Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

So confusing at times

Mary, It went really well. I didn’t even get a chance to get the window coverings up. The day the electricity came on, he nearly ran out there with all of his belongings. For the first two days he kept showering in our house. He complained the bathroom was too small and the shower head was not as nice as the one he used inside our house. I switched the shower heads and that solved that problem. Kind of mean of me, I installed the “bad” shower head inside our house to “help” him transition:)

He had said over and over again he wasn’t moving out there, and then he did.

He did stress out and had some bad days as he adjusted to the change, but he stayed out there.

We were able to build it in a way we thought would help him day to day. He doesn’t have a view of any of our neighbors out his windows. In his bedroom there are windows on just one wall. He set up his bed in the corner of the bedroom that doesn’t have any windows on either wall. I put up bamboo blinds because I knew he would keep them closed. Light filters subtly through bamboo blinds, I didn’t want him sitting in the dark. Later he wanted wooden blinds on the windows that face the road. He keeps them closed all of the time. At least he didn’t replace the other bamboo blinds so light can penetrate his “cave”.

The side of the apartment that faces us doesn’t have any windows either -its not an attached garage. No oven, though he would probably like to bake the occasional frozen pizza, we wouldn’t install one. He had started several oven fires in our home.

He has a washer and dryer and a full kitchen except for the lack of an oven. He commented when we were planning it “someone living out there would never really need to come inside the house”. Yes, that was the plan. We referred to it as “the guesthouse” while we were building it.

He pays to rent it from his monthly disability payments. He receives ssi and ssdi. He has to be charged a fair market rent, the internet and satellite tv are tax deductible as long as the fair market value is applicable.

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That’s amazing , hope it really sounds like a great idea, wish we could do this.

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Your story is a great comfort to read.

I live in Vermont, USA and have a 45-year-old-son whose behavior sounds much like yours.

Merci beaucoup for your honest words.

The ups and downs of brain diseases can be daunting!

I rejoice when he is happy,balanced, talkative.

And study so I can help him through the psychotic times.

Hope you respond and keep posting.

from Vermont,

Maple Woman

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Rejoicing in the good times and studying for the bad - that is an excellent life plan:)

We have noticed many similar structures since we built ours. If you start to look for them, you can see them.

They say we will see a lightening of their symptoms in the late 40’s early 50’s, any sign of this yet in your son?

Thanks Maple Woman:)

I am crying with JOY that we can share these struggles!

As a caregiver I have often felt very isolated

as most people respond to the word schizophrenia ( SZ)

as if it were the plague.

Keep in touch.

from Vermont

Maple Woman

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I also notice as you mentioned, that my son when “lucent” will verbalize that he is very very angry at mental health workers or by the fact that he doesn’t have a “normal life”; i.e. marriage, family, a career.
In the past he has acted out violently.

He recently told me the meds he’s taking have taken away his anger. (thank God)

I am also very deeply sad about this but have learned, with the help of the Divine, to help him focus on what he can do/what he has. And then set reasonable short-term goals, like getting more exercise, drawing again , resting more or playing his guitar.

I’ve learned a lot over the years of struggling with his paranoid schizophrenia.
And I’ve learned to “read him” when he becomes psychotic. (even when on meds)
I accept what he says but don’t react as much as I once did, it passes.
I try to “normalize” it, saying “Everyone has bad days. Rest today. etc.”

Maple Woman

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Hope,

I am contemplating buying or building a small cabin my son can call his own.

He’s been evicted from somany places.

It’s great you created a home for you son.

Maple Woman

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Maple Woman,

The evictions and neighbor drama were my son’s way of life for years. While its true that my son trusts me more when I don’t live close to him, it just means I spend a lot of time driving when he has created a crisis situation. The more people around him, the more times he goes into crisis. To save money we used an existing garage. We probably should have spent more money and moved his home further away from the main house.

@hope - I don’t know what your finances are like, but they have really cute park model manufactured homes designed for little getaway cabins or retired people.

If you haven’t seen one, they’re easy to find online & they usually have a bedroom, bathroom & kitchen/living room area with a little porch off the front - plenty of room for one person.

I don’t know how much they cost or what the zoning restrictions are where you live, but they look like a nice option. I was considering one for my son if we moved out to the country. That’s no longer in the plans for us though. I think in a few years, I am going to sell the house we live in now & buy something more secluded in the same family that has his living space somewhat separated from mine, whether that means a garage apartment, in-law suite or finished basement.

Good morning slw - things going well there? My husband wanted to buy what you are suggesting originally. This was my error, the building of the garage apartment added square footage value to our property and I was afraid a portable building would be so small he wouldn’t live out there. Its a two car garage, he has 800 square feet.

I bet they’re as big as 800 square feet - especially the ones that have a lofted bedroom.

I think they’re really cute. If I was living by myself, I think I could be happy in one.

Here, if you put anything like that on a permanent foundation, it becomes real estate & adds value to your property.
If you don’t, it’s treated like a car or RV.

We’re looking at double wides for our property in the country & it’s amazing how nice manufactured homes are now. Whatever we end up getting will probably be nicer than the house we have.

A lot of people out here where we live, are building large metal buildings on their country properties and finishing them on the outside to look like regular homes. After you add doors, windows and rock (halfway up the side) they look like regular homes and are supposed to be less expensive than the prefabs.

Of course we don’t have any building codes to satisfy out here. Some of them have even added giant wrap around porches.

I’d like to get one of those to use as a garage/barn, but it’s really, really hot here in the summer & I’d worry about keeping it cool.

I like the fact that the manufactured homes are pretty much ready to go once they’re set up - we’re always short on time, which means we end up spending more sometimes just to get things done faster.

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I offered the septic installer a $500 bonus to bump my son’s apartment up on his schedule - it was constant flashpoint here having Jeb and his dad in the same house.

He turned me down cold, like I was offering him a bribe. I actually said to him “its getting to be a matter of life and death around here” He still wouldn’t move the date up, he probably thought it was a tasteless joke. I found an installer who would do it immediately. He was happy to take the $500.

I had to borrow the money from my mom.

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Hope-

I know just what you mean in your last post.

If nothing else, it is a great comfort to know that us family members

struggle with the same types of behaviors in our loved ones.

All is quiet and in balance, for a while anyway.

Prayers for Peace,

Maple Woman

How does you son do actually taking care of himself?

I have found many times that he does very well when right out of the hospital/step-down facility but after being in his apartment for about 6 mos. can’t seem to;

-keep himself or the apt. clean
-go to the grocery store
-fights with everybody

In general, his behavior takes a nosedive.

Look forward to hearing your experiences.

Maple Woman

Maple Woman,

It has continued to be calm here.

Does your son stop taking the meds after the 6 months?

My son used to be able to string together a couple of months of work and calm living until his illness worsened. He can’t do that anymore, he became unsafe for the people in his work places. He really misses working.

He had issues grocery shopping as his voices yelled insults at him and he attributed those insults to the other shoppers. When he became concerned I was poisoning him or medicating him through his groceries, he went to CBT therapist to learn how he could grocery shop again. Probably just a matter of time before he has an episode in a grocery store. Not to be pessimistic, just realistic.

Have your son’s forties been easier than his thirties?

Hope

Hope, I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I think my husband had a mild form of what my son has.

He was quick to anger, would randomly think people were out to get him, even me or close friends.
I can’t tell you how many times he was sure I was cheating on him, even though he had no rational reason to think so - and there was nothing I could do to set his mind at ease. He even came up with me cheating with people I’d never even met.

Other than the quick to anger, it all just stopped when he was about 45 like someone turned off a switch.

I mention it from time to time when we talk about my son’s illness, but he won’t talk about it.

And, we’ve joked about him having mild bipolar or something for years. I took to telling him to “put the crazy away” years ago when he’d start to go into any kind of episode.

The only time he had a full break was drug-induced in the hospital - they had him on huge doses of morphine & other stuff to keep him in a drug-induced coma. He came out of it seeing dead people climbing out of the ceiling, thought he had a different body somewhere, all kinds of things.

He seemed to always go a little manic in the springtime. A few of his mother’s siblings have been officially diagnosed as bipolar, but I think they all had something going on - just not as bad as our son.

The ones who made it to older, seemed to get better - or stabilize. A couple including my MIL passed early.

slw, It is encouraging that your husband had so many issues stop so suddenly and that other relatives got better or stabilized as they aged I do remember thinking in our forties, that it was a shame that my children weren’t born later in life so they could have had a different relationship with their dad.

But the quickness to anger remains. My husband’s reaction to the slightest frustration is anger. Screwdriver slips, anger. Someone’s driving offends him, anger that can turn into road rage if they respond to his anger. To him its such a normal reaction he would take offense that I am calling it rage. My husband prefers to say that he is “excited” and I am mistaking excitement for anger. He has finally tried to limit his angry responses since he had to acknowledge his mother’s mental health issues and now Jeb’s.

I have never been able to get him to understand that his anger causes a stressful reaction in everyone around him.

His childhood was pretty bad. Growing up with a mom who suffered from an unacknowledged, unmedicated (except massive doses of Valium and Xanax) mental illness had to have affected him in some ways. He was totally committed to his mom being a psychopath due to her lack of conscience before Jeb’s scz surfaced. His mom’s sister’s scz was easy to identify, once we knew about Jeb’s, it was a lot like Jeb’s. His mom spent a lot of time hurting people and telling lies probably because of her paranoia, maybe voices? One of his brothers is just like the mom. Super paranoid and constant lies that he seems to fully believe.

Better in the future is the hope that keeps me going.

My husband is just like yours.

Here’s one other thing to consider. I’ve read that when men are depressed, it often presents more as anger than sadness. I think that’s sometimes the case with my husband, although he’d never see anyone for it.

I know without a doubt he suffers from anxiety. When he feels that way & doesn’t have a reason, he’ll say he just has a “bad gut feeling” and he knows something is going to happen. I get that same feeling - I know it’s anxiety.

It sometimes helps my husband if other people tell him the same thing. He’s had a few people lately tell him that he always sounds angry no matter what and it’s hard to be around. So, he’s working on it a little bit. I was like, great - I’ve been telling you that for years, but would you listen to me? nope - not one bit. At least I get to tell him I told him so.

Keep in mind I’ve been telling him for years that he’s got ADHD or Bipolar or Anxiety or something - in a joking way, but he knows I’m serious underneath it all. He won’t even deny it - he just won’t see anyone & doesn’t realize how it affects other people.

You can always try telling your husband to take it down about 10 notches when he gets angry - or put the crazy away. Sometimes, I tell him to use his inside voice too. (He’s actually got a couple of the dogs trained to quiet down when he tells them to use their inside voice - it’s hilarious. They’ll still bark or whine, but it’s really low.)

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