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Do the experts always know best - Carers UK Forum

Do the experts always know best

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Don't know if other people have experienced this . On Sunday my schizophrenic son out of the blue started punching himself in the face and hitting his head on the wall. When I spoke to him he looked at me as if he had never seen me before as if he was seeing someone or something that both frightened and angered him it's hard to describe but it terrified me . I rang the police who were fantastic . They rang an ambulance but he refused to go to hospital and seemed to calm down. When I rang his care co ordinat or she said it wasn't his psychosis or scizophrenia he was probably just stressed. I don't profess to be an expert but that look on his face was in no way just stress. I feel like she is belittling what we're going through . Has anyone else experienced that alien look on there loved ones face I would appreciate some advice please
Yes I have seen it that look is triggered by stress. Is there any stresses in his life at present
He seemed pretty chilled just before it happened it seemed to come from out of the blue. As far as I know there aren't any stresses apart from his illness which I know is stressful in itself . I'm just worn down from working full time very little sleep and absolutely no time for myself
Hi Debra
Wonder if he had a flashback, or something reminded him of his Dad? It may have triggered the agitated behavior. I'm honestly not an expert re this illness. Just a thought. Wanted you to know I've read your post and my thoughts are with you
Debra sounds like our caring situation is the same. What I've done is speak to my manager about my husband's condition I have self cert for 7 days, and have family taking my husband out for trips so I can get a break. I've also been sleeping in the day as my husband has disturbed nights
Thank you for your replies and kind thoughts . Pet I was wondering myself if he had a flashback but he isn't communicating at the moment so I don't know but I suppose it's a possibility . Mezz I have had a lot of carers leave and sick leave due to my son and although work are understanding and sympathetic I can't take any more time off . I think I'm on a short fuse because I'm tired and maybe I'm not as understanding as I should be especially as he seems fine with his friends and saves the bad stuff for me. I understand why but it's still hard to take. I know you're also having a difficult time at the moment and I totally sympathise . I hope things improve for you soon it sort of helps to know others are in the same position
Do you have any family members that can give you a break. There's nothing I can say to make you feel better. However I always take comfort in the fact that we aren't alone and this forum has been a god send. Take care all here for you
Hi Debra,

As a mental health nursing student, I do buy into the "Stress/Vulnerability" model of mental "illness". It makes a lot of sense to me. We all have our point where the stress of life becomes too much. What I like about this model is that it teaches us that the stress needn't be one "big" or "triggering" event. Smaller stressors build up and BOOM!, we react eventually, somewhat days or weeks later.

However, I'm not here to say it IS stress that caused this. I believe it probably has a role to play but I don't know for sure.

I mostly wanted to comment on this posting of yours as that's not a fantastic response from the care coordinator. Even if it is stress it's not "just" stress and it shouldn't be played down. It sounds very traumatic for you and you should have had a supportive response with an emphasis on some solutions or ways forward.
Thank you alex for understanding how traumatic this is for us. I always feel the health professionals we deal with play his symptoms down as they see this all the time and probably people who are worse. I get this but it makes me feel they are belittling what we are going through and that's hard to take . Working full time as a registered nurse and coming home to be up all night with him takes it's toll . Please don't lose your caring attitude we need caring and compassionate people to help us through this .
My partner and I looked after my sister who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 19, when my parents became too frail to do this any more. She would sometimes behave in the way your son did. With her it was a part of the schizophrenia. She took drugs but these did not completely stop her hearing voices. Mostly these would follow familiar themes and content and not distress her much, if at all. But this wasn't always the case. The voices would sometimes accuse her of things that really distressed her or tell her to do things that upset her. She would get very agitated and out of it and start hitting the doors or the wall.

Sometimes she would tell us what the voices had said, mostly not, but when she did her behaviour seemed perfectly explicable to us. The first time it happened I was worried that her schizophrenia was getting worse but this didn't happen. It was an isolated reaction to her voices. Why these should have suddenly switched from their normal content to something distressing I have no idea, I don't think it was stress. Many things about schizophrenia have little to do with logic.

I have no idea whether this was what happened to your son. All I would say is that with schizophrenia something along these lines is always a possibility. I hope it was a one off.