Violent Episode Tonight


You know what - my son is 28 as of last week.

He struggled growing up with shyness & other things, although I wonder if he wasn’t starting to have mental health problems when he got really socially anxious around 3rd grade - about 8 I guess.

He had 3 breaks as a teenager, then held it together until he was around 26 and his meds quit working for him.

He did kind of the same thing - every perceived slight or bad think we’d ever done to him, or anyone else had done to him, was constantly brought up. And, he did get violent with his dad a few times, but not to the extent you’re talking about, and they kind of charged each other like raging bulls, so I blame them both.

On the Invega Sustenna, he was better, but he’d still get very upset about things depending on whether or not he was sleeping, or what tone of voice someone used.

He’s much more even on Clozapine, even though we’re not even 2 months into it. Some people do great on the Invega too, so I’m not recommending a specific drug, only saying that there is hope for him.

(we’ve also lived in relatively nice places, made sure he had anything he wanted that we could get for him, would take his friends (when he had them) everywhere with us. I won’t say he was spoiled, because I don’t think he ever had that feeling of entitlement that some people get, but he had all the advantages of being an only child. However, we did fight like cats & dogs around him at times & he hated it - with good reason. )


My son has social anxiety and severe ADHD on top on the sz. I think how much can one person endure? The other night he showed me where he’s been burning his arms with cigarettes. He does this when he’s angry to somewhat diffuse the anger. I just don’t understand what he is so angry about. His dad and I pretty much do what he wants just to keep some level of peace in the house. I know that probably isn’t the right thing to do but when you’ve had the episodes we’ve had lately, you’ll do ANYTHING just to have a “good day” or a “good night.” I wish I could get into his head and see what is going on in there. Last night as his anger was escalating, his eyes visibly turned darker. It was so strange to see something physically happen. Then this “dead” look comes over them like a shark’s eyes. I see it every time he’s angry. It’s like he isn’t there anymore. At times, he can be loving and sweet. The other day when mowing the yard, he ran over some rabbits’ burrow. A baby rabbit came out and couldn’t catch up with the adult rabbits. He took the baby in the house and kept watch over it all day, trying to get it to eat and drink. He was carefully holding it when I got home. So odd that he can be that person then be this raging, violent person I don’t even recognize.


He probably can’t help the anger - it’s probably always there at some level based on his brain chemistry.

That’s why something would get you or me just a little irritated causes a flash fire in him. He probably stays angry at himself too, and that’s the reason for the burns. My son kind of tried that out at one point - he’s got a few burn & cut marks. Sometimes, he would say it was a “sacrifice” so that something would work out right, or punishment for something that had gone wrong. I don’t think he’s done that for about a year now.

And, I know all about the do anything just to avoid conflict thing. Been there, done that.

I don’t know if this will help you or not in the future if the rabbit thing happens again, but adult rabbits don’t stay at their nest. They watch from a distance so they can lead away predators & the mother will come sit or lay across it at night just long enough to let the babies feed. They’re up & out of that nest within about 2 weeks of being born. But, that was very sweet of your son. That’s the memory you should hold onto while trying to get him some help.


I know that look! I saw it in my husband during a violent rage. His eyes got visibly darker. Shark like indeed.


I also went through an extremely violent situation last night and…am still in too much shock to talk about it. The physical damage to my body will heal, the mental I can re-negociate…because I saw it coming. I should never have unlocked that door.
I handled the situation deliberately badly. But my Soul?

WARNING - Cannabis and alcohol are not the only triggers of violent psychotic episodes.
Last night was in part due to the consumption of ANABOLIC STERIODS disguised as Protein, Mass building shakes some wise guy at the gym where my mentally ill partner hangs out.

And “yes” I did my job a " good cop, bad cop". Encouraging Sport. and “verbally exploding in the Gym owner’s face”.
I am now “the crazy girlfriend”.

Plus, the stand off with his psychiatrist. An old man with “Sendentary Duck Syndrome” i.e. Can’t even be bothered to stand up and take my extended hand… /

My message to you both is “Illegtimi non Carborundum” - “Don´t Let the Bastards Get you Down”. Here in Spain, “the bastards often are the System”. I have learned the hard way not to fight it. "Use the System. Don´t let the System use you.

Last night should not have happened. It did. You got hurt and your son got hurt. Your scared and he´s probably still trapped in Terror. A nightmare so real that he will “Kill” to stop it. Preferably himself.

Two heart felt hugs to you both.



I wrote it, its from one of the articles on a thread here.

A frustrated parent confronted someone who runs one of the big mental health agencies.

From the audience the parent said “you’re talking about the composition of the paint while our houses are on fire”


I read your rant right before heading out there door to facilitate a NAMI support group that is over an hour’s drive from my house. Your writing set my mood - I cover for the usual facilitators about once a year when they are on vacation. I started with a rant about our recent six week nightmare and we had a good night where everyone got their rant out. Didn’t solve anything for anyone, hopefully, we all left a bit lighter.

We are all in miserable situations trying to find answers and get help for our mentally ill family members - you would think the very least society could do would be to help keep us safe when we need to be kept safe.


Mine too, its when I see my son’s eyes go “unseeing” yes, - like “dead look” shark eye I know he is not there.


Wondering if my son gets some help and they change up his meds or increase the dosage of what he’s presently on (Abilify 10 mg, Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 100 mg), is it possible for the violence to be eliminated? Or is this just a component of his individual illness and something that will always be with him? In order to know which way to go as far as whether to try to get a VPO, etc., it would be so helpful to know if the violence can be eliminated or not. I know no one on here is a doctor, but from your own personal experiences with your kids, can you give me your experience please? My husband is an absolute mess today. Didn’t go to work again. This threw him into a bipolar tailspin. I reached out to his doctor and asked him if he could prescribe some for anxiety shortterm to get him through this. He isn’t eating or sleeping.

On a different, but related note, I wanted to share a link to a story that happened here locally. The Oklahoma Labor Commissioner was killed (stabbed) to death by his adult son who is schizophrenic and not on his meds at the time. Such a tragic story. His mother is now an advocate for mental issues here in our state and travels the U.S. speaking about the need for mental health services.


Lea - Sorry for what you are going through. My heart goes out to you. We are all in this together. It is such a trying situation and one that seemingly never ends.

Wishing you peace today.


Abilify made my normally peaceful son violent. He was on it for less than 2 weeks before I realized the changes that occurred when he started it. The violent streak stopped after he stopped the Abilify. I’m not suggesting that’s the answer, only thinking maybe your son could use a medicine protocol overhaul. If his current protocol does not improve his mental health in an extended period of time, a good doctor would go in a new direction and not stay the course. I do think that getting guardianship set up before he is 18 would be prudent because at 18 when the HIPPA laws kick in, as parents you have no more say over where he lives outside of your home or whether he gets treatment or what kind he gets. You can also get disability for him at some point, which should get him Medicaid for his bills. It is so overwhelming. My heart goes out to you.


Catherine - Thanks so much for your input! This is all so helpful. How do you start the guardianship process? Do you have to get an attorney? It is overwhelming, but very necessary. One of my neighbors is a nurse and her cousin works in the mental health system in our state. She said that I need my son’s therapist to issue an emergency order of detention to get him into a locked mental health unit. So I’m trying to get a hold of his therapist now to do that.


I think it’s very possible that a change in meds could help your son a lot and reduce or eliminate the anger/violence.
My son wasn’t as violent as yours, and he’s far from well, but it’s like night and day if I compare this summer to last summer.

It’s been a long journey, with three different drug trials and 5 hospitalizations in 10 months even though he was med compliant most of that time.

I know some people do well on Abilify, but my son’s never been on it, and for some reason, I’ve never felt comfortable with it because they started off marketing it to people as a depression add-on very early. That just gave me the feeling it wouldn’t be strong enough for my son.

And, if your son has a strong mood component to his illness, which it sound like he does, an anti-depressant could kick off some mania.

I think there’s a lot of hope for your son & your family, but it might be a long, difficult journey to get where you guys need to be.

You mentioned what happened in your state. In my state, Virginia, we had something similar happen. One of our state representatives couldn’t get a bed for his son even though he met criteria to be held. A few hours after release, he stabbed his father, but didn’t kill him. He did, however, kill himself. This guy is now all over our laws and a lot of things are changing. I credit him for how seriously they take my son’s condition & why I have no problems getting my son admitted on involuntary holds. That’s a good reminder that I should send him a Thank You letter sometime.

I checked the laws that went into effect for mental health here this past July 1st & there were quite a few of them. The one I liked the most was that they are going to allow alternative people (not the police) to transport people on involuntary holds if it’s safe to do so. My son has been transported once in handcuffs & the police were very nice & explained he wasn’t under arrest, and he was OK with it, but it would be nice if that didn’t have to happen - and probably more convenient for the police department.


Are you totally sure he takes his meds? Are they in the form that melts immediately when placed in his mouth? Or maybe the long last shots? Every single time we get a peer showing up at family member support group, they think we parents are incredibly naive about whether or not they are actually taking their meds. From what I understand, a lot of them are just pretending to take their meds.

Since mine has never gone more than 3 days on meds, I don’t have the experience of the others.

How can any of us get help if people in positions of power can’t get help for their children?


Contact your local probate court and follow their steps. They will often assign a pro bono atty to your son (if he is not working) to support his rights, but if your son is as ill as you have described, when you see the judge, he should easily see the need for you to be guardian. Just keep track of all of the doctor/police/ hospital visits, and all of the things that he is unable to handle on his own effectively and present those at the hearing and you can bring people to support your cause like your husband or friends.

I did not need an attorney for me for guardianship, I did have the support of his case worker though, and I was in a low income bracket so the court fees were waived. I would get an attorney that specializes in Social Security Disability to assist you with getting benefits for him on that front, I don’t know if you can establish it before 18 or not but that would be a question to ask the atty. The extra money is a blessing. They will usually make you the rep payee to govern the money especially if you are the guardian. I applied for my son when he was 21, but I did not realize he had schizophrenia until then either, I always thought his issues were drug abuse and learning disabilities, turned out it was all 3. The SS atty will not charge fees up front and will only charge a portion of back pay due to your son if he wins the case. If he doesn’t win, he doesn’t get paid. Having Medicaid and guardianship opens up a whole array of social services that may or may not help your son, once he turns 18 especially. I live in Ohio and they have an assisted living community here where social workers and nurses interact with people in their own living space. It’s affordable apartments etc. They help with getting work or seeing doctors or shopping, socializing whatever. My son will not consider this because he doesn’t like the idea of meeting any new people. I am hoping one day he will change his mind. I would like it to be something he is positive about instead of me strong arming him into it. Especially since we get along fine as room mates today. Still I would like to think he could do something more on his own someday. In the meantime I am starting to do more on my own without him. He seems okay with that.

Just to add something else, I did notice that stress is the major enemy of stability. Expecting things from my son that he was not fully able to accomplish (even simple things) and my being upset or stressed or emotional, all of that would very quickly unravel him and maybe trigger a delusion or he might be verbally abusive. Truthfully I have learned an awful lot about myself because of my son’s illness. I learned so much about how my behaviors affect others, and I have learned more about my own self control (or lack thereof) and especially what to “worry” about and what to let go of.

Eventually it all boiled down to if it wasn’t an eminent danger to myself, my son or others (where my son was concerned) I let it all go. Once he was stable, we started to slowly build on the little things again, what we could build on anyway…self care for both of us individually, healthy interactions, quality time together, healthy meals and exercise…I mean, going through this whole thing (for me anyway) was like tearing down the entire structure that was our lives and then slowly (very slowly) rebuilding our lives one “toothpick” at a time. It’s been almost 12 years since we started but we have a pretty good, sturdy structure now, I don’t ever take it for granted though because I know with this illness nothing is promised forever. I wish you and your family healing and hope for the future.


The way I understand it, you can only get SSI for children under 18 if

  1. the child is disabled & there is a financial need
  2. at least one parent is already drawing some form of social security benefits
  3. at least one parent is deceased

For 2 & 3, even though the child never worked, they will draw off the parents record, so they get higher benefits than if they drew SSI themselves, and I believe that amount continues into adulthood.

I looked into it a number of years ago to see if my son could draw off my record since his illness started before he was 18, but it was a no go for us on all accounts.


My son gets half SSI and half SS off of my record but I have been on SS disability since 2010. Before I went on disability he had all SSI. He was ill since he was 14 or 15 but not officially diagnosed until 21.


Hope - Yes. He was snorting his adderall (according to older brother), so I started a regimen where I take him his pills, hand them to him with water, make him take them in front of me, then raise his tongue to show me there is nothing still in his mouth. He was snorting the adderall because he said it wasn’t effective anymore. Totally aggravating to me. But he was angry because the doc wouldn’t raise his dosage again. He had been raised from 20 to 25 not that long before so I didn’t think (and neither did the doc) that he needed another change.


Adderall would make my son very quick to anger & very agitated even when he wasn’t psychotic - back when his psychosis would go away completely for very long periods except for the ever present anxiety.

And, the line between enough to motivate him & enough to agitate him was really close together.

Does he still take the adderall?


Catherine - Thanks so much for taking the time to explain this all to me.

You’re absolutely correct on the stress aspect. I am pretty easy going (would have to be living with two mentally ill people in the same household). I overlook his personal hygiene issues for several days and then I gently say, when is the last time you showered? Or when is the last time you changed your clothes? He usually says, I don’t remember. I say then, ever so gently, could you go take of that please? He’s usually willing to do so. The thing that drives him up the wall is yelling. My husband, being bipolar, when stressed and things are escalating, overreacts, and starts to yell. (He also comes from an Italian family where yelling is just the normal way to communicate - LOL). So that revs my son up. Tried to explain to my hubby, but he just can’t stop his behavior prob anymore than my son can.

Thanks for your good wishes. Mine go back to you and your son. Wishing you health and peace today and always.