Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Top This Story: Tales of the Most Bizarre

I’m new to the Forum but have been reading a ton and appreciate the wisdom, the pain, the struggle, and, most importantly, the unending LOVE being poured out - both as Caregivers to our loved one, but also as Caregivers to each other.

Some of the posts are so dang tragic. Heart wrenchingly sad. And NO ONE can understand this abyss like this group.

So, to take my mind off my pain, and hopefully to add a little macabre humor and empathy, I created this post TOP THIS: With a goal of briefly sharing some of the MOST bizarre realities you’ve faced. Hopefully you’ll find some solace and an understanding smile in these shared moments.

I’ll start and see where it goes:

My 19 year old son (adopted at birth) has recently been diagnosed with SZ. Up until a recent episodic break, where he cut himself badly, he was diagnosed with “Intermittent Explosiveness” (it’s a real DX code!). What that meant is that he’d lose his shit, tear up our home (at least 5 smashed big-screen TVs, glass windows, stained glass front door, +, +, +). He’s also come after me (dad) with a knife, and several times with… wait for it… BASEBALLS! No, not the bat. The ball. The kid has been a pitching machine since he could crawl!!

We played catch 1,000’s of times. He got so strong and fast that I couldn’t catch with him anymore. He loved throwing and from early age played select, triple A baseball or on a travel team. He absolutely loved it. And so did mom and dad! He was a switch hitting catcher - high demand. And has a gun for an arm.

Sooo, when I’d attempt to control or restrain him (numerous police interactions, and all the expected hospitalizations of course), he’d go grab the big bucket of baseballs and use his arm to express his anger. I’ve got baseball-size holes in my fence, garage, numerous walls, cabinets, TVs, appliances, and of course took a few beaners on my body. It’s been an exciting few years.

The police: “Does your son have any weapons?” Me: “Hell yes. He’s got another 3-4 baseballs and a rocket arm…”. Sad. But true. Fortunately never threatened (or hurt) anyone but me (me a lot).

We were always careful to lock up “weapons”. But somehow the bucket of baseballs was always forgotten… until he’d get them in one of his rages… and I’d be like “shit…the fng baseballs!!” and start running. now we’ve finally got a SZ diagnosis and he’s in New Roads in Utah getting help (hopefully).

Can anyone Top This?? :crazy_face:

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Welcome to the group. I don’t think I can top that but I’ve definitely had my fair share of sz behavior. My son played baseball as well. I miss those days terribly. He had bats in the corners of his room to ward off those coming to get him. Never hit me however. Never hit anyone as oddly, no one was coming to get him. What is New Roads? Is that a group home where he lives with help?

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Thanks! We looked at Sierra Tuscon, 12-Oaks, Life Healing, Capstone, Lone Star and many others. Due to my son’s recent episode and injury, we were turned down from several. But we feel blessed to have found New Roads Behavioral, which is is a residential and partial hospitalization treatment facility in Provo. The first word on their website is Schizophrenia. They treat mental primary (versus substance abuse primary). Only day 3 and we’re in blackout mode for 11 more days. Typically a 90-day program.

He’s had 7-8 inpatient mental facility admissions over the last 5 years, typically out and stabilized in 10 days.

His episode, where he believed an evil spirit tricked him into attempted castration, to spoil his eventual transcending into a new world, is what caused us to seek the longer term. Fortunately, it’s super expensive so we’ve got that going for us!!

Maybe that should be another TOP THAT category: How much have YOU spent on your loved one???

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Sorry Forum. Clearly I’m using humor (or attempts thereunto) to deflect the deep pain in my life. Hope no one is offended. It’s a shitshow and we’ve all got platinum VIP tickets.

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If anyone needs a sense of humor it’s us:)

I’m trying to think what would be a tale from dealing with my son that isn’t already written somewhere on the forum.

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I’m glad you found a place that will hopefully help him out. I can’t recall, is he award that he’s ill and is he willingly on meds? I’ve spent plenty of money as well but I bet you beat me there as well. The humor is appreciated. Did your son ever think you weren’t really you? I had that one - looks like my mom but it’s not my mom. Also, I was (apparently) poisoning him.

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Okay, my son scratched words into one of our cars. Super large letters at least 24" and unfortunate words, let’s just say there was some name calling going on. The car was a “just make it to work today and keep the ac running” kind of car. A relative had passed away and we bought it to keep miles off our other cars. After he damaged it, the plan was just to donate it to one of those charities that will come pick it up. (The day it happened my husband had left for work in the dark and didn’t find out about the words until later in the day - yes we had lots of fun at our house too)

We were in the middle of negotiating for a new vehicle large enough to travel with our large dogs. My husband and the salesperson were $500. apart and no one would budge. I asked the salesperson if they would take a really old car for the $500. He said they had a policy of paying $500 for a car no matter the condition as long as we could drive it onto their lot.

I took a lot of pictures from all angles and emailed them to the salesperson. He didn’t say a thing about the words and I drove the car 75 miles to the dealership. Oh yes, there were a lot of fun looks from other drivers and I was really glad I didn’t get stopped.

The salesperson looked at it and said he really hoped that the car didn’t qualify for their “worst trade in of the month”. Supposedly the sales manager would pick the worst car taken as a trade in and make the salesperson drive it for a week.

The salesperson never asked what had happened and I never offered.

Later our son got a hold of his dad’s pride and joy car and did some deep carving into the hood. At the body shop I told them, “the kid who lives next door is mentally ill, he did it and his parents are going to pay for it without using their insurance”. All true, our son lived next door in an expensive guesthouse we built on our property so his dad could sleep safely at night.

The baseball throwing is tough to beat, I had a really large granite landscaping rock thrown at me, but it was too heavy for him to throw it far enough to hit me.

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Holy cheese bits!! We have a contender. Auto graphics?! Come on!!! Top This!!!

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Hope. Thanks. Unbelievable what we get used to doing. Peace and love.

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I never heard the stories about the cars.

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To add to the bizarre, my 18 year old middle son (also adopted at birth) told me and mom recently that he’s transgender (or experiencing major gender disphoria with a 100% conviction that he will become a woman).

He now goes by Lori which I try to respect… and told us he knew it sucked because of what we were already dealing with on his older brother. My wife and are still just processing… and loving.

So, I’m losing BOTH my sons… And this, after 6 years of infertility and loss and no biological success. My 13 year old (adopted from Ethiopia at age 3) so far is doing good but my wife and I just laugh and think ‘what fresh hell next?’

Stay strong out there and keep the faith!

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Husband had triggered it by simply waving to our son at the golf course. Our son believed his dad had yelled and called him names (same old story there). The night he damaged the work car, it was sitting outside. When he damaged his dad’s good car, he entered our house to do it. After that he wasn’t allowed inside and we changed all of the locks.

Of course weeks later he sadly asked “Why won’t Dad talk to me anymore?” After the car business, husband was driving his car directly into the garage and not even looking in the direction of our son’s place.

While husband avoiding contact with our son seemed like a good idea at the time, it really added to the problem. One of his therapists said that they could counter his delusions about me by reminding him of everything I did for him (CBT). They didn’t have anything positive they could say about his dad, we kept them apart as my husband became afraid of our son. Well, lets see, since I was retired, they could have led with the fact that his dad paid to build the guesthouse and paid to have it repaired after our son made it uninhabitable thanks to all of the holes he put in the walls with his golf clubs. And Dad was paying the therapy bills and the car insurance and the vet bills for his pets.

Your son had barricaded himself into your apartment when he didn’t recognize you- am I remembering that correctly?

That’s so sad yet so relatable. My son has always fixated his hatred and rage on me. Which is good in that it has kept his 2 younger siblings and mom safe. I think there are multiple factors for his focus on me, in addition to his mental stuff, like (a) hating his birthfather and applying it to me, (b) being adopted, © teen hormones, (d) I’m a often too-controlling and impatient dad, and (e) he knows if he touches the others then he’s toast.

Clearly, not good for me, but manageable up until about 2 years ago, which is the last I was able to physically restrain him. I’m 6’2”, 205, and was an instructor for years in Taekwondo. So I could typically fend him off or get him into some type of hold.

But. He grew. A lot. And he started crazy workouts and lots of protein drinks and got to a rock solid 185. Strong as a mule. We believe his birth father played nose guard at Texas Tech. Big. Strong.

And his birth father has never acknowledged him… only signed the papers and said ‘I’ll sign it but it ain’t my baby’… And he has refused to respond to multiple letters from my son to him. Which has only made my son’s anger so much stronger. (Note: there were 2-3 possible birth-dads, but based on physical traits and features, we’re 100% certain it’s football guy).

The ONLY thing my son got from his birthdad was those genetics!! And my son has used them well through sports all these many years.

These last two years, he’s just gotten too damn strong for me to safely restrain. So I have been getting my ass kicked. I have tried hard never to strike him back and just play defense until he gets tired. My goal is to weather the storm hoping I don’t lose consciousness if a kick or punch hits my head.

These ass-kickings were the beginning of this latest episodic break. Probably 5 of them - the last one was the worst one, and was extremely scary as he seemed intent on killing me. Screaming it while beating me down. Momma was crying and screaming for him to stop and trying to grab him (she’s 5’4”, 115 lbs). My 13-year old daughter heard the screaming and called my middle son (soon to be Lori) who then called 911. the police finally arrived. I had calmed him down by the time they arrived. He has a STRONG fear of the police so when he hears them knock he typically chills.

This last beat down left me bleeding pretty good, with multiple lumps and contusions on my head, but no broken bones.

After that last fight, I bought a Taser and keep it ready, charged, and in my pocket if I’m going to be with him. Non-lethal and it would allow me to escape. But I’ll admit that I’m now scared of him. It changes my perspective and every interaction.

Mom is a nurturer so she molly-coddles him and I just steer clear. And keep paying all the bills.

It’s tragic but so eerily comforting to hear of these tales. Hopefully others will find it helpful as well.

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I know it might be odd to feel this way, but it all doesn’t seem so sad anymore. Our son’s symptoms came on gradually over years. The years before we knew what was going on - those were some real worrisome parental years. Once we realized he had scz, we experienced some relief and got to add in a bunch of different worries:) There certainly wasn’t much on the good news side of it, but we finally had a direction to focus on moving forward.

We eventually realized that our son would do better if he wasn’t living with us - just as he had kept trying to tell us. Every now and then someone would poke their head up on this forum and say “some of our kids do much better if they don’t live with us”. They are correct, for some of us, living with our adult children is not the best option. For other families, living together is an ideal option.

-Wow- on your son’s strength and the attacks, while we have the strength and size issue here, we have been fortunate to not have to try to restrain our son. His form of schizophrenia makes him quite paranoid and fearful. The situations where he is a concern is where he becomes “cornered” - even though it can be a situation that is all delusion based - he has bought weapons several times when he became concerned that he needed to protect himself. Its with great sorrow that we acknowledge that we have to tell the police that he possibly has a weapon when they have been called to intervene.

One of the really unique things about this forum is that you are never the worst situation, which is something that makes me really grateful. There is always a family with more family members with scz, additional medical issues and a history of severe tragedies. Always, always, there is someone here trying to keep more balls in the air than the rest of us.

We have to deal with stuff that some families can never understand.

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Very well said. Thank you hope.

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Thanks for the post topic. I am interested to hear more stories.

Baseballs. Wow. I do understand having the police at the house a lot, they were at my home 40 or more times in one year.

An odd story: Of all the things thrown away or destroyed by my daughter when she was in psychosis, the thing I could never understand is why she took my lime green painted old decorative bicycle built for 2 out of my garden and put it on the street one day while I was at work. (Anything put on our street of value, or maybe not of value, is usually picked up by a scavenger within hours.) So it was gone shortly after she put it out there. She kept saying to me that she had to get rid of her step father’s bike, but it obviously was not his bike. I am still sad over that bike, it was one of a kind, and I love decorating my garden.

But my daughter’s illness is controlled by meds now, so I have something much more valuable back in my life.

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Oh boy, these sorts of threads show up the diagnosed forum from time to time. Mainly, “what’s the craziest thing you’ve done during psychosis?” Caregivers take note: a healthy percentage well enough to engage on forums remember their bizarre behavior when ill, and are often embarrassed about it and can be humiliated by recounting such stories to them unless in a receptive frame of mind. Stories are swapped at mental hospitals, but these are peer based— “what are you in for” stories.

My brother with bipolar disorder often relates a story of his mental hospital roommate who had escaped the hospital, stole a car, drove to a nearby airport with police in pursuit, stole a small aircraft and flew it without training to a nearby city and somehow managed to land without incident. A sometimes saving grace (or curse) to people in manic states is they have supreme confidence in their abilities. Like many people with BP disorder, he’s prone to embellishment so I had always thought the story was exaggerated, but a friend’s wife who now works at the same facility heard the same story from long timers.

I think he tells it as a way of acknowledging that his behavior at times might be crazy, but not THAT crazy. Everything is relative.

I believe I’ve told this story before, but during my hospitalization at a different hospital, I had leave to visit my psychologist to debrief her about my psychotic break. Seeing that many patients were poorer than me and wanting to fit in, I bought presents of cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Not my shining moment, but I gave them to a couple friends and told them they should share with anyone who asked. Later the guy who I gave the chewing tobacco asked me if I had any more, and was visibly disappointed when I said no. Turns out he offered the pouch to a new patient and he put the whole package in his mouth! I believe his exact words were, “that guy’s crazy!”

My poker face for irony was often tested in that hospital. My friend’s wife says it’s often hard not to laugh or cry in some situations in her job. If you search Ask Reddit, you can find similar stories related by hospital staff.

I’m so sorry for your lost treasure! But even happier that you’ve found new ones. I look forward to the same. Keep the faith!

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Thanks for sharing. As a caregiver, I’m sure I’ve often not fully considered my son’s perspectives in the future. I would likely never bring that story up to ANYONE that we knew. Feels much better to share anonymously. But still, thanks for perspective and I’ll do better at being sensitive.

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@hope Yup, that’s me. Son had barricaded himself in because he thought I was an intruder. I had to get a court order for the cops to come and break the door down and take him to the hospital. After just a week on the meds he knew I was his mother and his dad his father. He worked successfully for two years at a good paying job. He went off his meds about a year ago but is now paranoid again and quit his job. I paid his Nov rent and am going to tell him if he wants help with Dec rent he has to take the shot. I’m concerned he will not, but it’s time for tough love. Hopefully, he’ll agree and won’t go homeless in these winter months. I just got a counselor for myself. It’s going to be a grand holiday season!

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