Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son has no social life... how can I help

#1

My 27 yo son, dx schitzophrenia, has no friends, does not involve himself in any help groups, etc,. I tried to encourage him into going to a NAMI peer group, but he says no. We, his parents, are his only friends. Any ideas how I can help him? He seems so alone.

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#2

Hi Shallcro,

I would first recommend finding a therapist. Allow him to be involved in the process of picking one out. It’s not uncommon for someone DX’ed with schizophrenia to isolate. Many times those with the illness feel alone, and that nobody understands what they are going through. This is a thinking error, as everyone struggles from time to time. A therapist will give him someone to form a relationship with, and allow other input, as well as allow him to understand that he is capable of interaction on his own.

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#3

@Shallcro…im in the same situation, my son hasnt had a friend in over tem years…the pdoc recommended a menatl health club…my son attends one, (sometimes called clubhouses). here he meets people going through similar stuff

at a mental health club, they do art, creative writing , health management or if youre not interested in that , you can just drop in for a cooffee and a chat

at mental health clubs, thre is no pressure, you participate in what ways you want…just ask your mental health team about it or google…

Also, there is a self help group called GROW…it is an inta=ernational self help group where mentally ill go and meet others they relate to…its kinda like the 12 steps of AA…you do group therapy…once again just ask your mental health team about it or google…you ca get a good overview of GROW on wikipedia

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#4

You have mentioned mental health clubs or clubhouses to me in a different thread before… I don’t know if this is what you are talking about… I looked at the clubhouse international website and there are plenty of clubhouses around the NYC area, but much else anywhere else in NY state. We do have the Mental Health America center that offers peer support and advocacy programs… it also looks like the local Catholic Charities offers a club like program.

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#5

My husband was in a similar situation, but it has gotten a little better lately. I think after 10 years of making & destroying friendships while unmedicated, he is tired of trying to forge new relationships that he is afraid are inevitably going to end. His illness makes him predisposed to resist forming intimate relationships the he fears he will “ruin” or will ruin him. (His delusions usually take on the appearances of people he cares about. )

You mentioned that your son seems alone. Does HE express that he feels lonely or alone, or does he seem content to be by himself? If he isn’t expressing any issue with his social life, you might want to pull back a little and let him be. Forcing him into social situations isn’t going to be especially helpful. It might work when you’ve got a young child, but as an adult, it’s less constructive.

Consider some nontraditional sources of community, especially those that seem appealing for us younger folks ( I am one of those Millennials the news is always talking about! ) Does he play any games online? Does he text, snapchat, or chat with anyone? All of these are options that fill that need to socialize for folks in my generation. I can attest that I “talk” to several of my friends primarily on digital platforms. You & I can look at those connections and know it’s not enough of a “support network” to help him if he becomes symptomatic, but that might not be what he needs them to be. That might be his avenue to a “social life.”

My husband has a really long social orbit. I also worry sometimes, because he can so easily go for months without communicating with people, and he thinks nothing of it. He socializes with one of his friends about once a month. He calls his parents about one a month. He sometimes expresses that he feels overwhelmed by these social demands-- it feels like a lot to him to call his parents more than once a month.

My suggestion is to be patient. Don’t change your behavior-- you are his parents, and you can love and support him, and socialize with him only so much. . You can meet some of his social needs, but don’t try to meet more than you’re comfortable with. If he starts to miss peers, or romantic relationships, or any other relationships, that’s your cue to encourage him with options for socializing. :blue_heart:

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#6

Thank you for suggestions. My son does seem alone. He recently moved into one of our rentals… which is a big step. But he still comes here everyday, sits, sighs, says he’s bored. He has expressed the fact that he wants a girlfriend, family, like other people. I tell him he needs to socialize to get that. I suggest he go to NAMI support, where people can relate to his illness. Or even AA… their all chances to meet people. But that would mean he admits to there is something wrong with him :). He does sit with OUR friends when they come over… He needs his own life… we just need to figure out how to do that. When he is on/off medicine he does have an imaginary girlfriend. He writes letters to her etc… sad.

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