I am so sorry you’re faced with this situation. It is a story that I know all too well. These types of situations are part of the tragedy of severe mental illness.
First and foremost is safety. You must protect yourself and others, especially children, from your daughter. The fact that she has already harmed you once increases the probability that she will do it again. Most people with schizophrenia are not dangerous, but they can be when they are symptomatic and not thinking clearly. This may mean that your daughter can no longer live in your home. Obviously, you love your daughter and do not want to ask her to leave your home, but you must protect yourself. Tough love might be necessary in this situation.
She could live in a personal care home until she is more stable and no longer a threat.
Try contacting your local community mental health center and asking for their assistance. Two other options to consider include the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Treatment Before Tragedy. Google these organizations and call them. These organizations are comprised of people who are facing similar challenges. They might be able to help.
It’s not uncommon for people with severe mental illnesses to not believe they are ill and to refuse treatment. It is the primary reason that these types of disorders are so difficult to treat. The inability to recognize one’s illness, is actually a symptom of the illness. It is called anosognosia.
If your daughter won’t attend treatment, then you should go and bring your family. Working with a mental health professional can assist you in dealing with this very challenging situation.
Consider contacting a lawyer. There are law firms solely devoted to assisting clients in acquiring Social Security Disability benefits. These attorneys only collect fees if a claimant is awarded past-due benefits and those fees are paid directly from the Social Security Administration. You won’t likely have to pay out-of-pocket for their services.
Keep contacting the aforementioned organizations and don’t stop until your needs are met. If you are fearful of your daughter and think she might harm you or someone else in the family, call for emergency assistance. Many communities have mental health crisis teams.
In the meantime, consider moving, if necessary, to protect yourself and your family from your daughter. Please don’t hesitate to write again if you have further questions. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle