Any Help Or Advice Greatly Appreciated
My older sister was diagnosed 1st with Schizophrenia when she was about 20 or 21. She was hospitalized after being found by police in the middle of the night in an office where she worked at her college. She broke in after walking or either hitch hiking her way there barefoot. She believed the end of the world was occurring and she would be safe there. I’m not too complete on all the details being that I was only 12 or 13 at the time and she was staying with relatives that my immediate family has always had communication problems with. She has been an over achiever her whole life. Very popular, out going and involved with many school clubs, organizations and events in both high school and college. She wasn’t a big “party person”. What I mean by that is she wasn’t into drugs and alcohol. She was a teenager at one point and did experiment a few times with marijuana (being the worst) and drinking. But by no means was she ever “into” these things. She never took acid, mushrooms or any other type of drugs. But she was starting to have hallucinations themed mostly around god. She did take diet pills and would drink bottles of Nyquil to fall asleep at night. She was committed and treated heavily after being found by the police. She has always been book smart and very determined but not very quick or articulate. I say this because I’m not sure she was accurately describing her experiences while being treated. She said things like “ the voices in her head” but at some points I believe she was referring to her own thoughts in a confused state thinking they weren’t her own. She had central issues around the split of my father and mother (which happened a good 12 or 13 years earlier) I think as they were the ones very much involved with her therapy at that time. I remember seeing them both hold her hands as she was laying in hospital bed crying. I’ve hardly seen my parents in the same town let alone the same room. It’s very vague to me now. Like I said I was only 12 or 13 and mainly because I was stunned and shocked at how unrecognizable she was while in the hospital. I am sad to say she never really emerged as the woman she was before all of this happened.
I’m not sure how long after that she came to live with my mother and I. I don’t think she was on any medication at this point. My mother has always been an enabler and struggles her self with mental illness. Never the less that was who my sister had to relay on. If she thought the government was after her, my mother went along with it. My mother wouldn’t actually say “ yeah I know the CIA is after you”. She just didn’t do much about it. Her own mother (my grandmother) had major depression and would be hospitalized monthly with psychotic breaks. My mother was 4 or 5 fending for her self while her mother went off the deep end being that her father skip town years earlier. Maybe my mother just went into flashback mode with my sister I don’t know. The whole family believed my sister should be committed again but my mother fought everyone saying she couldn’t do that to her child. One day I smelled burning papers coming from my sisters room, the room she never left. She had been burning the evidence the CIA was after apparently. She believed we were drugging her through the vents and things got really bad when my mother bought locks for our bedroom doors and told me to hide all the knives in the house.
I was 14/15 and was running wild in the streets taking every drug I could get my hands on and had already dropped out of school. I didn’t know then that I was trying to escape the instantly in my home. My sister wasn’t the only hardship my family was dealing with at that time. There was what I could fill books with of problems happening. My mother placed me in therapy yet again after I ran away or some other cry for help I encrypted in my actions. I didn’t mean to turn this into about me but my sister’s next treatment came from my own. I’d reluctantly saw the therapist my mother sent me to. Some hours I would just sit there silent the whole time. Finally out of extreme boredom with my visits I told my therapist about my sister that lived in her bedroom and was scared to even walk up to the front door of our house. After realizing this was a major part of my rebellion my therapist arranged to come see my sister at our house. I would just like to say I thank god for this woman’s bravely. My mother told the lady it was not a good idea because she was afraid my sister would get violent. However the lady still came the next week not knowing what to expect. I don’t think anyone in my life has ever tried to help me and my family this much.
After a while my therapist convinced both my mother and sister to come see her. They didn’t have health insurance at the time. So I split my hour with them. I was extremely happy my sister was trusting someone enough to talk to and eventually agreeing to their course of medical treatment but I wasn’t comfortable nor felt the need to see my therapist any longer and gave the full hour to my family.
My sister has since been re-diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder. She has been forced to switch her medications more times than I can count. She went on to graduate college (the 1st and only of my parents children) and started her career four years ago. She’s had ups and downs but nothing like the things I described. However we are in constant fear of when she will get sick again. She shows signs of it a lot. And lately has been very paranoid about her job thinking it is making her sick. She wants to quit this week. Our dilemma is she needs to find suitable treatment. She is now medicated but does not receive any form of therapy. If she quits her job she will be without health insurance. If she stays at her job she will no doubt worry her self into getting sick again. I need help finding resources available to low-income mental health providers or Schizoaffective disorder support group. Please contact me with any information. My mother has already called my house twice since I started writing this to see if I’ve come up with anything. My searches come up with little to nothing. Thanks In advance