Chit Chat

Tired

My FI's brother is a paranoid schizophrenic, which is something I've never had to deal with before. He has been in and out of the hospital through out his life, and was recently released from another one. The only problem is, he is still hearing voices. Talking out loud to them, and having hallucinations. I did a lot of looking into his diagnosis, asking my therapist questions, as well as asking my FI questions. Eventually he is going to be my brother in law, so I wanted to know as much about it as possible.

I seem to be a trigger of his though. One day he is fine around me, and the next he is convinced I am stealing his brother from him. From his past history he has never been physically violent, however he is huge compared to me and when he gets agitated he flails around. Which happens to be a trigger of mine, due to previous spousal abuse.

Sorry I am rambling, I've had no sleep and he decided to pay a visit early this morning after my FI went to work. When he showed up I tried asking nicely for him to leave. I needed sleep, and was honestly not in the mental frame of mind to deal with him. Well he refused to go, and to add to an already brewing mess - his grandmother called to try and warn me he was on his way. When I left the room to speak with her, I let her know he was already here and wouldn't leave.

At that point she sent her husband over, and told me to tell FI's brother that he was being picked up. Did I mention he walked five miles just to get to my place? Anyway, I relaid the message and he got agitated. Spouting off that I was part of the conspiracy and not to be trusted. I said if he didn't trust me, why was he still here. He just rolled his eyes and started muttering to himself.

I should mention my twelve year old daughter was home, and had locked herself in her room the minute he barged into the house. Anyway, grandpa arrived and told him he needed to leave. He refused, so grandpa told him that he was staying until he decided to leave. 45 minutes later when FI's brother realized he wasn't going to win, he finally left.

FI called about twenty minutes later to check in with me and I told him what went on, which only stressed him out because his parents (who his brother has to legally live with,) are pretty much refusing to do anything unless FI is there as well. They seem to forget that we have our own life, our own child, and it isn't our responsibility to handle FBIL when he is having issues. Aside from that, all legal action has to be taken by their parents.

So now I can't sleep, my daughter made me lock all doors and windows and we are waiting on my FI to get home. This ended up longer than I thought it would, and forgive me please if I posted in the wrong board. I am truly exhausted.
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Re: Tired

  • I'm sorry.  I'm not an expert in mental health issues, nor have I ever had any experience with people with paranoid schizophrenia.  It sounds to me, though, that there are two issues in front of you, the first being your family's immediate safety when your FBIL is in the middle of an episode.  In those cases, it seems like you need a plan, whether that's calling the parents or grandparents, not letting him in your home, calling EMS, or something that will bring additional people to help FBIL and put people between you and him. If you are a trigger for him and he is a trigger for you, it doesn't seem wise to let him into your space without another party present.

    I think the second issue, which you hinted at in your post, is that your FILs expected your FH to play an active role in his brother's case management.  Does this mean there is an expectation (unspoken/unacknowledged or spoken/acknowledged) that they have on FH that he will assume FBIL's care when they no longer can?  Are you prepared for that role in your marriage?  It sounds like your FBIL will need long-term assistance, if not unright supervision, and that his family has chosen home-based care with intermittent hospitalization. Are you and FH supposed to be part of that long-term trend?

    Finally, I would be concerned that FBIL has just completed a course of treatment but is still having hallucinations.  Can your FH suggest to your parents that FBIL may need additional time or treatment?  It might be possible that his current treatment plan need to be adjusted.  But I would absolutely have FH make that suggestion and be part of that conversation. 

    I think this is definitely a case where he needs to lead the charge and ensure that this doesn't happen regularly.  He's got to lay out the plans and concerns of your immediate family, and he needs to the be one who insists on a new course of action.
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    OliveOilsMomSTARMOON44SP29ernursej
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
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    I don't have any advice; I just wanted to offer you an internet hug.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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    STARMOON44
  • I'm also here with a hug for you. 
  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    member
    edited June 2016
    (Hugs).  My sister is a mental health social worker who works with a lot of schizophrenics.  I don't know much, but I do know it can be treated and most patients can live fairly normal lives when on the correct dosage and combination of medication and therapy.  FBIL clearly isn't.  I would reach out to his social worker, case manager, whomever and report this incident.  They are only as useful as the information they have and this is important for his treatment and his short and long term success.

    I also agree with PP's that 1) you need to find out what the long term plan is for when your FIL's pass and 2) I'd have a plan set in place to call EMS if and when he shows up unannounced and make sure that FH explains that to his parents and grandparents.  This is a safety risk for the both of you.

    ETF spelling
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    OliveOilsMom
  • JaxInBlue said:
    I'm sorry.  I'm not an expert in mental health issues, nor have I ever had any experience with people with paranoid schizophrenia.  It sounds to me, though, that there are two issues in front of you, the first being your family's immediate safety when your FBIL is in the middle of an episode.  In those cases, it seems like you need a plan, whether that's calling the parents or grandparents, not letting him in your home, calling EMS, or something that will bring additional people to help FBIL and put people between you and him. If you are a trigger for him and he is a trigger for you, it doesn't seem wise to let him into your space without another party present.

    I think the second issue, which you hinted at in your post, is that your FILs expected your FH to play an active role in his brother's case management.  Does this mean there is an expectation (unspoken/unacknowledged or spoken/acknowledged) that they have on FH that he will assume FBIL's care when they no longer can?  Are you prepared for that role in your marriage?  It sounds like your FBIL will need long-term assistance, if not unright supervision, and that his family has chosen home-based care with intermittent hospitalization. Are you and FH supposed to be part of that long-term trend?

    Finally, I would be concerned that FBIL has just completed a course of treatment but is still having hallucinations.  Can your FH suggest to your parents that FBIL may need additional time or treatment?  It might be possible that his current treatment plan need to be adjusted.  But I would absolutely have FH make that suggestion and be part of that conversation. 

    I think this is definitely a case where he needs to lead the charge and ensure that this doesn't happen regularly.  He's got to lay out the plans and concerns of your immediate family, and he needs to the be one who insists on a new course of action.
    FI had helped to care for his brother while he was still living at home. When he moved out he would step in from time to time because his brother would calm down for him. We've had a few conversations with their parents about what needed to be done, and how FI could no longer take on a more full time role in aiding them. We have an autistic daughter, and she is full time on her own. His parents agreed that they needed to continue to step up, because between our daughter and full time work, he just doesn't have it in him to handle every problem. The current agreement is FI's parents are FBIL's full caregivers, since they don't want to place him full time in treatment, they are supposed to handle when he starts to slip.

    The only problem is FMIL/FFIL keep trying to push everything off on us. We legally have no rights when it comes to his brothers treatment, we've been able to speak to his case manager but even she says that her hands are tied unless his parents give the okay. FI is stopping by his parents to remind them that this cannot happen again, and to nudge them to take some action. When I spoke to FMIL after everything went down, she kept telling me to just call the police if he showed up again. My only issue is FBIL already swings back and forth from thinking I'm stealing his brother. If I called anyone other than family, I worry about the repercussions.
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  • AddieCakesparklepants41 for the hugs, they are so very much appreciated.
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  • vikinganna87vikinganna87 Live Free or Die
    Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its 100 Comments First Answer
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    I'm sorry. This is a really tough situation.  I don't have much advice either, except to reiterate what @JaxinBlue mentioned about having a plan and making sure there's another party present when he's around you.  

    Since he's a trigger for you when he's agitated and flailing his arms the most important thing for you is taking care of yourself.  You've probably already brought this up with FI but make sure that you explain to him how your body and mind react in these situations with FBIL so that he understands.  It's compounded by your daughter being scared - sounds like mostly on her own but also sensing your reaction - which I'm guessing makes it even worse for you because you're naturally worried about her as well.
    SP29
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey
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    Did FBIL break down the door to enter your home?  If yes and this happens again, I would call 911.  If he came over and was knocking on the door, with no way of being let in, then in the future, ignore his knocking unless FI is there.  Also, when he comes over knocking, call FI, grandma, FILs right away for someone to come get FBIL.

    It seems like his treatments are not working and something needs to change.  Thank goodness for Grandpa coming over to get him.  Why didn't FILs come over? 

    I think your FI does need to have an important discussion with his parents about why he needs to be involved with all decisions regarding his brother.  Do they feel he will need to be the one who takes care of him after they pass?  It might be necessary for FBIL to live in a home of some sort, if his parents are unable to care for him any longer.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with this.  FBIL probably thinks you are "stealing" his brother because they used to interact much more, but now FI spends his time with you.  This is a natural progression in life, when you find your life partner, but with FBILs illness, he cannot comprehend that fully.

    OurWildKingdomDrillSergeantCatSP29
  • (Hugs).  My sister is a mental health social worker who works with a lot of schizophrenics.  I don't know much, but I do know it can be treated and most patients can live fairly normal lives when on the correct dosage and combination of medication and therapy.  FBIL clearly isn't.  I would reach out to his social worker, case manager, whomever and report this incident.  They are only as useful as the information they have and this is important for his treatment and his short and long term success.

    I also agree with PP's that 1) you need to find out what the long term plan is for when your FIL's pass and 2) I'd have a plan set in place to call EMS if and when he shows up unannounced and make sure that FH explains that to his parents and grandparents.  This is a safety risk for the both of you.

    ETF spelling
    From the last conversation we all had, the long term plan was for him to go into full term treatment once they passed away. Both FI and I agree that we are in no way capable of handling his brother full time. His case manager said that since I am a trigger, it wouldn't be safe for him to ever live with us. Since he is also a trigger to me, I would never be able to handle it.

    We had thought his parents were on the same page, they had assured us they were. But I can understand just how trying and complicated this must be for them as well. Thankfully FI and I are on the same page, and he will be reiterating again that they need to either keep a closer eye on him, perhaps get a medical professional to stay with him when they are gone, or sadly send him away if they are unable to care for him in the way he needs to be cared for.
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  • JaxInBlue said:
    I'm sorry.  I'm not an expert in mental health issues, nor have I ever had any experience with people with paranoid schizophrenia.  It sounds to me, though, that there are two issues in front of you, the first being your family's immediate safety when your FBIL is in the middle of an episode.  In those cases, it seems like you need a plan, whether that's calling the parents or grandparents, not letting him in your home, calling EMS, or something that will bring additional people to help FBIL and put people between you and him. If you are a trigger for him and he is a trigger for you, it doesn't seem wise to let him into your space without another party present.

    I think the second issue, which you hinted at in your post, is that your FILs expected your FH to play an active role in his brother's case management.  Does this mean there is an expectation (unspoken/unacknowledged or spoken/acknowledged) that they have on FH that he will assume FBIL's care when they no longer can?  Are you prepared for that role in your marriage?  It sounds like your FBIL will need long-term assistance, if not unright supervision, and that his family has chosen home-based care with intermittent hospitalization. Are you and FH supposed to be part of that long-term trend?

    Finally, I would be concerned that FBIL has just completed a course of treatment but is still having hallucinations.  Can your FH suggest to your parents that FBIL may need additional time or treatment?  It might be possible that his current treatment plan need to be adjusted.  But I would absolutely have FH make that suggestion and be part of that conversation. 

    I think this is definitely a case where he needs to lead the charge and ensure that this doesn't happen regularly.  He's got to lay out the plans and concerns of your immediate family, and he needs to the be one who insists on a new course of action.
    FI had helped to care for his brother while he was still living at home. When he moved out he would step in from time to time because his brother would calm down for him. We've had a few conversations with their parents about what needed to be done, and how FI could no longer take on a more full time role in aiding them. We have an autistic daughter, and she is full time on her own. His parents agreed that they needed to continue to step up, because between our daughter and full time work, he just doesn't have it in him to handle every problem. The current agreement is FI's parents are FBIL's full caregivers, since they don't want to place him full time in treatment, they are supposed to handle when he starts to slip.

    The only problem is FMIL/FFIL keep trying to push everything off on us. We legally have no rights when it comes to his brothers treatment, we've been able to speak to his case manager but even she says that her hands are tied unless his parents give the okay. FI is stopping by his parents to remind them that this cannot happen again, and to nudge them to take some action. When I spoke to FMIL after everything went down, she kept telling me to just call the police if he showed up again. My only issue is FBIL already swings back and forth from thinking I'm stealing his brother. If I called anyone other than family, I worry about the repercussions.
    I see two issues here. 

    1- there is a threat of violence to you. Now is not the time for your FI to be "nudging."  Now is the time for blunt open conversation about expectations. 

    2- conversely, if you want them to take control let them. Listen to FMIL. Lock your doors, don't answer when he knocks, and call the police if he won't leave. There are repercussions both ways, it is ok to prioritize you and your daughter's safety. 
    OurWildKingdomemmaaaernursej
  • Did FBIL break down the door to enter your home?  If yes and this happens again, I would call 911.  If he came over and was knocking on the door, with no way of being let in, then in the future, ignore his knocking unless FI is there.  Also, when he comes over knocking, call FI, grandma, FILs right away for someone to come get FBIL.

    It seems like his treatments are not working and something needs to change.  Thank goodness for Grandpa coming over to get him.  Why didn't FILs come over? 

    I think your FI does need to have an important discussion with his parents about why he needs to be involved with all decisions regarding his brother.  Do they feel he will need to be the one who takes care of him after they pass?  It might be necessary for FBIL to live in a home of some sort, if his parents are unable to care for him any longer.

    I'm sorry you have to deal with this.  FBIL probably thinks you are "stealing" his brother because they used to interact much more, but now FI spends his time with you.  This is a natural progression in life, when you find your life partner, but with FBILs illness, he cannot comprehend that fully.

    FI didn't lock up the door when he headed out to work, so FBIL walked on in. So we will both have to make sure the door is always locked from now on. FMIL was at work, she took away FBIL's car because he's almost caused four accidents in the past two weeks. She assumed he wouldn't walk all the way here, which turned out not to be true. FFIL is currently in NC for work, he is now on the road back to handle this.
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  • JaxInBlue said:
    I'm sorry.  I'm not an expert in mental health issues, nor have I ever had any experience with people with paranoid schizophrenia.  It sounds to me, though, that there are two issues in front of you, the first being your family's immediate safety when your FBIL is in the middle of an episode.  In those cases, it seems like you need a plan, whether that's calling the parents or grandparents, not letting him in your home, calling EMS, or something that will bring additional people to help FBIL and put people between you and him. If you are a trigger for him and he is a trigger for you, it doesn't seem wise to let him into your space without another party present.

    I think the second issue, which you hinted at in your post, is that your FILs expected your FH to play an active role in his brother's case management.  Does this mean there is an expectation (unspoken/unacknowledged or spoken/acknowledged) that they have on FH that he will assume FBIL's care when they no longer can?  Are you prepared for that role in your marriage?  It sounds like your FBIL will need long-term assistance, if not unright supervision, and that his family has chosen home-based care with intermittent hospitalization. Are you and FH supposed to be part of that long-term trend?

    Finally, I would be concerned that FBIL has just completed a course of treatment but is still having hallucinations.  Can your FH suggest to your parents that FBIL may need additional time or treatment?  It might be possible that his current treatment plan need to be adjusted.  But I would absolutely have FH make that suggestion and be part of that conversation. 

    I think this is definitely a case where he needs to lead the charge and ensure that this doesn't happen regularly.  He's got to lay out the plans and concerns of your immediate family, and he needs to the be one who insists on a new course of action.
    FI had helped to care for his brother while he was still living at home. When he moved out he would step in from time to time because his brother would calm down for him. We've had a few conversations with their parents about what needed to be done, and how FI could no longer take on a more full time role in aiding them. We have an autistic daughter, and she is full time on her own. His parents agreed that they needed to continue to step up, because between our daughter and full time work, he just doesn't have it in him to handle every problem. The current agreement is FI's parents are FBIL's full caregivers, since they don't want to place him full time in treatment, they are supposed to handle when he starts to slip.

    The only problem is FMIL/FFIL keep trying to push everything off on us. We legally have no rights when it comes to his brothers treatment, we've been able to speak to his case manager but even she says that her hands are tied unless his parents give the okay. FI is stopping by his parents to remind them that this cannot happen again, and to nudge them to take some action. When I spoke to FMIL after everything went down, she kept telling me to just call the police if he showed up again. My only issue is FBIL already swings back and forth from thinking I'm stealing his brother. If I called anyone other than family, I worry about the repercussions.
    I see two issues here. 

    1- there is a threat of violence to you. Now is not the time for your FI to be "nudging."  Now is the time for blunt open conversation about expectations. 

    2- conversely, if you want them to take control let them. Listen to FMIL. Lock your doors, don't answer when he knocks, and call the police if he won't leave. There are repercussions both ways, it is ok to prioritize you and your daughter's safety. 
    I agree with all you've said, thank you for your advice. I'll be keeping the doors locked, and not answering if he shows up again. I used the word nudge because I am a lot nicer than my FI when he gets fired up. This has been happening on and off for a while now, and my FI was already upset about the lack of action on his parents part. I'm hoping they will do something instead of trying to leave it to my FI and I. I hate the idea of having to call the police because they did nothing.
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  • Paranoid schizophrenia runs in my family-- both maternal grandmother and one (that I know of-- might be more) maternal aunt has it. The thing is, you're probably going to be a bit of a trigger for him for a while. Paranoid schizophrenics can hardly trust themselves or their closest family members, let alone new people.

    For example, my aunt came to visit when I was about 17. She'd been medicated, but for some reason things weren't hitting her right. My mom is phenomenal when it comes to dealing with her (my mom is her younger sister), but she was at work at the time. My little sister and I were home alone with Aunt K. I noticed pretty early in the day that she wasn't touching anything with her fingers (she was worried the government would try to use her fingerprints against her, so she'd pull her hands into her hoodie and use the sleeves to handle things), and knew we were in for a rough day. After about an hour or so, I could tell she was watching us like a hawk, started making comments that she heard what we were saying, who we were talking to, etc. So we called our mom. My mom called her to comfort her and talk her down, and my sister and I went to my bedroom to watch movies until the psychotic episode passed.

    At no point were we in danger, but it was scary feeling.

    The main take-away I got from that is to let those who the schizophrenic individual trusts help them. Remove yourself from the situation when you can (when it's not your own home, obviously). Your FI should be working with his parents to get his brother treatment if it's negatively impacting your life.

    I agree that it might be best to call the police if there's any possibility of him showing up and being a threat.

    He needs better treatment. My aunt currently lives in an assisted housing type of place (really nice apartments, lounge area, very independent-- except that there are medical professionals on standby, people to check in on her, etc.), and is on meds good enough that she rarely has problems. She goes on vacation regularly, and hasn't had an incident like the above in years. It's possible. Maybe if you make it clear that possible threats to yourself and your child aren't okay (like calling the police when he comes uninvited and is acting out), the parents will realize he needs better treatment.

    Also, over time the fact that you're not "stealing" his brother might start to breach the barrier. However, you shouldn't have to live with that in the meantime.

    I wish you luck. And I really hope he gets treatment. I've seen what untreated schizophrenia is like... no one deserves to live like that.





  • Paranoid schizophrenia runs in my family-- both maternal grandmother and one (that I know of-- might be more) maternal aunt has it. The thing is, you're probably going to be a bit of a trigger for him for a while. Paranoid schizophrenics can hardly trust themselves or their closest family members, let alone new people.

    For example, my aunt came to visit when I was about 17. She'd been medicated, but for some reason things weren't hitting her right. My mom is phenomenal when it comes to dealing with her (my mom is her younger sister), but she was at work at the time. My little sister and I were home alone with Aunt K. I noticed pretty early in the day that she wasn't touching anything with her fingers (she was worried the government would try to use her fingerprints against her, so she'd pull her hands into her hoodie and use the sleeves to handle things), and knew we were in for a rough day. After about an hour or so, I could tell she was watching us like a hawk, started making comments that she heard what we were saying, who we were talking to, etc. So we called our mom. My mom called her to comfort her and talk her down, and my sister and I went to my bedroom to watch movies until the psychotic episode passed.

    At no point were we in danger, but it was scary feeling.

    The main take-away I got from that is to let those who the schizophrenic individual trusts help them. Remove yourself from the situation when you can (when it's not your own home, obviously). Your FI should be working with his parents to get his brother treatment if it's negatively impacting your life.

    I agree that it might be best to call the police if there's any possibility of him showing up and being a threat.

    He needs better treatment. My aunt currently lives in an assisted housing type of place (really nice apartments, lounge area, very independent-- except that there are medical professionals on standby, people to check in on her, etc.), and is on meds good enough that she rarely has problems. She goes on vacation regularly, and hasn't had an incident like the above in years. It's possible. Maybe if you make it clear that possible threats to yourself and your child aren't okay (like calling the police when he comes uninvited and is acting out), the parents will realize he needs better treatment.

    Also, over time the fact that you're not "stealing" his brother might start to breach the barrier. However, you shouldn't have to live with that in the meantime.

    I wish you luck. And I really hope he gets treatment. I've seen what untreated schizophrenia is like... no one deserves to live like that.
    Thank you for sharing. I am hoping that my FI is able to get through to his parents. I've come to realize that they are both aware of the extent of the problem, however neither of them want to be the "bad guy" who sends their son away. While I understand this, being a parent myself. They are not helping him, only hurting him in the end.

    He is only on medication while in the hospital, the minute he gets home he goes back off of it. So I can only imagine that it makes the situation worse. For the sake of my child and myself, my future in-laws are being told that until they actually seek help for my FBIL, the police will be called should he show up here. I personally cannot keep dealing with this, his actions trigger me every time he gets agitated which is a lot.

    Hopefully the future in laws actually get the point this time. Because it's causing problems and heartache in both the immediate and extended family.
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  • SP29SP29
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    Also sending hugs to you!

    I can understand how that would be scary. I also have a BIL with mental illness (bipolar), but fortunately I have never dealt with anything that you mention. He did have a manic episode recently that involved significant police action, but no family was involved and he is now safe and well again.

    You've gotten some great advice above. I would not hesitate to call the police if FBIL is not listening to your requests or if FMIL/FFIL won't come get him. FBIL is clearly not well right now and needs treatment. Although this sounds terrible, if you call the police and they feel he is being a threat, they can at least get him into a hospital for a psych evaluation.

    Take care! You and your daughter are definitely priority number 1.
  • I'm going to support the above advice of calling 911 if FBIL doesn't listen and nobody is coming to get him. Police and EMS have the ability to EP a patient who requires evaluation. Don't risk your (collective) safety; you never know how he might react to his thoughts. Hugs to you!

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  • I know in Canada that there are community treatment orders that can 'force' individuals to take their meds or be institutionalized. It is part of the mental health act. I'm not sure what resources or options are available where you live, but that might be something for FI and his family to look into.

    Your safety is the number 1 priority. Consider investing in a panic button system and do not open doors or leave them unlocked ever. The only consequences to police being called is that FBIL will end up being taken to the hospital where he will get treatment. If something happens during police intervention, that is weight of FIs family not putting him into a full time care facility.

    Mental health is one of the hardest areas of health and wellness because there is often no quick fix or perfect treatment plan. Individuals require lifelong treatment and tweaks to plans of care to maintain wellness.

    OurWildKingdomOliveOilsMom
  • Update:
    First of all, thank you all for your support and understanding. It helped to make my night a little better. My FI laid down the law with his parents. His brother is not to come to the house anymore, for the time being. They have an appointment to sign paper work to have him committed. So they took everything seriously this time. I'm feeling better about it, and also better knowing that FBIL will get the help he needs.
    I'm glad to hear thinks seem to be getting better!  You're extremely compassionate despite a very stressful situation.

    I'm a bit late, but I also wanted to recommend checking out if you have any community crisis hot lines available.  In my county, if you or someone is having a crisis, you can call them and they'll send a crisis counselor to you.  They also have a less urgent hotline if you just need to talk something through with someone.  I keep those numbers on my fridge.

    But if you're ever even a smidge concerned about anyone's immediate safety call 911.
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