Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

We think our sister has schizophrenia. Advice needed

Our sister is 35, she started showing-what we now know are signs of schizophrenia at around 25. She has four children. She believes that the government has a plot to find her and kill her, she believes she has demons living inside of her, she believes the entire health care system has her name on a list in which they have been instructed to “inject” her with cancer, and then lie to her about it, she believes that someone has a voodoo doll of her-and is using it against her, and she can’t figure out who it is. She truly believes all of these things. There is absolutely no way to tell her that none of these things are happening. We have been dealing with this, and trying our hardest to shield her children from this, because every website, every forum, says; “take her to a doctor”. Well, she won’t do that willingly. That isn’t an option here. From what we understand, if we “force” her into treatment/involuntary hold, she will lose her children. At this point, she isn’t a bad mom, but, her symptoms are progressively getting worse. And, her children are getting old enough to see that something is wrong. We do not want to have her children taken from our family, the children can be taken care of, but, from what we understand, legally, they will be taken from her, and moved through “the system” if we force her to deal with these issues. She does not “know” that the things she believes, could possibly be only in her head. We want to proceed in the best way possible. And for some reason, there is nothing ANYWHERE, about confronting/having an intervention with someone that doesn’t realize what is happening to them. We need guidance, and literally anything anyone can provide that could help us go through this…extremely difficult time. If we were to confront her, which a few have, she believes that the government sent them to try to kill her, and she will run. She has an unfortunately amazing way of hiding her “episodes” from any doctor, because, again, she also believes that they are trying to kill her. We have taken her to the ER, because she believes she was “injected” with cancer, and she can play the part she needs to without fail. We can’t just take her in to a hospital and say that there is something wrong in her head, because, again, she believes that we are spies. With all things considered-a large, caring family, four children, and all of her symtoms, can anyone-please give us advice if you have lived through such an ordeal?

I thank you in advance, and my heart also aches for anyone that CAN help in this situation, because I know the pain you have felt.

I’m sorry to hear what ur going through this has recently began for me as well with my 42 yo wife and I can say is ive done nothing but alienated myself and managed to become one of her fears so be very careful what u say learn about LEAP from Dr Amadour so u can have a chance to suggest treatment without landing yourself in an awful corner u don’t know how to get out

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As jason_rivera_bbz said, you do want to be careful to not alienate her. I made the same mistake also.

There is a part of the mental illness - a symptom called anosognosia - that causes the issue for approx. 60% of people suffering from schizophrenia and 40% of the people suffering from bi-polar. This very real part of the illness causes them to be unaware that they are mentally ill.

Let me repeat - this symptom causes them to be unaware they are mentally ill. Back in the “dark ages” this symptom was misidentified as denial.

Sadly, many people with mental illness were, and still are abandoned by the families out of frustration.

Get Dr Amador’s book, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” and watch his videos online at youtube.

I made the same mistake by trying to convince my son the things he was hearing and thinking weren’t true. All it did was make him suspicious of me. Interventions don’t work with anosognosia, they just alienate them further and scare them - suddenly their delusion is real and its all of you.

The good news is that he will tell you the things to say to recover some trust. They do work.

The biggest fear you have seems to be the kids being absorbed into the system. Is there no one in the family able to have the children live with them?

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In my Opinion:

  1. Start considering a long term plan to deal with her and placement of the children.

  2. Look into obtaining a power of attorney to control her finances and medical treatment, this varies from state to state, and local county facilities to evaluate her if there is a money problem

  3. In the near term, as it gets worse and cycles from good to bad as it WILL DO, be prepared to help the children when she is in a bad way…

  4. ANY physical violence to herself or others, call the cops asap…

Ten years in with no docs or meds, it will get worse without treatment.

Yes, been there done that, many SZs a very smart people…

Don’t push her, work with it, don’t take it personal

This is exactly what my mother does. That’s insane. She believes the govt is after her, there are spies, she thinks shes a spy, she says she has cancer and someone gave it to her on purpose. I’m looking for the same help also. I have my own topic asking for advise. I’m right there with you on this. Idk what to do with my mother. But everything you have explained is exactly what I’m dealing with. Ur not alone.

Yes and no, perfectly normal for her and is no big deal. (that is the part many just don’t understand) its normal … Its only crazy/insane when you perceive it as crazy/insane.

Long term planning, don’t take it personal, if she is like my wife, there is not much you can do other than learn to live with it.

Practice makes perfect… Learn to laugh about it, only way you will survive…