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#1 of 22 Old 08-07-2008, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have no idea what to do or what to say to her, HOW to talk to her.

About 6-7 years ago, when I was 19 and 20, she had a breakdown after her divorce from my step father and literally went off the deep end. She thought people were out to kill her, sabotaging her, following her around, she would wear disguises and take different routes home to throw them off, thought people were poisining her food-drinks-everything, she burst into my room one night with a butcher knife wanting to know who got to me. It was horrible and an absolute nightmare for me.

I called averyone and anyone I could think of for help. I called the church and they turned me away, I called her side of the family and they thought I was making it all up, I even called my step father for help, AND I even called frickin' Dr Phil!!!! I was so desperate. Everyone turned me away and thought I was lying. Why would I lie about something like this?!

At the time she was selling the house and I was in college so things were a little hectic. Finally one of her sisters drove over 12 hours to check things out and low and behold I was not lying, things were bad, really, really bad. She took my mother back with her so the rest of the family could see her and to get my mother out of the "situation". My aunt thought it would help but it didn't, "things" kept happening to my mother and she started to accuse them too.

Now that her family saw that I wasn't lying they started to blame me for it. It was my fault for her breakdown, I didn't spend enough time with her, I didn't love her enough. G*D and love could cure her they thought. Well, all the love they gave her did nothing and they finally decided to have her commited. She went in and out of the mental ward for a couple of years there while I was left alone back where we used to live. Her doctor prescribed effexor and some other medication but she wouldn't discuss anything with me. I have no idea what she was diagnosed with and I can't talk to her doctor, I have tried, believe you me I have tried.

I ended up getting married and pregnant and nothing changed with her. All through my pregnany I was a horrible wreck, stressed out and distraught over her condition and the things my family had said about me.

Fast forward to now, it's happening again and I don't know what to do. Her family doesn't want to be bothered by her so I am left to deal with her. She called me tonight all upset because people are following her again. My DH is sick and tired of all of this and he hates to see how this effects me. I just don't know what to do or how to talk to her. I couldn't imagine how terrifying this all must be for her and how alone she must feel and I feel alone and terrified too.

Has anyone else dealt with a family member with symptoms like this? How do I talk to her? Who do I go to for help? I'm totally lost

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#2 of 22 Old 08-07-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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I can't see this and not respond. Are there local mental health agencies that you could contact? Even if they can't do anything for her (unless she's a danger to herself or others) they may be able to provide support for you.

Having a family member with a mental illness is so hard, especially if they're unaware of it. It sounds like you're quite alone in this, and could use some support.
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#3 of 22 Old 08-07-2008, 10:21 PM
 
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Your mom's doctors can't talk to you about her treatment or her condition without her consent, because that would be a HIPPA violation. Most therapists feel that it's ethically dicey to ask a patient to give that consent and won't do it (and as someone who has been pressured to give consent, I think the ethical issues are very real). Unless *she* asks them to discuss her condition and treatment with you, they won't. As frustrating as this is for you, your mom's doctors really are trying to help her and protect her.

I agree with those who have suggested that you seek some counseling yourself. A good therapist can support you in dealing with the emotional turmoil and trauma of having a mentally ill family member, and help connect you to resources for you, and potentially for her as well. You say you're lost. You need a map. A good therapist can help you draw one.

I am sorry you're going through all of this. It sounds awful.
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#4 of 22 Old 08-07-2008, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The thing is is that we live thousands of miles away from eachother and her family there is done with her

I do understand about the HIPPA and know that she specifically told her doctor to not talk to any of us. I can't even call the doctor to tell him she is spiraling out of control again, that's all I want to tell him, that she needs help.

Would effexor even do anything for her? To me it sounds like her doctor isn't prescribing the right meds and that he is completely missing the mark with her. This obviously isn't your run of the mill depression or generalized anxiety.

I forgot, she sometimes talks to G*D too. Not just your simple prayer but he responds to her.

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#5 of 22 Old 08-08-2008, 02:09 AM
 
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Would effexor even do anything for her? To me it sounds like her doctor isn't prescribing the right meds and that he is completely missing the mark with her. This obviously isn't your run of the mill depression or generalized anxiety.

I forgot, she sometimes talks to G*D too. Not just your simple prayer but he responds to her.
Jojo, it sounds like her doctor is a moron.

There is definitely something WAY more serious going on there, something beyond the scope of flipping Effexor, which is not only probably ineffective, but could be exacerbating things. Geez, Doc, why don't you just prescribe her an asprin and have her call you in the morning? Or maybe some meth or something to make her symptoms even worse?
:

Love to you, Jojo, you know I'm thinking of you.
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#6 of 22 Old 08-08-2008, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Bad Horse

UG, I have been on the phone quite a bit today and still have more phone calls to make, this sucks. I did talk with my grandmother last night and she is concerened but doesn't know how to talk to my mother- she calls her crazy and just tells her to take her meds- doesn't know what else to do, and that she has been prescribed an anti- psychotic but just never takes it. Of course when I talk to my mother I get quite a skwed perspective on the whole issue and can't believe everything she says. So maybe the doc isn't missing something and doing all that he can.

I strongly feel that her diet needs to be changed as well and will ask her if she will read some literature if I send it. In no way do I tell her I don't believe her, that just starts an argument and I don't need that frustration right now. At this point any little thing in a positive direction is better then nothing, better then it is now.

Just a couple of minutes ago I talked with someone here in my state about any options I have and there are none. The only thing that the family can actively DO is to call the poilice and have her involuntarily commited yet again. She'll just sign herself out and stop meds again. This is affecting her job and she may be drinking too(I think that's why she stops in the first place). Frickin' alcohol:

Well, I'm going to call her doctor and at least leave a message with him stating my concern and the situation, that's all I can do. I won't be violating HIPPA or any other privacy issues but at least he will be filled in with her situation.

Why is it so hard to get mentally ill people the help they need? Why won't she just take her meds? What can I do to convince her that she needs them?

I've done tough love before, I have told her she can't come out to visit and that we won't go to visit if she doesn't take her meds and you see how well that works!!

Thanks for listening and thanks for the support mamas.

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#7 of 22 Old 08-08-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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I've seen typical paranoia and the denial anything is wrong from DP in the past and it is overwhelmingly scary. From what I hear/read, most people who do not take medications like anti-psychotics it is for two reasons: 1 - they don't need it and people are trying to poison them through the medications, 2 - it just isn't "that bad". Either way it isn't any fun to deal with. As for convincing her that she needs her medications - I don't know what can be done. For DP it was that things were feeling crazy out of control for her and she needed to get things back to where she could deal. Sometimes people don't think their lives are out of control though - it is everyone else who has problems.
Your mom may not be getting the help she needs, but there is no reason you can't get help you can use - have you checked out NAMI at all? They have support groups both for people with mental illness and for family members/friends of people with mental illness.
Re: you mom's job being affected by the illness - is she eligible for FMLA? If so then she should use it!

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#8 of 22 Old 08-08-2008, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'll have to check out NAMI, thanks.

The thing with FMLA is that her jobs probably won't offer it. He waits tables at a resturaunt and the other job is painting houses with her brother- no "company/business" involved. They are basically independent contractors. I could mention it to her about the server job but who knows if she still even has that job

I still have to call her, I might do that here in a minute.

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#9 of 22 Old 08-08-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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The thing with FMLA is that her jobs probably won't offer it. He waits tables at a resturaunt and the other job is painting houses with her brother- no "company/business" involved. They are basically independent contractors. I could mention it to her about the server job but who knows if she still even has that job
I wish all employers had to comply with FMLA, but they don't if they have less than 50 employees.

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#10 of 22 Old 08-11-2008, 01:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I talked with my mother today and expressed my extreme concern and love for her. I told her I wanted my mom back, that I understand I can't force her to do anything, the decision to take her medication is ultimately up to her, and asked her to do one thing for me- try taking both of the medications for 6 solid months to see how it works for her. If she doesn't like it then talk to her doctor about it and see if there is any other course of action they can take.

This is all I can do, this is all anyone can do for her. I can't deal with this anymore, the stress and worry is killing me. For 7 years I have been a basket case worrying about her and trying to find help. All I can do is tell her how much I love and care about her and want her to be well and proactive in the process. She deserves to be well.

Thanks for letting me babble about this and thank you for the support.

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#11 of 22 Old 08-11-2008, 04:17 AM
 
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Oh, Jojo. I'm proud of you for having that conversation with her.

Love to you
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#12 of 22 Old 08-11-2008, 06:36 PM
 
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#13 of 22 Old 08-11-2008, 07:54 PM
 
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I don't have any personal first hand experience to offer you.

I only wanted to say that once I was in the library, and I read a book called something about "When some one you loves has Schizophrenia" or somesuch... I don't remember much of anything I read. (I read it after I got an effed up diagnosis :--schizoaffective, though, not schizophrenia) but I learned a lot (that didn't apply to me) but may help you. Not saying that that is her diagnosis or anything, but it had tips about how to help deal with a loved one who has paranoia issues, and how to get them the help they need. Maybe if you took a trip to your library, you could find that book, or a book similar to it that could help?

I"m sorry you're going through this....
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#14 of 22 Old 08-15-2008, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you mamas:

I'll have to make a trip to the library soon and look around.

Well, her doctor is moving and sent her a letter a while ago but she hasn't opened it yet I just really hope she gets a new doctor and tries the meds like I asked her to. She called yesterday and sounds awful I need to call her tomorrow and check on her.

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#15 of 22 Old 08-15-2008, 03:53 PM
 
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I meant to say yesterday that there is a really good (semi) new book out there called "My journey through madness" by Elyn Saks. It is an autobiography about a professor (I believe she taught/teaches at Harvard but I'm not sure about that part) who lives and deals with schizophrenia. It was really interesting to read and definitely gave me some good insight into the disease. It was hard to read at points though, just because of her experiences.

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#16 of 22 Old 09-12-2008, 06:24 AM
 
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I don't generally talk/write about this "publicly", but my dp has paranoid schizophrenia. Of course, I can't diagnose your mom... but the symptoms and behaviors you mentioned are very, very familiar to me. Very.

As someone else suggested, NAMI is a great organization. Also look at www.schizophrenia.com . Lots of info and they have message boards which, while not particularly... organized... help me feel that I'm not alone when things are bad.

The basics of how to talk to someone who is delusional--as I understand them from reading and what I've found works, but I don't claim to be an expert! Don't outright argue with what she says and try to convince her of reality over and over. When she starts saying delusional things, listen to what she has to say. There are some tips on empathy under Delusions on http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/delusions.html .

What I've found usually works best in my situation is to try to find holes in the "logic" of the story and present them in a matter-of-fact way. Like "X is following you home? How come (something that doesn't make sense)?" It's hard to give a good example here, but if you PM me I can try to help more. Most of the time, I can eventually find a logical flaw that he finds sufficient to disprove the delusion. I'm not sure how well this would work for someone who doesn't/can't recognize that they have a mental illness, though (if she falls into that category?).

I know this is terrifying and heartbreaking and angering and incredibly difficult to deal with (and my dp is considered rather high functioning for the illness). I know about living with delusions and schizophrenia, but I can't imagine what is must be like when it's your mom. Trying not to write a book here, but please PM me if you want to talk more, have questions, or whatever.
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#17 of 22 Old 09-18-2008, 07:04 PM
 
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I don't generally talk/write about this "publicly", but my dp has paranoid schizophrenia. Of course, I can't diagnose your mom... but the symptoms and behaviors you mentioned are very, very familiar to me. Very.

As someone else suggested, NAMI is a great organization. Also look at www.schizophrenia.com . Lots of info and they have message boards which, while not particularly... organized... help me feel that I'm not alone when things are bad.

The basics of how to talk to someone who is delusional--as I understand them from reading and what I've found works, but I don't claim to be an expert! Don't outright argue with what she says and try to convince her of reality over and over. When she starts saying delusional things, listen to what she has to say. There are some tips on empathy under Delusions on http://www.schizophrenia.com/family/delusions.html .

What I've found usually works best in my situation is to try to find holes in the "logic" of the story and present them in a matter-of-fact way. Like "X is following you home? How come (something that doesn't make sense)?" It's hard to give a good example here, but if you PM me I can try to help more. Most of the time, I can eventually find a logical flaw that he finds sufficient to disprove the delusion. I'm not sure how well this would work for someone who doesn't/can't recognize that they have a mental illness, though (if she falls into that category?).

I know this is terrifying and heartbreaking and angering and incredibly difficult to deal with (and my dp is considered rather high functioning for the illness). I know about living with delusions and schizophrenia, but I can't imagine what is must be like when it's your mom. Trying not to write a book here, but please PM me if you want to talk more, have questions, or whatever.
DP has schizoaffective disorder and has for sure had issues with paranoia. She actually has asked that if she is sounding paranoid to tell her that. She still describes what she is experiencing, and wants me to explain to her afterward what *I* see/imagine is happening. I think that for some people it is very comforting to hear that even though it may be what is going through their head, it is not what other people are thinking. Kind of like when I catastrophize (sp?) about a situation it is helpful to me for other people to listen and then state "yes, that could happen. I can see that you may be worried about that. Here is what I see being more likely to happen".

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#18 of 22 Old 09-20-2008, 06:24 AM
 
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#19 of 22 Old 09-21-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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DP has schizoaffective disorder and has for sure had issues with paranoia. She actually has asked that if she is sounding paranoid to tell her that. She still describes what she is experiencing, and wants me to explain to her afterward what *I* see/imagine is happening. I think that for some people it is very comforting to hear that even though it may be what is going through their head, it is not what other people are thinking. Kind of like when I catastrophize (sp?) about a situation it is helpful to me for other people to listen and then state "yes, that could happen. I can see that you may be worried about that. Here is what I see being more likely to happen".
Great points. My DP actually has paranoid schizoaffective disorder, too. I do think that different people with these issues benefit from different types of help and support, absolutely! The individual's personality, the severity of mental illness, and how they cope with it really affect what "support" means to them. And the ways that I can be most helpful to DP vary a lot depending on his present mental state (from no symptoms to "being" in a completely different version of reality). If my post suggested that what I/we usually do is the right or best way, I didn't mean for it to.
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#20 of 22 Old 09-22-2008, 08:44 PM
 
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And the ways that I can be most helpful to DP vary a lot depending on his present mental state (from no symptoms to "being" in a completely different version of reality). If my post suggested that what I/we usually do is the right or best way, I didn't mean for it to.
Oh, no, I didn't mean to sound like you were saying there was only one way. I was just using your post as a jumping off point for mine

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#21 of 22 Old 09-26-2008, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the book recommendation, all the help, and links.

She is still delusional and talked a little bit about it with me just yesterday. I made it a point to tell her that I believe that she believes what is going on and did not argue with her. I also gave her some other possibilities as to why something happened to her- lost/misplaced her keys instead of someone stealing them, or someone picked them up by accident

Once we got past those things I started offering some advice about menopause- which she is now going through- and about her diet which I think a change could help her too. All in all by then end of our conversation she sounded better and I felt better.

Some of my family that lives near her are treating her badly- arguing, calling her crazy to her face, restraining her(which escalated into a physical fight), etc. It's certainly NOT helping the situtaion so I think I'm going to be making some phone calls tomorrow and relaying some info to them about how to handle her.

After her first horrible breakdown I now know how not to let this get to me, at least not as much. I strongly believe all of the stress during my first pregnancy catapulted me into pre-e so this time is going to be different.

I still need to find out if she found a new doctor since her old one moved away and to somehow ask about her meds. That is very tough to do without making her angry.

Thanks for the help and listening to me babble.

wife to DH 2/03, mama to DS 3/03 & DD 1/09
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#22 of 22 Old 09-26-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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it is so hard to see people you love hurting. I'm glad you felt better after talking with her a bit about things. It makes me so sad to hear how other family members are treating her

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