Monday, June 03, 2013

The Current Theory

My son hasn't woken up yet today so I won't know for sure if my current theory is correct but it's been true for a couple days, which doesn't seem like much, but a couple good days in the life of a critically psychotic young man is an amazing accomplishment. Let me give you the backstory:

When he was in the hospital there was an incident in a common area that involved a nurse, a patient and the patient's visitor. It ended in a yelling match and my poor son ran from the room gripping my hand and absolutely terrified. He went from being fine (I'll call it "hospital fine" because he wasn't fine which is why he was in the hospital in the first place) to being in a major crisis complete with active, terrifying hallucinations that he couldn't fight back. His doctor was on the floor that night, thank God, and I left my wide-eyed, trembling, hallucinating son to track him down. I found him and told him what was going on and he went and grabbed a medication and brought it immediately to my son, gave it to him and then sat with him and tried to work him through the moment. That didn't work but the medication did.

When we left the hospital it was written on his discharge papers that "anxiety will exacerbate his psychosis" but they gave us no prescriptions to help with anxiety, no instructions even on how to lower anxiety and his first appointment with any outpatient caregiver was over a week away. I was dumbfounded.

Fast forward to last week. My son had some really strange physical symptoms that forced me to call the doctor and I heard from his nurse but never heard one word from him. In the mean time my son's physical symptoms disappeared but were replaced with growing anxiety and fear and hallucinations. By Friday I finally heard from the doctor and after speaking with her I got a prescription for some anti-anxiety medication to give him at night.

That night he was terrified to take his shower (one of his hallucinations is at it's worst in the shower) and I offered him one of these pills. He gladly took it and then took his shower and when he came out I said,


"Well? How are you?"

I was praying for good results. It was then that he smiled at me and said,

"It worked! I had no anxiety at all and I was able to take my shower."

I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief and was so thankful that I had spoken up about that medication.

Our next hurdle was the nights after he goes to bed. That is when he hears things and begins to see a clear hallucination as if this thing is standing in front of him. Every night since his psychotic episode that landed him in the hospital, I have not slept very well because I've been scared he would have a bad night. Well, the night after he took that pill went well and when the next night came, I gave him the pill to keep in his room and he closed his door and went to bed.

He woke the next morning and gave me the pill cup with the pill still in it and told me he had been ok that night. Could this be? Could the pill have worked enough the first night that even just having a little round white safety net in a cup beside his bed have been enough to get him through another night? It appeared to be the case.

So, my theory is this, and it's hardly a revelation but it's enough to feel like it is. Having lowered his anxiety level, it made it so that he couldn't escalate into psychosis. After all, if you don't FEEL scared then it's a lot easier to deal with scary situations with logic and clear vision. So, living through that first night when he took the pill with zero anxiety and subsequently no hallucinations and then having the safety net the next couple nights, showed him that what he's been hallucinating is in fact not real and since it's not real then he has nothing to be afraid of.

I think my theory is correct but I fear I'm putting a lot more credence to it than it deserves. It's been 2 nights in weeks of serious psychosis and I'm asking a lot of a little white pill but I'm hoping we are taking a turn for the better. I'll let you know when he wakes up if he had another good night.

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