My brother doubted whether he was actually experincing a disorder, or if this delusions and hallucinations were part of reality.
The knee-jerk reaction is to become frustrated or upset when someone is irrational. It took a long time for me to realize that expecting rational conversation with someone suffering an episode (however long) was just as rediculous as expecting an injured person to want to go for a run.
Establishing trust is the first battle.
The DX’d (just like anyone else) can put on a tough exterior and ignore symptoms. They won’t tell you what’s going on in their head when they fear reprisal or consequences. They view commitment to a facility as punishment for being different.
They won’t realize that putting up barriers with you, socially isolating themself, and refusing treatment is hurting them. They also won’t realize that this is common to people with Sz who attempt to avoid treatment and self-medicate.
Try to be upfront about your desire to help them attain and sustain a good quality of life and some true self-reliance. They deserve those things and can definitely get them.
When they complain to you about things that bother them, or wishing they could have something they don’t, treat it as an opportunity to ask them why things are going how they like.
Often, these struggles are very much rooted in their own choices and their own lifestyle as much as they are in their disorder. Help by recommending lifestyle changes that bring about good quality of life:
Hygiene, routine, responsibility, organization, productive hobbies, etc…
When they refuse these recommendations, or quit on them, point it out in a respectful way.
“I’m not going to try to force you to do anything, even if I think it will help. But if you don’t exercise, you won’t get to feel good about how you look.” Or similar.
Just maybe, your son will experience what my brother experienced, that his disorder really was capable of interrupting his own plans and attempts at having a fulfilling and happy life. Maybe he will come to you to ask for help reducing his symptoms so that he can actually enjoy his hobbies, rather than hide from them or become too distracted to have any fun / get anything meaningful done.
This did take my brother years. And he certainly still struggles with symptoms (both obvious, ‘positive’ symptoms and subtle ‘negative’ symptoms). There are lots of angles that require time, effort and learning to overcome with Sz. But it starts with the DX’d having someone close by who they feel like they can trust when their disorder convinces them not to trust anyone at all.
Do it by being dependable, rational, and emotionally stable. Avoid getting angry with their symptoms (especially their delusions and paranoia).
A calm “I really don’t think everyone on Facebook has time, interest, or money to personally stalk you. You’re only that interesting to me, and only because I’m your Mother.”
Reassurance like that early on in the development of a delusion can be all it takes sometimes. Other times, it can be long months of calm reassurance and patient understanding that they have a disorder that actively undermines their peace of mind and their happiness.
And keep in mind that their disorder also actively tries to convince them that they are sub-human, and that their family doesn’t like them. So be cautious about how you word necessary judgement like, “Your room is a mess!” They will misconstrue it in all kinds of hurtful ways.
Don’t worry, you’ve got this.
It takes practice, but you can be the kind of trusted ally he needs to see through all of the confusing emotions and delusions.
And just because he is irrational sometimes doesn’t mean that he doesn’t deserve to have some boundaries. You need to be mindful of your own quality of life and peace of mind, too.