Sunday, May 2, 2010

How To Care For A Psychotic Family Member

My husband's mother had schizophrenia. I cared for her for 12 years before she passed. My husband has schizo affective disorder (schizophrenia & bipolar) and both of our sons have now been diagnosed with schizo affective disorder. They are 9 and 13.

You do need to protect your own mental health, but you also have to find a way to make peace with the fact that your mom isn't the mom you wished she would be and needs you to care for her. With adults we need to make sure they live in a safe and supportive environment and take their medication. I had to involuntarily commit my first mom in law twice (she was bipolar) and this mom in law once. It was the hardest thing I've ever done... until I had to do it for my sons. Both of them.

There are no easy answers. All we can do is make sure our loved ones are getting the best care possible while protecting our own sanity. Check for a local support group. Online groups have been a huge help to me, as I can't get out much with 2 psychotic children. Caring for someone else is stressful. Caring for someone with a mental illness can take down the whole family. The key is to remember that this is what families are about. We love and care for each other, no matter how hard, hoping and knowing that they would do the same for us.

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