Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

SZ are they the same person

I’m questioning something and this might not be the place to discuss its deep so I’ll apologize upfront. I’ve heard “they are not the disease”. My stepson changed 180 degrees its very hard to live with, accept, care for and he gets violent towards my husband and myself. I knew him when he was normal at 14, now he’s 34. Isn’t he the disease now. I mourned the young child. Anyone have comments?

Sorry to hear , its a debilitating disease for your step son as well as the family , you may see glimpses of your step son once he is on the right meds but having said that you must have rules and boudries in the house

People say I’ve largely recovered from SZA so this is a bit of a best case scenario.

One of the harder struggles I had as recovering is sorting out what parts of my psyche were ‘normal’ and what parts were not. Was the disease talking or just me. Am I responsible for everything I did while I was ill, etc. Also when was I done recovering? Could I get any better than this? This is especially hard with negative symptoms. Is this avolition, or am I just lazy. Am I withdrawn or just a natural introvert, etc.

My answer is everyone is changed by life events. People remaining the same all their lives is a fallacy, disease or no. It’s a question of degree. People with serious brain injuries like strokes or dementia or car accidents sometimes change dramatically and some make it ‘back’ to a recognizable state and some don’t.

SZ is traumatic to the physical brain as well as the psyche. I’d like to think I’ve worked around both, but some are not so lucky. Am I the same person? No. Are caregivers the same after a loved one develops a SMI? No. I’d say most people with SMI should be recognizable in many ways if you look closely enough and focus less on changes. It’s hard sometimes for caregivers to see this, because they tend to be guarding against changes they perceive as harmful symptoms which may result from adaptations to deficits of the illness.

I talk sometimes to my sister about this, as she’s never told her sons about my illness. I asked why, and she said she doesn’t think of me as someone with an illness or someone who’s recovered from an illness, just me. My illness is just a footnote in her story about me which I guess was the goal all along. It’s a little anticlimactic to hear this, given the amount of work that went into it. But one thing she acknowledges is I seem happier and less troubled now.

3 Likes

I call it: “Gone”…

2 Likes

People with SZ are not always able to think rationally (although in their minds with illness it seems rational to them). The person that you know is still there and with the right treatment (usually an anti-psychotic medication) ideally combined with counseling, the REAL person’s personality and behavior will be more apparent. The person would not show this kind of behavior unless he/she was ill. So no, they are NOT the illness. I was so thankful to see the return of logical thought and behavior when are son began taking medication and it was medication that worked for him. We continue to see improvement over time to see the sweet, caring, intelligent son who can make jokes and laugh, study and learn, that we knew a few years before this illness struck.

3 Likes

The illness is just a trait our love ones carry with them. No one asks for this to come into our lives. They are the same person with the same heart and soul, but need heavier amounts of understanding, patience, love, acceptance. Yes, my son has changed after each traumatic episode he has had to endure. Even when the episode was only 3 days apart, something about him was altered or different. But it is up to me to embrace him and try to see he world through his eyes and keep moving forward, hand in hand.
It’s tiring, and fatiguing and I at one point was so sad about mourning who he once was, but honestly time is too precious to focus on that so much. We need to keep making progress, and making memories, and try to laugh and learn as much I can at this stage we are in because who knows how long it will last. Days, months years. So unpredictable, unfair? Yes, but we don’t have a choice but to accept it, embrace it and treasure the goodness we have together.

5 Likes

Yes, this must be challenging to sort out.

My husband and I have had some fairly intense relationship conversations since his relapse and I have been very interested to notice that although the most obvious point of conflict between us is different than in the years before he developed a mental disorder (because it centers on our differing views of his current negative experiences), the underlying issues are really pretty much the same as they have always been - including the fact that I am able to see the similarities between our current dynamics while he is not.

I am also a believer that with the right treatment, persons with SZ can GET BETTER. I have a loved one who was NOT medication compliant and now he is and the upside continues. There are no guarantees this will last or how much improvement there will be, but I remain hopeful and determined. Using LEAP (listening, empathizing, finding things to agree on, and partnering) is huge.

1 Like