Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son is back in the hospital

#1

My original post here was about my son being miles away from me and isolated in his college town. I got lots of good and caring advice. Long story short, I went to my son’s city and convinced him to come home with me for the fall. I got him into a FEP program, and they signed off on his trying college again in the spring. His college also had to see him and evaluate him and make a decision. They agreed to let him come back. He did - but then he just didn’t enroll.

So he’s been sitting in the house I’m paying rent on for the last 3 months doing nothing. He completely isolated himself again. I can see his bank account, and I saw regular Venmo transactions that lead me to believe he was smoking a lot of pot. I didn’t go get him again, because (a) it was a naturally limited timespan - the lease is up at the end of May and (b) I was hoping he might actually come out of it somewhat and see some of his old friends (he really has absolutely nobody at home anymore - they’ve all moved on). And really to be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to stage another big intervention. I just didn’t have it in me.

Just in the last couple of weeks, I was seeing signs that he might be coming out of it. Instead of Venmo, I noticed he went to the Vape Shop. I don’t love that he vapes, but it’s better than pot, and he actually left the house. Also, he was texting me more, and last Wed he even told me he was going to start going out again, and asked for the number of the therapist that he was supposed to be seeing, but never did. I was feeling great about his progress but then I noticed another Venmo deal (after none for a couple of weeks) - and then that night his landlord called to say he’d been harassing the girls next door. He had texted one of them, and apparently he was going over to knock on their door, even after they told him to stop. I called him like 5 times and he wouldn’t answer, which isn’t unusual, so I texted him and told him what the landlord had said, and that it was important he not go back.

Well, he went back. And they called the police, and he told the police he heard voices (unfortunately I think he literally heard the voice of the girl telling him to come over), and they took him to the ER. So he’s been there since Thursday night. I flew to his town and have been staying in a hotel near the hospital. Great vacation, right? I’m not sure why I’m even here, because he doesn’t want to see me. I want him to come home with me again, so here we go again. He only had 2 more months here anyway, but he now says he will just “leave the girls alone” and he wants his last chance to go out. Nobody thinks this is a realistic plan. The landlord doesn’t want him to come back, but is refusing to call me and I think is physically incapable of confrontation. He doesn’t want to be the bad guy, and he doesn’t want to make it official by actually evicting him either. If the girls call the cops on him again, he will probably go to jail for stalking, and they’re creeped out and I’m guessing will call if he even steps into the shared backyard. I don’t really blame them, I guess. I’m not sure if what he did would have been perceived as threatening if he weren’t “that weird guy who never leaves the house”, but it is what it is.

So my son is in the hospital, and it’s visiting hours right now, but I’m just sitting here. He’s made himself pretty clear. He says he will talk to me when he gets out and not before. He says I have an agenda and that if he talks to me I’ll “get my way”. I went earlier today. I had planned this time to stay the whole hour in case he changed his mind, but they told me if he wouldn’t talk to me, I couldn’t stay.

They have him on Zyprexa. They think it’s doing him good. I hope so - Risperdal didn’t do anything for him last year, and I’m sure he’s going to tell them that he feels a lot better. It’s likely that he gets out tomorrow and I really have no idea what will happen next.

At least he’s popular in there. A patient (older woman) came and told me she’d had conversations with him and that he was doing great, would be OK. Give him some time. She was sweet. Said she was there for “anger issues” but had done peer counseling. She pointed out that he was spending a lot of time with a young woman. Also, a very loud, kinda funny young guy keeps proclaiming my son to be his best friend. I thought he was just making a joke because my son was sitting there with me, but then he was in the visiting room today with his family going on and on about my son. I certainly want my son out of there ASAP, but it’s nice to think he’s getting some social interaction in there, after being so isolated for so long…

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#2

So much of this sounds like how our son’s illness developed. I remember saying this to you at the beginning of your journey and I guess I have the same strong but unfortunate advice again. Your son needs to go home. You need to keep him out of harms way. I’m so sorry. This illness sucks.

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#3

Sounds so familiar , and i so feel your exhaustion , its just not easy this horrific disease . i also feel he needs to be home with you or in a rented apartment near you where you can keep an eye on him . Thats where my son is now , a rented apartment , isolated in his room most of the time , goes to the vape store and back and does a few delivery jobs a day if he’s not tired . He lives 20min from me . I had the landlord call me one day and tell me that a some girls complained about him txting them nasty txts and they were scared . My son told me they started talking bad things about him and he replied to their txts except they didn’t really know who he was or why he was so angry with them! so stressful !!! so hard to digest my normal son 2 years ago is now schizophrenic .Hang in there , one day at a time …

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#4

Thanks, Linda. That’s my ultimate goal, actually. He’s already said he’ll come home at the end of May - he just wanted to stay until then.

He got out of the hospital today, and was a total jerk to the doctor trying to talk to him. And to me as well. Saying I was trying to manipulate him. He’s back at his house and I’m at my hotel, trying to figure out what to do next.

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#5

You are there because you love him.

This illness brings so much hurt. I sometime felt helpless, sometimes manipulated.

I went thru similar scenarios, not sure I have answers, but don’t beat yourself up for anything you are feeling right now. Others of us have been there, and understand how horrid it is.

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#6

My heart goes out to you, there’s much similarity between your story and mine. I travelled and had a hotel the second time my son was hospitalized and sometimes he would see me, other times he wouldn’t.

I’m only at the beginning of my journey with my son, but I wanted to respond and let you know that I am sitting here feeling your pain. We will figure this out and always do what we think is best for our sons.

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#7

The more i read through posts on this board, the more i realize that all of our stories are the same. The names are different. The particulars are different. But our hurt is exactly the same. We are all experienving the same grief, pain, and feelings of helplessness. It doesnt change the reality of our situations, but i am hoping thst it changes my perception of my situation. This isnt just happening to us. We are not alone.

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#8

Yes, Katee. We are all going through the same thing. Welcome. You’re not alone.

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#9

Thank you all so much. I do love this forum. The doc came down to see me today, and said “do you know his diagnosis?” I said, “well, it’s been too early and…” and he cut me off and said “he has schizophrenia. I know that’s hard to hear, but you need to hear it. It’s been a year now that he’s been having these symptoms.” I knew that already, of course (why else am I hanging out here?), but still.

My son seems able to accept the label. But he’s not convinced on the meds yet. He took the Zyprexa willingly in the hospital to sleep, and to get released. But he said that at least for the few days he’s been on it, it didn’t touch the voices (he lied and told the docs that it helped). The doc said he should give it 3 months before he discounts it. I don’t know if he will or not. The release packet was handed to me, so I went and filled his Rx today. I knew he would never do it, but maybe if the meds are right there, he’ll take them, to get some sleep if nothing else. And yet, I admit I still feel conflicted about them.

He was extremely ass-holish to everyone on the ward at release time, especially me. It was hard to watch. Everyone told him, including other patients, that he should be nicer to me, but he wouldn’t. He thinks I’m manipulating him.

After we left the hospital, I let him go to his house, and I went back to the hotel to rest and think. We met for a pretty brief dinner. Some conversation was good, but he’s extremely limited in how much he can stand to interact with me before he’s just overloaded.

The only tool I have left in the belt is to refuse to pay his rent for April. If I do that, his landlord will have grounds to evict him, but it would still take a couple of weeks probably. I made a flight reservation back for tomorrow. I told him if he wants me to pay April, he has to at least have lunch with me and drive me to the airport. If he refuses these fairly simple tasks, then I’ll have less guilt about getting him kicked out.

This is my thinking in letting him stay put:

  • I don’t have any feeling that he is actually dangerous, nor do the doctors. I’m more worried that he’ll do something awkward and is misunderstood.
  • I don’t actually detect that his condition is markedly different from before.
  • The doctor was ambivalent, and said although he knew he’d be better off at home, he would actually wish to give him a chance to try staying.
  • The doc also said that if something else happened, the police would bring him back to the ward instead of to jail
  • And furthermore, if he ends up in the psych ward again, he’ll be leaving with a long-acting injection, like it or not.

So that’s my thinking. If he gets hauled in again, at least he’s in a place where the docs already know him. Plus he really, really does not want to come home yet, but is fine with coming home in 2 months. I’m so tired right now that it’s hard to know if I’m just kidding myself, but right now leaving him behind feels like the right decision.

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#10

Just checking in @soworried to see how you and your son are doing. You must be home by now…did he have lunch with you and take you to the airport?

My son also does not want to come home, but he told me that if he can’t get “this mental health sh*t” in order by July when his lease is up, he will come home. His doctor and social worker were also ambivalent, but felt that he has a friend group where he is that support him, and if he were to come back with me, he would not have any friends.

Like you, I’m not concerned that he will hurt anyone, he’s very pleasant actually, just delusional, even when medicated. At least he’s not hallucinating since he’s gotten out of the hospital. Like your son, mine also seems to have good conversation with me and then he hits a point where he’s “done”. He even does this via text.

Anyway, I wanted to check in with you and see how you were doing.

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#11

Hi Nancers, thanks for asking. I didn’t realize your situation was so much like mine! Yes, he did, and we actually had a pretty good conversation, although certain topics turned out to be off limits. He also hit me up for $20 to get a haircut, which he desperately needs.

So I’m back home, and he’s still there. This is sort of funny - I was sitting in the airport waiting for boarding to start, and I got a call from the local area code. I felt apprehensive, and my heart sank completely when the caller identified himself as a member of the local police force. He said he was calling because he wasn’t sure if I knew that my son had been taken by the police to the psych ward. I was thinking “AGAIN?? ALREADY??”, but ha ha, it turns out he meant last week. He was actually just the nicest guy, and we had a really good, longish conversation. He understood why my son wanted to stay, and he echoed what the psych had told me - that if something happens, they’ll take him back to the hospital. It does make me feel somewhat reassured that the local community is sympathetic to him and wants him to do well.

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#12

Clozapine was the only med that made my grandson whole again. It was a miracle. I had to fight like heck to get it for him but he has a life now.

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#13

Your experience is almost identical to ours with our 21 year old son. He has done well on zypraxa but after he is doing well he always starts smoking pot and vaping again. I have found a lot of research on the correlation between marijuana and psychosis. I am going to try and copy the link for you to read.
https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/substance-use-disorder/cannabis-induced-psychosis-review

We are trying to get him into a drug treatment program for cannibus use disorder. Our hope is that if he can get sobriety from THC he stands a better chance of not relapsing into psychosis.

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#14

Thanks! The girl described in the article sounds just like my son. He doesn’t want to admit that pot has anything to do with it, and that pot is the only thing helping him at the moment, so he doesn’t want to give it up. I’m not sure if pot is making the voices worse (he says he detects no difference, but doesn’t care as much when high), but I do think it makes him more paranoid and also less able to discern reality. I notice a pretty strong correlation between his Venmo transactions and his periods of shutting himself away from the world.

To be fair, I don’t think he was doing it nearly as much before he started hearing voices - he does it way too much now to help himself cope. So he gets annoyed when the doctors tell him that pot may be responsible, because he reasons that it wasn’t a factor when the whole thing started.

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#15

Ugh, smoking pot and vaping are a common denominator for us as well. Thanks for the link @swillis I didn’t even know there was such a thing as cannibus use disorder. With all the legalization of it going on these days, sobriety seems like a dream. I’ll be curious to hear if you find and get your son into a program. Good luck!

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#16

Oh boy does this sound similar to my situation with my son. He was just put on clozapine and im praying it works, nothing else has. Just know you’re among friends who understand your pain.

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#17

I just purchased the book “Tell your children the truth about marijuana, mental illness and violence” by Alex Berenson. It’s excellent but also depressing. I feel so frustrated and even angry for not knowing about the link between THC and schizophrenia/ psychosis. The government is doing us a great injustice for not getting the information on risks out there. We deserve to know it’s no different than a surgeons general wanting for tobacco. There are RISKS associated with marijuana.
My son has been off pot for two weeks and threw his vape away. He’s on Zypraxa 10 mg daily and showing slight signs of improvement. He’s really struggling with thinking people on TV are talking about him or sending messages. So we keep it turned off. We are struggling to help him finish this semester of school, he insists on going to class. He has all A’s in his classes and wants his credits. So my husband or I go with him, sit in the back of the auditorium and pray they don’t call on him and that he’s able to sit there. Twice he’s left because he thought they told him to leave when they had not. It’s gut wrenching for us. His teachers even recommended him for honors.
Right now my husbands works from home on Mondays and Friday’s and my 75 year old mom drives 2 hours to stay with us Tuesday through Thursday so I can go to work. This is the second time we’ve had to do this. The last time was September 2018 when he had been smoking the wax form of THC which is almost pure.
It’s beginning to take a toll on all of us. He is grateful we are here for him. I am considering looking for a job where I can work from home because I feel he’s going to continue to relapse.
We have found an addiction center that’s he can go to get help with cannabis but he can’t go until he is stable. Once stable he may change his mind and become hateful toward us again because he just wants his drug.

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