Schizophrenia and Parenting: Step In or Let Go?
A message comes to me via social media, along with an invitation to connect. It simply says, "My 27 year old child has schizophrenia, but will not get treatment." Oh boy, can I relate to that. Unfortunately, this is a major dilemma facing all of us who deal with mental illness in our families.
Parenting is always about the precarious balance between stepping in to help, and letting go to allow learning from experience. From a child's first steps to his or her first relationship, car, job, apartment...when to give advice? When to help? When to step back and watch them sink or swim?
For the parents of a child without a physical or mental illness, this process is difficult enough; for those who are dealing with illness in our children, it's that much harder. The consequences of stepping aside, of letting go, could be disastrous: poverty, hospitalization, an arrest, flight, or even - tragically - suicide.
Schizophrenia and Freedom Without Parents
My own son, Ben, 29, has just moved from seven years in a group home (24 hour staffing) to his own apartment. There is some support - a caseworker, medication supervision - but also a new lack of structure. No required group meetings. No chores scheduled. No one - except the roaches - to know if he washed the dishes or not.
Am I excited for him? Of course. Am I concerned? You bet I am. Is there much I can do? Only some things. He could crash, he could cheek his meds, he could oversleep and miss an appointment, he could become lonely and isolated. But if I call to see how he is, he sees right through me. "Mom, I'm fine. I'll get to work on time. Of course I' m taking my meds. I'm fine in the apartment all alone on my day off. Yes, I"ll unpack soon."
So I let him live. Alone. And I watch from the wings, ready to alert his caseworkers if I see any warning signs. Three days ago I saw the unmistakable (to me) signs that Ben had missed a day of meds - so I sounded the alarm to all new staff members who donot know his tricks yet. And now he's okay again - so far.
Now I only see him on family occasions, or on rainy days when he can't take his bike to work. Could he wind up in the hospital again if I am not there to witness symptoms? Yes, of course. And I hate that. But we have only so much control.
Parenting My Adult Son with Schizophrenia
As always, we do what we can and then hope for the best. Keep an eye out for trouble, and our hearts in a place of faith in Ben and his ability to make the adjustments to this new life. Scary? Oh yes. We do the best we can for our loved ones -secretly or openly - and then sometimes all that's left is to take care of ourselves and the rest of our family.
My mantra at these times? "Whatever happens, we will handle it somehow."
I don't always know how, but I know that we've managed before, and will again. And I ask for help when I need it.
Kaye, R. (2011, May 31). Schizophrenia and Parenting: Step In or Let Go?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, October 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalillnessinthefamily/2011/05/schizophrenia-and-parenting-step-in-or-let-go
Author: Randye Kaye
I feel for each and every one of you who are going through this heartbreaking nightmare roller coaster. I have been dealing with this for 5 years with my son who is 26. The judicial and mental health system are broken on so many levels. Each state has different mental health laws, some much better than others. For example, I live in Georgia. It is very difficult to get mental help and resources here, and our homeless population is ridiculous, because people with mental illnesses can just roam the streets unmedicated and live in tents with no accountablility or structure which usually ends in disaster. People like my son and your loved ones need accountability, boundaries, and structure. Otherwise, unmedicated they can act like wild animals which is not safe for anyone. New York is one of the best states with some of the best mental health laws. They even have a Hygiene law there for sanitary and health reasons. People with mental illnesses there are made to be accountable and to comply with medication or treatment, or they are picked up and taken to a psyche facility involuntarily to be stabalized. In turn, homeless population is much lower there. I believe people should have rights, but when they are obviously unstable, they need medical and psychiatric intervention against their will for the health and safety for themselves as well as others. It's up to the lawmakers and state to change and improve laws for the better. It should not be this difficult to advocate for what is best for our loved ones. Something should have been changed years ago
We are willing to relocate just about anywhere to find good supported living options for our 26 y.o. son with SchizzoAffective Disorder. He is the youngest of 4, we are both in our 60's and we are exhausted. Josh was the most challenging of the four children, and currently, as much as we love and adore him, he is more work now than when he was a toddler. We realize that the older he gets the more dependant he is on us. We feel we are disabling him further and he will not grow and develop independence as long as he is home with mom and dad. However, we know he needs some level of supported living. A good group home or supported living apartments. We can supplement about $2000/month in addition to his SSI. Most of the good places we have found are tens of thousands per month!!! Who can afford that? I'd love to hear from anyone who is aware of good supported living programs out there. You can email me at email@example.com.
Thank you kindly, Sara Marie B.
Hi after reading many on this board I too have a son that is a paranoid schizophrenic n 25 yrs old! He won’t see a specialist or take meds n blames me for manipulating him into see our dr. He says he can’t go into stores cause the people talk about him (delusions)! His paranoid schizophrenia started well he called it (IT) started he said to me age 17.5! I would love to get involved more with mental health to change for better mental health! My son was stopped by police back n may for no signal usage n he has never been n jail n this bought on his phsicosis worse again! We had to hire a attorney for him! Yes I’m scared to be alone n my home with him alone he had knives but they disappeared plus our kitchen knives I put away!! We need. To advocate for better mental health! Most mentally ill end up n prison, on the streets medicating themselves with all sorts of drugs n this can not go on! Nami is ok but we need to help ourselves for better mental health for the ones we need help for! We have voices n we need heard!!
I totally agree! I too have a son who is schizophrenic and he refuses to take his medication or utilize mental heath services. It is so painful for me to watch my so deteriorate and not be able to do anything about it because he is an adult. I strongly feel that the laws need to change where individuals with serious mental illness such as schizophrenia should be mandated to take their medication. My future plans is to advocate for mandatory laws for those who have mental illness.
My son is 19 he is my only child . He attended special education in the 11th grade he was smoking pot this was the beginning of what has turned into a nightmare. He changed no longer did he speak of his dreams to be in the military no longer did he want to bathe, no longer did he want to go to school . I totaled my brand new car trying to get him on the school bus. Then he got into trouble realizing it was more mental than criminal he was put on probation . 3 am he is agitated and he jumps on top of me screaming we have to meet god its time to go with god I tried to calm him down and ened up taking him to ER they admitted him for observation and discharged him the next day. I sold our house and thought a change would be good joe continued to only get worse he stopped talking and became catatonic he would not respond to me stayed in his room at night he would cry and scream I called nami I calledhis old therapist I called police I called mental hospitals they all told me the same thing until he hurts himself or someone else theres
nothing we can do finally the crisis team picked him up after he threw a vase at me called me a bitch and cussed out the crisis unit4 or 5 more times after that in a period of 6 months then he slit his throat right in front of me every time he got released he refused meds once agian 3 days later without balancing him on meds he left the house gave me a kiss and now he is in prison for attempted murder he hasn't stood trial because of a incompetency hearing that has had him in limbo with no meds and treatment for over a year. He is facing a life sentence he looks at me in court like help me mom one time he was in court and asked me to hug him and I couldn't the first time he went to court they pulled him in screaming. He thinks he is married and has children this is killing me and its so unfair the mental health system failed him mental illness is not a life choice somebody please help me inside I am in agony with gut wrenching pain .
once there was joy that filled the air
my beautiful boy with blond curly hair
he held the world in the palm of his hands
with all of his dreams and all of his plans
he now builds castles in a world of his own
a illness has taken him far from his home.
so sorry to hear what you and your son are going through. this is heartwrenching. Do they not have a process for mental health court in your area? Hope he gets the help he needs.
I so feel for you.. l have lived in this system and it stinks .. my son is 27 and l have seen him catatonic 4 times .. he has been in state hospitals for 3 years of his life ..1.5 million has been spent so far on his illness..it’s been such a tough road and very little support from family at all.
I met a man online and he seemed so perfect and wonderful. He has masters degrees and bachelors degrees and said that he just couldn't find work in NY.
I offered him my spare bedroom to start over in a growing city with much opportunity.
9 months of every dream coming true for me ended suddenly and abruptly when his mental health quickly declined and he assaulted my son then, kept me hostage for 2 days...after which, he turned on me because I couldn't tell him what was in his head...he ran for the kitchen knives, but i already had the forethought to hide them. This is when i was able to run for the door and escape.
He's finally back home with his parent's and ive since learned that this has been a lifetime problem that has gone untreated.
I finally stopped receiving his texts which usually made no sense. On bad days he accused me and everyone else of trying to kill him, on good days, he almost takes responsibility.
I felt bad for abandoning him, but i had to let go for my own mental health. I had no authority to help him anyway. I just wanted to be there in case the man i loved came back.
I will say, ive since done extensive research on the subject and though he didn't drink alcohol or do other street drugs, he did smoke A LOT of weed when he came to live with me and I found out that TCH triggers psychosis in schizophrenic patients!
I totally disagree!
I have schizophrenia and refuse medication.
1st how about u try the meds before you think they should be mandatory. The side effects are awful. Could u deal with Tardive dyskinesia? They cause weight gain, rot teeth, can mess with liver or kidneys and the list goes on.
Meds may be good whilst in crisis but should be slowly stopped over time with psychology.
I’d rather have a healthy body than a healthy mind.
How would u deal with life being medicated and feeling flat whilst everyone else around u is having fun.
Medication further isolates you. And causes more problems.
Stop thinking about yourself and put yourself in the ones sufferings shoes.
Psychiatrists are all about meds.
Psychology is all about working on the issues.
This is also a nightmare for family that has to watch and experience this daily for years,so trust me,it isnt being selfish.It is a nightmare for EVERYONE involved.I'm not sure what the answer is,I struggle with this with my son daily.I hope and pray that you and your family has peace.I also pray for help for all who needs it in any way they see fit.
How are you doing today Stephen? I came across your very well written comments today... while looking for answers as to what I can do to help my 25yr old daughter who was diagnosed with schizophrenia (in August of 2020). I agree with your end comments of psychiatrists and psychologists... absolutely. I can only speak for myself when saying that... , I don't feel I'm being selfish when I'm trying to get my daughter back. She already had asperger's to begin with, n had never moved out .. or experienced even a little bit of normal teen or adult life. I guess your a high functioning schizophrenic? I only have my own experience, and it's painful 💔
N getting worse.
I stopped giving her meds within 2weeks....
One after the other, .. because of side effects. She's in a totally different world ... 98% of the time. Without medication. I'm jealous that you have the ability to be so eloquent in writing your opinion in the first place. My daughter can barely form a sentence. 😣
Marybeth been there done all of that and finally had to get a Protective Order to remove my son from home and keep him from returning after several attempts to do harm to myself and his mother. NAMI is just a front to gain money for their own operation and do nothing in assisting the many suffers of the serious mental illness. You are correct that we as the family members who are their only support need to have but are limited because of their rights as an adult. It is sad when your son has to become homeless in order to receive any help if they want it, my son chooses not to get the help he needs and remains among those on the street. We can only pray that he changes his present situation.
hello and thank you for this site....I am about to lose my own mind here. My son is 33 y.o. and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia since 18. At the age of 18 a middle aged man preyed on my son, got him into the gay life style ( he was not gay ) and has taken every dime of his ssi since then..My son contracted hiv while living with this man. 4 years ago my son came back home but still gives this man every penny he gets...the man bouught a house with the money and leads my son in to believing it is his house..makes my son pay utilities, insurance, and taxes. no one lives in it....my eldest son is attempting to purchase the house from this man so his brother can always have a place to live in life but the man is dragging his feet...won't evey give my son the 60,000 he owes him. I am too old to deal with this anymore and I need to let go, I just don't know how....it's killing me...I support my ill son in every way, house, food, transportation, clothing, etc...everything.....i am going to die before him...oh jesus
I'm so thankful to run across this...I have a 27 year old son with schitzoafective.. and have gone through it all.. I hate that our country has no help and especially my state of Illinois. I think all of us mothers need to start a movement and make some changes. Our children don't deserve this...
My son is 33, diagnosed 2 weeks before his 24th birthday with schizophrenia. He has his own apartment, is on SSD, has medicare, supplemental insurance paid through the state and he has EBT. He lives in St. Louis, MO. I fought for everything he has... he also gets an injection of Invega Trinza 4 times a year... he won't take pills so no anxiety or depression meds. He drives, buys his groceries, smokes like a chimney, hardly showers or brushes his teeth, sleeps in his clothes and shoes during the day because he paces at night. It's been rough, but we are making it with family support. It's hard to believe that there is so little help out there... thankfully Missouri is a pretty good state for him to live in.
Totally agree with you Rilla! We have started a Non-Profit Pierson Painting 4 Peace to spread awareness about SMI and to build Forever Homes for The Challenged. Love to have you and all involved! Truly, Linda Pierson El Centro/Julian CA
My son started showing signs that something wasn't right, around the age of 26. It began with paranoia, and then anxiety. This went on for about a year and a half. Then he started saying he was Facebook famous, and that celebrities were writing songs and memes about him. He says he's a police officer and in the army ( none of which are true) The only emotion he shows is anger, unless listening to a video or something and then he will constantly laugh. Here lately he has had it in for my
Husband, saying that he has been stalking him for 20 years. The other day he said that he was going to slaughter my husband. They ended up coming and getting my son on Sunday, and admitted him to the psych ward on Monday. I have no idea what tests have been done, or if they have even diagnosed him. I live in Maryland and want to know how to go about getting this law changed. We as caregivers need to be in the know to be able to better care for our children. My son's reading and writing abilities are limited lol so he probably doesn't understand what he would be signing or giving consent to. I miss my son terribly, mental illness is so cruel
I totally agree..l wrote president trump which assured me 10 billion would go back into mental health..it was Reagan that pulled all the money from this cause ..my son has schitzoeffective disorder and is 27
I have a 30 year old granddaughter who has recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia and she is a “cutter” and is addicted to meth and heroin. She lives 2,500 miles from me so I don’t deal with her on a one on one basis, but only through phone calls and texts. The phone calls and texts are like being on a runaway roller coaster. She asks something and then when she gets what she asks for she becomes angry. She is not committed to taking her Zyprexa, choosing to skip it when she wants to “party”. It frustrates and stresses me to even talk to her because she becomes insulted if I don’t agree that it is okay for her to skip medicine, etc. she wants to visit me for a week and I honestly don’t think I can deal with it! But afraid that if I say no it will have even more of a negative effect on her. I am 71 and my husband is 75 and we are both fighting cancer. I have always been close with this granddaughter and feel guilty and selfish wanting to distance myself from her. If the voices told her to harm herself or her 3 children I would always wonder if my “rejection” of her was the reason. Her husband loves her very much and deals with his off-the- wall, stubborn, unfaithful and verbally abusive (to him) wife as best he can. He is a hard worker who doesn’t do any drugs and does all the housework, cooking, etc. after he works all day.
I have a 29yr old son that has schizophrenia, he is not on any medications, has been inpatient on several occasions. Lives at home with me and I feel stuck, trapped, and have not had any success trying to be him help. There is very limited assistance in my area. I am overwhelmed not being able to properly help him. Any suggestions
My son is 45 he has just lost his job he has a partner whom he does not live wth at least he did tell me he has been given notice I did say Ivwas sorry to hear that his partner has never tried to get medical help for him which I find very difficult to understand where do I go for now
What kind of place did your son stay in? I'm looking for a place for my daughter. She's 28, has always lives at home, and will not take her meds, is still hearing voices. Where can I go for help?
I have a 23yr old son who was diagnosed 4 years ago with paranoid schizophrenia. I am so exhausted I work full time and have two other children. I spend most of my time tending to my older son. He sometimes forgets to take his meds and cannot leave the house without having panic attacks. I am a single mom however I have been getting some help from my mom and Grandfather getting him to appointment and weekly labs while I’m at work. Despite several med changes and recalabrating dosing he still hears voices. My issue with him is that despite several attempts to get him into life skill programs he refuse to do the work. Lately several people on his dads side seem to have all the answers they want him to get a job and go back to school. I’m so frustrated because I have several conversations a day with my son about this he is fixated on it. I would love it if this was in his future. However right now for a person who can not leave the house or when he does has major anxiety. I am so exhausted and I really don’t know what to do. How do you tell people who have no idea what your child goes through or myself is going through to mind their business. I have to deal with his anxiety once they get him all excited about all the suggestions they make that he will never be able to do unless he gets over his anxiety and paranoia.
My son is 48 and didnt have any mental issues until he was 40. He had significant trauma that took him into this darkness. He never would have gotten help but because he lives with my husband and I he had no choice. He saw a psyciatrist who gave him many meds with meds on top of those to handle the side effects. He was suppose to get therapy but slipped through the cracks seeing her only 5 times in a four yr period. He continued getting worse. He diagnosed him with bipolar. This doctor just wasnt helping. Then while he was on vacation he saw a new doctor. He was god sent. He.friendly open and caring with great personality. He said you had no symptoms of any mental issues until 40 yrs old. My son said no. He said you had lots of bad trauma. He said yes again. The doctor said u have ptsd. Thats what i thought also. My son said about 20 yrs prio four guys broke into his house all had boots on and kicked him in the head very badly. Said also severe brain injury. We decided to follow this doctor. Took few months. No treatment and my son was getting manic and yelling and beat my husband badly. Was placed in mental hospital and wasvthere three and half weeks. Now more new meds. He stopped talking to us and never showered or kept his clothes or room clean. I found mildew iin glasses of milk and mold on his dishes. His room stunk. His grooming was none.We see the same doctor but cant seem to get the meds correct. He never sleeps and still rarely. He talks to voices and yells at voices and my husband and I now are 66 and we have our own issues. He has gained fifty plus pounds. Hes loud. He leaves doors open and our dog could get out. He never remembers anything. He smokes and almost burned our house down several times. We cant leave him alone for any lenght of time. I follow behind him constantly to clean up his room, dishes, etc. Never remembers. Used to help with chores. No more. Hes been hospitalized.several times and never helps. Hes in a guarded state now says last hospital and now schophrenic with psychotic features and auidtory hallucinations. It has killed our marriage. My husband not his biological dad. I even have to give him his meds. My doctors say its too much stress on my heath issues and now my husbands heart. We have to find him a place to go. My heart rips out just typing this. We cant hrlp him anymore we arent experts or doctors. We just love him so much that this isnt working and its time to get him serious help. I hope its possible. I so want him to be able to care for himself before i leave this world. He has no one. No brothers or sisters and no friends at all.I pray rach day for a miracle or help from some or somewhere. He used to own two homes. Had two beautiful kifs. My grandkids that we arent able to see because my son is sick. He was a people person who was a general sales mgr at a car dealership. No hes locked in his room afraid to even be in a social setting even with family He is someone we are afraid of and dont even know him. He needs help now. The Mental health association is really not able to help us at this stage though he gets his meds there monthly.
I lost my immediate family to suicides (husband of 32 years, ten mths later my older son, then 22, in his delusions, shot, four strangers, murdering two.
Fout years ago, my remaining son had a psychotic break, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia paranoia. His delusions held me responsible for the suicides, and as a fallen archangel, revengee must be undertaken against me, with a silver bullet he was trying the cast himself.
Fast forward through 3 years of (unmedicated) hell. At last was able to persuade him to take meds, and he became ‘normal’!!!
I even convinced myself this past year, that yhey must have misdiagnosed him...
I am alone - as in - my son is the sole family that I have (my father, from Germany, had been my only family that I had , he passed in ‘81.
Not a single inlaw, from my late husband’s family will become involved.
I do have several friends who support me emotionally, but that’s it.
In Alaska, mental health care is vastly underfunded. My son lives in a waterless cabin, and I cannot handle him living with me - it doesn’t feel safe.
Not sure I can handle this second round of his illness- I became almost a wreck the last time.
He’s been off meds now for over 6 mths, and refuses to resume them - after all, he is not ill..
I want to move out of this harsch environment i have lived in all these years - I am over 60 now. And I am afraid if I sell my house and move, my son’s chances of healing drop to nill.
I don’t know how one can move a mentally ill person to another state and receive mental health care and housing assistance there.
It can be done... every state has help, although the help is not uniform across the states, which is stupid in my opinion. I believe Massachusetts and New York have the best mental health systems in the USA. … which isn't saying much as the USA rated a "D" (below average) on the MHA website (mental health of America organization?)… I can't remember exact name... I was reading as many books as I could on the subject and attending seminars and classes to try to help my son. Now I'm a total burn out on it. NAMI and SARDAA are great resources though. SARDAA has a phone conference every Tuesday night at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time... it's open to anyone anywhere. Good luck... I myself am trying to get guardianship and then to get my son out of my home and into a group situation where maybe they can help him. It's too much for one person (me) to handle anymore... I am almost 60 and I'd like to have a life too. I got him an apartment but so far he won't move into it. If this doesn't work.. I may have to do a restraining order. I'd rather see him get help and get support from a community but like many said, he thinks he is not sick. He is very paranoid but too dependent on me and our relationship is not healthy for him or me. He has no real life either.
November 21, 2019
Your post broke my heart. I feel your confusion and sadness. You have done so very much to help/understand your situation. Is your son difficult to live with? I see you mentioned the restraining order so, I’m just wondering. I’m not familiar with the “guardianship” but if that’s something that you believe will change the relationship for the better do it and....you can let go.......knowing he is going to be ok. You have done the very best that you could for him. I hope you are doing well.
We are in Northern California, but would consider relocating just about anywhere to find good services for our 26 y.o. son with Schizzo-Affective. Wondering why you think New York and Massachusets are the best states. Ideally, we'd like to be in an area with a broad range of supported living options as well as good residential with transition and step-down services that are affordable. There seem to be several back east according to ARTUSA but many are $20, 000 and up per month. We can supplement his SSI by about $2000/month. How is your son doing now. I see your post is older, so do you still feel the same about New York and Massachusets? Please email me if you can at firstname.lastname@example.org. thank you much, Sara
What happens to your son that shot the people?
My son too is in Alaska and your words literally could be my own. .. I’m in Alabama and my struggle is heart wrenching.. I can’t even discuss my son with my husband and That adds to my turmoil... I could go on and on but I wanted to reach out to you because I sincerely feel your pain.
These posts nave been so helpful.Thank you.My son 38 after 10 yrs of being relatively well on injections has relapsed very badly.
i warned jis case coordinators for lver 2 mths that this was happening.Fimally too late they put out a warrant to compulsorily put him in hospital but hes gone missing and has been for a week now..The police phone me every day to update me but I actually cant take any more.Ive done everything I can.Ive got to let go for my own sanity and health.
Following this blog. I am in a tough spot. My boyfriend of 8 years has a 23 year old adopted son who has lived on the streets, been incarcerated, and recently overdosed. His near death experience has brought him into my boyfriends life full time. Since, we have tried to assist him with getting a job, getting him housing, and finding him treatment. He too believes the government is after him and believes that their are people searching for him. He abuses his meds, self medicates (using meth), and refuses to go to counseling. I have been trying to be a supportive girlfriend, but it is becoming unbearable and affecting my own health (ulcers, stress, anxiety). I sincerely felt like I had finally found the man of my dreams, and now I have learned that he comes with a very disruptive son, and an ex-wife that my boyfriend feels he must "parent his child with". After 6 months of trying to provide this 23 year old housing, he has lost his job, can't function in society and won't get mental health help. His parents have said to him, "you have two weeks to get yourself a job, start earning an income, and go to mental health counseling". My question is: Can you ask a schizophrenic, bi-polar, severely depressed 23 year old to do any of these things? And does anyone know if individuals living with these diagnosis even understand the concept of time?
If he's still delusional especially, you can't ask him to get a job. It sounds to me like he needs to be hospitalized, especially if he won't get help. I have schizoaffective disorder, and I'm on meds and I understand the concept of time. But I've been compliant with my doctors for decades.
Great job that you understand and take your meds and your compliant with your doctors. There are many individuals out there like my son that has schizophrenia that is are in
denial. He he has anything. He is like many others who refuses to take meds. He does go and see a psychiatrist that gives him a prescription for medication. He is 37 years old he refuses to take it. He becomes very violent aggressive, has severe paranoia and has been diagnosed with PTSD. My point is congratulations to you that you know what you need to do to help yourself. Individuals like my son are very difficult it's devastating , scary and upsets me because he can't live alone the last house he had he destroyed. Sadly that in the state of New Mexico there is no mental health programs that will help if he refuses to get help.. I've tried to get guardianship and that failed so each time he acts out he goes to jail and that's not the solution.
I FEEL LIKE I CANT TAKE IT ANY LONGER AND FEEL GUILTY! my daughter is 20 and has schizophrenia. diagnosed at age of 13. She tears apart the house, always asks for $ and ride, needs to talk about her religion for hours trying to keep her mind occupied and distracted from the voices and hallucinations. She is totally dependant on us and I worry for her future. Is it best to put her in a residential home to become independant or suck it up and apreciate what baby steps she makes along the way. What is best for her? She takes her meds and counseling once a week.
I want to help you, but I don't feel qualified to answer these questions because I don't know you or your daughter. I think you should ask her doctors these questions, or join a support group and ask the people there. Sorry I can't be of more help!
Yes, Donna, isn't that the $64,000 question? My girls are 23 and 26 and both suffer from bipolar disorder (the oldest also has Asperger's syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder.) Your daughter sounds very much like mine (especially a couple of years ago.) Their dad and I are constantly asking ourselves what the future holds for our girls. I lay awake nights worrying about their ability to live independent lives. I really feel for you and the struggles you're going through. I wish I had a magic answer for you (or me) to know what is best for your child. For me, I'm waiting for an answer to settle into my heart and let me know the correct course. I'm afraid that is the best I can hope for you, too. But know, Donna, that you aren't alone. My thoughts are with you.
Hi, my son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia a year ago, since then it’s been a roller coaster ride. He takes his medication most of the time because I’m always reminding him, if I don’t he will forget. He is always saying he’s an adult and he can do what he wants and that he doesn’t need help. I feel so stressed out, to tell you the truth I’m scared that he will have a phycotic break and kill us all, I’ve read quite a few news stories about schizophrenics killing their moms or when have an episode. He has no where to go and I feel bad enough for feeling like this but sometimes I just want him to go away so I don’t have to deal with it. But I love my son and I can’t let him go and suffer by himself. I don’t know what to do. Where we live (Oshawa, Canada) there is so very little help for people with schizophrenia much less support for families. I just need to get this off my chest. Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.
What a terrible position you are in. I feel for you and what you are going through. You are not alone--there was a time I had very similar feelings about my severely bipolar daughter. Being here in the States, I don't know what resources you have available, but I would suggest that you call ConnexOntario at 1-866-531-2600 and start there. It is a hotline for services for mental illness, addiction and other difficulties and seems to have a wide networks of services. Even if your support is only over the Internet or through a help line, you need some support to get you through this time. Please reach out; I believe help is out there. Secondly, here is a link to an article about schizophrenia and violence https://www.living with schizophreniauk.org/schizophrenia-and-dangerous-behaviour. While it was written in the UK (rather than Canada) I think it has a lot of good hard facts for you to hang on to so that you don't frighten yourself too much with some of the horror stories one can find on the Internet. Finally, is your son in therapy? Can you coordinate with the therapist to provide your son with help? Here, privacy laws mean that providers cannot talk to the parents of adults with mental illness without written consent, but we get around that law by having one-way conversations whereby the parent talks to the therapist but the therapist doesn't talk back. My point is, adult or not, it is possible to actively participate in your son's healing with a little creativity. I know you feel overwhelmed now, but if you can help your son take little baby steps toward wellness, those steps eventually add up to some real gains. Six years ago, I was living in a similar hell with my daughter, but with meds, therapy and lots of little baby steps, we are now in a much better place. That you and your son can find a place of wellness is my wish for you.
My 33 year old son is schizophrenic and ruining my marriage (his father died when my son was 11), my other 3 children reject him and ignore him. He refuses help because he is a “targeted individual” and the government is torturing him. The websites for targeted individuals instruct them to never go to a psychiatrist, and tell them the government is ruining their lives and their families will eventually reject them. I feel so sorry for him, because he is genuinely afraid 100% of the time. He has out triple locks on every door in our home, spotlights on the side of our house and in general is disruptive. Our family doctor prescribed some anti-psychotics for him, but he looked the side effects up on the internet and refused to take them (impotence, kidney issues etc). He self medicates with marijuana and who knows what else. 2 DUI so cannot drink. I’m at the end of my rope. I did just read a study about schizophrenics having infections in their brain, and the effect of doxycycline treatment. Taking him tomorrow to MD. If this doesn’t help, I will have to remove him from my home. He thinks I should buy him a house! Ugh. Thanks for the vent....
I can only imagine how hard this must be for your family.
I highly, highly recommend you get your hands on this book before doing anything drastic: https://www.amazon.com/Someone-Mental-Illness-Treatment-Anniversary/dp/0967718937/ref=sr_…
(I have no affiliation with the book and nor does HealthyPlace.)
Your son is not alone and neither are you.
- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager
- Author of "Breaking Bipolar" blog
I am so sorry for all the troubles you are having. That has got to feel overwhelming. I'm glad Natasha offered you some reading material that might be helpful in making your decisions. I would like to add that I really feel NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is a wonderful resource for support for you and your kids. Not only can you meet other parents who are experiencing similar issues, but they also have groups for siblings so that your children can feel like they are also getting the support they might need. Additionally, NAMI can put you in touch with local resources and give you a place to vent. (We all need to do that.) HealthyPlace.com has contact information for NAMI on their "Resources" page. I wish you, your son, and the rest of your family only the best as you navigate through this difficult journey.
Im sorry for what youre going through with your son hearing voices, tormenting him. It must be difficult for you because you dont know what to do to help. Please try to understand that your son is telling he truth and he is being tortured. Will you email me so we can talk? email@example.com
I came to this site looking for support but found none . So sad
We all are in the same boat..
Hi Jennifer, We have similar problems with a relative. He took medications for 5 years and developed a bad case of suicidal ideation, irritability, sound sensitivity and head hitting as side effects from antipsychotics. Due to these problems his medications were reduced about 8 months ago and we are experiencing some out-of-control behavior. I was wondering if your daughter took medications in the past. Withdrawal brings about some severe problems.
I too have a 32 year old daughter that has been diagnosed, our therapist is telling us NOT to tell Sarah (our daughter) of the diagnosis in "hopes" that Sarah will come to find this on her own...in the meantime, Sarah has stopped going to therapy, what do you suggest, as a mother, do I tell my daughter she has a mental disorder?
Hi Jessica Jane Forst,
As the mother of two mentally ill adult daughters, I couldn't disagree with your therapist more. (Mind you, I'm strictly speaking for my own experience.) Would you withhold a diabetes diagnosis? Would you withhold a cancer diagnosis? This is another serious illness that needs to be addressed. When your daughter finds out that she has a mental illness and you knew and didn't tell her, she'll feel betrayed. Instead, I would research your daughter's diagnosis, find out celebrities or other famous people who share your daughter's disorder and are thriving in their lives, see if you can find info on successful new treatments, then sit down with her and discuss how her behaviors are linked to the diagnosis but here are the things we can provide as tools to overcome your challenges. Chances are she'll have a personal "ah-ha" moment when she realizes the diagnosis makes things make sense. Empower your daughter with hope that, now that she understands what's happening to her, she can use the tools available through medication and counseling, to achieve her highest potential. It won't be easy, a mental illness diagnosis can feel devastating, but by empowering your daughter with knowledge, you can allow her to take control of her life and her disease. Check out NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) for both of you. You can find the number of your local chapter on the Resources page of the HealthyPlace.com website. They have group meetings for your daughter and family-to-family support groups for you. Good luck to both of you.
Also, she lacks the insight of her illness, therefore she doesn't seek help nor is she on anti-psychotic meds. She really needs. Eds, treatment and therapy. She had refused all - due to a government conspiracy and she also claims shes psychic, has special abilities and is an empath. This enables her to be able to talk to dead people, and other people who aren't even in the same vicinity as her. She loathes her grandmother (my mom), because apparently my mom tried to poison and kill her. Its just one thing after another. I am told nothing can be done, unless she's brandishing a weapon znd threatening to use it on herself or someone else. So i sit idly and "wait" for something terrifying to happen in order for her to "possibly" get the help she needs. All the while living in a oppressive and unstable environment as my health goes down the tubes. God please help us all.
I wish I could tell you that everything will be okay, or offer some sage advice that will fix the problem. But, you and I both know there's no magic bullet out there that will fix this. All of your choices are "bad." And, I'm so sorry. You are right, however, in doing all you can to take care of yourself. You need to do this for yourself, and for your daughter in case there comes a time when she wants help. Do you have friends or family that you can turn to? Or, even just someone to go out and have coffee with to fill your own soul? In the meantime, it sounds like you've done all you can and have really stepped forth to be a good mom. That's all you can do. Take care of yourself.