Family thinks negative symptoms are laziness

Im living with my aunt for free. I told her I might not be doing as much cleaning as im switching meds and don’t have as much energy. How do i help ignorant people realize im not being lazy

i say give her a couple weeks of the meds and see how motivated she feels. Sadly, this is illegal and would leave you short on pills. I wish I could do that to some people.


Perhaps print some of these out so she can learn more - its not something people naturally understand so its probably normal for people to think what your family / aunt thinks:


I used to suffer horribly from negative symptoms. To the point where I couldn’t even take care of my basic needs, like hygiene and cooking.

My friend/caretaker would get so frustrated and bewildered by it. And no amount of educational materials (although I highly recommend that) could help him understand.

I talked to my therapist about this and he said that people who suffer from negative symptoms fair far better when those around them lower their expectations.

So I told my friend/caretaker, “Give me one month of no expectations. No pressure. No prompting. No calendars filled in with activities. And I’ll do better.”

So we agreed on it. He stopped even suggesting things to me. And I stopped caring about what he expected. And it was absolutely amazing how much higher I began to function.

I started taking initiative to shower, clean the house, cook my own meals. And I took it a step further, and developed some hobbies, like writing music and creating art.

And my friend and I have kept this agreement for the last year. And I credit it with helping me to get back to work and take control of my life again.

There is a caveat here, though. It’s very hard for loved ones to lower their expectations of someone they care for. It takes a great deal of self-control and hope for them.

So I would think that, in addition to giving your family educational materials, having a family therapy session would help work out the dynamics of expectations and responsibilities.

I’m rooting for you to beat negative symptoms :slight_smile:

Be Well,



Wow that is an inspiring story.

Thank you. I personally feel it’s a testament to love. That you love someone so much that you give them away to become something bigger and better.

AND very clear conversation, where each person walks away with some comforting and rewarding knowledge or hope.

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Well, it may be illegal for pill but 5 strong drink for morning and night? lol
She is going to have hit it. with crazy gibberish voice on headphone attached to her head whole time. lol

I’m in the same boat. I’m living with my very religious aunt for free and she doesn’t even allow the word schizophrenia to be used and doesn’t believe in my schizoaffective disorder because I “don’t act weird”. Ain’t nothing I can do about it, but internalize my symptoms like I always have.

I hope you find a solution to your situation.

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“It’s very hard for loved ones to lower their expectations of someone they care for.”

This is very close to what my aunt said. She said, “I can’t see my precious Odile that way”, so she absolutely refuses to.

I live alone as much as possible. That way I don’t have to meet anyone’s house cleaning standards but mine. Call it what you will, but I’m just not that much into housework.

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Your brain is the primary organ for mental energy. All of us with SZ have a stunted brain and have lost massive amounts of this fresh energy because we are trying to recover. Meds only worsen the situation - keeping us extra passive & docile.

SZ is like a cancer. We need massive amounts of recovery time & patience with the body. Forcing it to do activities is just excessive. Hell, half the activities most people do day-to-day anyways are just time wasters.

That’s an important point you make about recovery time.

I like to use the analogy of a person getting in a severe car accident. They break bones, hurt their neck and spine, etc. And so they require surgery, physical therapy, and sometimes even assistive devices like a wheelchair.

They are going to need TONS of time to recover. They are going to have treatment complications. They are going to have limitations. Some might even need to learn how to walk again.

This person’s caretaker and treatment team would want the best for them. But no one would expect them to get out of the hospital and resume normal responsibilities.

And so, no one should assume that someone who has lost control over their own brain should just “try harder” or “be normal.”

The notion of recovery from schizophrenia is still fairly new. But what we do know from those studies proving it is possible is that it took multiple YEARS (sometimes decades of treatment).

I would love for there to be more educational information drafted from those studies. To show caretakers and treating providers the quantity and quality of the rehabilitative efforts that recovery truly takes.


“…anything I was not taught to believe in?” Hyper-religiosity. Sigh.

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Yes, it’s difficult, but I’ve learned there’s just some things I don’t talk about with her because feelings get hurt and emotions become inflamed.

I come from a religious family. Took them a while to accept that it was mental illness. They thought I was possessed by demons.

One of the =great= books for coping with such people:

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Hmm, daily rhythm can help a lot in doing tasks. Just establish a time during which you devote an hour to helping around the house and do whatever people ask of you.

You’ll feel better for helping, it will energise you, and the place will be cleaner. There’s a lot to be said for it.

Hope this can help me when I get my own place… but I already have very few expectations from people around me and still don’t function well. Right now I would rather be constantly cutting myself with a knife for 30 minutes than do the dishes for 30 minutes… but I’m going to do the dishes anyway.

My husband has to remind me to do the housework, that’s how bad I am at doing it! It’s rather embarrassing! :smile:

I will say, regarding expectations: often we perceive others having expectations of us. In reality, their truly our own (or just completely untrue).

I learned this pearl of wisdom this week, when I allowed my work schedule to overwhelm me and cause a symptom relapse.

No matter whose expectations, we must manage them to benefit our personal wellness.