Losing My Father To Schizophrenia

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I don’t remember the exact words, but it went something like this:

“I am turning myself into the hospital. I have realized that I have started to hear voices. I’m afraid I have schizophrenia-like my mother. I love you guys and hopefully, I’ll be home soon.”

I read this and really didn’t know how to react, I was in second grade at the time and as much as possible I held the message together and ran to my parent’s bedroom and showed it to my mother. I remember her reading it and from what I remember she sat in silence for a little bit, and I laid down with her. I started to ask questions, but all I remember her answers not really satisfying me, I figured I would get all the details from my father as soon as he came home.

Read more: My Life with Schizophrenia

From there started a gradual breakdown of his sanity.

It started with paranoia. He would constantly be afraid of “the neighbors.” Hearing them call him names and constantly swear at him, they would even bring his past up and rub in his face all his past mistakes. He started to not be able to differentiate between what voices were real, and which voices were not.

The doctor he started to see started prescribing medications and until this day his medication changes constantly, they might work for a moment, but since then he has gradually gotten worse. His brain seemed to be melting away.

There was one glimmer of hope through all of this, and I got to witness it and experience it a little over a year ago. What I will be sharing is a series of 5 emails I had sent to a group of people who I knew would pray, and who I sent updates to over this one month period.

I share this with you for 2 reasons.

That you might lift up a prayer for my father.

That through this, God might give hope to anyone who has a family member who suffers from a mental illness.

Email #1 – Subject – Dad with Schizophrenia – on his way to the hospital – April 4th – 2014

I have very few memories with my dad as a child when he was normal.

He got schizophrenia when I was in 2nd grade.

I remember before that him teaching me algebra when I was in first grade. I remember his “Super Hugs” and chasing us around the house and falling asleep next to him. I remember going to a park and him barbecuing while I and my brother chased the geese around. Randomly scattered memories. But they were all good memories.

I remember waking up one morning in 2nd grade, my youngest brother was just a baby then, and when I walked into the living room I saw him tearing up our family phone book. As I go over to him, I realize he is ripping out the inside front cover of the phone book, and there was a message on it. All I can remember it saying is that he was starting to hear voices and he turned himself into the hospital, he was afraid he had schizophrenia just like his mom.

I don’t have many good memories after that time, most are pretty bad memories.

When he got sick, he was no longer himself. He started getting very angry at us when we would not admit to hearing the voices and seeing the things he saw (The doctor said to us no matter what, don’t admit to hearing or seeing it or it will make it worse). So he would beat us, hoping that we would admit to seeing them. As the oldest brother, I would do my best to take the hits for my brothers or hide them when I knew it was about to happen. My mother was a lot of the time sleeping or not home because she worked to support all of us as a nurse since my dad could no longer hold a job and started receiving disability.

I wanted him to get better, I thought by boldly saying that they are not real and that he is seeing and hearing things that one day he would just accept it, and somehow learn to live with it. When I was 15 he still wasn’t getting better, he was actually getting worse. At this time, I started to defend myself, and even fight back, nothing crazy, just enough to make him stop.

Read more: Gather the Strength and Keep Fighting

Shortly after that, we moved to Florida, he stopped being as violent as he was, he started seeing a new doctor and started receiving new medication and his aggression went down significantly. He no longer saw hallucinations, but still continued to hear voices, voices that constantly remind him of his past regrets rubbing them in his face. The voices constantly say that they are going to kill him and his family, rape him and his family, and they voice it in a very detailed way. He has lived constantly in fear and guilt all day, everyday.

At that time when I was 16 I became the man of the house, my dad was no longer acting like he was the man of the house, but more like a brother to us, and another kid to my mom.

When I became a Christian at 22 one of my burning desires is that I can see my dad again in heaven, with a mind that is back to normal, back to how he was before he got sick.

His mind has been slowly deteriorating, and now he starts to cry and laugh at random, his memory is starting to go, and the hallucinations have returned.

Just 2 days ago, he said he had a vision. He never speaks about spiritual things in all the time I have grown up with him since I have been Christian I have prayed with him to ask God to relieve him of the guilt and fear he is feeling. In this vision he had, he said that Jesus showed him laying in bed, and countless demons coming out of him. And after the demons came out, Jesus said, “You, your sons, and your wife are sinners, but my grace covers the sins of you and your family.”

After this, he awoke from his sleep with a joy I have never seen him with

He mentioned that he is such a great sinner, and has been such a great sinner, but God loves me so much, that He forgives me for all of my sins.

The past year my dad’s mental health was on a steep decline, but since that day, 2 days ago, it is even steeper. He no longer has much understanding of reality, and almost completely lives in his mind.

When I heard about this vision he had, I had mixed feelings. I was overjoyed that he accepted Christ as His savior while he still had some mind left, but I realized after he told me this that he has been completely consumed by this illness.

It has been very emotional and stressful for me the past week dealing with his many phone calls to me and traveling back and forth from my mom’s house to my house, I just ask for your prayers. Today he has been calling me every hour saying things like that my mom is a demon, and all he keeps saying is that he loves me and my two brothers. We are going to take him to the hospital today, it has gotten too bad.

If you pray for anything, or just remember one thing to pray for, please pray for my family. My mom, my brothers, and my dad. Pray that they come to Christ somehow and that they will end up in heaven.

Pray that I can remain emotionally stable through all of this, I even typed this email with tears, I will need emotional stability to stay faithful to my duties of ministry, school, and work. I will probably be doing a lot of traveling back and forth to my parent’s house in Clermont as my dad can almost no longer take care of himself, and my brothers are almost completely dependent on my parents for food, rides, etc.

I know all of you also have prayer requests and you each have your own unique situations in life, let’s share our prayer requests with each other.

Love you All

Eric.

Read more: My Family is the Reason I got Depressed, but Music helped me

Email #2 – April 4th – 2014

Update:

Dad thinks that I, my brothers, and mom are demons, he wouldn’t go with my mom to the hospital so we had to call 911. He was screaming loudly for God to help him and then he started calling himself God. The police came and had to take him to the hospital by force because he insisted that they were demons and he didn’t want to go. Please keep this in prayer. I don’t know what I would do if he no longer remembers us or thinks that we’re demons the rest of his life.

Email #3 – April 7th, 2014

Hey guys,

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement. I have read all the emails and text messages and I appreciate the phone calls. I definitely needed it.

My dad was transferred from the hospital once his sodium levels were back to normal and blood pressure and blood sugar were ok. He was transferred to a place where they monitor him and give him medicine until his mood is stable. He is still hearing voices but no longer hallucinating. He recognizes us but now he is in a wheelchair.

He’s convinced that while he was in the hospital they did surgery on his knee so he can’t get himself to walk, hopefully, he’ll start walking again when he gets home.

He should be back home in about 2 or 3 days.

I will be staying at my parent’s house overnight for a while and just coming out to my place to work with the ministry. I’ll probably be there from when I wake up till noon, so I can prepare breakfast and cook lunch for my family, and then I’ll be in Orlando till 8 or 9 and then head back to Clermont. Either that or I’ll be waking up early and just driving there for the morning and driving back.

I believe my dad’s mind will clear up with prayer combined with his physical health getting better, and changing his lifestyle.

Thank you for your prayers, I believe they were answered 🙂

Eric

Email #4 – April 24th 2014Hey guys!

An update with my father for those of you who are curious. He got out of the facility early last week. Right before then I had been at the house a couple of times and went grocery shopping with my mom. There was food ready for him when he got out and he loved it! Since he has gotten out he has added a significant amount of fruit and vege’s to his diet, and best of all he is enjoying it!

He obviously is still taking his medication, and he has been since he has been in the facility. While he was in the facility he was hearing voices, on the second day of getting out of the facility and on a different diet, he no longer mentioned hearing voices or seeing anything. In fact, he has not mentioned anything like that and it’s been more than 7 days now!!!

It has been years and years and years since he has been in a place where he doesn’t mention hearing voices. The last time I remember this happening was for a short time when we first moved to Florida when I was 16. He even gives no objections leaving the house and enjoys being out!!! Before this, he would always be scared to go outside and when he did he would be paranoid the whole time.

He and my mother actually went out yesterday to go see a movie and she said that he had no mention of voices, acted normal, didn’t even look paranoid and actually enjoyed himself!!!!!!

I thank you for all your prayers! He wants to be on a diet mainly because he wants to lose weight and my family is surprised at how adamant he is at continuing to eat healthily. Unfortunately, the juicer I gave them doesn’t work but I’m hoping to buy one for him soon so he can start juicing as well.

My mom even called me the other day and asked me, “Have you been praying?!?!” many good things have been happening to my family in addition to my dad acting a lot better. I am so happy and will continue to travel there to cook and teach them to cook and help them buy groceries.

Please keep the prayers coming. I appreciate all the prayers you’ve given so far and I look forward to him getting even better as time moves forward. I can’t even express my thanks to all of you.

Thank you 🙂

Eric

Email #5 – May 13th, 2014

Hey guys!

Update on my dad:

it has been a little over a month now since he has added a high amount of fruits and veggies to his diet. He has significantly cut the eating of meat, cheese, eggs, processed, and unhealthy foods. He is actually starting to lose the taste for it and has really fallen in love with fruits and veggies.

Since then he has lost about 40 pounds, his lab work came back and he no longer has to take his diabetes medication!

One time I was over there I saw a Bible with a bookmark on the sofa, I asked him if he was reading it and he said:

“Yeah I don’t know why but at night I just have a strong feeling like I need to read it”

He asked me questions about revelations and some things he read in Genesis and Leviticus.

We’re going to start bible studies once a week.

He still shows no signs or symptoms of schizophrenia and my family finds him very pleasant now to be around.

My mom and he are starting to become close again like an actual husband and wife

Thank you for your prayers 🙂

I hope this gives hope to someone who needs it. Prayer combined with positive lifestyle changes (plant-based diet, good rest, exercise, etc) gave me my dad back for a while. The longest period of time this has ever happened since moving to Florida. He lasted another 1-2 months but unfortunately started to eat unhealthy again. Since then, he has no longer had the desire to eat healthily, and he is back to how he was before the first email. He even gained all the weight back and some and has needed to get back on his diabetes medication.

I pray that it is not too late for him and that there is still hope for him to choose to improve his lifestyle because I am confident his mind will also clear up.

But even if it is too late for my father, it might not be too late for your family member. I pray this might encourage you to give it a try.

What helps you move forward on difficult days? Show your support by Commenting!