Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Not having friends - Can we change that here?

The re current theme I see over and over is that our kids have become isolated and do not have many or any friends. Do you think they could interact with each other on this site? I think my son would be open to it. It might help him to talk to someone that has a frame of reference for his experiences. A lot of young people socialize on the internet now - maybe it could work?

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Hi Lioness,

There is a companion forum if you go to the main website at schizophrenia.com that is for MI sufferers themselves. You might want to share that link with your son.

If he is open to the idea, share the caregiver’s forum (this one) as well, and then he can see what the caregivers and loved ones are feeling and considering.

As for other interaction, is there a clubhouse near where you live? If not, some times mental health providers have classes for their clients where they do art projects or have group therapy with other MI folks.

Another alternative would be to encourage him to volunteer for something he is passionate about. Some times that can help a lot, for them to get out of the house and meet people who have similar interests.

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NAMI meetings can be a good source for contacts. When I was active with NAMI, I made a few friends there and went to conferences and met even more. At the time NAMI was heavily weighted toward caregivers, but I tend to gravitate more to them anyway.

It seems caregivers also tend to be lacking in the friends department when faced with a mental illness, as a bit of a siege mentality sets in due to stigma and other factors. My parents and I used to attend meetings together.

My experience was that my old friends didn’t understand me much anymore, as I was a bit of a different person after I developed SZ/SZA. I had to go find new friends, and it was tough as I didn’t have particularly good friending skills. I didn’t go the clubhouse route, and I would caution that it’s best to have a mix of friends. If all your interactions revolve around your illness, it may limit your possibilities for growth.

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I agree, Maggotbrane, and that’s a helpful point. My husband (who refuses to believe he is ill) will not attend clubhouses or anything to do with MI people and prefers to make friends at AA meetings or at church. Not everyone understands him, but anyone who likes him does their best to understand his behavior and have generally been kind to him.

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After many years, my son wouldn’t participate in anything. He won’t even participate with Thanksgiving or Christmas. 'won’t call his Dad, grandmother or uncle. He also doesn’t believe he has a problem and is almost non-verbal at this point.

My sons the same , so sad and heartbreaking …

Thank you for the suggestions! I did look at the link and I showed it to my son. There are many threads - some just about favorite movies, etc… We have a drop in center that he went to once. He was the youngest person there and felt like he didn’t relate to a lot of the people. I stayed with him and yes, they were all older and many would probably not be able to converse much at all and certainly not about his interests. We should try it again. We do encourage him to volunteer / even get a job a few hours a week but he is very flat right now. Sleeps a lot. Can’t get him moving.

NAMI does have something called "Peer to Peer support classes, might be very helpful. https://nami.org/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2004/NAMI-Peer-to-Peer-Recovery-Program-To-Expand-Natio

My grandson did that class when tgey took breaks tgey would all seperate and go on their own. He never made a friend

my son is a member of the diagnosed forum on schizophrenia.com…he gets a lot of support from it

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They would have to do it on the main site. They really want to keep the forums separated.

Somehow, though I have sz, I never stopped wanting to be social. At first one NAMI meeting or Christmas dinner would make me feel happy a long time. By now I’ve made many friends through support group and attend many activities. I’m rarely at home. I have a friend at a clubhouse and we go out on birthday parties every year with a lot of clubhouse people. It’s a great way to meet people, and maybe even find a partner if you’re lucky. I don’t go to clubhouse myself because most of the friends I’ve made are higher functioning. Things like going to Women’s Group, doing little things with my family, watching movies, and seeing my family and friends do well really make me happy. I also plan to start part time work. When I’m working, it really makes me happier too. I think some people will really value your efforts if you spend quality time with them or just show you’re there for them. Some people I know with mi don’t work or go to clubhouse, but they’ll go out to a festival or the gym once in a while and that’s good too. Some young people who come to support group really turn their lives around. A lot of young people who are treated early can still retain a lot of their functioning.