Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son finally in resident care

My son was diagnosed around age 15 with schizophrenia. His father left, and I raised him alone. He’s now 21, almost 22. During that time, there were many ups and downs. Broken windows, doors, holes in the walls, and once he put me in the emergency room. All of these incidences were when he was off medication. I finally got him into a residential treatment center. He hates me and blames me for him being there.
Finally, I have a home to life in in peace. Then why am I having a difficult time getting back into my life. I work full time 5 days a week, but when I’m home, I rarely get off the couch! I’m on antidepressants already.
I talked to my doctor, she doesn’t want to change the antidepressants, she says that I need to get out and do stuff. Without medication suggestions, what advice do you have to help me get my own life back?

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Regular exercise will help you. Try walking everyday for 30 minutes, and go from there.

It will be hard to get going but after you start it gets easier.

I am a martial arts teacher and exercise/martial arts training has never failed me to help me cope mentally with my brothers schizophrenia.

You are not alone hang in there.

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Any old hobbies you might like to take up again? Or new ones?

I know this is a hard topic, friends seem to fall away in crises, but is there someone who has been there thru thick and thin? If so, reach out. I had to renew some friendships that had been hard to sustain while their kids were thriving and mine was suffering.

Any interest in a pet, or do you have one? They can be great anti-depressants.

Just getting out in nature can be a great stress reliever, even if it is to take a walk or pull weeds.

Hug yourself, let yourself grieve, because that is what you are doing, but start making forays out of your grief. There are other people out there who have also been thru this and understand.

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Hi Cher,

I also believe exercise and getting outdoors are the best suggestions.

If you are having trouble considering exercise on its own or need more outside motivation to do so, perhaps volunteering doing something like picking up trash in a park, helping at a food pantry or walking dogs at a shelter would be good?

I have always found that volunteering provides that social element to help me isolate less. I’m not a “group” person, so things like book clubs or yoga classes are not my favorite alternatives, and volunteering is less demanding; you come in and do what you need to do and it’s your choice to engage with others or not.

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I decided to give myself “me” time. First it was NAMI meetings and making friends with some of the other parents. One I still meet with monthly for breakfast and a talk about our kids. It’s been 1.5 years now. I also started planting things in my yard. It’s gone from barren to looking quite pretty over the 3 years of my daughter’s illness. Walking in the early morning hours is a favorite activity, and I’ve met some neighbors that way. Going out to dinner with a friend once a week (I have 5 or 6 women I meet with on a sort of rotation). I don’t talk about the illness with those who aren’t affected in their own families with severe mental illness. Too much disappointment as the “normal families” just don’t understand.

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Cher - I am in the same place with you. My son was arrested on 7/2 for attacking my husband and me for the 2nd time (3rd time assulting a family member). I thought to myself, now that the stress is down, maybe I will feel happier and life will resume some normalcy. He is still in jail as I write this. I have uttterly, completely exhausted and am only now starting to turn the corner and feel a bit more “normal.” I don’t understand this one bit. It’s like now that my caregiver duties have been removed, I can’t function. I am always go, go, go, never taking a moment to think about the many things I face or have to accomplish in a given day. Take him to the doctor, pick up Rx, pick up cigs, the list goes on and on. Now that he is not there, the list has dwindled and I am grateful to have some time to myself again. I read a book for the first time in years. I told my husband I feel like I am going through a grieving process. The loss of our family dynamic as we know it…it will never be the same. We formally evicted him from our home and took out victim’s protective orders. He is just too unpredictable and too violent. I love him, but I believe he could kill one of us some day. So, to answer your question, I think it just takes time. Time to adjust to the new way of life you have found yourself with. You probably are just in the same boat as me. Used to juggling lots of balls in the air, never dropping one. Now that you don’t have to do that, you don’t know what to do with yourself. And for some odd reason, it’s making you depressed. I totally get that. Exactly how I felt. I am starting to feel better but every time we have to go to court, zap back to Square One. Here comes the depression again. I wish it was just over with already. I am still advocating for him because he won’t have anywhere to live once they release him. Anyhow, saying prayers for you right now that you find peace in your new place.

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So terribly sad Lisa, shattered dreams for all of us. It’s nice we can chat together on this forum.
M46

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I think that what you are feeling is very normal. You have been through an intense, violent, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual crisis. For a long time. When my daughter was sent to a long-term institutional facility, I first felt relief. But then a terrible debilitating depression set in. After all the years of being on high adrenaline taking care of my daughter and trying to put out fires and deal with all the crises, I really didnt have time, space or energy to think or feel. But with her gone, I went through an intense grief period. My hope of her returning to how she was before she got sick was dead. And I went through all the stages of grief. At first, i just had to feel it. Sadness. Anger. Fear. Guilt. Hopelessness. Loneliness. All of it. I isolated during all of this, but tried to stay connected in at least one small way to someone who cared about me. I joined this support group. Made sure I got out of the house every couple of days even if it was just to the grocery store. For me, once I reached the “acceptance” stage of grief. I began to get better. I accepted my daughter for who she was now and began the process of building a different kind of relationship with her. I prayed to be guided to knowing and being the mother she needed me to be. I am still in that process and probably always will be. I am starting to do things for myself again. I am starting to enjoy my life again. Taking it slow. You will find your way. It will get better.

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