Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Suddenly he is communicating

For the last 36 hours, after ten years of virtually no communication about his inner state, my unmedicated 26 year old son has spent many hours communicating with me. I am being the best therapist I know how to be and am encouraging him with open ended questions and only occasionally offering a summarizing statement and seeing if he agrees with it. Basically he is leading me in an exploration of his inner state. Although his communication is somewhat riddled with odd beliefs (if not downright delusions), I have learned a tremendous amount of information and I can not emphasize enough how much of an extreme change this is.

Have any of you ever experienced an abrupt change in your loved one’s desire to communicate? Did it last? Were you able to use it in some way to advance their recovery?

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My son did quite a bit of communicating with my wife around the time of his first psychotic episode and subsequent hospitalization. And his talk was also riddled with reports of delusional events. I’m sure she did some good listening to him, but it wasn’t enough to bring about a recovery. He was hospitalized 3 times after that in the space of 2.5 years.

The only thing I’ve seen that has changed him dramatically is 20 mg of olanzapine daily. Once he went on that recently it was a night-and-day change where he started to recover, meaning the delusions and voices went away.

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That is great that he is communicating with you as he is sharing all what he was keeping inside . Im waiting and praying for my son one day to do so too .I believe it is a great part for healing for them so they dont feel so alone with their delusions. My son has recently said to me , Mum i feel bullied all the time and i said who is bullying you ? and he said i know you know mum and didn’t want to talk about it after that short sharing . Im not pushing , i am just hoping he will share his fears with me one day .

@caregiver1 A lot of what my son is sharing with me is about how he feels his depression started with a trivial event a few days ago, whereas he has been visibly depressed for years. So we are talking around a delusion, but it is an entry into at least finding out more about his internal state. I feel like I am setting the stage for the future, not like I am going to help him to some major break through just from my untrained listening. So happy to hear that your son is doing so much better on the medication.

@Linda One thing my son told me is that he doesn’t want to talk specifically about the voices because he is afraid that will make them stronger. You might try a different response if he brings it up again. Something like “I am so sorry you are feeling that way. How long have you been feeling like that?” I was surprised when I asked my son that and he told me that it was since a certain event about three years ago. He has been visibly suffering for ten years and I had assumed that the voices started with the suffering. Of course, I do not entirely trust his ability to remember details of his malaise. Another thing I have noticed he responds well to is if I apologize in advance of a question, something like “Please excuse me if this is an intrusive question and I totally understand if you don’t want to answer it, but . . .”

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This one i have tried a few times and he feels calm that he is heard .

This one i will try thanks

this is good too and i will try this one day , do you think i should ask if he is hearing voices ? im scared of his reaction !! i usually say to him , "i’m sure you have a lot on your mind "

@Steadfast I hope it’s a breakthrough. Has your son been on meds in the past?

@Linda I think the problem is that if you ask your son directly if he hears voices, his response is likely to be no. My son told me that he quickly realized in the hospital (3 hospitalizations) that “no” was the correct answer to that question. A few weeks ago, when he was in another depressive state (not the current one), he volunteered the information that he heard voices and our conversation about this has gradually developed from that. A few days later out of the blue he said he wasn’t hearing voices anymore. I was feeling bold and said to him that I was sorry but that I did not believe that, but that I understood that we all have to protect ourselves. Then a few days later he said that he realized the voices were “not real” but were coming from him. I pointed out that whatever the source of the experience was that it must be quite “real” to him. I then let him know that I had read online that 30% of the people in the world hear voices at one time or another. A few hours later he came and asked me if I heard voices. I told him no, but there was nonetheless considerable cacophony in my head. I then mentioned that there were groups of voice hearers who got together. In all of these interactions I am not looking for an immediate response, I view it rather as planting seeds. Some of the techniques I am applying I learned from a class I took recently from Ron Unger on Udemy called “CBT for Psychosis”. The class is more intended for therapists, but he goes into enough specifics about technique that I find I can use it when communicating with my son.

@caregiver1 Thank you so much for hoping with me. My son was put on three different antipsychotics in three different hospital stays. Each time he abruptly stopped taking the medication on his discharge. I am of course praying that this is a breakthrough, but am savvy enough to know the road is long.

I just think it’s amazing that he has reached out to you and opened up and thank you for the tips :pray:

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