What are your hopes for your loved ones future?

That my son be happy. That he finds a balance between the physical and spiritual without compromising his beliefs.

My hope for my loved one is that she gets to grow-up and be a kid again. I would love to see some of the pressure fall from her shoulders. I also hope she survives 17 in tact.

Maybe no one survives 17 and we all come out the other side of 17 as different people. Maybe that’s the point of 17?

I hope both sides could feel comfortable. I hope we could have two way communications but not coercion. I hope my parents could live a long lives.

Before my son was diagnosed, I just knew he was going to either work in the E-Commerce Dept. of the corporation I retired from; be an air traffic controller (my dad was); or fly a jet in the Air Force. We knew nothing about schizophrenia - it was a HUGE learning experience for us all. After his first major break when he was released from the hospital, I remember being horrified and terrified because I didn’t realize that there was hope; I recall thinking if he could even hold down some little part time job and not be psychotic, it would be a miracle, I didn’t think it could happen. The drs at the hospital had started him on Zyprexa and after about two weeks, I was amazed I saw a glimmer of him coming back and he continued to improve. I remember him telling me that he could “feel his brain pulling back together”. It has been a rough road since then, lots of ups and downs, hospital stays, drug use, jail time. We are still not where I would like to be. My hope for my son is that he can become drug free, can realize what a benefit all the meds are for him (even though his Zyprexa dose has been reduced to 5 mg, he does not like taking it and I’m afraid he has stopped, or will stop). He is also on Ability 10 mg, Perphenazine (Trilafon) 2 mg 4Xday and Adderal for ADHD. I hope he can find a partner who will care about him and look out after him; I hope he will find happiness, and a living situation where he can successfully be on his own, and hopefully find some gainful employment that is fulfilling for him. I really feel it all can be accomplished if he will stop using drugs and take care of himself. This is my hope and my prayer.

I hope that my SO and I will be happy in our relationship to continue as we are now. That he finds inner peace within himself.

My hopes for my son is to have friends, have a hobby he enjoys, but mostly be surrounded by people who care for him before my death and after.

Lovemyson wrote:

I hope he can find a partner who will care about him and look out after him; I hope he will find happiness, and a living situation where he can successfully be on his own, and hopefully find some gainful employment that is fulfilling for him. I really feel it all can be accomplished if he will stop using drugs and take care of himself. This is my hope and my prayer.

This sums it up for me. At the moment my son is in a school environment, and I am so thankful that he is safe and being cared for, and that he can do the school work. I hope that he will be able to maintain this level once he is on his own again.

As I see it, success hinges on him being aware that the meds do help and that he needs to take them regularly. Therapy helps as well.

My son is on Invega now; he was on Zyprexa but didn’t like the weight gain associated with it. Invega doesn’t seem to have that side effect for him. He also takes an anti-depressant, I’m not sure which one. The school requires him to go to the office every evening to take his meds, which totally stunned me. I think it has made a difference in his attitude toward taking them. I know that neither his Dad nor I had much success in requiring him to take them. At the best he would be resentful to the point that it would be easier to just let him alone on the subject. For some reason he doesn’t resent the school for this infringement on his freedom.

Morgan - What type of school environment is your son in? It sounds like a good situation. It does seem like our “kids” do better taking instruction from other authority figures other than us. I’m curious too, how the Invega is helping him compared to Zyprexa.


This school has been a real eye-opener for us. My husband and I were very skeptical because my son was mostly unstable in 2013; he even voluntarily admitted himself to the hospital in July. At that time he was supposedly on Geodon after getting off Zyprexa but he either was not really compliant or it wasn’t working, probably a mixture of both.

I had encouraged him to go to a Vocational Rehab counselor and finally he went. He was told he could either enroll in a “Ticket to Work” program or apply to be admitted to this school, where if he finished he could earn an Associates Degree. He already has a Bachelor’s but was unable to really work after graduating. He jumped from job to job, mostly lasting 6 months or less, and constantly moving between his Dad’s house 2 states away and ours. He decided he would rather live with us than with his Dad, but since that became difficult for him, he has been living on his own in a city 45 minutes from us. This small city has lots of help for mentally ill/addicted young people. He lived in a supervised rooming house and saw a doctor and case worker regularly. But, of course he wanted more for himself.

So, he was accepted at this school and started last September. He quickly became unstable, visibly arguing with and criticizing fellow students. He is after all 35 and most of the kids are just out of high school. That’s when the school officials took an interest in him, required him to regularly see the school psychiatrist and - amazingly, is requiring him to come to the office every night to take his meds. He does this more or less without resentment; he wants to stay and probably at some level he does feel better.

I visited him on Thanksgiving weekend, and brought him back here for Christmas. He still had his room so he spent a week there as well. He is definitely not comfortable spending more than a few consecutive days with us.

He gave up his room at the first of the year and the plan now is that he stay at the school through 2014 and graduate in December. It is a day to day ordeal for him; sometimes his symptoms get the better of him and he gets argumentative and unpleasant. At those times he has learned to stay in his room and entertain himself. He seems to be doing well in his coursework; he resents too many questions, but he did finish his first semester with A’s and B’s.
So is he in remission? I have no clue. We go day by day. But for now he is on track to finish out the year.

As for Zyprexa, I was really hesitant about doing anything, but when his weight hit 190 I became alarmed, as did he. I suggested he work with the doctor on changing to something else. The doctor chose Geodon and then the roller-coaster ride began in earnest. When he was hospitalized in July by some miracle I was in touch with him and he allowed the doctors to talk to me. At one point the doctor actually called me to ask what meds he had been on; she was thinking of trying respiradol. I was able to tell her that one hadn’t worked that well and suggest they retry Invega which had really seemed to help on a previous hospitalization He has gained some weight on it, maybe 15 lbs, but if he takes it his mood swings are much less severe. And he sleeps well. He takes it once a day at night, along with the anti-depressant.

I do worry that he may never gain enough awareness of his condition to sustain himself without lots of support, support he may reject out of hand when he gets back to his regular life again. It would be wonderful if he could find someone to share his life, someone to love. He really needs that. I think that’s what it comes down to in life–we all want to love and be loved.

Morgan -

It sounds like your son is doing quite well. I am interested to find out more about the school that your son is attending -

Is this a therapeutic environment where the other students are also mentally ill, or is it a regular community college ?

Is this being paid for by Medicaid ?

Does your son’s mental illness make it difficult for him to do course work ? Is your son getting special help with the academics and any other course requirements ?

Since your son already has a B.A. degree will he be getting a diploma in a specific type of discipline that would lead to a specific job ?

You said that he gave up his room at the beginning of this year so it isn’t clear to me - where is he living ? Is he living in a dorm and if so how does he get along with his roommates and or hall mates who are younger than him ?

I ask these questions because my son who is now 30 has always wanted to return to college but his symptoms have made his focus and concentration almost nonexistent. He also continues to have delusions and auditory hallucinations despite being medication compliant. I had always wondered if there could be a very supportive environment that could give him very intensive help to be able to return to school and fulfill coursework requirements. Thus far I have not learned of any.

Thanks for your help.


The school is run by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry and is called the Hiram G. Andrews Center; it is located at 727 Goucher Streett in Johnstown, PA. They have a website which you could google; they have a toll free number which is 800-762-4211.

My son does not pay anything to be there, which is totally wonderful. He even still receives his SSDI. He lives in a dorm situation but does not have a roommate, which he probably could not handle. How does he get along? Sometimes the other students irritate him to no end but he has learned, hopefully, not to confront them. He mostly gets irritated because they complain about silly things and do not appreciate the school and the opportunity they are getting.

Some of the other students, of course, are physically handicapped, while others are slightly mentally retarded. One girl he met had brain damage sustained in a car accident. I have no idea if there are other schizophrenics.

He is taking mechanical drafting, and if he finishes he will have an Associates Degree. He has enrolled in a tutorial program for math; right now they are doing algebra and trigonometry, both of which he has studied; in fact he did take calculus in college. But he somehow knows that this work will be challenging for him. So far he loves drafting, but the first semester was introductory and now they will be getting into more difficult stuff. He resents my asking him questions so I just wait for him to offer information. We do IM during his lunch hour and after classes and he shares what he wants to about his day.

It is at least a 3 hours’ drive from here so I really am not able to go there very often. I plan to go in the spring, and I did go at Thanksgiving.

My son found this school by himself and at first I said, OMG, he’ll never be able to do this…but so far he has proved me wrong. I just go day by day. Yesterday he was very negative and argumentative with me so at those times I just back off and let him go his way. He spent his spare hours putting new strings on his guitar. By last night he was much better. It’s a roller coaster ride and we go day by day.

I hope I’ve answered some of your questions. I don’t know what state you are in, if your state has such a school, or if HGAC accepts out-of-state students. I would think it would be worth a try on your part, to find out more. It is a very protective and caring environment as far as I can tell. And they are not at all at full enrollment.

Onwards and upwards…

I hope that my boyfriend, will come to terms with the fact that his is ill, and that he can still live a great life if he takes control instead of letting in control him.

That he will start to take medications and get back into his hobbies - he was quite the tool collector and wood worker before all of this started.

I’m going to look this school up online. It sounds wonderful. Do they provide meals as well? I live in Georgia so that would be quite a distance for us. I’ve never heard of anything like that in our area. It is a very good sign that your son took it upon himself to find that! I think my son would have a difficult time living with others too and not sure if he would be on board for anything like that, but it’s worth a try:)

My daughter is living her future. She is 31 years old, has two small children under 7 years old and has a partner who has schizophrenia. They are living independently. Her life isn’t perfect but neither is mine. She gave me two wonderful and beautiful grandchildren even thought when she became pregnant with both children I was very unhappy about it, especially I worried how she would care for her children. My daughter has a wonderful partner and he is also the children’s biological father and 100% involved in the raising of their two children. My daughter’s partner works full time as a janitor and works the night shift. He enjoys his work and my daughter is learning to take up the slack when her partner is away – so she does have to do more to work with the children. I live only a 5 minute walk from her and am over nearly every day and I do help with the raising of the children. My job is to make sure the children always have clean clothes so I have volunteered to do their laundry. My daughter’s hope is that when the youngest child is in school she will be able to have a part time job. Right now I don’t think she is capable of holding down a job but who knows what the future will hold.