Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My son won't stop talking. I'm exhaused. How can I deal with this?


#1

My son developed adolescent-onset schizophrenia. He was already developmentally delayed which made him dual-diagnosis. At age 16, after two hospitalizations, I couldn’t let him come back home to live because it was too dangerous to my daughter and I. He was placed in an adolescent treatment center until he was 18, then was able to enter a supported-living situation with full-time staffing. I became his legal guardian as soon as he turned 18 and he is now 33. He used to come home one weekend a month, but it was too exhausting, so now he comes home for a 24-hour visit every two weeks. He has seen the same psychiatrist for years and is stable on his meds. He still has hallucinations and obsessions, but last time we tried to change his meds he became violent again, so the dr. and I have decided it is what it is, and he is mostly happy. His meds are administered to him, so I know he is taking them.

The problem is that he is very dependent upon me and doesn’t stop talking from the moment he gets home until the moment he leaves. He is unable to carry on much of a lucid conversation; going from talking about someone at his sheltered workshop, to a staff person he thinks is using drugs (not), to someone at the store who looked at him funny. You can only believe half of what he says. When he says something that’s not true, you can’t disagree with him, but you can suggest other possible options. But he requires constant interaction. If I ignore him or tell him firmly to stop, he starts muttering to himself and gets angry.

He won’t watch tv or engage in any other activity except to talk to me. He follows me from room to room chattering away and expecting a response. He does get tired and go to bed at night and generally sleeps through the night. The next morning it starts over. By the time he leaves the next evening I am exhausted. He knows he talks too much and if I ask him to be quiet for a while, it lasts about 10 seconds. Because of his intellectual limitations, we can’t do many activities and going out doesn’t stop the constant talking.

I know I am so lucky that he is stable and living in a supported-living home. He also talks the staff to death, but at least they get paid and get to leave. I’m getting older and this is exhausting me.

Has anyone else experienced this with someone who is schizophrenic? Is this common? Any advice?


#2

I hate to say I ignore it but I sometimes do. I have also put ear plugs in my ears because he was so loud I thought it was hurting my ears. He doesn’t yell as much and has begun to express himself better without yelling. Thank God. I don’t have to wear those now.

We also play music in the house and that tends to help. If he insists on following me around, I give him a chore and work alongside him. I was raised in a family of 11 children and my mother was a master of the chores. It stuck and I stay busy.

He is currently helping on a remodel of a rental and lives tasks that he can get into like ripping up carpet strips. Music in the background. My brother is the only sibling that has offered to work with him sadly. I think they are all afraid even though they have never witnessed him violent. I am grateful for the break for a few hours.

Our son talks to his voices though and that is more disturbing than if he were talking to me. You just don’t know when to jump in the conversation.


#3

Everything that you are mentioning, I’ve heard him say to me, so trust me, I believe you. I know he talks a lot, but you should consider yourself lucky in a way. Most of the parents here aren’t nearly as close as your son thinks you both are apparently (seems you differ or are vexed by it) nor do they have that level of trust or bond that he has with you. Most schizophrenics keep to themselves and it’s rare for them to say what’s on their mind or talk about their feelings/thoughts and interactions with the world to a person.


#4

If you read the DSM V on schizophrenia, it has positive and negative symptoms, delusional or hallucinations, but not constant talking. Perhaps it’s an element of autism or something else. I’d consult a different therapist skilled with such behavior. In Sz, it’s supposed to have flat affect, negative symptoms, different healthcare professionals.


#5

When my son is very delusional and somewhat manic, he needs to get the energy out.

Sometimes, it’s pacing, sometimes it’s what seems like forced speech. He’ll even tell me sometimes he knows he’s talking too much and he’ll be quiet. It lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, then he’s on again. He can’t seem to be able to help it, and while it can be exhausting, I try to understand and deal with it.

What I’ve found is that if I sit down and talk to him for 30 minutes to an hour - really listen and ask questions, even if I can’t agree with what he’s saying and just say, really or that’s interesting or how do you know that, it winds itself down faster.

I think he just needs to get it out - maybe he needs someone to hear him, maybe it helps to talk about it? I agree it’s exhausting and frustrating.


#6

You are the first person I have read that has encountered this. I can identify very well with this because of my schizoaffective sister. She is exactly that same way. It is so utterly exhausting. It is like one really long run-on sentence. Often the subject matter is about herself–her nails, her hair, her skin, her feet, what she eats, her bathroom habits (in great detail) then it might be about her neighbors, always sounding like she is persecuted, and that everything anyone outside of her tiny efficiency apartment does is directly aimed at making her life miserable. You are right that arguing is useless. My most recent encounter with my sister was Thanksgiving Day…and she was at my home for 8 hours straight. The only time I didn’t hear her continuous run on sentence is when she switched it over to my son and joined him for a cigarette outside, even then she attempted to bounce in and out of the house and I went over and said “don’t come back in until you are done with your cigarette” and I shut the door. My sister does not have the kind of help she needs because she is not cooperative and a lot of psych/medical personal literally give up on her and just give her whatever they can legally to get her to leave. I witnessed this myself and I was infuriated but the other option was the staff advised me to become her legal guardian and I said that was not possible 1/ because she doesn’t want it and would fight tooth and nail against it 2/ because I already am legal guardian for my adult sz son and enough is enough. Currently she takes Buspar and she is managing…not well and not in a way I would hope she would but she is managing minimally so I have had to accept that it is what it is. I still love my sister, very much, not for who she is now as much as for who she was for many years before she became so ill. I also know she loves me and my kids, in her own way. She is my family and although it is hard and I try to limit the the length of our interactions for my own well being…I won’t give up on her. She honestly has no one else other than her son who lives far away and he is not much more healthy mentally than she is…so there’s that. She is also aware that she talks too much and she tries on occasion but like your son she manages maybe a minute or two if that and she is on again. My sister does not pay attention much to whether I actually hear her or respond…she doesn’t seem to need me to respond other than an occasional “uh huh” or “really” or “wow” …that’s about it…so I stay busy, I wash dishes which is weirdly comforting as I focus on the warmth of the water on my hands etc…sometimes I say I need to use the bathroom and I just sit in there for about 15 minutes enjoying the quiet. I find I manage…and I sincerely love her in spite of her many issues so I make it work…she is very much a recluse so I might see her only a handful of times a year and we try to talk a couple of times a week on the phone…she has begun to accept that when I say “I have to go now” if she doesn’t say goodbye" very soon after then the phone will be hung up…she doesn’t like it but she is accepting it. It’s a process. I am sorry you have to deal with this behavior with your loved one, but I do understand and I feel less alone now (and I hope you do too). I am glad you are here to share. PS> The counseling I get individually to cope with my mentally ill family and the DBT group I belong to have really helped me immensely to cope. I don’t think I could do it as well without the personal support I get from that.


#7

I kind of think it’s them externalizing their racing thoughts.

And, I try to remember that if I have something I can’t get off my mind, I often feel much better after talking about it.

Maybe it’s the same kind of thing taken to the extreme. It’s draining for me, sometimes he complains that no one talks to him or listens to him. He’s not wrong, so I try to be better about paying attention.


#8

Doctor: I hope I didn’t give the impression that I am indifferent to my son’s closeness. And after reading the many painful situations on this site, I know I am profoundly lucky that he is stable and in a safe place.

I have read a lot about Sz being isolated and non-communitative so wondered if others had had a similar experience. I know my issues are small compared to what others go through.


#9

Nicehat: That is a very interesting idea. While it never occurred to me, he does have some of the characteristics of autism - lack of understanding of personal space, etc. Something to think/research.


#10

Thank you for your reply. Yes, the great detail about the bathroom habits - that one tends to take me (and the rest of the family) over the edge, but of course I respond in an even voice.


#11

It’s okay, both my fiancé and I are autistic by the way, so feel free to ask me any questions on it if you think your son may qualify since you replied that he had similar characteristics. My fiancé is the one with Schizoaffective Disorder, but Schizophrenia also runs in my side of the family. Both conditions have genetic factors that are intertwined/correlated.


#12

My Great-aunt had a hearing aid due to deafness. She could hear perfectly well when it was turned on. One day, when I was about 8, I noticed her fiddling with the hearing aid. She kept on nodding and smiling at everyone at the dinner table, just didn’t say much. I later saw her do that again and realized, with a smile, that she had tuned everyone out without their noticing.

I think earplugs are a great idea. I recommend the Mack’s soft ones, as they can be easily pushed in or pulled out…