Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What have you learned so far as caregivers?


#1

Please correct me if I’m wrong about what I’ve learned so far on how to assist an afflicted family member (please add lessons learned from your experience if possible so I can learn from your story a few tips if you can) :

1- Family members and caregivers need therapy/education, example Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)? on how to deal with unwell family members and how for us to take care of ourselves along the way…

2- Empathy and understanding towards our loved ones without passing judgment and without imposing high expectations for them to be “normal” and functioning to benefit themselves and society… it takes time and constant support…

3- to keep on learning, listening to others’ similar stories and seeking support to unveil stigmatized mental health issues that may have caused some emotional/physical imbalance to our afflicted family members…

4- There is no point for family members/caregivers to feel guilty even if they feel they might have contributed to trigger their symptoms. Better than guilt is being kind to self and others.

5-
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.
.

?

P.S. note that I am not the main caregiver to my unwell family members because I do not live with them. I’m far away and new to realizing their illnesses. I have family of my own and I only visit them as much as I can for as long as I’m able to. (I’m still working on the guilt part)…


#2
  1. Read the book: I am not Sick, I don’t Need Help by Dr. Amador. Watch the online videos too.

  2. Contact NAMI if there is one in your area for their classes and meetings.

  3. Understand what anosognosia is, as over half of those with severe mental illness cannot see it in themselves and never will.

I think your point #4 is the best to understand and work on daily. Don’t let yourself get depressed too badly.


#3

@oldladyblue your support is precious to me, may we keep implementing what we learn and be of benefit to our loved ones…


#4

@Love_Hope
Rather than expand on your list, which is an excellent list and I agree 100%. I think I’ll offer my own, in order of how much impact each point have had in my own life:

  1. It’s not their fault. It’s not your fault, either.
    It wasn’t their behavior, or the risky situations they put themself in. It’s a genetic disorder, a mechanical glitch.

  2. All the effort in the world would be wasted if they don’t want to accept help to manage and cope. Likewise, if you can’t help in the ways they need, that effort is wasted too.

  3. Patience and empathy. Their experiences are real in that they do effect them both mentally and physically. Understanding that they have some confusion, hurt and trauma happening helps.

  4. An even temper and a supportive position. Every time they talk, be inspirational toward their value as a human being, but firm toward their responsibility to seek treatment.

  5. Recognize when your efforts are causing more harm than good. My brother living with me was stressful for him and myself to the point that it was causing him to become yet more a victim to his symptoms. I didn’t know if his moving out would help or harm, but I did know that living with me wasn’t helping. There are so many more examples of good intentions and negative results, but that’s the biggest one for me.

  6. Know the disorder and the types of delusions. Identify them for the DX’d and help them accept that it’s not their fault.


#5

@wreklus this is very insightful and very helpful, my initial ignorance was thinking it’s their lifestyle and behavior choices and now I see but how we implement this knowledge is key… thank you so much for being here


#6

@Love_Hope
Very true. As with anything, there is a moderate middle ground:
Knowing that their fear, anger, delusions and torment are not their fault makes a big difference. However, their refusal to seek more independence and a better quality of life is a choice.
We can certainly learn (through mistakes and trial and error) that our words and our actions are profoundly impactful to the people closest to us. Especially a DX’d person. Consistent reassurance that our loved ones -deserve- a sense of security, -deserve- a fair chance at happiness and fulfillment makes all the difference.
It matters to those who do not have a disorder to fight. It matters moreso to those who do.