Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My son depressed and mad with me

For the last few weeks my son has been sinking deeper and deeper into depression. We don’t live in the same country so we can only talk on the phone. I didn’t realize at first how serious it was getting. Last week he told me that he was in a terrible state and was lying in bed thinking about suicide every morning. I asked if there was anything I could do to help and he said nothing. After I put the phone down, I thought that if couldn’t just leave it like that. I called my sister who lives nearer to him, and she called his psychiatric team (at my request). The nurse saw him and spoke to him about it.

Now he will not speak to me at all, or answer any messages. I only managed to squeeze one text out of him - he said I shouldn’t have told anyone.

I am so sad. I don’t want him to feel so bad. I want him to know that we love him and we want him in our lives. I know that it is against his beliefs to commit suicide so maybe he feels it is shameful for people to know he feels that way. But I didn’t want him to flip into that argument that “my family is better off without me.” We are NOT better off without him. We love him. He is a good person. He is good company, and a kind person, too.

I am so upset that he won’t talk to me. I know I have to be patient, but it is making me cry every day. Like now.

When a person is depressed he often wants to isolate. I would try to prevent this. If he’ll talk to his sister have her talk to him. Don’t give up on talking to him yourself. Respect his wishes, but try to communicate with him. I always cut myself off when I was depressed. Try to keep him from doing that.

Thank you, crimby. It is true that isolation and withdrawal are his most severe symptoms. At the same time he feels lonely and like he has no place in society. In fact, lots of people really like him, but he can’t seem to feel that. I can’t find a way to help him out of this situation.

I really think twice about calling him again and again when he refuses to answer. As if I am “nagging” him or forcing him in some way. I worry he might get more angry and then more withdrawn. But you think it is good to keep trying to contact him, so I will try again today.

It’s not his sister, though, it’s mine - his aunt. He’s an only child, which doesn’t help him. My sister keeps inviting him to her house when her kids are there (two of them are at uni). And she goes to see him sometimes with her youngest - a teenager. So she wants him to have a closer relationship with his cousins.

Is there a way the two of you can communicate using skype or something so that you may see each other as you talk? If your son is able to see your facial expressions and non-verbal communication processes, he may better understand your reactions.

The US military has over 900 programs directed toward outreach in this area. The challenge is beyond words. Some new programs involve robots–virtual social workers. The goal is to have open communication available. I haven’t seen this mainstream yet, but it might be there.

There are many 24 hour programs online. Maybe letting your son know that by telling those in his area your concern-- and that you were directing him to such services–will help mend the relationship?

Yes, Nykia, we do talk on Skype, though we don’t use the video capacity because neither of us likes it! Anyway, he sent me a “hello” yesterday so hopefully today we will be talking again.

**I know this is hard @Hatty. I would try writing a letter and telling him you are sorry, but that you love him and take him seriously and because you are far away-its hard to help. Tell him you would do it again because you love him. Then I would let it go for a time-see if he will contact you. I just had to have my son placed in the hospital last night and Im also worried how he will feel about that. **

Maybe send him a text and tell him all the good things you think about him that you wrote here. Tell him you respect him but you were worried. When my family tells me I’m nice, kind, funny, and good company, I lap it up. I rarely get compliments, it brightens my day. I can’t hear it enough.
I hate making my mom cry. Maybe tell him he’s making you cry.
I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ve had my share of suicidal thoughts but I told my support team and asked for help. Everybody’s different. I hope this serious situation turns out good, Hatty. Good luck to both of you.

Thank you, Nick and Bridget. In fact I have done the things you both recommended and we spoke very briefly yesterday. Also his nurse told him that my response was right and natural so that helped.

I wish I knew how to help him with his depression, though. It is so crushing for him and it affects him worse than any other symptom. On meds he doesn’t get psychosis, but the depression is frequent and very tough.

You sound like such a nice person. Im sure your son realises this but sometimes depression and stigma can blunt a persons awareness. Go easy on your son and keep being supportive.

I wish I’d had a supportive mother like you rather than the one nature dealt me. You did the right thing. I think your son will come to see this in time. Sorry that it is so painful for you at the moment.


Thank you, Pixel and Karl. As I said, he is starting to get better. He is making plans to eat better and exercise hard to boost his “feel-good” chemicals. And then he wants to do a bit more work on his apartment. So that sounds good.

Karl, I know you live with your parents, but Pixel, I am surprised about your mother. You seem so good at coping and so successful at both family life and work, I would never have guessed you had a problem with your mother. Or do we mothers overestimate our own importance? Mmmm. May need to pull back a bit more!