Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I don't know what to do anymore. My brother has been in the hospital like ten times or so within the last 2-3 years. Here's the cycle. He gets admitted to the hospital involuntarily (he has schizophrenia), he stays there until he agrees to take medicine, he goes home and takes the medicine for a month or so. When he starts to feel a little better, he refuses to take medicine (like tonight). We can't reason with him due to his lack of insight. The cycle is starting again but now we have to wait a few weeks before he deteriorates and goes back to the hospital. I outline this cycle because it seems so unproductive. I personally think that the mental system is flawed. My parents are at the end of their rope. They don't want to, but are thinking of kicking him out of the house. Can you believe that a parent would have to even contemplate something like that? Does anyone know how my parents can get Assisted Outpatient Treatment? It seems like that is the only thing that could work in this situation. When someone can't understand (due to the illness) that they have to take meds to get well, should they be forced? I am so angry, confused and sad. I just want my parents and brother to have some sort of relief from all of this. 


  1. Hello AC,

    I'm sorry to hear of your distress.

    The Xavier Amador book, I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help, I recommend to everyone whose loved one with SZ lacks awareness that he has an illness. Up to 50 percent of those diagnosed with SZ lack insight, which is a symptom called anosognosia. I recommend you read the book.

    Also, call NAMI New York State (800) 950-3228, re: getting AOT for your brother. They will possibly know how you can do it.

    Best wishes,

  2. Thank you Chris. I have heard about that book. I think it's time I read it:) I will tell my mom about it because she has the hardest time with all of this. She sees everything first hand.

  3. Here is a site that may help you: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/Kendra_web/Khome.htm

    I hope the site is beneficial and that your brother can get the help he needs.


  4. I was just going to say that you should check out Ashley's site!

    I have sooo done what your brother is doing. It's partly denial; thinking you were never sick. But I really believe that the root of the problem is that your mind finds it easier to be messed up.

    It's used to it and makes you think of all the cool things it can do. Like an addiction, this is a physical, mental and spiritual problem.

    To "recover" is impossible to imagine.

    The amount of work entailed is enormous. P-docs, shrinks, meds (with nasty side-effects), routines, regular sleep and so on.

    A mind gone rampant finds this so hard. Recently I have been suicidally depressed. In fact I've been unwell for a while. I've managed to stay out of a hospital for two years now, but only through extreme vigilance and effort.

    I'm so tired and over it. I just don't see the point of taking the massive amounts of meds. They just make me obese and I always end up crashing. I would kill myself, but for the fact that my mess is not something I'd wish on my best friend.

    I will talk to my crazy Social Worker friend Betty. She's in NJ, but got my SSDI case moved to the top of the pile on the right desk. She may have some ideas.

    As to your parents, they are simply too tired and overwhelmed. My father refuses to see me anymore. I wrote about it in a post called "My Father Closes The Door." It still is devastating, when I think about it. Also I'm out of my sister's life.

    Nothing like being Manic Depressive to become an object of rejection in an emotionally shut-down family. Only my mother, a recovering alcoholic, is guilty enough to talk to me!

    Hang in there, sweetie. Feel free to ring, if you need to talk: 215-923-6044. But not too early this week-end! You can leave a message, too and let me know when's good to call.

    It's been a rough week, so I have to crash now.

    Take care of yourself.

  5. Thank you Dano:) You are very kind! My parents are keeping their fingers crossed that this next hospital visit will be a longer one. By that I mean my brother could benefit from a longer stay in a facility with a more rigorous program. What usually happens is he gets admitted involuntarily and will go back on the meds just to get released. He is working the system in his favor. His doc thinks this next visit will involve a judge so we will see what happens. I am not looking for a quick fix, but I wish he would stay on the meds longer than usual so he can see his potential and see if his insight improves. Last summer was the best I ever saw him. I hope that Josh returns:) I miss talking to him and hearing him laugh. Oh, and his biggest complaint on the meds is weight gain, but this last time he didn't gain all that much.

  6. Hi AC,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I just discovered you and Valash this week through Christina Bruni's Joyful Music blog. Your paintings are great. Good for you for taking on such a challenging subject matter as mental illness.

    I became psychotic 10 years ago, later in life than most at age 36, and I didn't commit to taking the anti psychotic meds for 3 years. During those 3 years I had 3 breakdowns, but I managed to stay out of the hospital even so. What I did have is therapy once a week which was a great help. Does your brother get weekly therapy? I believe having access to a personal therapist is what got me to eventually take the meds, but it was a struggle. How old is your brother and how long has he been psychotic?

    The NAMI online communities are very good, do you and your parents have a support group online and/or offline to be involved in? As you know, you can't force your brother to gain insight, but you can and should take care of yourself and when necessary detach with love. Do you believe in a higher power? If so, consider that your brother is being watched over and keep having faith that he will eventually learn what he needs to do to take care of himself.

    Kate : )

  7. Kate,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love Ashley's blog. She is quite an inspiration! My brother is approaching his 3 year mark soon. I can't say he has had separate breakdowns, rather, he never recovered from the first one. Well, maybe once. But as soon as he stops the meds, he spirals right back into psychosis within weeks. It's hard to watch, but I am trying to become optimistic. He does see a psychiatrist. She is just out of school though. I think his insurance is only accepted by certain doctors. He does talk in sessions, but he is still saying strange things and lacks insight. He is 25 and was diagnosed 3 years ago this June. We are hoping that his next hospital stay will be longer than usual. Maybe they can spend more time with him so that he may see the benefits to the medicine and therapy. My mom does speak with people from NAMI in her area but she internalizes a lot and calls me to vent. I do believe in a higher power and have faith that he will be OK.

  8. recovery is an inside job! Yes, the system as you put it, doesn't work as the hospitals and day programs are into warehousing people and are just out to make money and release people from the hospital now as soon as the insurance runs out, which is usually after a week! What can one do? Advocate if one can, for oneself and if one can't, then try to educate people about mental illness and encourage the ones who can to speak up for those who can't. also self help groups like AA,Ea and Recovery, iNC. ARE GOOD. Noone cares but those effected by this. For the rest, they only care about what is in their backyards.

    I used to be on meds and was in hospital yearly for tuneups as they called it but now thanks to taking an alternative medical approach with yoga,meditation,eating right,exercising..I have been out of hospital for 11 years and am off the meds and out of treatment. I was labeled, bipolar and borderline but I like to think I was just deluded and misguided and am now directed toward healthier pursuits.

    "argue for your disability and it is yours!"