Some things I have picked up along the way - feel free to add your own

With sympathy, scz is a personal tragedy.
Without sympathy, it becomes a family calamity.

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1/3 of individuals with anosognosia regain some insight in the course of being treated with anti-psychotic or mood stabilizing drugs. 2/3 do not.

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Make sure when giving of yourself as a caregiver to keep a high priority on care for yourself. It is so easy to let one’s own health and mental state decline while attempting to help a loved one with Severe Mental Illness (SMI).

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Without love and positive attention, the disorder will surely be crippling. Each person needs to be truly seen and respected, everyone experiences this disorder in their own way, and things can change over time, for the good as well as the bad. There are moments of joy and warmth and “normality,” and each one should be savored. Hopeful for more good than bad times in 2024, and always hopeful for a breakthrough treatment… someday.

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@oldladyblue, I second this. I’m going to try to make self-care a priority this year.

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Try to keep some semblance of your own life, even tho our loved ones take so much time and energy and emotions. Also I have learned that treating them with kindness and calmness goes along way. I don t always follow this, as they can be sooo frustrating and annoying and consuming. And never give up hope.

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Yes @caregiver1 , just remember with caregiving this illness, one step at a time improvements are the easiest way. Even in adding more care for yourself, start small, and keep at it.

Hi @irene haven’t seen you for awhile. Nice to see you. Your last point about never giving up hope is so important.

Which reminds me, @hope , thank you for starting this thread! And for being on this site for years. Seeing your name on here always gives me hope for better tomorrows for all of our loved ones.

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Thanks for reminding. I also will try making this my priority this year…

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Hi @Mia , yes, do try a bit each day to uplift yourself!

One of my successful actions, that I still do, is to log in here on a regular basis. I feel for anyone with mental illness and for those caring for them as I know how stressful it is. I make posts that I hope will help others, even if only to sympathize and provide a bit of hope or help. I read posts that help me to keep in mind others who are suffering, especially when I am talking to my higher power each night before sleep. Somehow I think that combined together on this site, our thoughts help others far beyond what it would be if we kept silent. I know that it helps me to come to this site.

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I’m with you: treat them with calmness, respect and validation. We’ve tried to adjust to the situation, we’d do it if their illness would be more apparently physical (it is!). It’s been an experience and a way to exercise self dominion, not reached yet the point of saying aha, I got it!
It’s a hard challenge and I tried to remember that nothing is forever even when it feels it is.

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One thing I’d say now to someone hearing voices: 99% of what they say is untrue. For instance, one might hear a voice saying “ look at that ugly, crazy guy in the blue sweater. Everyone is staring at you.”

The only true part of that statement is you are wearing a blue sweater. The rest are lies.

Not sure if this would help.

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For siblings, I would add what I’ve picked up along the way, which is that the development of the brain disorder schizophrenia is an unfair blow, yes, to your brother or sister who has the mental illness. It is devastating for your mother and father. But it was, and is, also damaging to you and your development. Starting there and really addressing all you’ve felt, struggled with and lost is okay to do. Others may be quick to say, “Hey, you’re fine, at least you’re not…etc., etc…” But that comparison doesn’t help in the long run. It relegates you to the sidelines.

To become a well sibling you have to acknowledge and be acknowledged for your unique experience in dealing with the mental illness. And then, it’s up to you what you do if and when you are asked to participate in care.

You’ll do better if you’ve sorted out your own pain, and sadly, your family of origin may not be the source to help you. They may not have the emotional reserves. But try to get what you need, however possible.

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