Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Suicide and obsessive thinking

I am sad to report that my 26 year old son made another very serious suicide attempt. We nearly lost him this time. He is in the regular hospital and going back for more surgery today. I spent the afternoon with him yesterday and he is in a very bad mental state. The hospital has placed someone in the room with him 24/7, but he expressed his desire to die to me many times yesterday. One thing that really struck me about the conversation we had was his continued obsession with an incident that occurred about six weeks ago. The incident was entirely in his own mind. He has for several years now been obsessed with jewelry and believes that if he can find the right chain to wear, he will be able to do anything in life. On some level he realizes this is an unhelpful and unrealistic way of thinking and wants to give it up. The incident that he is now obsessing over is that he believes that he had an opportunity to give up the jewelry obsession but chose not to. In other words, he is obsessing over a thought that he had six weeks ago.

Does anyone here have experience dealing with this sort of obsessional thinking in their loved one? Have you had any luck in helping them move beyond this sort of thinking?

I am so very sorry to hear this.
Our son, at his very lowest, obsessed over an unkind comment he made to a girl in his 8th grade class. He was 21 when he had this obsession. He told us that he felt the only way to make amends was to hurt himself.
Luckily, that was enough to get him to the hospital. It was a very scary time.
The doctor started him on Lexapro which works on OCD (not a dr. just repeating what he told us). That obsession went away with time but we didn’t let him out of our sight for a few months.
It took 4 more years to get him on the right med for his delusions. But he still takes the Lexapro as well. I am convinced most doctors don’t see obsessions and delusions as separate entities but they were in our son’s case as well as yours.
My heart goes out to you and your son.
The shock of that time is still fresh in my mind.
You are in my thoughts and please keep us posted.

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I’ve witnessed delusions and obsessions in my brother for the past several decades. He also attempted suicide once. Beyond the basics–adjusting meds as Hangininthere suggests, doing the LEAP method–you might find a shift occur if you recall, as I force myself to do, that underneath the schizophrenic mind is also, often, a mind of great intelligence. That could–could!–mean you stop responding verbally to the repetition over the jewelry obsession and just validate how absolutely stressed out he is and you wish him well as he sorts it out. Only you know if that sort of tough trust (or abandonment) will help. I’m not a doctor, just a sibling who has had to deal with this for a long, long time.

There might also be a sort of mental habit or groove between you and your son that he continues to tread, which means it could–could–help him to talk with someone else. Someone else who will respond totally differently. Another family member or friend might jolt him into letting go of the thought or switching gears.

Lastly, even in the darkest of times, I have experienced that a joke or several can help my brother change his thoughts midstream. Grasping at straws here, but that is part of this experience, isn’t it?

I hope you are having a better day and things are turning around. My thoughts are with you.

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Thank you @Hanginginthere and @chimain for your replies and kind words. It truly makes a difference in my life.

I think it is very insightful what you say @chimain about the possibility of a mental groove existing between two people. My son definitely shares with me a lot more things then he does with other people and I can see how perhaps I am providing a mental foothold that is feeding into his obsession. I don’t agree with what he is saying but I definitely understand that that is his experience and I certainly don’t try to talk him out of it.

Yesterday I sat with him for another three hours while we were waiting for the second surgery. Interestingly he had moved on from the deep remorse over having a thought six weeks ago and right back into the original obsession with the jewelry. He is drawing sketches of a chain design and wants me to contact a silversmith to see if such a design is possible. I see some signs of bipolar (it feels a little manic the way he talks about the chain - intensely drawing and writing about designs) as well as OCD in these thoughts.

After his last suicide attempt, he was diagnosed with “Major Depressive Disorder, recurrent episode, severe and Unspecified Schizophrenia Spectrum and other Psychiatric Disorder”. He was given a prescription of 20 mg Abilify and 20 mg Prozac per day, which he refused to take within a few days of his discharge. My thoughts now are that I wish the psychiatrist would address his obsessional thinking as this is what is causing him so many immediate problems. The voices, which he has told me he does hear, are not causing him a whole lot of angst. I almost feel like we could live with those, if he could just get some relief from the obsessional thoughts.

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It sounds like obsessive compusive disorder. My friends son had that, he got it as Junior in HS., but got treatment with a good professional and takes meds and has been doing pretty good. Rides bikes a lot to help. He was stuck and had those odd thoughts, and they paralized hin to do other things.
Try a DNA test to get the right medications, and which ones are good for your son, and try nutrition, and medication, therapy to deal with it.
I know one time I was a worrier, and I worried that I worried, and it was a vicious cycle. It was a little like an obsessive compulsive person, but went away or dicipitated, so I kind of relate a little and understand, but dont have it like some do. Can you get him a jewelry? then maybe hell forget it, and it will be something else. There has to be some psychs that work specifically with obsessive compulsive disorders, and others combined.

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