Ask Grandma Anything: My mom has untreated schizophrenia

Dear Grandma,

My grandparents were married 42 years until PaPa died of cancer in 1981. I was seven at the time. His death sent my mom into depression and later schizophrenia.  For 25 years it persisted without treatment. While growing up my mother was incapable and/or unwilling to have healthy relationships or be employed. I credit my grandmother for raising me. She’s 87.

My mother sought treatment for two years recently and it helped enormously. Even though side effects were minimal, she stopped taking her meds with my grandmother’s encouragement. Now she is worse than ever. My question is this: am i obligated to continue a relationship with my mother when a relationship barely existed in the first place?

Thank you for your insight.

Signed,
Wondering

Dear Wondering,

You are in a very difficult situation and I’m so glad to hear that you have had your grandmother’s support for all these years.

I don’t know very much about schizophrenia, but I do know how hard it can be to have a family member who is sick. You should get the advice of her doctor and they will tell you if you can handle your mother, and also they can give you information about how to relate to someone who has schizophrenia. If she needs medication, she needs medication This is not your problem. This is a very big job, a very big burden.

The most important thing for you to do is take care of yourself. If she will not take her medication, you are not obligated to be traumatized by her behavior. And no matter how much you want to love and support her, it might be the case that nothing can help but the medication. No one can force another person to do anything, but you can make it clear that you support her by wanting her to take the medication. If she does not take the medication, you may have to walk away and continue to take care of yourself. That’s all God wants from you. And please know that as terrible as things may seem, God is taking care of your mother.

Do the best you can, that’s all anybody can expect of you. That’s all that God wants from you. That’s what the people that you know want from you. You do the best you can and try to say to yourself that you are equally as important as your mother. Do what you can to save yourself — you deserve it.

Good luck to you and to your family.

Love,
Cutie


Dear Grandma,

My grandparents were married 42 years until PaPa died of cancer in 1981. I was seven at the time. His death sent my mom into depression and later schizophrenia.  For 25 years it persisted without treatment. While growing up my mother was incapable and/or unwilling to have healthy relationships or be employed. I credit my grandmother for raising me. She’s 87.

My mother sought treatment for two years recently and it helped enormously. Even though side effects were minimal, she stopped taking her meds with my grandmother’s encouragement. Now she is worse than ever. My question is this: am i obligated to continue a relationship with my mother when a relationship barely existed in the first place?

Thank you for your insight.

Signed,
Wondering

Dear Wondering,

You are in a very difficult situation and I’m so glad to hear that you have had your grandmother’s support for all these years.

I don’t know very much about schizophrenia, but I do know how hard it can be to have a family member who is sick. You should get the advice of her doctor and they will tell you if you can handle your mother, and also they can give you information about how to relate to someone who has schizophrenia. If she needs medication, she needs medication This is not your problem. This is a very big job, a very big burden.

The most important thing for you to do is take care of yourself. If she will not take her medication, you are not obligated to be traumatized by her behavior. And no matter how much you want to love and support her, it might be the case that nothing can help but the medication. No one can force another person to do anything, but you can make it clear that you support her by wanting her to take the medication. If she does not take the medication, you may have to walk away and continue to take care of yourself. That’s all God wants from you. And please know that as terrible as things may seem, God is taking care of your mother.

Do the best you can, that’s all anybody can expect of you. That’s all that God wants from you. That’s what the people that you know want from you. You do the best you can and try to say to yourself that you are equally as important as your mother. Do what you can to save yourself — you deserve it.

Good luck to you and to your family.

Love,
Cutie