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Has anyone got a schizophrenic parent?

(7 Posts)
KathH Fri 11-Sep-09 22:26:00

Excuse the spelling. How does anyone/everyone cope? My mum was diagnosed as being schizophrenic tendancies about 20 yrs ago. My dad was alive then. Since he died 11 yrs ago my gran and my mums brothers and sisters have made the decision that its up to me to deal with. Quite why its not my sisters problem and just mine I'm not sure. I have 4 children and work full time and am really struggling with all the phone calls I get - my Gran rings to say my mums been giving her weird phone calls, a friend of my mums rings to say she's been shouting things out in church. I've spoken to my mums GP who was helpful to a point but basically said theres not much he can do without my mum admitting shes got a problem. I try and do as much as I can but theres only so much I can do and dh although sympathetic is beginning to feel that my mums problems are starting to take over my life. I really love my mum and I promised my dad when he was dying that I'd look after her but I'm really struggling at the moment.

flaminhell Fri 11-Sep-09 22:45:42

My grandma was schizophrenic, its a terrible thing to have to live with and not just for the sufferer, I was only 15 when she died, but I remember all the late night calls, and the screaming that she was being watched, the neighbours were spying on her, helicopters, awful aful.

My mum was her main carer, although there were 2 other sisters neither were interested and so my mum took the whole burden of it, sounds mean but my grandma wasnt greatful, and really didnt notice much, all your love and effort gets lost in the midst of the turmoil.

Unless your mum takes the steps to take care of herself, by accepting she is ill, she has to medicate, and she has to cope, nothing you do will make much difference. Its such a dibilitating disease, and so misunderstood, but you can not cure her, you can only help her, and to do that you have to help you. Do not let this affect your marraige, because if that breaks down, you will still have the same problems plus heartache. Put yourself and your family first, look after your mum, help her but know you can not fix her.

I am probably not much help, but my family is riddled with mental illness, I have a grandmother with schizophrenia, an aunt her daughter with schizophrenia, a cousin with autisum, a brother with depression, a sister who is not related to my side with ocd, so I have some undersatnding of standing and watching and feeling helpless.

Speak to MIND they are a mental health charity (you probably already know) they will be able to help you with support groups and maybe techniques for coping for your mother, either way you have no control and thats the worst part of mental illness.

Lots of luck

KathH Sat 19-Sep-09 23:31:05

Thanks for your message. I really want to help my mum & am torn between trying to "help" and my children. I only wish there were more hours in the day!

DoNotBringLulu Sun 20-Sep-09 18:48:14

Kath, my db suffers from paranoia, they used to say it was schizophrenia, but now they don't want to use a negative label.

He has been unwell since his late 20s, he is in his fifties now.

Sadly, he was sectioned and my dp had to finally say they couldn't have him back at home with them, so the council housed him. He is taking medication now but still says he doesn't need it.

Second the advice from flaminhell, do look after yourself, and when my parents couldn't take anymore, I contacted the carers' association, our local mental health NHS has a carers' support service. If you look for the same in your area, they will be able to help you - I know they have leaflets and literature on how to tell the dc about the difficulties.

I will keep looking for you on this thread, this is so worrying and stressful.

boredofthehols Fri 25-Sep-09 19:19:29

Kath, the best thing you can do for yourself, your family and your mum is to try and encourage her to seek support from her local mental health services. If she's making strange phone calls and shouting out loud in church, she most probably is experiencing active symptoms which must be upsetting for her. The best way to approach it would be to talk to her and try and get her to describe what she is thinking. So if she admits that she believes that her neighbours are spying on her for example, you need to acknowledge that this msut be a frightening thought for her but that it's not one that you share - so whilst not agreeing with her, you are acknowledging how it might upset her. If you can, then persuade her that her GP can refer her to see someone (ie a psychiatrist) to help her sort out her thoughts so they bother her less. The GP can refer her for an appointment with the local mental health team where she can get access to all sorts of support, which will take the burden of care from you.

good luck.

rabbit54 Tue 27-Oct-09 21:15:46

Hi, Kath

My mum is schizophrenic. If the only problem is that she is being a bit socially nutty then why is your Gran and others phoning you up about it? Are they ashamed? Is your mum looking after herself, caring for herself? If she is and she is as happy as she can be, then I would keep check on her, but do not get concerned. Are people in the family contacting you rather than your sister because you are someone who considers other people and gets concerned for them? If so then that's not fair. I don't know who you can contact other than MIND who i think can send someone around to help assess your mums living conditions etc. I hope some of my writing helps. I think there is an interesting debate to be had about whether someone is bipolar or schizophrenic as so many famous comedians, high achievers are bipolar....

KathH Wed 04-Nov-09 20:53:45

Hi rabbit54 - sorry, only just read your post. I've kind of come round to your way of thinking. I ended up having to confide in my mums friend as she rang me because she was concerned about my mum and she more or less said what you've said. I think my Gran worries as she lives quite long way away and is quite elderly but then it turned out that my mum had said a few strange things to my auntie. My mum is one of seven and not one of her brothers or sisters come to visit her it's like they've washed their hands of her which annoys me but thats another story! As you say, the main problem is that she is "socially nutty" and her GP said that he's not prepared to dope her up to her eyeballs to spare other peoples blushes which I guess is right.

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