Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Not Sure What To Do Anymore

Hello Supporters,

My brother has been in a psychotic mode for most of the year. My parents and I have tried getting him help and having him get help himself but he says that there is nothing wrong with him and refuses to take any medication or receive help. I had him committed involuntarily about four years ago and that did nothing for him. He did seem to be better after that or he just started hiding his symptoms better. He is almost thirty and recently moved back in with our parents. Unfortunately my parents had to call the police on him several times this year due to him braking things and just being out of control. The officers have always been nice and understanding with him but they could not do anything because he was not a danger to himself or others. My parents also knew that he had an old shotgun that was handed down to him from family, they tried looking for it whenever they could, i.e., him not being home. They could never find the gun. Fast forward to a couple weeks later that my mom came home to the entire house being wrecked. He had ripped out every cord that he could find out of the walls, he smashed the cable and electrical boxes to pieces, and he threw away all of the food in the house, etc. My mom immediately left due to my dad not being home and feeling unsafe. When my dad received my mom’s call he called the police and headed home. When my dad entered the house my brother was right there yelling at him to “Get out, get out!” And then, Travis had the shotgun in his hand and lowered it at my dad and told him to get out of the house again. My dad slowly left the house waited for the police to arrive. They did arrive and handcuffed Travis and arrested him. This was all in the beginning of August. He is being held at our detention center not receiving any help and his court date is not until the middle of January. I just do not know what to do or how I can help him. He can’t live the rest of his life like this. It is just not fair to him or to us. Any advice or suggestions would be so much appreciated and thank you for reading my story.

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Hello Trishe,

I’m so sorry that you are going through this. My son has no insight, anosognosia, to his illness as well (about 50% of individuals suffering from schizophrenia have this condition). We went through pure hell for over 3 years (11 long hospital stays and numerous treatment programs and he is only 20!) trying to figure out the mental health system and finding the right medications for my son as he is treatment resistant. Luckily, the ‘big guns’ and last resort medication, Clozaril/Clozapine has proven to be a miracle for my son! Check out this article https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/March-2017/Taking-Another-Look-a-Too-Often-Forgotten-Treatmen. The link will bring you to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI website, check out the 12 week Family to Family class, it helped me understand his condition and provided invaluable resources. I highly recommend this class. Also, there is a program called AOT, Assisted Outpatient Treatment https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/fixing-the-system/promoting-assisted-outpatient-treatment. This link will take you to Dr. E. Fuller Torrey’s website and this also has proven to be an invaluable resource. I wish you the best of luck, we all do - as this is not an easy road! Take care! @trishe

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I’m not sure where you live, but The Department of Mental Health, Los Angeles has helped me so much more than my son’s private insurance. https://dmh.lacounty.gov/. He has a whole care team under the Full Service Partnership Program, but he had to consent and accept this help. He never would accept help until he was on Clozapine and gained some insight. Some states are better than others with county services, we’re lucky that we are in LA. @trishe

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The ONLY way my daughter’s psychosis broke was a court ordered involuntary hospitalization and forced medication. I feel lucky that she was jailed, and that this was the outcome. Her life is so much better now than unmedicated. She still doesn’t “know” she has a mental illness, but she continues to take her medicine monthly.

I’m sorry that this situation developed with your brother and his arrest, but solely because I went to court and testified against my daughter to a judge who understood mental illness was improvement possible.

Since the psychosis your brother suffers from did escalate into violence, most likely forced medication is the only solution. I’m sorry your family is going through this.

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Sorry to hear about your situation. This may be a blessing in disguise. It’s important to attend his hearing and advocate for forced treatment. It’s heartbreaking to testify against a loved one, but it could give him his life back once best medication for him is found. My son 25 and also unaware of his illness. He was psychotic for 18 months after going off his meds. Like your son medication restarted after violence. He’s been medicated since May and he is doing amazingly well.

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Sorry to hear about your son, in the long term I don’t think you should put your trust is psychiatric services. The medication may be of help but that’s because they are drugging him, not because they are treating an underlying illness. Its the same logic as lobotomy. Before the treatment patients were highly agitated suffering from crippling mental illness however after the lobotomy they were quiet, uncomplaining and showed little concern for their troubles. Patients wrote letters to Walter Freeman thanking him.

I’ve also had a history of severe mental illness but managed to get better and no longer take any medication, work part time 2 jobs and actually enjoy my life with my girlfriend and look forward to the future. If your son would like some ideas on how to get better here’s a link to my short essay

Link: [http://media.yoism.org.s3.amazonaws.com/CakeTheory.pdf ]

Also I have a YouTube Channel where I air my views. Good Luck>

.https://www.youtube.com/user/caketheory

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Thank you @Psychiatry_Capitalis for your story and I will definitely check out your YouTube channel. I’ve had to fight every psychiatrist/psychiatric facility tooth and nail because the system is really so ineffective and pathetic. I don’t trust any psychiatric services and always do my homework. My son’s case is very severe and he would’ve died without medication and hospitalizations. So, I know that medication is the correct avenue for him right now, but not forever - hopefully, miracles do happen! I look forward to checking out your story in more depth. Thank you so much and Happy Thanksgiving!

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My heart breaks for all of us. Your story is all too familiar to a lot of us. Until we get the legal system to rely more on family then saying ünless they are in danger of themselves or others, there is nothing we can do" This is the most frustrating statement!!! As if they are in their right mind to make any healthy decisions. I have unofficially adopted a young man who was in a housing program for former foster youth, he has no family or close friends and thought I could help, I had no idea he had mental health severely as it really did not show until 2nd year he was with me. He also has a criminal record (due to his mental illness) and refuses to take meds as he says there is nothing wrong with him. UGH…familiar???that lovely Anosognosia. He is on probation and walks a fine line, we have totally supported him for last 8 years and he had jobs but couldnt keep them, he cannot get up on time, his perception of things are very distorted, thinks sheriff dept. is following him and that the Dr. put a GPS in his ear, he wrecked the car and insisted somebody ran him off the road on purpose, thankfully no one was hurt and we will never know what really happened. If you try to reason with him, he gets angry and says we dont understand. He has a wonderful therapist but also has not been able to get him to try the meds. He is very smart but cannot maintain anything for any length of time. He is rude/disrespectful and insists he is not. He has been removed several times from our homes by law enforcement but after short time he has nowhere to go and now winter so my mother let him back into her home and now regrets it. We as a society need/have to do better for these people. It is not their fault they are sick but it is impossible to help with these stupid laws that are not helping anyone, I know it is a fine line, however our world is full of ill people, most homeless who need our help. I have checked out Dr. Amador and read his book, it does help, however without a professional to assist, seems hopeless. I would love it if these professionals could put on workshops that most of us could afford to attend as I checked out his trainings and not affordable to most, so that again leaves us with not much support. If my son gets into any more trouble, he will go to prison for min. 3 years and as stated prior in many posts, these people do NOT belong incarcerated. They need help. My prayers go out to all as I know how difficult this process is, very sad.

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@2frustrated: I am guilty of lying to the police to get my son to the hospital in a crisis and it has worked! I will do whatever necessary to get him appropriate therapeutic help, not incarceration. The system is so pathetic and frustrating, but if advocates continue to be vocal, changes will happen. There is a Sundance film that sheds light on the broken system and will be released soon, check it out: https://drkenrosenberg.com/bedlam. You are so sweet to ‘adopt’ someone in need and to not turn your back when things get tough, but I know it is coming with a heavy price. Maybe his probation officer can help with information regarding mandated medicine, AOT services? Luckily he has a good therapist, they are your best bet to convince him to take meds. My son doesn’t drive, thank God because I know I would have a similar story. This diagnose is no joke and is not for the weak! Sending Xo and tons of strength!

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I dont blame you in doing whatever it takes to get some help for them. Unfortunately, the sheriff dept. and jail staff know him well and I have done everything to get Anybody involved, sure they are sick of hearing from me! He regularly visits the jail and sheriff dept. to supposedly file a complaint of harassment against them, but he will never tell them anything when he gets there, although they have been very professional with him? I had the Crisis Team on board for a while observing him as he was not eating and losing a lot of weight. (All because of course he thought people were putting things in his food) Ugh. they had him at hospital observing vitals when he got up and said I know exactly what you all are doing,I am not stupid, I have to go to work so I am done here, got up and walked out. They could not legally hold him, it just never ends. I have noticed cycles of very poor and many times scary behavior to very pleasant and a joy. His probation officer is wonderful, has tried everything within his power as well and also frustrated the system ties our hands. He is a great manipulator and knows how far to push. In addition to his illness, he contributes nothing and does nothing to the household but insists he helps a lot, continually washes his clothes over and over again and never puts them away, watches tv and stares at his phone, in his words doing his research?. His perception is so totally distorted. I see why there are so many of these people on the street as it is BEYOND difficult and exhaustion to care for them, however we Never give up and the cycle continues. Would be nice if all of these forums were used Confidentially as All the reasons our laws should change. We need to do better to help.

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@2frustrated: Oh, the poisoned food, I know so well. I don’t understand why you, or better yet, your probation officer or crisis team can’t get mandated medicine for him? I would be screaming this so loud! What state do you live in? I know the system is difficult, but there is a way and I would not back down. Start here: https://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/fixing-the-system/promoting-assisted-outpatient-treatment. Check out Laura’s Law, AOT services https://dmh.lacounty.gov/our-services/countywide-services/aotla/. This link is for Los Angeles, not sure where you live, but most states have AOT services available. My son was just like your son before we found the right medication and I knew it was a matter of time before he ended up locked up. Luckily, every time a crisis occurred I was there and directed him to the hospital or a treatment facility. I knew if I didn’t find the right medicine, he would be in jail or in worse danger, twirling circles homeless on the streets. I feel for you and know exactly what you are going through, hang in there! Xo

Thank you for the info. I have printed it and will forward this info. to his therapist and probation officer. Unfortunately, he will not qualify as he has Never been hospitalized, like I said he is very smart and his paranoia has always prohibited him from getting close and does not share ALL of what is going on in his head with anybody. I have begged the courts upon his release from jail to court order mental health and asked for mental health court to over see him. They all but ignored my requests, I am sure due to the fact that he has a past record and the DA wanted so badly to put him in prison the last time he was in trouble. I fought with everything I had and ended up hiring an attorney to keep him in jail and not prison for 1 yr. So they are not interested in helping him, especially since he accuses them of things. The system is for sure messed up. He has been in foster care all his life and in the system, never had appropriate mentoring or love that every child deserves and needs. He is now 30, and suffering from all that neglect and his biological mother was a heavy drug user, we have very little history. I am not his biological mother and have no legal rights which makes it harder. However, the courts, probation, DA all know who I am from dealing with this for the last 8 years, I also work where we provide Transitional Housing for former foster youth, this is how I met him, so I know the resources but have learned first hand how difficult it is to navigate. We have to make such hard boundaries with him as he is not (most of the time) in the real world with his thoughts and perceptions, although if you ask him, he says he is fine and definitely does not have a mental illness and refuses to take medication EVER as he is not sick. Anosognosia. I was able to have a private meeting with the DA years ago, trying to keep him from prison the last stint and she said he is nothing but a criminal, I was horrified and said this could be your son, brother, neighbor and it is up to us to help in any way we can. It is day at a time! Thank you for your support and I wish you the best as well.

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@2frustrated: Yes, the system is so difficult and we all suffer from this, how could anyone with a sever mental illness ever navigate the system? Wow, the DA - what a complete jerk! Your court is very unforgiving with mental illness - so, so sad, really breaks my heart! AOT services are for repeated arrests also, not just hospitalization. These states do not have AOT services Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts, where are you? Maybe your attorney could assist with mandated medication or getting him in front of a judge that understands mental illness? I found that going to NAMI, The Department of Mental Health and any mental health educational classes and meeting key players to call when I needed help was invaluable. I was having a difficult time getting conservator ship and the director of the DMH, Dr. Jonathan Sherin said you call me next time he’s in the hospital and I will get this pushed through for you. Luckily, my son is stable and we haven’t had a next time, but I have his number very close and I will call when needed. The Los Angeles DMH admits that the system is broken and is trying hard to implement change, which is awesome! My son is currently approved for section 8 independent and supportive housing (he had to meet criteria with homelessness on the application - I lied, I work my butt off to keep him from being homeless!), but the wait lists are so long. The cycle continues and we’re always here to protect them, but it is indeed extremely difficult. Xo

I appreciate your commitment. Like I said, I work in the system and advised the Crisis team that I had a hard time getting thru to them, so what would it look like for those that dont know how or whom to contact, not to mention the ones with Anosognosia who will never reach out for help. Those are the ones that desperately need a voice for them. I have signed up to NAMI and other resources but still feel like I am fighting alone for him. The attorney was awesome but expensive and I dont have that kind of money and I believe I would need a special mental health att. to assist. His record is certainly due to mental health but nobody seems to care. The fact that I and his attorney kept him from going to prison was apparently a big deal and unheard of with his record, and they still wouldnt allow for mental health court due to his prior record. WTH… I love your resources you gave me and I will NOT give up to the unfairness these people get on top of dealing with an illness. Bunch of crap. Would love to communicate with you directly if you are willing to give me your contact email. I will take all the resources I can get. PS. I am in CA as well.

@2frustrated: Please reach out: jellis1skyler@yahoo.com. NAMI will help with resources. Yes, so many individuals with SMI that are homeless and suffer from anosognosia, breaks my heart! When we first were receiving services from the LADMH, the director stated that I was working harder than my son on his recovery. I snapped, my son has no insight and isn’t capable of fighting for something he has no idea he has, of course I’m fighting harder! Jeeeez, you professionals better understand this! There is a way to get him mandated services - keep researching and fighting! Xo

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Hey Trishe,

My son is one who is also resistant to medications - and we’ve pretty much tried them all - including Clozapine. I have on two or three occasions, gone to our City’s Mental Health Department and taken out an Ex-Parte Order on my son when the police wouldn’t do it. You might call them to see what needs to be done because it might help if you took a witness. They take your statements and send the order over to a judge to be signed. Then, you can call the police and tell them when he’s home and hope they can get him to go peacefully with them. My son can turn violent at a moments notice so its no stretch to the imagination when I say that yes, he can be of harm to someone or himself. I can’t tell you how many officers are clueless when it comes to mental illness. They go through a two week class here in Florida for CIT or Crisis Intervention Training but I’ve seen my son shackled, jumped on, and tasered face-down in the street. He lost all of his teeth due to that episode. I spent thousand to get implants and now he won’t go back to have them anchored in. My son was doing pretty good on his latest meds )Geodon) but he had an outburst at our local mini-mart so now he can’t go up there without them calling the police on him. `can’t blame them - they have to protect their customers and they have no hard feelings - it just has to be done. Problem is, if they end up in jail, the meds they give them are often just generic meds and some that dope them up. When my son ended up in jail, he of course ended up in an orange jumpsuit - which signals everyone else that he is or can be a threat. If we survive this, it will be a miracle. Florida is one of the worst states for dealing with mental disorders but it also depends on just how willing you are to advocate on his behalf. Please take care of yourself and I hope your parents do the same. These people didn’t ask for their disorder but they are hamstrung by it and a system that lacks proper resources. Take care and may God bless you all…

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I’m about to start all that paper work for housing for my son. It’s so exhausting.

oh, man! Let me know how it goes! This system is just so difficult, sigh!

I wish you and your son well…

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