t love her"
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then a bp/sz person may think like they are from Jupiter! (That’s not meant as an insult, it’s “reframing.”)
“I know it may feel like that, mama, but we do love you.” You may have to become a “broken record” (when you have to say things over and over - or at least pretend not to get bored saying it over … again). Use your Jupiter translator to conserve your energy - don’t take her repetition personally. It’s a struggle for her.
"saying that we don’t understand her"
I don’t understand my son. I’m here on this site to learn how these awesome folks here with sz communicate! It gives me hope to hear them relate! Sz doesn’t seem to change one’s intelligence, but it really alters the delivery and timing – if the medicine isn’t working just right for that person.
Tell her you’ll keep trying to understand. Tell her that even if she says something weird, you’ll try to understand. Shame never works. Give her permission and easier expectations. Let her know you won’t give up on her. I think sz people feel self-expectations just like anyone else, and probably feel very frustrated when they don’t live up to some “ideal.”
"I don’t know where to start"
You and me both.
"this has been going on for far too long"
I’m at my limit, and I’ve only been dealing with it for 4 years. I’m lucky I have a family member who takes over for me sometimes. I can’t imagine how worn out you must feel. Breathe. This is a great site to visit. Get professional medial advice. Breathe more. Allow yourself something pleasant every day, even if it’s for 20 minutes. Pat yourself on the back once in a while.
This probably won’t go away soon. But check the different forum topics on this site for links to NAMI and other in-person support and resources. There are many who people who want to help. These people are GLAD when they are asked. Spread out the burden a little. Breathe.
I apologize if this is waaaayyyyy to long a post. I hope some of this helps.
@notmoses gets the credit for this, posting on another thread:
- Get a copy of this book and read it and have your family read it, as well.
Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
“A comprehensive, realistic, and compassionate approach…Should be of tremendous value to anyone who must confront these questions.” (Psychology Times) “Brilliant… There is no one writing on psych …
- Get her properly diagnosed by a board-certified psychopharmacologist who specializes in the psychotic disorders. One can find them at…
http://doctor.webmd.com/find-a-doctor/specialty/psychiatry and https://psychiatrists.psychologytoday.com/rms/
- Work with that “psychiatrist” (or “p-doc”) to develop a medication formula that stabilizes their symptoms sufficiently so that they can tackle the psychotherapy that will disentangle their thinking.
- The best of the psychotherapies for that currently include…
DBT – http://behavioraltech.org/resources/whatisdbt.cfm
MBSR – http://www.mindfullivingprograms.com/whatMBSR.php
MBCT - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22340145
ACT – https://contextualscience.org/act
10 StEP – http://pairadocks.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-10-steps-of-emotion-processing.html
Thank you to @notmoses