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What are your experiences with schizophrenia?

To me it's the worst of mental illnesses (with the possible exception of Munchhausen syndrome. One study found that patients with Ganser's Syndrome - a subtype of Munchhausen's - who fake schizophrenia have a worse prognosis after something like ten years that actual schizophrenics.) I imagine living with schizophrenia is like being in a nightmare every minute of the day. Another interesting study found that more intelligent and/or educated a person with the disease is, the greater their likelihood of suicide.

Anyway, do you have any first-hand experiences with schizophrenia? My mom's cousin was a schizophrenic. She lived alone and was able to work part-time. She had also been treated with old-school antipsychotics (like Haldol) and developed tardive dyskenesia. She died when I was in eighth grade, and I remember being much younger and knowing something was wrong with her. I wish I had known her better, in part to get more insight into the disease. According to my mom, her cousin was mildly mentally retarded, possibly the effect of ECT. (Don't know if this can happen?) She had been a normal child and teenager and was diagnosed in her early 20s.

I think, all things considered, she had an okay quality of life. She was able to live relatively independently and had a caring family.

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by Anonymousreply 2407/31/2020

My great aunt had paranoid schizophrenia. She was diagnosed when she was around the age of 40. Everything was fine as long as she took her meds, but her husband felt sorry for her because she had some reaction to the meds, tiredness I believe it was, so he was very lax about seeing that she took them faithfully. Wrong, wrong, wrong thing to do.

Off her meds, she was a holy terror. One cold winter day she arrived at our front door wearing only a thin nightgown. She would arrive at church, dressed in weird odds and ends, stand up in the middle of the sermon and go on an angry rant about the minister, proclaiming that he was doing the devil's work. One day she brought a loaf of unsliced bread to church, and when the congregation was leaving, she hit the minister over the head with it. She had conversations with her fridge.

Eventually this all became a bit much and she barricaded herself and her very sick husband inside the house and refused to open the door for anyone to help him. My mother (her niece) contacted the police and told them what was happening so she and a cop went to the house and managed to sweet-talk her into opening the door. The husband was taken to the hospital where he later died, and great-aunt was hospitalized. Mom got power of attorney, and she was able to have her aunt Jenny placed in a reputable special care home, which was really quite elegant and had once been a beautiful old mansion. Costly, but Jenny had money. That was where she spent the remainder of her days.

After she left her home, Mom and I, along with a cousin went to clean out the house and tidy it up so that it could be sold. We found that Jenny had sprinkled salt around the perimeter of every room, apparently to keep the demons away.

by Anonymousreply 107/25/2020

About five years ago the YA author Neal Schusterman wrote an award winning novel called Challenger Deep informed by his experiences of his son’s diagnosis and treatment with the disease. It includes his son’s artwork from when he was going through episodes and passages in the book try to evoke what that experience was like.

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by Anonymousreply 207/25/2020

[quote]Eventually this all became a bit much and she barricaded herself and her very sick husband inside the house and refused to open the door for anyone to help him. My mother (her niece) contacted the police and told them what was happening so she and a cop went to the house and managed to sweet-talk her into opening the door. The husband was taken to the hospital where he later died, and great-aunt was hospitalized.

r1, this is almost uncanny. When my mom's cousin was in her 50s, her long-time psychiatrist retired. She took it very hard and went off her meds. She then barricaded herself in her house for several days. As I remember it (I was 13 at the time and not directly involved, so maybe I'm getting the story partially wrong) my mom and her brother contacted the police to do a wellness check. The police refused, since she hadn't threatened to harm herself or others. By the time my mom and her brother broke in, their cousin was severely dehydrated and lying in bed. She had a Raggedy Ann doll in bed with her. She yelled at my mom, "I'm fine! Just ask Dr. Anderson here" (pointing at the doll). Dr. Anderson was her retired psychiatrist.

In the ER, they started IVs. My mom said she lay on the gurney saying the Hail Mary over and over and over again. (She was a practicing Catholic.) That night, she was transported to the psych ward. In the middle of the night, she got up to use the restroom, had an aneurysm on the toilet, and died.

Sad story.

by Anonymousreply 307/25/2020

Meant to sign r3 OP

by Anonymousreply 407/25/2020

The older brother of the little girl who I was childhood friends with was had schizophrenia, though I didn't know it at the time. I just assumed he was a goofy, teasing older brother. When I would go over to play at their house he would be lurking around. He had a tight scowl on his face to cover his braces (I think he might have been self-conscious of his teeth). He would do this weird walk as he approached anyone. Sort of a fast walk then just stop suddenly really close to you and make that tight-lipped scowl. Then he'd start calling Gail (that was my friend's name) "Boodum Bottom." He say "Boodum Bottom, Bootum Bottom" really fast, then his sister would start screaming "Doug the bug" Doug the Bug." The mother, Dianne (who looked a lot like a middle-aged Mary Tyler Moore) would then come charging in the room to see what was happening. One time I was over at their house swimmimng, Doug and Gail and I were in the pool. This whole "Boodum Bottom" "Doug the Bug" thing started up again and Doug (the brother) for no reason at all kicked me in the face. I got out of the pool and Mom comes charging over and starts yelling at ME (!??) I didn't understand it because I was the one who got kicked. She called my mother and told her I was making fun of Doug. When she was yelling at me it reminded me of that scene in "Just Between Freids" where Mary TYler Moore had that meltdown when she found out her best friend was sleeping with her husband. I was so afraid of going back to that house. It wasn't until years later that I found out that Doug had schizophrenia. To this day he has worked at the same pharmacy in my childhood town for like 30 years. Gail, the sister, had moved out of state. She gave birth to twins who both died at an early age, and susequently gave birth to another set of twins who survived.

by Anonymousreply 507/25/2020

I have to ask him. Hold on.

No, I have no experience with this.

by Anonymousreply 607/25/2020

I have to ask him. Hold on.

No, I have no experience with this.

by Anonymousreply 707/25/2020

My younger sister had a BIL who was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic when he was in his twenties. I went to high school with him and remember him then as a fairly typical kid. But then the disease kicked in and he became another, much scarier, person.

As is so often the case, his mother was hysterically protective of him. Meaning, she let him keep living at home, catered to his every whim, and was in constant denial that he was severely mentally ill. He became accustomed to his role as King of the Household and besides being demanding and bossy, became threatening and abusive to both his parents. His dad hated and feared him.

He ended up threatening to kill pretty much every member of his family, plus people he had only casual acquaintance with. Occasionally he'd hold it together long enough to get a job, only to lose control and start stalking and threatening his boss or coworkers, so he'd get fired.

When his mom died, she left the house in trust to him. His dad, by then in his eighties, moved to another state to get away from his son. He was that scared of him. My sister and her husband ended up having to take care of elderly dad and wrestle with the social worker over schizo BIL, because he destroyed the home (hoarding and damage). Plus, he'd gamble with his trust money as fast as it was disbursed to him. He got credit cards and ran up debts on those, too.

Things eventually deteriorated to the point where they were trying to figure out how to get him out of the house and into some kind of care. Problem was, nobody - including the social worker, the local church, and the family - wanted to get involved, because the guy was so dangerous.

And then one day, my sister's husband got a phone call from his brother's social worker: Your brother is dead. Turned out he'd felt unwell several days previously, went to the ER, they were about to release him when he dropped dead from a heart attack. It was the weekend, so his social worker didn't inform the family until the following week.

HUGE relief to the family - well, except for the kids he'd had by a black girl on welfare (he'd done it to aggravate his racist parents). They thought they were coming into bucks as their dad's heirs. Which is when they found out racist grandma had set up the trust so that if her son died before his brother did, the remaining funds went to his brother, not to his kids. My sister and her husband were glad to get the money, because they'd spent so much of their own on his care, they felt it was only payback.

by Anonymousreply 807/25/2020

A friend's wife. They were both physicians, around 50 years old, with three kids: the oldest on his way to a competitive surgical residency, the second at Princeton, the third in high school. I only met her once, at a party, but I enjoyed talking with her. She seemed a bit introverted and serious, but smart. Apparently she had a total break about four or five months later. They were driving back from a vacation and she went totally nuts, accusing the husband of abuse and running a prostitution ring out of their home. He had to move out of the home for a few days, but at whatever hearing they held, she was so clearly nuts, that everything was reversed: she had to move out, he stayed in the home with the youngest, and he secured a restraining order against her. He tried to have her committed but was denied.

Terrifyingly, through all of this, she continued to work as a physician. At one point her boss had a private discussion with the husband, and the husband was able to discretely, non-specifically, but clearly warn the boss about what was going on, which prevented any harm to her patients. She accused one of her coworkers of sexual assault, and claimed her husband was paying people to eat in front of her. She was put on leave. The hospital did right by her: she had the option of getting help or leaving. Being crazy, she chose to leave. Amazingly she landed (briefly) at a medical school. The story gets fuzzy from here because my friend didn't have the same contacts there, but he heard that she was taking 12-14 hours to round and couldn't diagnose a single patient - she kept running out to find someone for a second opinion. Her students and residents complained. It's not clear how long this lasted, but a year later she was working as a doctor who makes house calls. Not fancy concierge service, but the lowest of the low, the ambulance chasers of medicine. Last I heard she failed her boards.

It was genetic and the wife's mom also was schizo. The family's way of dealing with it was to stick her in an apartment for 30 years and forget about her. In hindsight, the wife had been showing signs for years - she had a few crazy stories over the years that the husband just overlooked (e.g. someone flashed me while I was driving to the grocery store). Many of her stories involved sexual abuse, and he wondered if she had been abused as a child. The youngest had to spend weekends with her until he turned 18, which had to be a nightmare. She also adopted a puppy at some point, which died from neglect.

by Anonymousreply 907/25/2020

Doesn’t run in my family, but I’ve seen it up close and personal.

I’ve discussed my observations of those with schizophrenia here at length, and don’t wish to do so again.

That said, I am starting to believe that Kanye isn’t just affected with Bi-Polar disorder.

I’m not a doctor, it watching his recent rants reminded me specifically of one schizophrenic I befriended in my early 20s.

by Anonymousreply 1007/25/2020

Apparently it ran in the family, on my mom's side. My great-grandmother had a sister named Ethel, whom they kept locked in a small stone outbuilding behind the main house. She was something of an escape artist, and when she did get out, she'd invariably attack somebody, usually a child. My mom was attacked by her.

Ironic, because my mom developed it. She had a nervous breakdown in her late teens, but the real breakdown came in the mid-1970s, when I was a young teen. I had a really hard time dealing with her abuse. Finally, she was locked up for a few months, only to emerge a withdrawn shell of her former self, heavily medicated, doing nothing. Even though I was only thirteen, I had to assume care of my younger brother, grocery shopping, and cooking the meals.

My parents tried to hold it together, but they divorced in 1979. My brother and I stayed with my mom. Life with her was a rollercoaster, with her going on and off her meds. When my younger brother (who was autistic) turned 18, the last of the child support ended, and this change to our economy meant that my mom could no longer afford to see the doctor who had kept her semi-stable for so long. She shifted to county mental health, MHMR, which put her on different, less effective meds. Therapeutic advice differed as well; they advocated that she go out with friends and socialize. This led her to go out drinking with co-workers at local bars, and alcohol is completely inimical to psychiatric drug therapy. They also thought it would be healthier for her to pursue life independent of her kids, so she threw me out of the house (although I had up to that point functioned as the stabilizer, keeping both her and my autistic brother going). I moved out, and things really went to hell for them.

My brother, a barely functioning autistic, decided one night in 1995 to go looking for a local titty bar. Although it was only a few blocks away, he couldn't find his way out of a paper bag, much less navigate driving. Somehow he wound up in a rural area, pursued by violent drunken rednecks, who chased him through a ditch and a barbwire fence, out into a field where the truck, barbwire wound around its wheels and driveshaft, came to rest. They beat the glass out of the windows, dragged him out of the truck, and were in the process of beating him to death when the police showed up and put a stop to it. One of them had beaten him with a tire iron, and he had sustained severe head trauma.

Perhaps three weeks later, he began acting oddly, ducking behind things when cars passed, and claiming that people with cell phones were phoning in his position. Adult-onset paranoid schizophrenia was the diagnosis, with the additional kicker of 𝑎𝑛𝑜𝑠𝑜𝑔𝑛𝑜𝑠𝑖𝑎, that he would not or could not admit that he had a mental illness. Nor would he accept treatment for it. He became almost a greater problem than our mom who, in 1998, drank antifreeze and died. I moved back home and assumed care of my brother, and here I've been ever since.

by Anonymousreply 1107/25/2020

R11 wow. You’re a trooper. Hang in there.

by Anonymousreply 1207/25/2020

R11, you’re a writer, yes?

by Anonymousreply 1307/26/2020

R13, no.

by Anonymousreply 1407/26/2020

My friend from college is schizoid.

He's good people.

by Anonymousreply 1507/26/2020

A college acquaintance began acting oddly senior year, then more or less disappeared after graduation. Sometime later he was arrested for murdering his girlfriend and turned out to have been schizophrenic for years, probably starting around his senior year. We were all stunned; we’d just thought he was odd. I think he was found guilty but sentenced to be confined in a psychiatric facility.

by Anonymousreply 1607/26/2020

Richard Chase is one of the most disturbed serial killers I've come across. He was very, very mentally ill. I think his story is more tragic than anything else -- he was schizophrenic and should have been institutionalized all of his life.

[quote]His fascination with blood earned him the nickname “Dracula” among the psychiatric hospital’s assistants, who witnessed him kill and attempt to drink the blood of several birds in an effort to stave off the effects a poison that was, he imagined, slowly turning his own blood to powder.

[quote]It was his attempt to inject himself with rabbit’s blood — which made him violently ill — that had resulted in his institutionalization.

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by Anonymousreply 1707/26/2020

Unknowingly hired someone with it. Tried to deal with their delusions for a time, but once the delusions became outlandish excuses for not getting work done, we mutually agreed it was best to part ways.

We tried.

by Anonymousreply 1807/26/2020

R11 I'm speechless. What you've been through is enough to beat the living daylights out of anyone. All the best to you. I don't know how you ever retained your own sanity.

by Anonymousreply 1907/26/2020

It's a complicated issue. We're just beginning to understand how the human brain works, let alone how it malfunctions. Things are definitely better for people with mental illness than they were when they were being institutionalized, but whether or not a person with a tough condition like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can successfully manage it varies a lot from person to person. If you have people around you who are able and willing to help you and you're willing and able to work with them, it's a huge advantage.

by Anonymousreply 2007/26/2020

My grandfather, my uncle and my cousin all had it and it was nightmare for my family. They just dragged everyone down with them, just tragic. That is the reason why I decided not to have children, I would not wish that on anybody. When other people call me selfish for not having kids, I just shrug and smile.

by Anonymousreply 2107/26/2020

r11, that's a sad story. All the best to you.

by Anonymousreply 2207/31/2020

R15 I think you meant dissociative identity disorder. Schizoid is a total lack of interest or desire in social connections or interacting with people.

by Anonymousreply 2307/31/2020

R11 You should consider writing a memoir, or an embellished story loosely based on your childhood.I have read several of your stories of growing up here, and hung on every last word, and turn of events. You have a gift in the telling of your life's stories at the very least, even if you don't feel like a writer.

In them, I find an extraordinary level of detail, and descriptions, coupled with an aloofness which prevents them from seeming maudlin or false. Your moniker here is quite apropos, Poisoned Dragon.

Cheers, and mad respect for looking after your brother.

by Anonymousreply 2407/31/2020
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