Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Triggered memories and empathy

I was awakened last night prox @ 3:00AM to a loud “bang”. Sounded like a gunshot or something heavy was dropped. Then I saw flashing lights outside my window, and saw that there were 3 police cars parked in front of my house. I immediately thought this had to do with my son. He has done something, he’s either wandering again or something has happened to him. I was waiting for the knock on the door, and realized they were headed to my neighbor’s. About 5 minutes later, a young girl (20-25?) was being lead to the police car handcuffed. My heart sank. I’ve spoken to the neighbor next door (a single mom, just like myself), and we had things in common. She has 2 children, a daughter and a son, and I remember her expressing concern last winter that her kids never leave the house, do not work, do not go to school, they just sit in their rooms all day, and are up all night, and I remember her saying she had to get up for work every morning and how hard this was. This all rang a bell to me, and I could relate to this scenario so well. I never mentioned my son with sz, she does not know, but I sensed some similarities like how my son used to just sit in his room all day and night, in the dark, and how scary that was.

I’m certain she was up all night, and I hope that young girl is ok, and if it is depression or other type of mental illness, I just hope the police did the right thing, and took her to the hospital, and not jail. I remember one of the officers saying to the young girl as she was being lead to the police car, “it’s not ok to do what you did to your mom, it’s not ok to act that way”. That was all I heard, and she was screaming very loudly and crying, saying, “I didn’t mean it, I didn’t meant, please let me go, please let me go”. We all have a breaking point, and I think that poor girl must have reached hers. Those poor kids, and the poor mom….

My neighbor on the other side has 2 sons, in their 20’s, and I also believe there is some strange behavior there as well.

Just realizing this is not as uncommon as we think, and if my neighbor’s daughter is diagnosed with sz or MI, and she chooses to confide in me, I will do whatever I can to help her thru. I just wish when my son was going thru it, when he and I used to live together in an apt, that some of the neighbors could have been alittle more understanding. All I sensed was fear and apathy. I suppose the fear of the unknown…

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Yes, I think the stigma keeps us all even more isolated than otherwise would be the case.

I recently opened up to a friend I was pretty sure I could trust with a confidence, and found out that her husband has similar symptoms (may be more of a delusional disorder than schizophrenia, but certainly he does experience persecutory delusions along themes familiar to all of us here). I know the husband and could tell he struggles with anxiety but had no idea.

Made me feel both better and worse, if you know what I mean.

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Sad to say, but things haven’t changed much over the years. Families had a choice of asylums or keeping people under their care at home. Now the asylum option is nearly gone, and drugs while partially effective, don’t always lead to independent living. Add anosognosia into the mix, and things have barely changed. I know I remember at least two people in my neighborhood who stayed mostly inside due to illnesses, and later for a short time, I became one.

I’ve been working on an essay about caregiving in To Kill A Mockingbird. People tend to forget that there are two stories in the novel that intersect: Tom Robinson’s trial, and Boo Radley’s story. For a time Boo was housed in the jail, but then the Radleys sacrificed nearly everything and moved him home and cared for their son.

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Last month my neighbours son was baker acted . He used to hang out with my son .Its everywhere and yes not uncommon , so many clients of mine , daughters sons nephews grandkids all with similar stories . Its scary !!! I had a normal son 2 years ago and now a son i barely recognise , my heart is broken to pieces and i hear my story over and over again .

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My experience has been similar…When I share my story with someone new, perhaps someone I have not seen in a long time, it is extremely common that they have a family member with mental illness or have some other connection with MI. I am now up to 13 persons that I know about at my church alone, who either have SMI or have a family member who does.

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Their broken and so are we … the sadness and constant worrying never leaves us.

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I know how you feel regarding triggering events. It’s wonderful the empathy you have for your neighbor. Looking back on our experience with my sons diagnosis ten years ago it would have been great to have a neighbor who understood our struggle.
Our neighbors are totally cool but we were silent about what we were going through, it’s pretty much impossible to share with someone you’re not close too.
If you can let them know you have some understanding coupled with a few kind words it would probably go a long way in providing some comfort for her and her family.

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@Maggie46, I spent the day missing, missing my mom, missing my son (who he used to be)…
But I’m grateful we made it another year without hospitalization, what’s really meaningful now has really changed for me compared to a few years ago.

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@urnotalone, I think she picks up on my sadness, and I on hers. We “get” each other, which is nice, even though neither one of us has spoken about it. I understand how hard this is to discuss with anyone, it’s been 5 years for me, and I’m still pretty mute about it, except on this site

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I fully understand @mbheart around 6 months ago before I found this site, at a weak moment, I confided in a friend, stupid decision on my part, when she rings me now I never pick up, I feel she only tries to contact me to extract information to make her own life feel better and a comment like “is you daughter on the mend” makes me realise I should never have confided in her.
At least we have each other on this site who truly understand our pain.

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I feel mentally and physically exhausted . my husband also has a son who has a mental illness and drinks uses drugs and lives in another country. My husband somehow gets in his own bubble and not worry about a thing , he knows how to separate his feelings , i can not do that , i can not let go like he does , my son is my baby and always will be and i feel it doesnt matter what age he is ,that its my responsibility to look after him . I can’t help it and it makes me feel better when i do things to help him .

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So true @Linda, I feel the same, but as you say it is emotionally and physically exhausting, maybe it’s easier for men to seperate their feelings.

My husband doesnt understand and it causes friction between us .

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@Maggie46, choose your confidants wisely, sometimes they are simply just nosy or want to feel better about themselves or their family by hearing about others’ misery. I don’t confide in anyone about my son, unless I know we are in the same place in this sad journey. We are all in the same boat on this site, and people truly want to help here or seek advice.

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I only confide on here now and with our daughters Psychiatrist.
This journey we are on is totally draining, today is a bad day with voices and anger, I’m sure our neighbours must wonder what’s going on with the loud abuse coming from daughter room, I’m embarrassed to even make eye contact with them.
So comforting to be able to chat on here.

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It’s the same in our home, it’s holiday time here and he just wants to go off in the car for a break, he can go on his own I can’t leave our daughter here on her own, he doesn’t get it and his wants just add to my daily stress.

Exactly how i feel , last week when my son came home as he believed his room mate and bf were planning to kill him and he was scared for his life , Well my husband slept on the sofa and was passive aggressive towards me ,didn’t talk to me, i felt more stressed from him then my son .

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@Linda let’s leave em…!! Lol … life would be easier … in this house anyway.

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It almost happened ! and would of happened if my son didn’t decide to go back to his apartment that day . my husband and i had a long talk and he is right on somethings like giving boudries to my son as my son can really be rude and bully me but on the other hand my husband can be so tough as he just doesnt get it . He also has a son with a MI and he separates his feelings , i can’t and don’t know even how to . Is your husband your daughters biological father ? my husband is my sons step dad .

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Yes, it’s so challenging @Linda I just take each day as it comes now.
I agree they are right in some ways, our daughter is very mentally unwell and there is no one else but me to support and care for her.

[quote=“Linda, post:19, topic:8611”]
Is your husband your daughters biological father ?
[/quote]… yes
I suggested he leave for a better life as I’m not prepared to abandon our daughter.