My Sister's Schizophrenia Is Tearing My Family Apart.

It kills me to know people are suffering from the same thing I do. Everyone of your stories breaks my heart and I know exactly what you all are going through. I'm speaking in this forum because I'm lost myself and don't know how to deal with my sister's schizophrenia. My sister is 20 years old and started having manic episodes 2 years ago. My sister and I are only 1 year apart. She has been acting up and tearing my family apart. My parents want a divorce because my Dad still can't except my sister's illness.

Here's a little background...Before the diagnosis, my sister was prescribed to Adderall for a few years for ADHD. Though the doctors don't agree with me I believe it had something to do with cause of schizophrenia. She began to abuse the Adderall, right around the time she was getting her first episodes. She never did well in school, but was always popular and had tons of friends. She's beautiful, and it's so hard to see such a gorgeous girl crazy. Things got so bad at home I had to move to Chicago to try and have a normal life as a college student and support myself.
For the past year she has been at my parents house sitting on the coach watching TV for days on end. She makes very inappropriate comments and has childlike behavior, but can hold a job for about 2-3 months. She believes the government is out to get her and once stole all our cell phones and threw them out. She takes apart electrical wires and steals important documents, like taxes, bills, birth certificates, etc. Writes long letters that make no sense and has chicken scratch writing. She refuses to take medication and has been hospitalized several times. She takes long walks and will walk till her toes are blue. She is bipolar, sometimes she is the sweetest thing in the world and so kind, but can quickly switch to mean and vulgar. She no longer has expression in her face. She loses and gains weight constantly, and hasn't slept for days. She never leaves the living room because I think she feels safe there because its the hub of the household. She told my mom the other day she is seeing demons and a man walking through the walls. Also she told me she sees large bugs in the house and that our dog talks to her.

The other day, my dad was hospitalized from a terrifying mental breakdown that severely raised his blood pressure. My dad recently retired and spends his days at home with my sister, while my mom is at work. He told me he can't take it anymore. He's 60 now and his health is being affected because of my sister. When I lived at home I know she would bother my dad a lot and force him to do things. She would lie to him about needing something at the store but then forcing him to drive her to weird places like doctor offices or places to dig through trash. She's impossible to say no too, and will act up in public. She screamed like a child at the store the other day when my dad said no to buying her a donut. I can't imagine what happens without me there or when my mother isn't home. It's like he's brain washed. Anyway, because of my father hospitalization I went home and watched her on the coach watch tv. Her eyes wander around the room and I see so much fear in her eyes, from the delusions. Tonight, my mom finally got her to say she wanted help and got her to a hospital without the police! Which is a big deal for us. My sister checked herself in. I only think this happened because my dad decided to stay with me tonight. I feel like my sister feels uncomfortable around my dad, and somehow feeds off his attention and energy. My mom said she was very worried when my Dad stayed the night with me or when he was in the hospital. I don't think she would of gone to the hospital if my dad was home. My mom and I haven't told my father she is in the hospital. We are afraid he will visit her constantly and make her act out. What do we do? He won't listen to us. He will visit her and make sure she's ok. He doesn't like seeing her in a mental hospital, and always lets her come home. I understand its his little girl, but he can't let go. He can't except what has happened and still holds on to his "little Bebe" At this point, I can't control what my dad does, but why can't he be sensible like me or my mom? What is he holding onto? He's making things worse.
pauline120 pauline120
5 Responses Apr 25, 2012

i have an older sister, smart, intelligent, creative and such a lovely human being till she got schizophrenia as a teenager. my parents try to give her meds in her food but sometimes she stops eating because of her paranoia. They refused to put me in a boarding school and i had to live in the hell i call a family. On the outside we seem like the ideal family, everyone so envious of us. If only people knew the truth. Like so many others my sister refuses to fight the darkness. Now as she gets older she is nothing like the girl i remember. I get so angry now when i see her being abusive to my parents and me. i know its her illness but its so difficult to accept the abuse constantly. but my parents feel so guilty and responsible for her illness that they seem okay to remain in this hellhole without taking any concrete steps on what the long term care for her should be. I am just waiting for an opportunity to get out but seems fate has more nightmares in store. i'm not a bad person yet i wonder what lesson i'm being made to learn by life to have to live through this torture everyday.?

I understand what you're going through I was in the same situation as yours. I'm 15 and my sister is 25 she was having manic episodes 6 yrs ago! I still remember how our life was devastate,we spent so much money in an attempt to cure her,nothing worked. Dad was not willing to leave her in the mental hospital,mum took care of her she endured a lot and now she's having serious health problems. Dad got lost in his own world,his mistresses and job.

I started developing depression,couldn't have a normal life my grades started falling. My sis would **** her pants with fear,she walk up and down the hall way all night,wouldn't take medication. Mum developed severe anxiety and major depression. She can't leave sis she had no choice.

Until one day mum started crushing medicines in my sis's meals,she was extremely cautious about that. After months my sis started getting better,she was no longer as violent as she had been,she goes to treatments but had no idea why she was being treated for! We lie,telling her she had to do it so as she can be healthy and far from tensions.

Years passed I'm now 15,my sister did not get any better.She's still attending her monthly rendez-vous at the hospital.She has gained lots of weight,sometimes she would swears and act abusive,but somehow she listens to me and is even afraid of me. When I say something she obeys me. If she misses her daily dosses her health worsen so we've to make sure she keeps taking her medicines.
As for our family we're still torn apart,dad used to hit my mum but when I turned 14 I warn him,he stopped. He still have lots of mistresses as a mean of distraction. I've got severe depression during those years but I'm going to see a doctor next week to deal with that. Mum now have very severe health problems,It's hard to see her state.

After so many things going through my life,I started self-harming 1 yr ago and used to party and drunk stuff to make myself better,I was completely lost. Fortunately,mom was strong,didn't gave up on me,she tried to make me see reasons to stop those things. I did when I started seeing dreams,I knew exactly hoe to escape those hardships and be happy.
I wanted good grades,top the class,go to good university abroad and hold a good job. And it worked,I started feeling better,I was drawn to my studies,I started to earn very good marks and topped class. I became very competitive in class wouldn't bear anyone getting higher scores than me.
Dad also started reacting better towards us and started seeing dreams in me.
My friends always wonders why I'm so good,they think I live a perfect life but they do not know my story.
You're the very first person to whom I'm sharing that. Today my sister still causes storms in my life had she been sent away to a mental hospital,things would have been better yet I would still not be happy.

"However she's she is my sister,she doesn't know what she's doing.Taking care of her,I'm doing a good things and would be rewarded by god someday in life.One day when i'll looked back i'll be happy to see the good things I did."Mom taught me this although I don't believe in god,I'm not atheist it would take few more lines to explain this so skip it.I believe in her words somehow.

Don't take any decision out of anger or anything like that,this will lead to wrong decision making and yeah p,lease do let me know any further problems you're going through I'll be glad to help although I'm too young, I've experience that's why It's called 'experience project' Don't hesitate to ask me any question I'll be happy to make a friend.
Cheer and be strong,

Till recently my parents did the same thing, as in crush the medicines in her meal. But in the last two months she has stopped eating more than one meal a day and that too mostly outside the house. It has become virtually impossible to give her meds now and she has gone from 55 kgs to probably 42 now and we can only watch. There are no decent institutions here in india otherwise i would be the first person to force my parents into putting her there. I just feel sad that for one person's illness it is the families that suffer more. After all the person with the illness mostly is in denial or flat out refuses to accept that there is anything wrong. She is paranoid schizophrenic and her constant suspicion of everyone has ensured that any time there are strangers in the house, her manic behaviour gets worse and we are all at a loss since we know that outsiders won't understand why she behaves the way she does.
God bless you and your family. hope life gives you the strength and positive energy to live emotionally healthy lives.

Your situation sounds really tough. My 21 year old son has schizophrenia,, that's why I read your story. Maybe your Dad can't accept the fact that your sister is so sick. She needs to be on medication long term, but a lot of people (including my son) refuse to take their medication. I'm reading a book called "I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help" which you might find useful. It talks about how to stop fighting with your schizophrenic loved one and how to (maybe) convince them in a round-about way that they would be better off on medication. Anyway, thanks for sharing. I wish you well.

woww! stay strong girl! i understand what you're going through, I've been reluctant to believe my moms illness only due to the fact that she kind of brainwashed me into following her delusions against my father. even though i still star doubting because her obsessions over things start to convince me that he was bugging the house/ did exaggerate and all of that stuff. your dad doesn't want to accept it because its hard, you don't want to. you want to think that there is nothing wrong with her and maybe its a "phase" i've been doing this lately and i believe my mom's story as to how she ended up in the mental hostipatl recently. its because its what i want to believe. i want to know that there is hope. regardless, i need to realize that there is always hope. and once i can accept that my mom is schizophrenic and pray that she doesn't stop her meds again i'll find a way to make her happy. she claims the times in the mental institute (she just said he made her go somewhere, i knew what happened) were the last place she wanted to be. thats why your dad lets her leave, he needs to be more firm to add strength where your sister is missing it to stay there. it does help because they get the needed attention and eventually medicine. it won't be fun, but it will be worth it when you see the results/breakthrough. good luck with u and your family. i hope all is well xoxo

I'm so sorry that you're struggling so much. I know first hand how hard this is; my mom was exactly like this when I was growing up. <br />
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They quit taking the meds because usually they're not the RIGHT meds; they make them feel worse instead of better. But everyone believes doctors are somehow right up there with God, and whatever they say is the gospel. Meds are a crapshoot. And she's probably "bi-polar with... schizoid tendencies..."; there's a big fancy name for it, but it's usually indicative of massive mood swings; so much so, that it's a concern that multiple personalities are involved, but that's not always the case. They'll TELL you that she 'becomes schizophrenic without meds'.<br />
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Okay, now on to the heart of the matter. SHOW YOUR DAD THIS STORY. Save yourself a lot of dancing around and the usual patterns of behavior that occur repeatedly in your family dynamics and spill it.... spell it out like it is.... just like you've done here. You've done a most excellent job of identifying the problems; the patterns of behavior; their consequences on all the family members involved, etc.<br />
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It sounds to me like your sister was psychologically arrested by some traumatic event at a young age that has basically "locked her down" emotionally at that age. Now, I want you to keep an open mind here, and seriously consider that.... that her behavior is very childlike.... try to guess approximately "how old" she is behavior-wise; and if you can't remember anything in your childhoods that could have traumatized her emotionally in that way? Don't hate, but there might be a reason Dad's so clingy to this situation. He might feel "responsible" for something; and his behavior is AT LEAST bordering on EMOTIONAL ******. There's definitely seems to be a co-dependent relationship going on there....<br />
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You might just show all this to your sister, too; when the time is right; or when they start family counseling with you guys (a must for your situation; everybody needs to learn to communicate more directly; and like an "intervention", your sister needs to be held accountable for how her behavior affects the rest of the family.) And your sister, once out, sounds like a wonderful candidate for some sort of "half-way house" facility. You know, where everyone has rules they must follow; curfews; daily chores and responsibilities; kitchen duty, etc.. Somewhere where she's not only held accountable for daily responsibilities; but she learns in a group sitting what is and isn't acceptable behavior. And it's enforced.... unlike Dad, who obviously caves in. And she'll think it sucks. But somewhere down the line, someone dropped the ball on all these things... she's never been 'made' to behave; to conform; to compromise; to help others. She has not been role-modeled nor learned 'self discipline'; and half-way houses hope to teach that with constant reinforcement of 'obeying the rules'; 'doing your chores'; contributing to the effective maintenance and running of the house'; daily hygiene requirements; television limitations; privileges earned for good behavior, etc.<br />
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Adderal is not my idea of a good drug; for my mom, it created the paranoia and "scared eyes" you describe. And there's only a handful on the market for bipolar disorder, I know. And they can be lethal even. But since the real cure and treatment is illegal in the U.S.... as if somehow pharmaceutical drugs are better than an organic, holistic approach. But we both know I can't discuss that in detail here, other than to say we all have an endocannabinoid system; just as we do a central nervous system; a cardiovascular system; an endocrinological system; urological system, etc.. Our government doesn't want us to know how to live in optimal health, though. You can't control and make any money off a bunch of perfectly healthy, stable people, after all.<br />
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Bless your heart... I know the hell you live in. There will come a point, though, when you have to put your needs first; you have to separate yourself from this situation unless you want to also become an emotional pla<x>yer in the co-dependent game. And I know it's hard; I know you feel guilty doing just that very thing: giving yourself permission to lead a NORMAL life without "the gang's" constant interference. But you need to love you more than your sister and your parents. And it's okay to do that.... take breaks.... set boundaries... determine rules of engagement, so to speak, when arguments start. Say, "I need a break from all the drama." Easier said than done, I know. Peace and love, girl. It's not an easy road, I remember.

Texastomgirl and ERSONIFYUGLY thank you so much for being so supportive. You have no idea how much this made my day. Texastomgirl, your post was so helpful. Co-dependent relationship is exactly whats going on, and a half way house seems like a very good idea. My dad use to be a drug user to opiates and I think he feels responsible for my sisters mental illness. Also, living a normal life as 21 year old its hard. I live in Chicago, so when I get a phone call from "Home" or "Mom" you never know what to expect. I want to control the situation and go home right away. You're right I fell guilty, so guilty. I love my family so much and they deserve to be happy. I have to accept what I cannot change or control. God bless you and thank you so much for your help. If you don't mind I would like to show my mother this post. She goes to NAMI meetings, but because of my schedule I haven't had time to go. I would like to show her how I reached out and the wonderful feedback I received.

You're welcome, sweetie... hang in there... I know it's really tough. Share away :)

I would be interested to know what holistic remedies are there for this?