Monday, January 30, 2012

A mother's survival tricks

I know I've repeated what I am about to say many times in other blog posts, but I'm running out of ideas for this blog (LOL) and I figure it never hurts to reinforce what worked for me to keep my head above water in this journey. If it works for me, it might work for other parents in the same boat.

1. My husband, Ian, and I have kept our promise to each other, going on three years now, not to discuss Chris in any way that would signal there is a PROBLEM with him that needs fixing. We don't discuss Chris's current job search, his unfinished  university degree, his hanging around the house during the daylight hours without much to do. Because if we did, we would soon start to WORRY and FEAR would gain the upper hand. Chris would bear the brunt of our anxiety, which would not help him to move forward. Ian and I refuse to get sucked into this anxiety inducing zero sum game. Chris is moving in the right directions, on his own initiative, and doesn't need us to prod him.

2. Entrusting Chris to the hands of other professionals. There was a time when Ian and I needed to get involved with Chris's doctors, but this regular contact was anxiety provoking for us. Ian and I disagreed about the value of the medications, and it was traumatizing for me, at least, to continually interact with doctors in a clinical setting. Chris is no longer being treated in a clinical setting. His psychiatrist, Dr. Stern, is a private therapist. Though I'm wary about the danger of Chris becoming a perpetual patient the longer he continues to see Dr. Stern, I had to trust her enough to let her get on with her job. So, I haven't corresponded with Dr. Stern for at least two years now. She's doing her job, I'm doing mine.  Chris also sees an occupational therapist. While I may wonder what we are paying her for since Chris doesn't yet have an occupation (LOL), I generally keep my mouth shut and let her get on with her job.

3. Trusting Chris more. This strategy(?) worked better as soon as Chris was able to function better. I remember when Chris left the hospital (for the third time) and I felt that I had "had it." All the hard work to get him to take his meds, then all the hard work getting him off his meds, still resulted in his landing back in the hospital and back on meds. I was sick of being his nurse. He still needed guidance, but a line had been crossed. The old way of working with him simply wasn't working. I stopped asking about whether he was taking his meds. He knew very well what the consequences were for going off them cold turkey.  I had to trust him enough to figure that he had learned something from this latest ordeal.

4. Letting go through yoga and meditation.

5. Reading only the good news that other people write about schizophrenia and mental distress. This is becoming easier as there is now more good news on the Internet than when I first got started.

6. Giving Chris daily hugs and praise.


  1. I certainly hope you don't run out of ideas for this blog! I truly enjoy reading your posts, and check this blog daily for your rare, fresh and much needed perspective on recovery from schizophrenia. I'm a 26 year old woman from MA who was diagnosed with "schizophrenia" three years ago, and I applaud your effort to bring alternative therapies and fresh insights to light for what is often a long, confusing, and complicated recovery process. I keep meaning to email the link to this blog to my parents - they could use a dose of your holistic wisdom! :)

  2. Gee, thanks, Jennifer. I'll keep those recycled ideas coming!

  3. You are doing well, Rossa. And it is helpful for you to list the main threads of your strategy like this: I have read your blog in pieces for the last year and always find it fascinating but know I have missed parts, and I find such a summary useful. Louise x

  4. Rossa, I too am a mother on an holistic journey with my son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19 while a sophmore in college 2 years ago. I just found your blog this weekend and can't stop reading. Thanks for the summary. I could have written it myself; it so mirrors my own journey. Recovery is not linear, is it!

  5. Welcome aboard. I hope that you can find support here in taking a positive view of so-called schizophrenia. You are absolutely right about recovery not being linear. Much as I wanted my son to get back on course fast, he had a lot of rebuilding to do. Patience is a virtue. I like to think that the experience of schizophrenia, properly handled, makes the person more resilient than most over time.


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