Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Truth is, there is no answer

So this is my first time expressing my situation in a support group/forum and I hope I don’t make any mistakes or say anything wrong but I have no other choice but to do this. I’ve, we’ve (my mother and I) have tried everything else and this is my last hope.

I’ve watched my younger brother, only sibling, go from this very handsome, intelligent, popular and caring teenager to a person I don’t recognize anymore. He’s forty-five years old now and still lives at home with my mother. He doesn’t care about his appearance, doesn’t have friends, and can barely carry on a conversation any better than a kindergartner. Nothing he says makes any sense, he’s constantly paranoid and thinks terrorists are after him. He has anger issues on top therefore he becomes very intolerable at times and causes everyone wanting to keep their distance from him. Meaning he has ran everybody off in our family except my mom and I, but we too want to get away from him most of the time. I don’t live with them but I am around enough to see the life both of them are living and it’s heartbreaking, for them both. We have tried to talk to him and convince him to go to the doctor, Baker Act him, Marchman Act him, and seek help from anyone that could just give us answers. But every road leads to nothing except back where we started. He’s in complete denial and refuses to accept something’s wrong. Every time we attempt to show or prove or even suggest there’s a problem he becomes very defensive and turn it around on us by saying we are working with whoever it is he thinks is against him. It’s been hell actually. I really don’t know how my mom does it and she’s such a good mom, a good person who deserves to be happy. But she’s miserable and then she’s sad and then she’s hopeless, and it starts all over again. This has been going on for more than twenty years and everyone has given up. I have always believed that sooner or later he would get tired of being scared, he would get tired of the voices, he would get tired of being alone, and submit to the possibility that we could be right and agree to get help. But like my mom, it’s just not a reality for me anymore and trying to be okay with that is just as bad.

@Lissa, I’m sorry for your family’s ordeal. From what I gather you and your mother have largely been going it alone for many years. Am I correct in this or have you had help from support organizations like NAMI?

And 10 or 20 and more years ago, I felt a similar sadness at the loss of others in this forum and support groups like NAMI. And my sadness and guilt was doubling frustrating because I had a good recovery and subsequent outcome, when so many others did not and it didn’t seem like I could help them, so I gave up and focused on my own life. I stopped going to NAMI and posting on this forum and sort of gave up. And I detached from my brother with bipolar disorder and alcoholism.

And while there is no one answer, that’s not a reason to give up in despair. What you’ve learned so far is what doesn’t work, maybe you should try some other approaches.

Two things I’ve learned from this forum that give me hope are explained in the following video. They are the nature of anasognosia (lack of insight into illness) and the LEAP method developed to help better communicate with people with anasognosia and regain their trust. Of course, I wish I could go back in time to give you and your mother this information sooner, but the single most important lesson I’ve learned about recovery and caregiving is the power of forgiving yourself and others for their limitations. It gives you the strength to keep striving toward new solutions.

Disclaimer: While I am a part-time caregiver of my brother and father with SMI, I was diagnosed with SZA over thirty years ago. I’m an advocate of appropriate drug treatments for SMI, but I feel they are incomplete treatments and additional CBT, supportive talk and psychosocial therapies are helpful where feasible. Any drug advice is from personal experience or research and not a substitute for qualified Psychiatric care.

@Maggotbrane,

Thank you for your response! I woke up this morning and seen a text from my brother asking for my sons phone number. It was quite early so I know that my mom has had another “all-nighter”. I sent her a text asking if she is okay but she hasn’t responded back which means she’s not okay. She’s exhausted both mentally and physically while feeling extreme hopelessness. To answer your question, yes she and I have been going at this alone for over two decades. I’ve done as much research as a mother of three boys myself could have done over the years and now that they are grown I have been trying to put forth more effort in finding a solution. I can’t help but feeling partly responsible for my brother’s outcome. When we were a lot younger and I just didn’t understand completely what was happening with him, I engaged in a lot of partying and experiencing with street drugs along with him that eventually led me into drug treatment and rehabilitation. I no longer participate in that lifestyle but know that my brother hasn’t given it up. So not only do we deal with his illness but also the intensity of his actions while using the drugs.

The video you recommended was very insightful and I was emotional after watching it. But only because I kept thinking about the many years that has passed with no change. We thought we were helping him when all along we were making matters worse. I am grateful now I have a new approach and possibly good news to share with my mom. I’m going to try and get her to join the group because I have already felt a little better since reading others stories and knowing I’m not in this fight alone. Thank you!

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