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schizophrenia
August 22, 2006
10:29 pm
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rmckayx2
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Does anyone have any direct contact with people who have this disease? My twin brother has this terrible illness. He started showing signs in the early 90's. He believed he was hearing messages in the music that he listened to. Later on he developed visual hallucinations. Fortunately he was hospitalized in 95 and has responded well to medication. As well as anyone could respond to anti-psychotic medication that is - since the side affects are awful. Since he was initially treated, he occasionally takes himself his meds, sending my family and myself into a frenzy of worry and anxiety. Usually this happens once every 5 years or so. My brother (while medicated) is usually in a pretty nasty mood. If he feels any kind of slight or insult, he will say the most hurtful or offensive thing he can think of. Has anyone ever had an argument with someone and thought to yourself (usually much later) all the things you could have said during that argument and didn't? My twin doesn't hold back a single thing when he's ticked off. My family is co-dependant, so when my brother says or does something really offensive or hurtful, my brothers and sisters brush it off because they believe his illness doesn't make him accountable. Back when my brother was psychotic, he pushed me during a fight and tore my ACL. (anterior cruciate ligament) A few years later he got me thrown out of an apartment by calling and threatening a roommate. Most of my life, my brother has been physically violent. Now, he's verbally violent. Tantrums, pouting and manipulative behavior. 2004 was the last time my brother had taken himself off his meds. I flew back east and was with him after he was released from the hospital. As you can imagine, it's emotionally exhausting to remain close to him since he show's no commitment in building a functional life. He smokes grass, doesn't work, lives by himself and borrows money from friends and family which he doesn't pay back. On one hand, I feel the survival guilt from not suffering from the same problems he does. On the other hand, I hate how much his illness has affected my family. Especially my mother who's not exactly the youngest person. My twin has entitlement I could only dream of having. Since noone in the family holds him responsible for his actions, he doesn't accept any responsibility for his actions. About two years ago, my twin freaked out me while on the phone. Afterwards I finally wrote him asd asked him to stop contacting me until he got his life together. At least more of a stable and respectful life. I don't wish to have a brother who's free of this illness. I don't even wish for some kind of an apology for the many hurtful and disrespectful things he's done. I want the kind of respect and compassion that I earned through many painful and stressful years as his twin and as a person. That's it. To ask a schizophrenic person to NOT be so self centered and show a little empathy is probably asking too much. At the same time, in almost 15 years I haven't been able to find the line of accountability for what I feel that he can be held responsible for. I feel guilty and a bad person for drawing a line in the sand. But I can't respect anyone that can't find respect for me. Mentally ill or not. If anyone has any personal experience with how you handled a relationship with someone who was schizophrenic, please give me some insight. Right now, all I feel is resentment for what this relationship has done to me and my family. Plenty of anger.

Then I wonder why in my personal life I have so much patience with inappropriate behavior. It took me a while to figure it out. Duh..

August 22, 2006
10:35 pm
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Randomwomen2
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I have an uncle that is Schizophrenic he is on meds for it but it sounds like your brothers case is a lot worse. Is there a home that he can live in? Please dont take anything he says to heart hunny. I think you did the best thing that you could do for yourself by backing away.

August 22, 2006
10:38 pm
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Anonymous
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i have a nephew in law who is schizophrenic. as long as he is medicated he is a functional human being. He does have his little quirks and ticks all his own. my niece loves him very much. When he says something out of line we all automatically orient him back to reality. nothing is harped on. he is very quick witted and fun to be around. Your brother may be schizophrenic but it sounds like he also has underlying mental issues coming into play here.

August 22, 2006
11:08 pm
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trying2Bbetter
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I have an older brother (15 years older) who was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic in the late 1970's. He was only ever violent when he drank heavily and not on his meds. Otherwise, he is not violent.

I remember when I was growing up and we all still lived at home, there were times when he took himself off his meds and he would fly into rages (when drinking), climb poles, yell and scream at the top of his lungs, and try to provoke my dad and our other two brothers to fight him.

One time he laid down in the middle of our street screaming for cars to come run him over. My dad had to call the police and have him restrained and admitted to the psych ward in the middle of the night. That was scary.

He has stayed on his meds, quit drinking, and has been able to live alone since 1984. He has his odd quirks and OCD like symptoms, but is not violent. He is actually pleasant to be around, pretty insightful and smart. I'm glad to see that still exists within him, but I know his personality could always change back if he stopped the meds and started drinking again.

I am sorry you have had to go through so much pain, I can't imagine with a twin brother at that. It sounds like you have a lot of valid reasons for being so upset all of these years. Having a sibling with mental illness is challenging, and it affects everyone in the family.

Drawing your line in the sand is not something you should feel guilty about. Have you ever talked to a therapist about your feelings? Talking it out with a professional may help you come to terms with everything you've gone through. I wish you well.

t2Bb

August 22, 2006
11:29 pm
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Anonymous
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My sister-in-law is schizophrenic and has very severe bi-polar.She refuses to take meds of any kind(probably due to common symptoms of both illnesses being that they think it's you not them)...and she isn't violent,but she drives us all crazy(for lack of a better word).She occasionally,about every 6 months or so,zones out on us,has no contact,and then suddenly calls from some weird location...sometimes here in town far from where she lives,1 time about 2 years ago,she ended up in Albuquerque,NM after she hitchhiked on the highway,and couldn't recall how she got there.Her 3 daughters were removed for medical & physical neglect,and abuse,and she honestly believes that the state singled her out and had a conspiracy against her to take her children because she doesn't believe there's anything she did that was that bad to constitute their removal.She currently lives with a BF who beats her and calls her names,telling everyone she desrves to be treated that way,and as an added bonus,he's a single father of a little girl(no contact whatsoever from the biological mother)..and he makes the child call my sis-in-law "Mommy" and uses the child as a weapon to keep her around and plays on her illness by telling her none of us care about her anymore.
Not caring is never the issue...seperating yourself is difficult,but there is nothing wrong with the needed space.As Trying said,drawing a line in the sand is nothing to feel guilty about.My mother-in-law is EXTREMELY co-dep..and doesn't even think she has the right to have her committed,so the behaviors and the nuttiness continues and worsens here.Be strong,and my prayers are with you...
Regards,P.O'd

August 23, 2006
12:48 am
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gracenotes
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rmckayx20,

There's one sentence in your post that really stands out for me:

Since noone in the family holds him responsible for his actions, he doesn't accept any responsibility for his actions.

It sounds like this is crux of the problem. It sounds like your whole family is being controlled by his behavior and do not know what to do. I have been around someone with schizophrenia, attempted to help this person, they did get better for awhile, and then decompenstated. Its really a heartbreaking disease.

But this stuff about being victimized by physical violence, walking on eggshells, and not asking him to take any responsibility.... That is not doing him any good. I think your whole family needs to get involved in some counseling or something to understand some dynamics here and feel good about setting some limits. This scenario in not doing ANYONE any good and I think everyone has lost their perspective, codepenent or not.

As far as you feeling guilty... that's a issue to explore maybe with a therapist, or at least someone outside of your family. You are not responsible for your brother's problems, did not cause them, and have no power to change the fact of his disease, but there are effective ways to cope with this reality, meanwhile keeping yourself safe.

After awhile, probably everyone will desert him just out of being overwhelemed. That sounds quite possible if things stay the way they are. I would suggest family counseling or individual counseling for yourself. Maybe you could also find a support group through Alliance for the Mentally Ill, I think that is the name. I know the family of this person had involvement in an organization that brought them together with parents of mentally ill children.

The story of my schizophrenic is not fully known as this person rather abruptly left my life, but I do know her parents rightfully reached a point where they acknowledged there was nothing further they could do, and they also had had enough of her behavior. I don't fault them for that either, at all.

August 23, 2006
2:33 pm
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rmckayx2
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I wanted to say thanks for the responses, guys. Schizophrenia is bad enough by itself without having other diseases or problems overlapping eachother. My brother is most likely an addict and co-dependant on top of his illness. I am going to be seeing him in the next couple weeks and that's why this stuff is cropping up now. Though I have cut my brother off, there is a stern lecture in waiting if I have to tolerate any passive aggressive behavior when I see him.

It's all kind of ironic. I lost an older brother of mine in 1987 when he was shot and killed by a co-worker. (he was an addict) The sense of guilt and collective failure my family went through changed everyone in a profound way. Then my twin became sick and used all of that family guilt to get what he wanted from people. Seeing a therapist again is the next logical step for me. Though I don't necessarily know what the goal of the therapy would be. Blow off steam? Express anger? Determine boundaries? Find some element of justice in this experience? Not to be gloomy or anything. Regardless of my own mindset- I have a twin I can never really expect much from. Someone who lives in envy of my life- simply because I don't have his illness. Not a very fun position to be in.

August 23, 2006
6:59 pm
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gracenotes
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rmckayx2,

Sorry to hear about all the additioanl things that have gone on in your family. That's a lot. Maybe therapy could help by talking about it, making some inner resolutions, looking at family dynamics, but also, with your brother contact, maybe about being okay with setting good boundaries with his passive aggressive behavior. Just guessing here. Take care.

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