Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Needing support and an ear


#1

Hello! This is my first time posting. I have been taking care of my 27 year old son, since he was diagnosed 7 years ago, and medically discharged from the service. He recently moved out into his own apartment, for the first time. At first, it seemed like a positive change, and he was happy to be “on his own” (with my supervision) for the first time, since returning home from the military. Since then, things have gone down hill. His delusion frequency has increased, and it has freaked him out so bad, that he has shown up at my bedside multiple times in the middle of the night for comfort. He has seemed to gain some insight into his delusion through all of this, and while he is not calling it a delusion (rather a demon), he has decided that he no longer wants it in his life. This “demon” tries to convince him that he needs her, from time to time, and he has other “visions” in his struggle to rid himself of her.

Being alone, and having unlimited free time, seems to not be helping. Unfortunately, he not able to focus more then 2 hours, to get a part-time job, and have something else to think about and focus on. He takes his meds regularly, and is on the highest dose he can have. Any suggestions?


#2

Well, he’s med-complaint, so that’s good. I suggest you take him back to the psychiatrist and change his medication because obviously whatever he is currently on is not working for him. Just keep trying until you get the right meds and he’s stable or cured someday.


#3

He has been back. The meds seemed to be working, until he moved out and was alone.


#4

Hmm, well either he’s attached to you or afraid to be alone, or the medication just didn’t work. Sometimes when a medication works too quickly it doesn’t work in the long term, it’s actually very common for that to occur. So go again to the psychiatrist and get something new. The goal is for him to be independent and symptom-free, not dependent and “symptom-free,” because that would indicate that he still is experiencing symptoms that don’t allow him to carry a normal life alone.


#5

Hello, I’m really glad you posted here and hope this forum is supportive for you.

A couple of weeks ago, we met with a psychologist who was explaining a treatment plan for our young adult family member with sz. One of the main things the psychologist said was that our family member needs to be engaged with the world, not left constantly alone to be “in their own head.” This might be an unfortunate side effect of “independence.”

Volunteering, group therapy, day programs, recovery centers, any time spent with family which we welcome, healthy and non-overwhelming socializing, the psychologist suggested all of these possibilities. Mostly it’s the cognitive symptoms and difficulty with social stuff that get in the way of work, but volunteering is equally engaging and not as stressful.

Not sure what your son might enjoy or feel connected to.


#6

Yeah, you don’t want total isolation either, but neither a total dependence upon the parent. Those are good suggestions, art therapy and even sports can be very helpful if he’s into that. He should try writing and planning small goal sets. Moving out was (a huge) one of them. Things like going to a cooking class or making friends could be others. Eventually he may want to get a job or have a partner and even have children. It’s important to encourage independence while maintaining a supportive stance.


#7

If your son is willing, you might want to find out about case management which could be another resource to help him develop outside interests to decrease isolation. They would help him identify services and set some goals.


#8

Boy, I feel for you. My son was diagnosed about 6 months ago so this is still new to us. He’s 24. He’s med compliant finally and is pretty well (positive symptoms), but I can’t figure out how to get him to meet people. He’s very anti-social and will not go to group meetings. I can’t get him to do anything, volunteer, art class, etc. He has no friends and it’s very sad to watch. It must have felt really great to watch your son make that step to move out. It sounds like he’s struggling a bit but I think everyone that posted had great ideas and thoughts. It does sound like his meds aren’t quite right. Does he have friends or things to do? Is he social at all?


#9

@JulieAnn isolating is one of the key negative symptoms I believe. My sz son is 32 and was diagnosed at 21…for almost 10 years his only means of socializing was regular AA meetings…even though alcohol was never his drug of choice and he was not there to achieve anything from the program per se, he went because he felt comfortable with that group of people who all smoke and would allow for him to listen from the back of the room and not have to speak if he didn’t want to, I was glad he had something besides me. Then 6 months ago he announced he will not go to anymore meetings. I asked why and he said no reason…he just went enough. So now his social interaction is just me and on occasion he shares a smoke with the handicapped man who lives next door, neither speak much at all to each other, its more coincidental. I often find my son is un- phased by lack of interaction and it bothers me far more than it appears to bother him.


#10

@dstbny my son’s delusional symptoms worsen… when left alone for longer than a day or so…it seems like he needs a non sz person to bounce his thoughts off of…he is not so much aware of this as I have observed it…


#11

Catherine, this sounds like you just described my son. Although my son would like a friend or two, he doesn’t have any way of meeting anyone. I’m afraid it would have to be someone else who has some issues in their life, as I can’t imagine most people would find him engaging, interesting, etc. Harsh words but reality. It makes me very sad. I often wonder too if it’s harder on me than him. Probably. My son has pretty much just me as well. Although I’m married, he doesn’t like to communicate with his dad. Just a hi, bye, yeah, okay. He’ll talk to me when I’m alone. Very strange. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all this and accept it. Thanks for your input. I love knowing you’re out there and have managed for 11 years now.


#12

I’ve wondered about this. It makes me nervous leaving him alone. He’s capable of fending for himself for days or a week or two, but I’m not sure about the isolation. It worries me. We just left for 3 days and he was fine. He has the dogs he takes care of and he cooks enough that he gets by. But I know he does a lot of pacing and not much else sometimes. …hugs…


#13

Currently my son lives by himself, and I drop by at least once a day. His house is near where I work. I do worry about the isolation, but he doesn’t want group living, and when we have tried it, it didn’t go well. And this way, when he is somewhat symptomatic, he isn’t bothering other people.

My son also does a lot of pacing, but… well… I guess as sad as I am that this is his life, I look back on the times he was raging, and think, this isn’t so bad. If your son is able to go several days on his own without mishap, to me, that’s doing all right.


#14

Thanks, Vallpen. It’s good to know your son is able to live on his own. That’s my hope someday, but who knows. My son would not go for a group home. It would make him very uncomfortable, unless he knew a few of the people in the home beforehand.

And I think the same thing, this is so much better than when he was hearing voices, talking to them, extremely mad and angry. That was a very scary time. This feels so peaceful compared to that. I guess none of us are happy about how their/our lives have changed. I just have to be thankful he’s this well. And most of the time I am. Sometimes I have a pity party, though! :wink:


#15

Yes, those parties are hard to avoid every now and then. My son is only able to live on his own because I am there almost daily.


#16

On the topic of volunteering, Humane Societies are always looking for dog walkers and kitten cuddlers.