Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Unacceptable behavior in public

I just received a letter from my condo HOA warning me of action that may be taken to evict me if my son’s behavior doesn’t stop. He wanders our gated community with his earphones on screaming and staring into windows in the middle of the night. He has been seen yelling and throwing a chair into our community pool.
He has been suffering from what we think is schizophrenia (no diagnosis because he won’t see a Dr.) for about 9 months. He’s been in the hospital twice but got himself released by filing Writs of Habeas Corpus and convincing the legal powers that he was no harm to himself or others.
I don’t know what to do from here. Since he doesn’t believe he’s ill (anosognosia) he doesn’t care what anyone else says. I’ve been told to give him an ultimatum to get professional help or he will be kicked out of my home. Is discussing his behaviors with him and demanding he conform advisable?
Does anyone have advice from personal experience?

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Hi kope,

First of all, have you thought about contacting a lawyer to see if the action your HOA is threatening is discrimination against your disabled son? Condos are owned properties, yes? Are they saying they could force you to sell your home because your son is disabled?

What did they treat him for in the hospital? How long was he in the hospital and how far apart were the two visits?

My son’s landlady told him he couldn’t yell or he would be evicted. I stayed out of it, he wanted to stay where he was, he stopped yelling. At home, it didn’t work with me saying it because he really didn’t want to live with me.

Have you had a chance to attend NAMI’s Family to Family course? It is currently available in an online version. Have you contacted your local NAMI? What have you had a chance to read so far about schizophrenia? Dr Amador’s LEAP conversation process can help a good deal. If you don’t have time to read his book “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help”, enter his name into the search area and several threads will have links to excellent free videos online.

Thank you for your reply Hope. First off I have a brother who is a lawyer and quite familiar with property law. My condo is in a gated community and the HOA must ensure that the residents obey the CCR’s which include noise and disturbance requirements. Not doing so will first result in fines and could eventually result in court action to evict me from my home. Granted it’s a long and costly process but they do have the rights.

My son was taken to two different Behavioral Units within about six weeks of each other. He refused all medical intervention including medications, individual and group therapy and would barely speak to any of the medical staff. The first stay was due to a neighbor calling the police because he was sitting in the street and acting weird. The second was because I called a mental health crisis team to assess him and since he was incoherent, disheveled, muttering to himself, hadn’t eaten in 3 days, etc. they took him. Neither hospital would talk to me until he finally signed the release form a few days in. But by then he had contacted Patients Rights and filed the Writ of Habeas Corpus to get himself released. He is able to pull himself together when needed and it was easy for him to convince the legal rep that he should not be there. Both stays were less than 10 days. So he has no formal diagnosis and is getting no therapy or meds. I have no idea what is going on mentally or physically.

I’m doing this all by myself. I don’t tell the true depth of this issue to anyone but his father. None of my friends or relatives know much at all. I’ve read Dr. Amador’s book twice. But since my son doesn’t speak to me it’s not helping.

I have been in touch with the local NAMI and attended some of the support group Zoom meetings. But they are mostly Woe Is Me cry fest and I don’t find that helpful. I’ll look into the Family to Family course.

And I intend to find a therapist of my own.

You are very welcome Kope. I’m sorry your brother didn’t have better news for your in regards to their ability to remove you from your home because of your son’s disability.

After we had a diagnosis, and our son began receiving social security AND was no longer able to live near us because of his negative fixation on his dad, we moved him to a college town that has a large, young, art and music community. The housing was more affordable in the old part of town, the students are more relaxed about his presence and often look scruffier than he does on a bad day. When I visit I can see that my son is not the only one, there are others. There is one other young man that often wakes me up when I hear him yelling early in the morning as he walks past. I really appreciate that everyone here seems to be used to this young man’s presence and is unconcerned. Of course the people who live right next door to him might have different thoughts. My son’s neighbors seem to be very tolerant of him from what I can tell.

You have a lot on your plate handling this situation all by yourself, I am so sorry. One of our biggest struggles was getting our son diagnosed. Mine still hasn’t ever been hospitalized for mental illness. Like yours, he pulls it together when needed. I was fortunate that he would talk to me after I started using the LEAP communication techniques and I was able to eventually offer him an all expenses paid trip to Colorado in exchange for seeing a psychiatrist for one year. He really, really, wanted to visit Colorado. He spent the year seeing the psychiatrist, refusing all AP meds and planning his trip to Colorado. The psychiatrist kept him coming back by only prescribing so many Ativan at each visit.

Sorry again that your local support group is mostly a “Woe is Me” mentality. My Family to Family teacher says that one of the most frustrating parts of teaching the course is that some people will never actually try to work any of the possible solutions.

NAMI’s Family to Family course made it possible for us to figure out how to chart a course forward. I hope you can find your way forward and find something that will give you more possibilities.

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You don’t say how old he is, but if he’s hospitalized again, don’t let him come to live with you. I told my son he was too old to live with me. Put him in a room and board or board and care, but he needs medication first. The hospital must have diagnosed him with something. He needs to deal with the behavior that is causing both of you so many problems.
Im so sorry for what’s happening to you and your son. This is a tragic and awful disease that affects the whole family.
Char

Hi Char, he’s 29. The hospital may have given him a precursory diagnosis which honestly I wouldn’t trust. But I don’t know that due to the HPPA laws and their inability to tell me anything. I understand that he needs to deal with the behaviors but he truly believes he’s just fine. He doesn’t see any of his issues as serious or abnormal. He is severely afflicted with anosognosia.
I have thought of booting him out but there are so many considerations including his income and necessity for all of the tech equipment he uses to run his business. It’s very complicated. Especially when he bounces from lucidity to psychosis several times a day.
Thank you for your concern.

Hi, I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this. Not sure what country you live in, but here in Canada you can apply through the courts although I’m not sure how the process works. I unfortunately had to call the police and ambulance the first time to have my son taken to the hospital to get help but the police were not the best to work with. There are usually crisis teams who can help you. In my area they are called PACT. I hope this helps.

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My son was what I thought a hopeless case. He was extremely paranoid and violent and went off his meds that turned him into a zombie. Thus , his illness went out of control. One of his outburst put me in the emergency room ; I am lucky to be alive. We had to get a restraining order, so he was homeless for many years. We were told that his best hope was the penal system in Los Angeles county. We were praying that eventually he would be arrested One day he thought that a stranger had our deceased family dog and he attacked him. This put him in the L.A county jail system. Their team of doctors and counselors did wonders for him. He was there for over a year getting treatment. He’s now like he was before schizophrenia took over. I just hope he continues his meds and counseling…it’s been a miracle, but I know that the future will always be a challenge . Meanwhile, I will always be grateful to the State of Calif. and the L. A. County penal system for giving my son so much help snd a chance at life. Many other States would not have provided this help.

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Kope,
Does your son use drugs or do you suspect him of using even Marijuana?
What was the diagnosis the hospital gave him?
Even with Hippa, he can sign a form for you to get access to his medical info.

Welcome to the rocky boat. My own son has this unacceptable behavior, last night he spent it being loud using heavy profanity and leaves the house the same way, since he rides the bus I’m not sure how’s his behavior on the street but I don’t think it’s much different since once the owner of a restaurant called me to pick him up and told me he wasn’t welcome anymore bc his customers were annoyed by his profanity and I had to tell him that he’s the owner and he has to do what he has to do; he spends most of the day out the home, with the hot temperatures we’ve had these days he goes to the mall almost each day and late in the evening he calls me to pick him up; he likes to go to the hotel out of paranoia bc he has this fixation in his brain that my husband, his father follows him everywhere and that he ‘yacks’ him (molests him); in this state of mind he doesn’t talk at all, he screams alright but I can’t have any conversation with him; I know it’s a good opportunity to practice the guidelines of the book ‘I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help’ however while he’s at this stage of psicosis that doesn’t work; about 10 days ago I called the Care Line to have an assessment of him but he outsmarted all bc he took off to the corner to catch the bus, the assessor had call the psychiatrist to ask for the course of action to take so the ambulance and authority were outside even the firefighters but he successfully reach his friend’s apartment while they were dispatched. It’s unbelievable that after being away for a year (6 months incarcerated and 6 months in the hospital to be stabilized) still he doesn’t get it that he needs the meds, anosognosia is so profound I’d bc in the last 3 years he’s been in and out of the hospital about 9 times!!! Definitely there’s a lot of fallacies in the health system.
This last time definitely was a game of ‘passing the ball’ to each other: the cops don’t have authority to take the mentally ill to the hospital, the ambulance didn’t take him bc the driver argued this is a behavioral issue, and the hospital (once there) can’t force the meds! After almost 30 years on the ride I think I know the meds work and he has been on the injectables most of the time but for the last years as soon as he’s discharged he goes back to the same idea this they don’t work and it’s my fault bc I took him to the hospital and the meds messed him up.
All of us that have an unmedicated loved one have similarities, and some have successfully seen the light, still each case is unique.
Take what is helpful for you and keep the hope.

My best wishes for you, take care

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I’m in the USA and our HPPA privacy laws limit what we can do with an adult. A person has to be either in grave danger to themself or others before the hospital can keep them past the 3 or 14 days. And they have a right to refuse ALL intervention. So my son has gotten himself released twice and now is not doing any meds or therapy. His behaviors are odd but not dangerous. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do to convince him to seek mental health.

Thank you for the reply. I have been thinking that something like your story may be the only way he gets help. Your reply gives me hope although it is tragic it ends well so far. I just want my boy back.

He has used drugs in the past but I don’t know if he does now. His blood screens at both facilities didn’t show any at the time. The first diagnosis where he was for 10 days gave him a possible diagnosis of schizophrenia but not concrete due to the various symptoms. He did sign releases at both hospitals but although I left several messages I never got calls from the Drs.

Thank you for the reply. My heart aches for you. This journey is only a few months along so far and I’m in my 60’s. I can’t imagine dealing with this for years. I worry about what will happen to him without me. Your son’s symptoms are similar to my sons. I think eventually he will be arrested but California is terrible at dealing with the mentally ill and he will probably just be released or spend a few days in the hospital.
Sending you deep concern and hearty hugs.

My son is PSZ and non medicated. All situations are different with this disease, but I don’t believe in kicking anyone out. There are always resources and medical care to be had.
I spent 10 years with my son being inpatient 3 times. Arrested 3 times for DUI and destroying parts of our home.
It’s my belief SZ delays maturity. Doctors say the 20’s and early 30’s are the worst periods for a patient.
Marijuana was his main problem. He had the delusion it helped him, but it sent his paranoia and delusions into overdrive.
He now is more regimented in his living. He works part time at a fast food restaurant and lives with my mother as a caretaker.
There have been no problem episodes for a year. I wish I could say this is permanent, but he is PSZ and I learned years ago not to let my guard down.
My wife and I have guardianship and conservatorship of him. Don’t give up- it will get more tolerable, more manageable. I don’t want to call it “better”, because it won’t seem that way.

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Thank you for the reply. I appreciate hearing something a bit more positive. I’ve been so disappointed by the horror stories related to PSZ.
I’m trying to be patient and hoping that he eventually will agree to see professionals and at least get a real diagnosis. For now, he’s not interested. It’s awful to watch his abnormal behaviors and see the bright, kind go-getter we raised disappear, possibly forever. My grief over that is enormous. He is my only child and all of our dreams for him seem to be gone.
I am trying to come to grips with setting my expectations below the bar. I cringe when I hear my friends stories about their kids successes.
Thanks again and my heart is with you.

What a challenge. I really feel for you in this situation especially since your son lives with you. What we did was gather information about our daughter - letter she wrote to FBI, posts on social media, etc. and presented it to the court system. A judge then ordered her to be taken into the behavioral health hospital. I watched the special police force who deals with mental illness cases as she was ‘arrested’. I can’t explain how painful it was to watch and at least I was with friends who were with me.
We had to go to trial to present our case for the judge to mandate that she has to have medication. It was HORRIBLE and PAINFUL to say the least and still feel this at times inside myself even though it was 3 years ago. When she screamed and was taken out I wasn’t in the court room but outside and I could hear what was happening. I just broke down when this happened.
Did we do the right thing? I guess we always wished that we didn’t have to go to this extreme and pray to the Lord we never will have to again. Hospitalization itself is traumatic and often dehumanizing. Our daughter is highly functional right now and is finishing her doctorate in psychology.
We have a lot to be thankful for at this point but know how painful and difficult your situation must be. I’ve learned a lot from my daughter what it was like for her and just to be there for her. It would be important to have your own therapist to help you process all of this. I do have someone who has helped me as well as my husband and other friends. We all need to have the support of others!
Oh yes, I do want to make a comment about NAMI support. I was at the NAMI office talking to the Advocate there which was a huge help before we had to hospitalize our daughter. I agree that a group situation may not be as personal that you need at this point.

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Hi kope, we can embrace each other in simpathy, we just turned 70 both me and my husband. I wondered many times about what it’ll be of him when we pass on but our lives and plans are in God’s will, either he’ll end up being on the street or confined somewhere else. I hope and pray that someone else cross his way and help him with enough persuasion to go back on his meds or that he accepts his lot and take that decision on his own.
Take care. Hugs.

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Your reply is very much appreciated. And I truly appreciate your input. I am actually in the process of seeking out a therapist to help me through this, at least for awhile.
Although I don’t have any idea right now where our road will take us I hope that someday I will be able to say that my son is highly functional as your daughter is. She’s a real trooper and it gives me great pleasure to hear her story. Thank you for relating it to me.

It’s the most difficult thing we as parents will ever have to deal with. Knowing that someday our beloved kids will be on their own dealing with such a traumatic illness. My heart is with you and I will pray that your son heals.