Redditor treblegetting2reddit has some serious family issues that could really use a good amount of advice because they have no idea idea what to do. They reached out to Reddit My (20f) parents have decided to bring back my mentally ill sister (33f) out of rehab to come stay with them because they're convinced that they can cure heal themselves Here is how the story goes...
My sister has schizophrenia and bipolar. I'm not really sure how because for the majority of her illnesses coming up I was a kid and didn't know what was happening. Since I was 13, I've had to room with her and I've had to deal with her long unending stories (some about her life and later on they became ramblings about things that never happened), her tampering with (and sometimes destroying or throwing away) my things, her claims of how things that belonged to me are actually hers and her little exercise routines that went on from 2 in the afternoon to 12 in the night complete with blaring music all in addition to telling me how to eat and calling me fat and stupid and whatnot. All of this with minimal intervention from my parents. The only times I had any sort of peace was when it got really bad and they'd have to admit her in the hospital a few times.
Everytime they bring her out, it's obvious that my parents feel guilty about putting her in a mental health care facility because it feels like they're abandoning her. But everytime she comes back it's like I have to deal with all her shenanigans and outbursts while they try to "heal" her. This healing ranges from them taking her to doctors, priests, shamans and sometimes messing with the doses of her medicine (lowering them gradually with no improvement at all and with no input from a doctor). It just stresses me out everytime I come back home from school because its horrible having to deal with your older sister basically acting like a child and then trying to exert her power over you because she's older and then having your parents yell and argue with you because you dared to yell at your older sister after she trashed your things. I always have to be understanding and giving and everytime there's a choice between things, I'm always asked to let her choose first.
Lately, she's been in a mental health care facility in another city and my parents visit her now and then (despite her asking them not to because she says it'll make her want to go home). Even though she hated it at first, she got used to it and later started enjoying living there. They gave her work to do to keep her busy and she was getting the help she needed. My dad kept hinting at bringing her back because apparently she was doing so well and obviously she was "healed" (I'm putting this in quotes because there's no way she's getting healed of her schizophrenia, it's impossible). I'd tell him that it was not very likely and she was probably faking being better so that she'd be able to come home and my dad would get irrationally angry and argue with me till I just backed out and said that she's your daughter, your problem not mine.
I'd been having a horrible few months because I have college and I'm stressed with a bunch of work and I come home late because I live out on the outskirts of the city and I travel by bus everyday. I've been exhausted and discouraged because I haven't been able to pursue any of my hobbies. I'm including this to show that I'm basically exhausted all the time and I'm not in the best state of mind as it is.
They went to visit her this weekend and they brought her back. They made some dumb claim about the doctor saying that "she needs to be around normal people so that it'll make her normal" therefore she was free to go. I basically gave up at this point. The first thing she told me the minute she walked into the house was that I've become fatter than I was. I just gave up my room because I knew I'd have argument after arguememt about how she treated my stuff and again when I mention how this isn't going to fix anything, my mom says I have to deal with it because she's family and she deserves to have a life too.
I brought up having to not have my own room anymore and my mom basically said fine she'll sleep with me (my mom) and my dad will sleep on a spare bed in the living room. This makes me feel horrible because I'm giving my parents (both of whom are in their 60s) shit about having to share a room with her and then inconveniencing them more. I know they feel guilty about leaving her in another city and I feel for them but I don't want to have to keep sacrificing my stuff because they have these big delusions that they can fix her. I just want to get out of this situation, I'd like to move out but my daily routine doesn't even leave me time for myself much less being able to find and work at a job without basically dying by the second day. I have no money and I don't know how to deal with this situation. I've been stressed for months on end already about college and this has just made everything much worse than it was. I have no place that I can feel safe and it sucks so hard.
Your immediate response people?
You do you first...Giphy
Your mental health is important too. You need to make urgent plans to move out.
Their amateur psychiatry is going to end very badly for all of you. They seem unable to accept that she isn't going to get better, all she can hope for is a safe managed environment, like a ward.Well, parents do crazy misguided stuff for love. And like many families, yours revolves round the most damaged person. You are being ignored to save her. This is sadly common (it seems to have evolutionary roots, which I am sure are of no interest to you right now, so I'll STFU on that.) Their view will be that YOU are able to cope for yourself. So there's no point trying to guilt them ("Your stupid and dangerous idea is driving me out"). And don't you feel guilty either: she is their responsibility not yours. Their sleeping on the sofa is a direct consequence of their own bad choices, not yours. Sure, life dealt them a shitty hand by giving them a schizophrenic kid, but they are making bad choices that make it worse for all of you: them, her, you: everyone would be happier if she were in a facility.
Stick with the meds...
I agree with a lot of this post. OP definitely needs to prioritize her personal well-being.
However, I do need to challenge your statement that "she isn't going to get better, all she can hope for is a safe managed environment, like a ward." People with schizophrenia can definitely hope for more than that. They can often live mostly normal lives - if they are diligent in complying with their meds and other treatments. The fact that OP's parents keep trying to take OP's sister off her meds, away from her treatment, and sending her to priests/shamans/etc. Is absolutely inexcusable. So yes, OP's sister is definitely better off in a facility; Not because that's all that people with schizophrenia can hope for, but because it keeps her away from her dangerous parents.
You either move out or dig deep and find a way to cope. Your parents are consumed by their own guilt and destroying the lives of both their adult kids and it's terrible. You don't really have any power here though. I encourage you to look into your own counseling through your university and start doing anything and everything you can to look into moving out as soon as possible.
Your parents are people that forget the hard-earned lessons they learn each time they bring her home.
You remember. And you are not obligated to stay and watch them make the same mistake over and over. For your own mental health, you need to figure out a way to move. And figure out how to do it in such a way that you never need to return.
Find roommates. Get a loan. Move closer to the school. Reduce your class load. Whatever it takes to make this work. You cannot share a house with someone with a proven history of destroying your stuff. You'll probably be shocked by how much better you'll sleep and how much more energy you'll have once you're out of that house.
You can't clean up your parent's mess...
In the short term absolutely take your parents room while you're finding somewhere else to live. They caused this situation, and you need to protect your mental health. It sucks but maybe if they have to sleep on the sofa they'll be less keen to remove her without an long-term support plan in place.
Work hard... Get out!Giphy
Oh God, I'm so sorry. All I can tell you is work as hard as you can, get the best grades you can, and MOVE OUT as quickly as you can. That's literally the only thing you can do to make your life better. You can't change your parents, you can't change your sister, your only option is to save yourself.
Go to your school's financial aid and residential life offices. Find out what options are available to you financially, and see if they can find you an affordable living space.
I'm so sorry your parents refuse to understand that managing serious mental health issues is a life-long engagement that can require ongoing care. Or if they do get that, then they feel they can do it themselves. They can't and they've obviously done much to damage their relationship with you. And since they are willfully obstinate about this, you are under no obligations to forgive them any time soon.
So here is the problem with living with other people, you have to accept how they do things. It's time for you to stop staying with your parents.
Look up hospitalization dialectical behavior therapy.
What about your mental health?? You need to tell your parents how you feel, and if they can't come up with a way to help you feel safe and supported as well, look for roommates and rooms to rent. You're doing so well trying to get through college, but you're going to have to be your own advocate because your prents aren't able to help you both.
Also, your parents doing this yo-yo thing, in/out in/out is NOT helping your sister. It's hurting the whole family