Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia some days ago - I am scared


#1

My son is almost 20 years old and has a long history of psychological problems. He has had panic attacks at an early age of 6, followed by compulsive behaviour, obsessive thoughts and hypochondria. He has had psychological counselling and has been to psychatric wards several times. He is currently at a clinic where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. They are giving him a number of atypical antipsychotics which have a number of side effects. I visited him last weekend and I was really scared when I saw the condition he is in: eyes blank, shaking, and very, very afraid and depressed.

Doctors believe that excessive Cannabis abuse started the psychosis 2 1/2 years ago, but because of all the problems he has had from the very beginning there is probably a genetic disposition.

I have always been worried about my son, but now I am downright scared. I wonder if he will ever be able to live a normal life. He still lives with me, but I am not well myself (I suffer from recurrent depression).


#2

Hi and welcome to the board. My son was diagnosed almost two years ago and in the first few days I was totally stricken and wept buckets. To this day my heart still hurts and my eyes fill up when I think how much he was suffering in the months just before his diagnosis. I first did a lot of googling to find out more, and very fortunately came across this board and the “Schizophrenia Recovery Movement.” The principles of the recovery movement gave me great hope and helped me to convey that hope to my son. He is taking anti-psychotics but he is now very healthy and gradually rebuilding his life. He lives independently, shops, cooks, cleans, exercises, gets out and sees people at least once a week and works occasionally. Since he found the right medication, his concentration has started to come back and he is starting to read again.

I say cry, get out all the grief and fear, but tell him that with treatment he can get better.

I have to say also that just after my son was diagnosed, I met a woman in our community who was struggling greatly with sz. She had had it for eight years and was pretty wild and at odds with her husband. I started to visit her twice a week because we liked each other. After I talked to her about my son and how he was getting better on medication, she also started cooperating with her doctor and she is better now too. She’s very happy. She has a baby now. She’s working and has lots of friends. She’s a really lovely person. And of course her family’s ecstatic. The problem was that she had never met anyone else with it, and nobody had told her she could get better. But, with both my son and my friend, I did point out that it is an illness, just like diabetes. I am a diabetic and I would never dream of stopping my insulin. I might change the brand of insulin or the delivery method but I won’t stop taking it. People with sz need the medication to halt the disease process that’s going on.

That’s a long answer, and there are lots of hopeful stories and good examples on the Diagnosed board. But be hopeful. That’s my answer.


#3

I turned 20 in mental hospital. I had smoked a lot of pot, and it turned on me. Later, I have had a lot of doctors who have diagnosed me as having schizophrenia. My Mom suffered lots of depession as well.

Now I’m 65 years old and doing very well.

Jayster


#4

My son was diagnosed 15 months ago. He was pretty much in the same condition as your son, his eyes were blank, just as you say your son’s are, his meds gave him the shakes, and all of his delusions were being voiced. I was in a daze the day I went to ER and they told me they thought it was schizophrenia. I didn’t even think to ask for more information, I was just in a fog. There was also relief, because now I knew what was wrong. That meant it could be addressed, and worked out.

I spent alot of time on the net looking for information, and information is your best friend right now. I was also fortunate to find this site, there are so many helpful people here. You can start with NAMI.org, they have lots of good information to start with, and you can look up your local NAMI (in the U.S.) to find support groups for yourself.
Today my son, he’s 30, lives at home. (He was homeless before, refusing most help from anyone.) We finally found the meds that work best for him, he takes them faithfully. It takes a little while for them to take full effect, but the right ones help so much. He is able to work now, after years of not working. He’s an avid reader, but for a while he couldn’t concentrate long enough to read. Now, he is starting to pick up his books again. Making music is his very soul, and he couldn’t even touch his instruments. He has now recorded 2 albums here at home, and even applied for a copyright on them! He had no real friends, and now has made a few that he hangs out with sometimes. That day in ER I thought all that that makes my son who is was gone. But I was so wrong! So I want you to know that your son can get better.
And you will start to feel better, get as much information as you can about the disease, and ways for you both to handle it. Stand by him, and let him know how very much you love him.


#5

Strongly recommended: http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Schizophrenia-6th-Edition-Family/dp/0062268856


#6

My husband is schizophrenic, and we have a pretty good life. His quality of life will mostly be determined by his ability to stay med compliant.


#7

I was in complete despair. I cried. I cried in my sleep. I cried in my car. I cried every time I had to repeat what was happening to some stranger on the phone (and you have to call a lot of people… medicade, school, hospitals, co-workers… to explain… and your stomach comes up in your throat and squeezes even more tears from your eyes) It is exhausting trying to research all night and day (it has to be something else!.. and every news story or crime show is a “schizophrenic killer” ) and going in and out of hospitals, side effects of meds that you thought were symptoms of schiz. but no… that cartoon commercial for abilify doesnt show a person with akathesia (you learn new medical terms!) rolling on the floor unable to sleep, circling my kitchen table. not my son who finished high school in 2 yrs with a grant to a great college for Physics. Now 3 years later I just got him into an apartment of his own (although probs with cleaning but thats a small prob in comparison to the past hell of psych meds.) I asked no one for help. I was supermom and damn if i wasnt going to save the day for my son (and still be positive for my other 2 sons “its going to okay… with tears in my eyes trying to convince myself and them” … will they get it too? .) How did I become scared of my own sweet funny son? I have to say he has not returned. I am the target of anger (are you taking your meds, you have a Dr. appoint. ) I sacrifice any chance of “love” because I am the enforcer. A year ago I would have said he would never live on his own. Don’t be afaid to change Drs./psychologists/psychiatrists. One Dr. admonished my son saying his writing was a symptom… when he actually was practicing Korean. He taught himself Vietnamese as well but some “nurse” didn’t understand his notebook was just phonetic practice. Psych meds are dangerous but theres no other choice it seems.They made him suicidal and homicidal. Risperdal made him grow breasts. Now he is on a low dose of Zoloft and is okay. All I can is it will get better when the shock wears off and when you can get yourself into “things I need to do mode”. Get social security, Medicade, HUD housing (my son is in an assisted living apartment its very nice, food stamps and most of all a really good psychiatrist and go to the NEWEST mental hospital around. They threw my son into a horrible place after his first psychotic episode. I later found out he was so scared he couldnt sleep and was sexually threatened by roommates… mom guilt, i didnt know :frowning: You will make mistakes but just do your best and follow your mom instincts.


#8

**Hi @Davida **I still cry and get mad. I have been a raging lion. Things will get better. For me, it has been a very long road and I am still learning. Acceptance is KEY, but you cant force it. Get all the support you can. This forum has probably been more helpful than anything.
Check back here. You will get some pretty good and strong support.


#9

Hello Davida: I felt exactly as you describe about 15 years ago. Our son was not himself and although we knew something was wrong, we didn’t know what it was, whether it was teenage mood swings or low self esteem. I’ll cut to the chase, we were downright frightened when a trip to emergency resulted in a matter of fact type discussion of possible diagnosis of schizophrenia. Yes, it is normal for you to feel very worried about things because it is the unknown to a parent and you feel as if you are starring with your son in a nighmare. But, you need to know that your son is ill just like any other person that can be ill with other illnesses. It is just very unsettling because it is a illness of the mind. It may take some time but things will get better and after doctors figure out the best medication for your son and when he is willing to take the meds (this is sometimes a struggle), you will see that he can enjoy his life again. There was a time when I felt that the dark humungous cloud on my shoulders would never leave and that I would never ever smile again because things were so damned painful. But, tell you son now that you love him and that what is being done for him is the right thing to do. Somehow you will find how to be given the strength to do this so that you are strong for him. What I did was picture that it was me instead of him going through this and how I needed someone to be the same with me as they had always been. Our son plays guitar as he always did, is very amicable and he still lives with us, but that’s okay. He sees his brother and they have always been close, that is still the same. Look after yourself as well, go to parental support groups as you will benefit from them. It is very important that you resume your life and that it is okay to cry as you are grieving in a way for your son’s changes in his life. I agree that marijuana has impacted or brought on this illness in some manner maybe with a predisposition. it doesn’t matter why and you will beat yourself up over why. Things will be okay. No one has their catcher’s mitt out for this but things will get better.


#10

sorry to hear that…but being sz is not the end…nor suffering depression.
you love your son and that is a beautiful thing…i admire you for that alone :heart:
take care :alien:


#11

I got really bad in 2010. I am married with kids. I had my kids before I got really ill. my first two years were really bad but then I could start working again.

I have 2-3 relapses every year. But meds are important to keep feeling well, also sleep! Sleeping well is my key to keep this illness in control.

I was also shaking a lot in the beginning of medication. I could hardly eat with a spoon. There is help for that. Don’t know the english word for it but it is given to people with Parkinson’s disease.


#12

All,

I am overwhelmed by all the feedback I am receiving - thank you so much for all your kind, supportive and informational words, I am so happy to have found this board.

I have spent countless hours now searching the internet for information. I also have plans to talk to my son’s doctors at the hospital to see what they recommend our next steps are. I have tried to contact the ‘social psytriatric support office’ for the district that we live in here in Germany. I will try to find support support groups and attend meetings if there are any nearby. I am visiting a counsellor once a week for psychotherapy, although I am currently in a fairly stable phase I am afraid of a relapse back into depression.

I suppose there isn’t much more I can do for my son, other than telling him how much I love him and that things will get better.

I only hope that I will continue to have the strength to be there for him.


#13

Im 39 and the only reason im not robbing banks or selling drugs is my ma…


#14

I have been trying to to let my son’s recent diagnosis get to me but today it is all catching up with me. I feel awful and deeply depressed. My energy is fading, and this scary feeling of emptiness has overcome me.

But I suppose that every parent of a schizophrenic child gets to this point occasionally. I am telling myself that tomorrow I will be feeling better.

I think I will take out my pastel colours and draw a happy picture to cheer myself up.


#15

Hi Davida: when I felt like what you are describing, I would go out for a very brisk walk - sometimes break into a run to regain some sense of normalcy. I also took, through my doctor’s advice - some natural anti depression remedies. It’s only natural that you are feeling so exhausted and devastated - you have been hit hard with this news, but try to take care of your body and mind, take control back and you will recover. You can do this.


#16

Don’t worry about your sons condition. The label schizophrenia is a lot more frightening thsn the illness itself. Just continue bing supportive. our son will come round.


#17

Yes, it really is difficult to take it in. And you are in the first few days. I don’t know what its like in Germany but in the UK press the presentation of people with sz is terrifying. But if you stay close to your son, you can see he’s still himself. And if you go and read the diagnosed boards here, you find lots of very lovable people struggling with their burdens and helping each other.

When my son was diagnosed my sister spoke to a friend who is a psychiatric nurse, and he said that basically the quicker you get into treatment, the less of your personality you lose. That’s what happened for us. Within weeks I felt like I was “getting my son back”. After about a year, my son said he felt like himself again for the first time in ages. Then a little while later he said something that made me laugh. He said, “I look back and its as if I had a knock on the head and I’m just getting over it.”

Really, you have to grieve. His life may mot be as you expected or hoped, but it can still be good and loving and fulfilling.


#18

I think depression can majorly influence the cause of schizophrenia. My mom first had severe depression, and then got lost in her delusions, but there were contributing factors I feel while people have been nice to her, she feels bad because society doesn’t accept her or embrace her flaws, she became stubborn and got arrested at a protest, then refused to post bail if my dad tried to bail her out. She was abused, she described being shaken by the guards, in her journals, and not having warm clothes, bedding, or enough food and being in an overcrowded cell full of women with cancer, even though it was not a federal prison. It sounds like she was isolated in jail for her beliefs.

I don’t believe schizophrenia is genetic. I wish health and love for you, your family and son.


#19

It is probably the same over here in Germany. Most people tend to think that people with sz are potential killers. I am afraid to tell my friends about my son’s condition because I don’t want them to stigmatise him.

He is such a sweet young man, life is so unfair, he doesn’t deserve this on top of all the other problems he is having.

I hope he will make the same progress as your son did, Hatty.


#20

I remember when my mom suffered at the hands of my dad because he was sick and didn’t get help it wasn’t until about 3 years ago. For my mom it was like it all made sense, she knew my dad was sick because when i first got sick my mom read a book about schizophrenia. All the symptoms we shared made sense. I can’t help but think she just wanted answers about my dad’s paranoid behavior. My mother had depression and my brother has bipolar disorder with ADHD and autism,