Hi, I am new to this forum but I am glad I have found it. My mum sadly suffers from treatment-resistant schizophrenia and has been in/out of hospital my whole life. I am her next of kin/nearest relative and have been her main carer in ways since a child. The last four years we have had repeats of psychosis/relapse/overdose - hospital for up to 7 months - let home to early, then within 6 months the pattern repeats. My mum will not go back on Clozapine - the one drug that actually gave her insight into her own condition. My challenge at the moment is, she has ongoing fixed delusions that it seems are here to stay (have been ongoing for over a year and the Dr’s/Nursing staff basically tell me there is nothing more they can do - hense her being released, early, again! In the last week). How can I respond to my mum without 1) playing into the delusions, 2) telling her she is wrong (which never helps), 3)without getting emotional? It is very difficult to stay balanced and not feel her pain even if a lot of it has come from her own mind/illness. She only really tells me what goes on in her head as she is incredibly paranoid and distrusting of care staff. I may be experienced with her illness but I am not a qualified mental health worker, therefore, struggle at times. For my own sake, I need to find a way of managing my mum and her illness as it is my responsibility. Thank you
Hi Shona23, welcome to the forum! I am sorry your mom’s scz is treatment resistant and she is suffering from fixed delusions. My husband’s mother had schizophrenia for his entire life - its very hard to caretake a parent. A good book to read is Dr Amadors “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” as he gives suggestions on responding to our family members in a way that helps them feel they were heard. Often a family member really, really wants to discuss their delusions. Like you, I found that telling my son he was wrong or that the things he was experiencing weren’t real, never helped at all. There are a lot of good threads with great information on this forum. If you have time, look around using the search button. Dr Amador’s book will be mentioned pretty frequently.
For me, I have found that I have to distance myself when my son is discussing delusions. I do this by acting as though I am a health worker talking with someone to whom I am not related. This makes it easier for me to relax and be calmly supportive. It did help me that I spent a good deal of time at a nursing home visiting elderly family members with dementia. The good staff people were always kind, respectful and professional with the residents.
Lots of people do worry about “playing into the delusions”. I try to address the emotion underneath the delusion at tricky moments. “That sounds “scary” or “worrisome”” - recently my son told me he believed he had a brain implant and asked me directly what I thought, I went with “I hope not”. He was satisfied with that response.
I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! | Dr. Xavier Amador |
Thank you so much for this information and advice! I have just picked this up
Really helpful and I will order that book and try your advice next time I find myself in that situation with my mum. Big thank you again , sending love x
Your life sounds very hard. Do you have your own outlets away from your mother or has she consumed your life? I’ve just left my sister - she was putting it all on, compulsively lying to me to keep me around when she needed me and then doing crazy making behaviour when she wanted rid of me. You sound pretty grounded and okay but please do look after yourself. I’m only beginning to do that now. It’s an alien concept to me; I’m so used to looking after everyone else. Take care and I hope that your mother heals.