Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Partner with progressing Schizophrenia


#1

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years, and have a one-year-old son together. In the beginning, he had started going back to therapy and was on a few different medications. The last ones were seroquil and depicote. They made him sleep all day and have more mood swings. (Of course it didn’t help that the therapist and “prescriptionist” he was going to changed the medication up every month). So he has been out of therapy and off medication for a little over a year now.

However, his condition is progressing and his episodes are becoming more frequent. He is more distant and irrational. It’s making our relationship very difficult… He is suppose to find a new psychiatrist this week and try to be put back on medication.

My question is, how can I help him? What can I do to keep his episodes to a minimum? (Aggravation, stress, and anger are his biggest triggers). I really need some advice on how to be a supportive girlfriend, since I have never been in this type of situation before, I have no idea what I can so to make things better. Please Help!


#2

The best way I have found to help minimize those situations at least where my adult son is concerned, is to remain calm myself (often easier said than done) and attempt to redirect his attention whenever possible, a walk, music, TV, anything calm and external…Sometimes even a hug -these ideas might not work for everyone…But it helped me with my son…But him getting back to the psychiatrist and getting the right medicine will be the best solution…And take care of yourself too.


#3

The books I have read support finding out what they would like to be able to do and using that to convince them to take meds. While we have not been successful in getting our son to stay on meds, maybe your relationship and son are a much bigger draw? I have always wondered if my son had a relationship like yours in his life if that person would be important enough to him to make him stay on meds.

Have you read “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”?


#4

I have the book but have not read it yet, I plan to soon… I don’t think my son is compliant because of me or any person in his life…In the very beginning before his ability to be compliant started…I just refused to give him a choice…I had the control over all of his money as I am his rep payee, and he wanted money and things desperately as well as cigarettes which he will never give up…so in the early days it was take your meds and we will go get a pack of cigarettes…take your meds and we will go get Taco Bell, Take your meds and we will go see that movie you wanted to watch…etc etc etc…he wasn’t entirely stable in the very beginning…so I guess you can say it was flat out bribery…but my motto is always whatever works…I mean when he was first diagnosed I got him to sign himself into the hospital for a cheeseburger…so there’s that…sometimes I don’t think “not taking the medicine” is what our kids are standing up against…sometimes I think it is not feeling they can grasp on a good valid reason TO take it…imagining not being ill as a reason is not really possible for most of them-they can’t fathom it even if they have had clarity before…so that reason doesn’t hold much water, then there are the conflicting delusions interfering…and fear sometimes…but if you can just find something you control that they want desperately enough to take the meds for it…then you have got your hook…My son became compliant when the reported that the 1000’s of angry voices in his head were stopped entirely with the clozapine…he said if he knew he could be that ‘okay’ on this medicine he would have never done street drugs…his sobriety came along around the same time as the loss of his voices…Everyone is different…I hope you can find the right “hook”.


#5

Thanks Catherine, I hope so too. His second doctor recommended bribery - we used it and an ultimatum to get him to see that doctor for one year. The meds issue is such a flash point for my son’s illness. He is basically manageable these days of little contact - unless you talk psych meds. We have backed off to a long term strategy of “supporting” his decision. Agreeing to disagree and waiting.

I wish I remember where I read this, I wrote it down in my phone notes. Vallpen’s statement made me look it up today.

“Parents agree that recovery is when their son or daughter has some measure of stability. There is no cure for mental illness, and symptoms often recur, but accepting and learning to manage one’s illness is success. Addressing recurring symptoms and moving forward each day, even if by inches, is success. Having routine and purpose, and satisfaction in one’s life defines recovery. Getting to that goal happens day by day and those who embrace that journey are to be admired.”


#6

I have not read it. I, myself, am just starting to grasp the situation. He likes to go out and play games with his friends, which if he does so more than once a week I fuss about. Mainly because we don’t live in a good neighborhood, and he’s out until 5 or 6 in the morning. The other reason I complain about it is because even when he isn’t out with friends, we don’t really do anything together. He will sit and play games on the computer or whatnot, and make little effort to try to enjoy time with us… I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place here. Because there no way for me to tell how much of the lack of effort is his condition.


#7

Do you have any contact with his parents? I just wondered if they are able to offer their thoughts on what is the scz and what isn’t - unless maybe they haven’t been in the picture?


#8

His biological father is also a schizophrenic, but we don’t communicate with him. We see his mom at least every couple of weeks, but she really doesn’t have an input on the situation. He had some symptoms when he was younger, but they did not really start to show until after he moved out of his parents house around 17. Things are becoming increasingly difficult between us. He started to hide things awhile back. Said that he couldn’t trust me not to go through them and to not flip out. I just don’t know if this is because of his schizophrenia or other reasons. I don’t know if he realizes how much he is hurting me emotionally by doing this. I know the desensitization and lack of caring it part of it, as well as the inability to show many emotions. But I’m just not sure how much of it is actually his disorder.


#9

I would pretty much guarantee that he has no concept of hurting others when in a sz state. If you want the relationship to last then you can’t take anything he says personally. If you can’t find the emotional strength within yourself to mentally separate him from his sz and not take anything personally then go to a councilor or support group and find that strength. Your relationship will become toxic if his sz has emotional control over you and that is a very unhealthy environment for you and your child.


#10

I’ve been considering going to a support group for some time now. But I believe now is the time for action and I actually need to try to find one in my area. Thanks for the insight and reassurance.


#11

Everything ends up being affected by schizophrenia.

My husband used to think my son could control his scz because there were better days. Took a long time before he figured out that our son can’t control it. The good days have nothing to do with self control. I think of it as big storms in their brain vs smaller storms.

My son used to “emerge” more often. That’s how it seems to me, as though my son is buried deep inside himself, under the schizophrenia. Like those Michelangelo statues that weren’t finished, the ones that line the halls on the way to his statue of David. They look like men trapped inside of stone trying to get out.


#12

Sorry meant to aim that last post at dhcoulter


#13

Please get support. I found a NAMI group in my area. They helped me so much when I put the symptoms together and discovered it was a mental illness. Even though our loved ones are sick, I still believe there has to be a way to hold them accountable for the words they say and the actions they do towards others. They cannot control the fear, but in getting treatment they can learn skills to manage the illness. People with this illness are emotionally abusive to their loved one. This takes an enormous toll on us. Even with support, I struggled with depression and low self-esteem. Even now, I struggle with bitterness and enormous grief from the loss of the person I knew.

So please get support and take care of yourself. Out of the fog gives some wonderful tools to help with self-care.