My Mother is a paranoid schizophrenic. I need help


I had another argument with her today in front of my four year old son. A boiling of emotions that I don’t seem to have a lid on anymore. The morning had started simple enough, we decided to try out a new recipe for broccoli soup and have it for lunch. We began cooking, conversing amongst each other while my son played in the living room. And then it simply happened. She turned to me and asked “Do you have Joe’s phone number? Victoria next door says that he is paying her to torment me.”

So here is where I explain that my Mother’s delusions are 100% based on the other people living in our neighborhood. We constantly refer them to “The Neighbors”. The neighbors, according to my Mother, have broke into her home and implanted cameras all over the house. They also imbedded electronic bugs in her skin that allow them to communicate with her at all times. Victoria, the 17 year old girl that lives next door, is having an affair with my Father and wants to steal my mother’s identitiy. Matt, her older brother, takes the images of my Mother off of his camera and posts them online for all to see. Joe was our neighbor on the other side of herproperty, but has long since moved away. I’m still not sure why he has appeared as a character in her delusion.

Over the past five months, my family has had to contend with her destroying the home she shares with my Father. She spent an entire day drilling holes in the walls and ceilings looking for her “cameras”. She has spent almost a thousand dollars on “bug detectors”, cameras, and spyware. She has literally dug into her skin trying to “remove” the bugs and now has gashes all over her face and inside her ears. She walks around wearing a huge magnet for a necklace, thinking that it will somehow scramble their signal.

What do I do?

Simple right? I need to get her medical, professional help. She’s obviously a danger to herself! Yes well, I’ve tried that. I took her to the hospital and she had absolutely no problem telling the staff about her “situation” with the neighbors. She then talked with a pyschiatrist through a damned computer screen and of course bakeracted. Myself and the rest of her family was forced to leave the hospital only to find that instead of being sent to a local institution, my Mother was sent 3 hours away to NORTH TAMPA BEHAVIORAL CENTER. I’ll write it again, incase you didn’t get it the first time so I can really emphasize how horrible this institute is. NORTH TAMPA BEHAVIORAL CENTER!! The morning after she was admitted, we were immediately on the phone trying to locate her. Guess what, THE HOSPITAL FORGOT WHERE THEY SENT HER. It took us half a day just to figure out where it was she was being sent to and once we did find out, the behavorial center would not tell us whether or not she was there. I get it, privacy laws and such, but it didn’t excuse the fact that it took them another day to help my Mother dial a phone number after I explained to them three seperate times that she did not know my phone number by memorization and would need help contacting me. We finally make contact and are on our way to see her only to be told we’d have to wait four hours until visiting hours! The supervisor, a black gentlemen than a smile faker than a plastic beauty queen, came out and immediately began his rant about how “their institute was the best of the best. They treat celebrities here that’s how recognized they were and there was no better place for my Mother” Oh no…fast forward to when I finally got to see my Mother, she had been left in the same hospital gown (FROM THE HOSPITAL) for the past three days and hadn’t been offered so much as a clean gown and a toothbrush. She had to flip her underwear inside out beause she’d been forced to wear the same pair all that time. Can you even process how DEGRADING that is for someone? Mentally ill or not. After our visit was over, I immediately marched back to that fake-grin supervisor and said, “So I guess the “celebrities” get the North Tampa Behavioral royal treatment and your regular patients get treated like dogs.” My blood still boils just thinking of that place and how horrible they were. Would you have left your Mother like that? Well I didn’t, in another day I had her out of there and home with the promise that she would seek outpatient treatment. She went to see the doctor she trusted and then was given a referral to another pyschiatric institute. And that was far as I got, because after that experience, there was no way she was going to step into any facility that had anything to do with mental health. Thanks North Tampa, I really appreciate you scaring my Mother out of seeking treatment during the only time she was willing to get it.

So now I live with it. I am 24 years old. I’ve lost two jobs. I’m barely surviving college.
I’m the horrible daugther that doesn’t understand and that won’t help her.
Today I was told that Victoria was better than me because at least she liked communicating with my Mother where all I can do is yell. Yeah…yeah…YEAH…“Don’t yell at your Mother, she has a sickness, she doesn’t understand.” Sure thing, I won’t lose my cool when she’s screaming abusive statements at me over and over again. I won’t lose it when she berates me because she thinks her “sickness” will allow her to get away with it. I should keep my son away from her for his own safety! That’s easy for ANYONE to say. My Mother was just diagnosed this year, she helped me raise my son. If he’s not around her, he’s screaming to be around her. And she has her good days and we all enjoy eachother, but like a switch, she just turns it on. I sometimes think she is faking it the way she turns it on and off so easily. I’ve noticed around other family members, she exceptionally pleasent. She just saves the awful and the horrific for my Father and me.

The worst of it is that I suffer from my own anxiety and depression. I feel like I’m being driven absolutely insane. And the system has failed me! I can’t find not one support group in Ocala, Florida…which is where I’m from…

I’m sorry for rambling. Thank you for letting me vent.


First big hugs… I know that doesn’t even remotely help you right now however I do feel your pain.

The system can be messed up and unfortunately the people that we are counting on to take care of our loved ones are human and make mistakes. Not that that justifies how they have treated your mother. You have every right to be pissed.

I go through similar with my son. Around outside people he is extremely polite and makes it sound like I’m this controlling person who is always yelling at him, never giving him privacy and basically abusing him when I’m the one being called a jerk and being threatened with violence, picking up after him and walking on eggshells. We are human too and deserve to be treated with respect. Knowing that it is an illness causing it doesn’t make dealing with it any easier.

Some of these links may help: - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner. - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on and you should find some long videos - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different. - helped my understand delusions - National Alliance on Mental Illness. - Schizophrenia Society of Canada

Can also find some very useful information here:

Early Psychosis Treatment center information in these two links

Psychiatric Treatment Centers affiliated with Medical Schools in the USA


Well, I do not have schizophrenia, but I am psychotic. The best thing I can tell you to do is try to be as patient to your mother as possible. If she comes to be too much, then walk away from the situation and calm yourself, then go back and try to calm your mother. I knew a paranoid schizophrenic in the hospital, and my father’s cousin is schizoprhrenic, though I’ve never met him. But the gist is, be as patient as possible. She will come around eventually. You just need to give it time, and show her as much support and love as possible. My father and mother have to deal with my psychotic episodes each time I have them, which is pretty often. My siblings have to deal with me as well. You also need to be firm with your mother. It’s kind of like Taoism. You must use balance: be supportive and firm, be loving but strict. Many people with mental illness (And I’m speaking from years of experience) need some kind of structure. Either way, I hope you take this to heart and I wish you the best of luck.


I am mother of a 29 year old who is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Our son has been living with us for 29 months and it’s not always easy to be around him. I can totally understand you having anxiety and depression. I have it too. When our son got sick the pain was too much to bear. You can see a psychiatrist and a therapist. I am on a medication which helps me sleep at night. Also you can all go to family therapy. Write down all the concerns and issues you have and the therapist can help you all how to deal with them. Having a 4 year old is hard enough . There are plenty of reading material available and books you can have on kindle to read and understand the illness. If she has a diagnosis she can get SSI OR SSDI depending on what she is eligible for. She can also apply for Medicaid and make sure she has a case worker who can help her with going to Medicaid and SSI. I am not sure if there is a partial in patient facility in your area where she can get group therapy and other assistance if she needs them. NAMI offers family to family classes. Call your local NAMI to find out what is available. Hang in there. You are a loving daughter and a Mom . It takes time with this illness and patience is a must. Your Mom can’t have stress and it’s easier said than done but try your best to work with her. Good luck and always post here any issues and concerns you may have. Warm hugs…


Its frustrating-you really do need a place to vent. That treatment center was awful-its good you got her out.
If she has cuts and scratches on her, can you take her to the ER? That definitley shows she is hurting herself. Usually, the hospitals have a mental health ward that can keep her for 2 weeks-sometimes longer. They will have a doctor evaluate her, and get her started on some kind of medication. They may give her a refferal to a better place then Tampa if needed.
If there are no NAMI groups or any other support groups, go online.
I wish you luck-and take some time for yourself too!


She is hurting. I found all aspects of treatment frustrating. The system stinks, you literally have to learn to navigate the holes. Its not easy, take care of yourself.