Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Relapse Anxiety

I feel strange posting this but I hope that someone else may experience the same thing.My son has been doing very well this past month.We did have an issue trying to go down on his Seroquel-after two days he had such bad hallucinations that we immediately increased it again.My son has been interacting with the family,working outside,joking around,accomplishing goals.I feel really blessed right now.I can almost convince myself that maybe it’s not really Sz.We have been down this road often.The meds need tweaking or he gets stressed out and a downward spiral starts again.I find myself awake at night,worried about what tomorrow will bring.I know this is ridiculous and useless.When my son retreats into himself,I miss him.It’s been really hard to keep losing him.Thankfully,he has always come around eventually.We have had such a great month and I feel this constant anxiety of another “hiccup” coming.How do other caregivers handle this?

I have just a comment. I realize I could relapse on any day. That’s a fact. Medication and therapy reduces the chances but I have to fight to control my symptoms on a daily basis. It sucks from my point of view as a sufferer just like it sucks from your point of view a a caregiver. Yes, you are doing good to ask for help on this subject because you may need an answer on how to cope with this feeling of your sons relapse for six months or maybe six years. I was on edge with this all during the eighties.

I think it is impossible to not worry about this, and perfectly normal. I tend to fall back on the ‘one day at a time’ mantra, and take each good day as a gift.

My partner is constantly worried about me falling back into a relapse. But she figures as long as i take my medication and go to therapy i’ll be okay. But there are days when my anxiety is very high because i’m worried about falling back into old patterns

You are not alone in this. After 20 years, I am just now starting to relax on this a little. When this is one of your children, its very hard. Sometimes, I cant believe Im still alive after the extreme worry, the what-ifs-or when.
These days, I tell myself that there is nothing more I can do-other than what Im already doing. I have little notes up for myself to remind me of this. I read a lot of meditation type books to help me relax and get it through my head that I cant control my son anymore…never good though I tried! He is a man now, and has to make his own decisions, even ones I dont like. I also read a lot of books on co-dependency. Didnt make a lot of sense at the time, but there are so many good writings on this that actually do apply, and I go back to them when I need to,
Im glad your son is having good days. He will have his ups and downs like everyone else ( maybe a little more intense ;). In the end, hell learn how to deal with things and you will too.
Every mom I know goes through this. It takes time to figure out how NOT to react as much. Choose your battles well, take time for yourself.

I think all caregivers go through this. I am always looking out for my son’s words to sound more paranoid than is normal for him. I catch myself watching and listening for the signs that he is suicidal again. But I look back and see how far we have come in just one year. He is med compliant now, he’s looking for a new psych dr, while continuing to see the current one. He can sometimes ride the city bus with no headphones!! It’s so easy to feel the anxiety, but looking back, it is good to see how far he has come. It makes the setbacks easier to take…sometimes. Rejoice in each good day, and savor it! I believe that one good day leads to more, progress is one little thing at a time.

I think just knowing he can count on you to be there for him in his worst moments is all you can really hope for. I had my first break as a teenager, I fought really hard to get my mind stable again. I even went to a local college, got an associates degree, wound up working a fairly steady…yet at the same time highly unstable, job. I was on a very low amount of medications. As time wore on, I guess my m ind started giving out. I relapsed. I had to quit work so I could focus on myself and get myself to a point where I could control myself again.

While I haven’t adjusted my medications since the panic attacks stopped, I slowly feel myself falling into a relapse again. I know it will happen. I think after so long our minds/body just gets so used to the medication it doesn’t have the same effects it did when we stabilized. If it does maintain for an individual than I’m happy for them, but for me it’s not the case.

If you ever watched the nightly news it’s like our being able to combat all bacteria like the flu with vaccine so another stronger bacteria develops…one that can fight the vaccine, so we have to come up with yet another stronger vaccine to fight the newer strain of bacteria. It’s the same way with our minds. They become stable and after so long (unless you’re lucky) that stabilization goes away and you have to readjust.

As of now, I think of Schizophrenia as a “forever disease” because I don’t believe their is a cure. I’m sure one could be developed, if enough scientists would work on it and if we figure out what causes Schizophrenia in the first place, and we had advanced knowledge on the human brain…but for now there is no specific cure. There are ways to make people live better and more productive lives with Schizophrenia, but not ways to eliminate it’s threat of relapsing. At least, from my studies, personal experience, and the way my doctor explains it to me, this is how I feel.

I’m sorry I can’t offer better advice but all you can really do is take each day as they come. Maybe you can learn, and/or help him learn what his specific triggers are and avoid those situations. Example, if I’m in an overly crowded room for too long I start showing signs of paranoia an anxiety. You may notice him trying to cope privately, like I would focus on an underpopulated area and stare in that direction, I would take slow deep breaths, I might fidget, or hands might tremor. If it feelings become too strong I know I have to excuse myself from the room and find a private space where I wont get bothered. He’s not alienating himself from you to hurt you, like me it may be so you don’t see him at his worst moments, or it may be him just needing to remove himself from the area until he can get control of himself again. And as I said in the beginning of this bit winded post, just knowing you’re going to be there for him when he needs you is the most you can offer him…that and as long he’s not hurting himself (or others) let him have his space so he can cool off or calm down his mind down.