Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Son with Sz Wants to Move Out

My son who is 32 with Sz has been living with us since the start of the year (2020). That is when he was diagnosed. Lately he has been hinting about moving out of state to find a job and career. My wife and I know he is not ready for that and we have expressed that to him. How do many of you handle this? I fear with no supervision he will run into issues. The whole thing of him being alone and recluse with no friends or family near by scares the day lights out of me. I know he is 32 and wants his life back, but I do not believe he realizes how limited he is. His Doctor has also emphasized that he is not ready yet. Perhaps in a year or two but I do not think he wants to believe that. Thought?

if he does choose to stay with you or if he moves away, you could advice him to look into joining a mental health club…these are places where mentally ill folk can go to partake in activities like craetive writing, art, dramma, group therapy or yoga to name but a few or else he could just drop in for a coffee and a chat…if youre interseted ask your psychiatrist or mental health team…sometimes menatl health clubs are knownas clubhouses…as isaid it would help your son to link up with other folk he may relate to…i think ts a good idea and my son attends one and he is no longer socially isolated

What do you think your son needs to do to be able to live on his own? Could you start by having him learn to do those things now at home? Does he currently gets ssdi or ssi? Is he financially about to live on his own?

@vvicin01 Most young adults WANT to be independent. And they often have grand thoughts of moving far away to explore the world. For the family member of someone who is relatively newly diagnosed (how long have you been seeing signs of his illness?), I definitely would NOT want my loved one to be far away. Depending on the person and how the illness affects him, there are a number of factors. (This is where it would really help if you could participate in a NAMI Family Support Group). But I will try to explain…

IF he acknowledges the fact that he has an illness and seems totally in agreement with taking medication, that is ideal. In that case, you can sit down with him and identify the things that would be needed to live independently. Then, identify what it would take to have those things in place. Often when a person breaks it down and sees the challenges to getting where he wants to go or what he wants to do, he backs off from the original idea. It is typically better for ANYone to start small and go from there.

IF he is not necessarily able to realize that he is sick and needs meds, you will need to build his trust and retrain your conversations towards his sometimes non-logical (due to illness) thinking. This is an entirely different journey and it starts with LISTENING and NOT trying to tell a person what to do or not to do. The best place to learn about this is in a NAMI Family to Family class AND by reading and putting into practice the L.E.A.P. concept explained in the book “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help”. I hope this helps.

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@hope4us -My son is in total agreement in taking his meds. We made it very clear that without the meds he would return to the nightmare of hearing voices and suicide thoughts.

My concern is that he can forget to take his meds on occasion. Also, he would be isolated from people which is unhealthy for him. At home at least he is with family.

He is getting Medicaid for his health insurance and working part time as a cashier.
The plan in his mind is to get a job out of state as UI Designer. He earned a good living for almost a decade as a Designer so he wants to go back to that life.

With no friends or girl friends, I am concern about isolation and taking care of himself on his own.

I like your idea about detailing everything that is needed for him to live on his own. Lord knows he has made so many mistakes on his own.

Thanks

Exactly, when my Family to Family teacher’s son wanted to return to college, step one was showering and getting dressed each day.

So many parents on the board are upset that their adult children with scz don’t have a desire - when your family member has a desire it can be the key to their recovery. Thanks hope4us, lovely write up!

@vvicin01 I don’t think there is anything you can do unless you have guardianship of him. He’d either have to willingly give it to you or the state would have to find him incompetent but from what you describe I doubt the state would. I think your only option is to be there for him the best you can and prepare for the worst ( Have funds ready to have him flown back etc ) I’m in no way a therapist but he sounds like he may be sad at his perceived loss of independence. He wants to get back to his life and that is a good sign. I hope for the best for you and your family!

Does he do daily chores around the house, like cooking, cleaning, etc? As you know I work, but I live with my parents. I do not do daily chores as I rely totally on my parents not because I am incapable but I am lazy.

Why does he have to move out of state to find a job? Isn’t there graphics UI jobs in your state? You said he has no friends or girlfriend, so moving out to his own place won’t improve anything in that regard. It is far less risky to stay home and get back a UI designer job in your state. He can build up savings that way much easier too without rent. Then once he got a job back, he can go out and make friends/girlfriend much more easily.

Personally, I don’t mind the isolation. I have pretty much isolated from people for 8 years so I am more or less used to it. The coronavirus didn’t change my daily life. I still get to work from home and just live the way I do.

Not to bash anyone’s family members, but your son has interest in gaining a life back. A lot of family members here have it really tough and their sons/daughters aren’t doing anywhere as well as your son, which is why you only see those kind of posts here. Believe in your son and his ability to get his life back. Personally my parents never believed in me, but I got my life back anyways. Sometimes, a little emotional support goes a long way.

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Lirik - We keep my son busy with cooking, doing chores and some cleaning. Believe me, I have tried to get him to find work / career here close to us but he claims the type of work he wants to do is out of state. He is showing improvements and we really try to stress to him to save money and get a clean start - cleaning up all the debt and get him feeling better. I believe in my son more than you can imagine. What happened to my son impacted not only his life and well being but his confidence and identity. Thank you for your response. I really enjoy all the feedback.

I find it strange that he keeps mentioning wanting to move out of state. Where did he live and work prior to his onset? If it was the same state, that would indicate he merely wants to be independent. I don’t think we as people with schizophrenia are in competition with anyone in life. Everyone goes at their own pace. You should emphasize that with your son.

My friend originally diagnosed with schizophrenia but later changed to psychotic depression has a master degree in law, although she remains unemployed. The two illnesses are the same, just a technical difference. I do believe people can recover with this illness but they do not post on here because the well to do ones would almost always just continue on their path of recovery, instead of being on these forums trying to help others.

On the contrary, your son is already working successfully as a cashier for several months already. When I first got diagnosed, I would quit jobs a week into them due to anxiety. I think your son is recovering rather well and quickly. Regardless, I agree that your son should stay home for at least a year before considering moving out at all, let alone to another state.

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You made a good point that our loved ones experience their own great losses as their former friends and the world has largely passed them by. We can help them by giving them hope but encourage them in the smaller steps to reach their goals. And in asking THEIR opinion about things that might help them to reach those goals, even if it starts with ways to have daily reminders to do the things that we take for granted! I once met a young lady with SZ that has a companion dog trained to wake her up in the mornings!

I have had this issue. I stopped doing things around the house for him and he started to realize things. Second see if u can interest him in an apartment near by- that way when he stumbles u can help him

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Yesterday my son really opened up to me. He told me basically that he has lost all confidence in himself because he has lost everything that once was his life. He said that he appreciates everything my wife and I do for him but he feels he is going backwards and not moving forward with life by living with his parents at 32. He had a successful life since college and worked for over a decade out of state making a good living. Now, I have taken him away from his past life and his home and moved him back with us. He states that he is trying to adapt to this new life and that it will never be the same. I strongly disagreed, I told him you will move on and have a happy life. The question I have is am I doing more harm than good by guiding him on everything he does. I told him we can set a goal for the near future to have him move to an apartment near by. He works 21 hours a week which is not enough for rent so that will have to be worked out. He is really good about taking his meds and I really stressed that no drugs and limited beer is critical for a complete recovery - he agreed. He does accept that his psychosis will return if he does take care of himself. My wife thinks that my son still cannot keep his space clean and an apartment would be filthy. I suppose we could always hire someone to go to the apartment and keep the place clean. Any thoughts?

Guidance is an excellent thing. You are doing a great job guiding your son. When I was first diagnosed, I wish my parents had understand schizohrenia more. They still do not understand it at all. I have to learn and treat myself without any assistance whatsoever. My mom often told me to lower the dosages of my medication and I am the one who insisted on adding more medication. Your son believes his life is over. I thought mine was over at 22 but I literally just got my life started at the age of 29, almost a decade after your son. I think your son could use me as a source of inspiration and hope. Tell him that it is perfectly possible to live a great life even with severe disabilities, provided he receives the right accommodations. My last two years as a finance professional working in capital markets has given me the confidence to ascend further in my life. I have resigned from my job and am applying to law school.

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My son moved out in July it was rocky but seems to be stabilized. My son is managing falling down and learning to get up and ask for help when needed. As moms it’s hard but they have to be able to live without us.

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Our son just moved into an apartment after 2 years in a group home. It has been a long journey but as a mom and his guardian, I felt that we had to try this. He wanted to do this. He has been working part-time now for 3+ months at a grocery store. We would welcome him to live in our home, but we knew that would not work out well. He needs his space and we like ours. He also has said that our home is a trigger to some negative thoughts. We still help him financially, but it is less expensive than the group home and we are headed in the right direction! I put together an “agreement” that includes taking medication, seeing the p-doc, being communicative with family, etc. and a plan for his financial contribution. There are built-in safety nets and room for adjustments for him and for us in case things change and he agreed with everything.

By his choice, he works and lives in the community where the group home is and will continue as an “affiliate” with that home where he can see the same doctor and where he has a couple of good friends. We try to give him as much freedom as possible and yet he needs a lot of help with taking care of things that most of us take for granted. We keep a close eye on him. He lives close enough that we can frequently be present with him. It probably helps that we bring treats! We take one (or two) things at a time, but hope to help him improve in things like cleaning and taking care of administrative details. It takes a lot of patience. But this is SO much better than what we went through a few years ago. He became med-compliant 2 years ago, he often expresses his gratefulness to us, and we feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to help him have a brighter future.

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Thank you so much hope4us. I really appreciate your feedback. I spoke to my son’s Doctor the other day and she said that a major concern with my son living on his own is being med-compliant. So far living with us he has not missed one day. I realize, I remind him on occasion.

Part of me feels like he relays too much on me and that is impacting his confidence and the ability to be self reliant. I just wish he could be more open and discuss things with me. I have to really dig hard to get anything out of him, but he is not violent, depressed or angry.

It has been 6 months since he has lived with us. He is going on three months now working at the grocery store three times a week.

He tells me on occasion he gets interview requests for jobs out of state - that scares me.

I think maybe by the Fall or early Winter we can discuss moving him into an apartment. Time will tell.

Another thought I had was in taking baby steps…what things would be signs that your son is better able to live on his own? Can you have a conversation with him now about adding those things in to his current living arrangements? For example, does he wash his own clothes, shop for groceries, prepare meals, pay bills? If he can show he can do things like that, you would probably be more at ease with giving him the ability to leave the nest, right? (And you would have more reason to believe his brain was functioning more normally.) Also, once moved out, regular “check-in” are a requirement or we cut off the support that gives him those extra freedoms (like I might pay for his apartment but might stop paying for the auto insurance)! I found that over the last year or so on his current medication, and in giving my son plenty of space (not rushing the conversation), he is opening up more.

Do you think that in time if he continues to not have any episodes with voices that the Doc might consider cutting back on his meds? I am concerned if can remember taking his meds living alone and not relying on me to remind him.

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Yes he will always have medication changes. My mom who has had SZ for over 55 years has tried many different medications and had many different doses of it. It is a journey. My mom was diagnosed at 18 and she lived in a group home setting until she was married and in her 30’s. Then in her 40s she divorced and lived independently (with several hospitalizations) until she was in her 60s. Then she needed more help again, mostly with meds, cooking and cleaning. She lived a wonderful life with some hiccups but she had her own apartment and did OK most of her life. She never could work a job. Encourage your son to be as independent as possible but always check in and be his support system. Take care of yourself too in the process. Does your son have a social worker and a support system in place to help him? Sometimes it’s good to get advice from someone other than mom or dad.

I think one thing you will need to accept is your son will have relapses. It will be scary and you will worry about it. But the likely hood of him leaving the state is very low. I would encourage him to live independently but close to you. That way you can keep an eye on him without being too intrusive. It’s very important he has a social worker he can trust, a doctor and a care team with you in it if possible.

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