Schizophrenia: The Perspective of a Father & Brother-in-Law: Author #14: December 2007 Archives

Author #14: December 2007 Archives

December 13, 2007

Living With Schizophrenia

I live in a household with two schizophrenics and every day of my life is a different experience, of course, no
two days are alike, if that were the case life would be dull. My son has been assured he will be getting Medicaid and food stamps, he is not eligible for Social Security disability for he hasn't worked enough but hopes to get SSI. So far he hasn't run into much red tape. There is hope. As for the brother-in-law nothing
much changes, he still mumbles frequently, most times making little or no sense, as for his health habits he
has no good ones, he smokes like an old locomotive, drinks tea and soft drinks to excess, and eats anything
he wants though he is diabetic(allegedly). As I have mentioned before he has other health problems such as
artery disease and has had some kidney problems. I have a feeling one day he is just going to drop dead. Or
he could outlive us. We used to think that about his mother because she had many things wrong but she just
gave out at age 85 in 2005, probably heart failure, she had dementia which may be worse than schizophrenia by what it does to the mind, it's my feeling most of the mental illnesses are interrelated because many symptoms are similar. I'm here to tell you living with schizophrenia can be a living hell. A person learns to expect anything and everything, this illness does not discriminate. If the medical profession
knew what causes mental illnesses they could be cured as well as others. There is hope.-30-

December 13, 2007

Two Weeks Until Christmas 2007

As I sit here writing this latest entry I wonder what this holiday means to one this illness we deal with daily. Does
someone afflicted with schizophrenia understand any holiday? Possibly it would depend on the stage of the
illness. Could they enjoy a holiday like a person not afflicted? How do they enjoy it? Lots of questions, many
answers. Maybe I can provide some insight, maybe some solutions. Two people come to mind. My son and
brother-in-law whom I write about in this blog. I was married to my son's mother from 1981 to 89. Christmas was a crazy and not always fun time for our son as he would get worked up for it was all confusing to him, my
wife would not even wrap his presents for she felt it would confuse him more. This was always puzzling to me,
after all, isn't one of the joys of Christmas unwrapping presents with anticipation as to what's inside? That's how I took it to be. When my son was little he got virtually everything he wanted from my then inlaws. They always felt the way to solve his problems was with material things such as food or money, it was love to them. This was always a sore spot with me and remains so to this day. My former mother-in-law passed away in 2004. When this was going on it hindered my being an effective father for certain responsibilities were taken away from me, my then inlaws were very domineering people, possibly this was one of many factors leading to my son's mental state. That could be speculation, he could have been born with a chemical inbalance which could have been undetected until this year. Here it is 2007 and we are still learning about mental illness. As for the brother-in-law the Christmas season has always been special to him. When his mother was alive, they went all out each year, when they had two incomes life was good, debts were paid, and they always had money. No more. When she died the extra funds dried up. As of this date he has bought a few gifts. Quite possible the former enthusiasm has faded. His illness is probably the
cause of this. Till next time.-30-

December 9, 2007

How Schizophrenia Really Affects Me

For several entries I have written how this illness affects the people immediately around me. Now it's time to
tell you how it affects this writer. Let's begin by going back to when my wife and I moved moved to our current
residence. We moved there in June of 2005 not long after her mother died. She had passed away on May 30th. Her son who is paranoid schizophrenic was left with the house and the associated expenses. On the
suggestion of his brother we moved in to "help" with the utilities. Well, I'm to tell you that was BS. We pay all
the utilities, even the homeowners insurance, his brother has him convinced he can't help because he doesn't
have enough after paying his credit cards. That is even more BS. He inherited credit cards from his mother and loves to use them, he doesn't realize how much it costs him in interest and finance charges, along the way he acquired more cards, they are probably maxed out. His brother fusses at him frequently but it is fruitless.
That and the "sweepstakes" offers he gets frequently, they are scams. If I am fortunate enough to intercept them they go into File 13. My brother-in-law's behavior really used to bug the hell out of me, for I didn't under-
stand it, boy do I now! After reading nineteen pages from this website I know how it affects people, I can tell
you in complete honesty my life and outlook on it has been changed in the past few weeks, probably for the rest of my life, or at least as long as he is still here. As for my son he is in the early stages of the illness and
has a brighter future, I hope. Later.-30-

December 9, 2007

How A Husband Copes With Schizophrenia

When I began this blog I wondered what it would be really like to cope with this illness I knew little about. Well,
today I really got an eye and ear opening experience. My brother-in-law came into the kitchen ranting about
not getting his Social Security check and saying I had it. He was very adamant about it. My wife and I decided
that was enough. She flat told him I didn't have anything of his. He also got these delusions my son and I are
bad for him as well. My wife called her other brother to come down and talk to him. Before he arrived she also told him and my son in no uncertain terms they need to help us with housekeeping, just the two of us are doing
it and we are tired of it. By that time the other brother had arrived. He explained to his brother his benefits come from one source, the VA. He also checked his meds and discovered he was out of one of his pills, which
made sense on his behavior. He had not told anyone which doesn't surprise me, since he is a man of few words. Anyhow he got a month's supply and he has been okay since. I was able to go back to sleep, my wife was able to shower and run some errands. My son went to apply for food stamps and Medicaid, he is in a hold-
ing pattern. My nest task is to help him find some volunteer work, for he has had no luck so far in finding a job. Things are slow, places aren't even hiring for Christmas. What makes this worse is a few years back he
got a credit card with absolutely no way of paying it due to no income. Recently he started getting calls from
a collection agency demanding repayment. My wife, son and I talked to their rep and attempted to explain
why there will be a delay in paying. He wouldn't listen to anything we told him and got rude with my wife, she let him know about it. She eventually talked to his boss and complained. He was receptive, apparently the word got to the rep and he was more cordial when he called back, even giving his name which he hadn't before. More to this story later.-30-

December 9, 2007

Trying To Keep A Household Together

In 2005 my mother-in-law passed away at the age of 85. She had been in poor health since at least 2001, we
suspect since her sister-in-law died the same year, they had been very close, she started going downhill after
that. By 2003 she was in a nursing home and had been diagnosed with dementia, another devastating mental
illness characterized by severe loss of memory and not being able to care for herself anymore. This was es-
pecially hard on my wife and her oldest brother. My wife's sister has always been too busy to be involved in
anything but her son and her grandaughters to care about her mother. I would think it isn't true but she has
given no indication otherwise. It appears she has no feelings or heart. Recently she claims to have called her
brother who has schizophrenia to check on him, I can tell you that is a lie for caller id does not lie. My wife is
really upset by this and it's really a sore spot with her, and remains so, we don't know why. Maybe she should
have her had examined as well as her husband's. If whoeve reads this wonders why my latest entry began this
way do the math: All the above scenarios have on common thread: Mental illness, mainly schizophrenia which
I am dealing with on two fronts. My son called me last night at work and said my brother-in-law came out of his
room and went off, he said he could understand him. After a few moments he was back in his room and nothing further happened. We really don't think he would do any harm to anyone but himself. What I've noticed lately is he appears to be more withdrawn than ever, he has taken lately to keeping food in his room, for several months when he makes tea he keep two pitchers on plates in his room. He has a small fridge and presumeably has items in there. It seems very strange to me. We found he had run out of one of
his meds last week, which explains his behavior. Till next time. -30-

December 2, 2007

Schizophrenia, The Holidays And Other Thoughts

This illness doesn't come and go with the seasons of the year. Once you acquire it it never leaves you, it has to be controlled usually with meds and counseling. What I'm leading to is we are in the period just after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. The brother-in-law I live with just today came out of his room talking loudly and mumbling incoherently as well as breathing heavily making no sense at all which is normal for him.
When you are in your own world nothing else matters. Just let him get out his frustrations and he is fine after that. We have become accustomed to it, it's just best to ignore it. What is so sad about this is at one time he
had a job, was productive, always had money and was so mechanically inclined. Surprisingly he still retains a lot of that knowledge. He is the best I have ever seen at wrapping gifts especially at Christmas. The paper is trimmed perfectly, he uses the right amount of tape, and his hands are as steady as a surgeon's. When he tries other tasks his nerves get the best of him. Christmas is his favorite time of the year and in the past he has been very generous in giving. Being on a fixed income and getting his pension at the first of the month he has to stretch his money, his older brother helps him with that and gets frustrated when he does wasteful spending, he just can't manage his money. His brother has a lot on his plate what with dealing with his younger brother, his family which included an adopted daughter who we think has a mental illness but who has not been diagnosed, she has no desire to use her beauty school diploma to get a full-time job, choosing to say she is retired at age 21. That is sad, for she is really a bright girl. It has to be tough on him, and it trickles down to the other family members. Of course I would be remiss to not include my wife who I suspect has some kind of mental illness but refuses to acknowledge even the possibility, she takes out her rage on me frequently and I don't know how I manage to endure, I must be stronger than I thought. She thinks her problems are my fault, and if anything else goes wrong it's because of me. I might be a lot of things, but I am not a liar, I do not cheat on her or mistreat her, I am a good worker and I care more about others than about myself and am comfortable with that. She might tell you otherwise, she loves to point out my faults. Anyway, time to get off my soapbox. Till next time.-30-

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