Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

When your son asks why you’re depressed

So strange that in a lot of ways my son shows he has insight, but in other ways
he has no clue. I find it cute and ironic when he asks me why I look sad or depressed and don’t see my friends anymore. He also encourages me to have more of a social life. I find it funny but in reality it’s really sad.

Does he even begin to fathom the depth of my hurt and depression and how this has affected my life? Probably not.

I find it ironic that the source of my depression is also the source trying to cheer me up.

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That is so good that he recognizes your feelings. Most times they are only aware of their own feelings.

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This is the way my son is too! He asks me to invite friends over because he thinks I need to socialize. He asks me to wear something other than my ubiquitous jeans and plaid shirt because he thinks I stopped dressing well. Yes, it’s ironic! There’s this glimmer of insight now and then. And then he goes back into his world and has long drawn conversations with people only he can see!

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@Terra i get it. I live in my sweats and have let myself go. How can any parent focus on anything else? I have developed a chronic cough and the other day he was trying to tell me to drink warm salt water to dissolve the phlegm. At moments like those, I do come out of my depression but those moments are rare. It’s a constant worry and a huge burden.

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The same thing happened to me. I was so depressed and my daughter kept asking me to take her for drives, which historically had helped her. I found out later that she was doing that because she was trying to help me get off the couch and out of my depression. All I experienced was one more thing I had to do for her. She talked with her therapist and psychiatrist about me. She really wanted to help me in the way I had helped her. At one point, she brought it up with me with the psychiatrist present. She wanted to know how she could help. I said that if I didn’t have to get her to where she needed to be, I wouldn’t be doing anything. That seemed to satisfy her.

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My son has no insight of anything. I had been in hospital, I told him, no response. My son is gone.

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@mbheart we cling to hope when our kids show some normalcy. Today has been good so far. I’ll take it! My boy is focused on his aquarium…cleaning the tank, feeding the fish and changing water. His regular afternoon delusions haven’t started yet. Take care and keep looking after yourself so you can take care of your kid.

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@Shallcro , I am so sorry. They come off uncaring and insensitive. But I know you know it’s the illness.

I could pour my heart out to my son, and he never has 1 sympathetic word or shows any type of empathy.

I hate this disease and I hate the life that he and I must endure.

Take care of yourself.

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I hate this disease too. I’ve been a RN for 40 years, and this by far is one of the worst diseases.

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Well there’s often an understanding of the burden the person is placing on a caretaker. And it can be hard to be around a depressed person so that works both ways. What if you did make an effort to have a life outside of “the illness” ? Maybe that would help him? It would certainly help you.

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@mbheart, I think I’ve related this before but it bears repeating, I noticed a paradoxical phenomenon especially when hospitalized where fellow patients were surprisingly gifted and diagnosing others and seeing through their bullshit, while seemingly incapable of turning these skills within. Now I had some insight going in and had a year of psychotherapy developing it, but I expected more folie a deux situations, but they rarely materialized. It’s a similar metaphor as all prisoners being guilty except you.

I like to think all people have blind spots, it’s a question of how big and whether their size changes over the course of their lives. And unfortunately it can be very hard to convince people of theirs, and sad that if you can’t escape their shadows or armor your self one way or another, you can be run over emotionally or in other ways.

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My son is still in a treatment program in Utah and doing very well on Clozapine (and a bunch of other meds). He has told me repeatedly how other ‘kids in the program have a much more severe case of SZ than he has’. And further that when he gets out that he wants a job to counsel and help other kids with MI/SZ.

Obviously, we get excited that these comments seem to indicate awareness and compassion. He has always had a loving heart (setting aside his threats/attempts to kill me).

Recently he has still been convinced that Jesus has forsaken him and will soon kill him in a very bizarre and specific manner. He has been so convinced of this pending death that we were in constant communication with the staff at the facility to keep him safe. Thankfully his predicted death did not occur on his prophesied date but he remains convinced of this reality.

On a subsequent call, I asked him the following: “When you start helping other kids, and you have a new kid (he calls them kids) that really has bad SZ (using his lingo not mine) and this kid believes the earth will swallow him alive on a certain date (a different but equally bizarre cause of death), what would you tell him? I mean, you know that the earth won’t actually swallow him up but what do you tell him?’ (Note: he clearly realizes that this bizarre death won’t occur but can’t connect it to his similar death prediction).

His response, “Easy. He knows it is true. I’d just encourage him and never question his prophesy.”

Boom. So we just encourage our son when and if he references his pending death with a new prophetic date. And we say ‘I know that must be scary. We are praying for you.’ We never say ‘it didn’t happen last time!!’ or use any other easy logic for dismissing his prediction. We use his words, encourage him and don’t question it.

This hasn’t ‘fixed him’. But it has helped us both on this journey. Love wins.

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@Sando i don’t usually “encourage” my son with his beliefs but I don’t outright contradict him either. I try to go the middle road and try to make him question what’s he is actually saying/thinking/believing. When he’s stuck on a delusion, our conversations contain many questions from me to him.

It goes something like, “now how would that even be possible? You’re a smart person, do you think that can actually happen? I’ve yet to hear or see anything like that happening. I have never seen it in my lifetime, but who knows”? This Is usually how our conversations go. I don’t encourage his beliefs nor do I let him think that even for a second do I agree with his way of thinking. And I always end by saying, “2 different people, 2 different opinions. That is how the world is”.

In other words, I’ve gotten alittle tougher on him in the last few years, and make him questions his own thoughts and the things that he is saying.

His doctor always encourages a “debate like” discussion, but I won’t ever let it escalate to an argument. I usually go silent when he’s adamant about something and is really stuck on it. But I don’t usually encourage nor do I let him think for a second that I agree with him.

End result is that I think he has more respect for me, and he definitely knows that I may not agree with him on 99% of the things he says, but that I still love him. He’s insightful enough to know that by the things I do for him. And I thank god for that.

Best wishes for your son.

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Great perspective. Thanks for sharing. I definitely do the same although didn’t reference those portions of our conversations. He knows that I have different beliefs. We just don’t spend time debating anymore. I never won. Ever.

But I do agree that it’s important to validate their beliefs and feelings. They are very real to them. And I don’t seek to shame him when he’s proven wrong again and again. I know he knows. And he knows that he has been wrong.

He has acknowledged listening to false prophets. (YouTube conspiracy theories). And then comes back with another bizarre (to me) position.

And this new DBT and LEAP technique encourages me to fight my urge to point out 100 different reasons this new position is ludicrous. And just accept it as his reality. Not buying into it - but being aware of it’s power over him.

And I agree that our affected children can learn to respect this position. ‘My dad loves me unconditionally. And he doesn’t doubt my fears. But he doesn’t believe like I do.’ And if he’s in a rare moment of self-awareness, ‘My dad sure seems to be right much more than my predictions seem right’…

Tough road for all of us. All the best to your family as well.

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I really like that your son validated LEAP for you - its always great when we can rediscover that the best known sources like Dr Amador and Dr Torrey are the way to go whenever possible.

Sando, your son’s experience reminded me of one my son’s experiences. Many years ago, post college and before we knew what was going on with him, my son did volunteer work with teenagers who were in a private boarding facility for smi. He thought it was quite funny that the patients would tell him “Cmon, you KNOW you are one of us”.

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