Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Thoughts On Blunted Affect (Emotion)

I found this quote and I thought about Thomas and the times that he had been labeled with "blunted affect" (showing little to no emotion). This describes perfectly what I feel to be true about blunted affect:

"The blunted affect or emotional vacancy that's become a stereotype of schizophrenia is not blunted all the time and in many cases is not blunted most of the time," said Deborah Levy. Schizophrenia experts Larry Davidson and David Stayner write, " While perhaps appearing as wooden and vacant to others, and perhaps even feeling at an extreme emotional distance even from themselves, people with schizophrenia continue to describe a fervent wish for love and relationships that contrasts starkly with the empty shell image." Parents would do well to know that to most schizophrenics, a penumbra of affection is reassuring, even if it does not seem to penetrate their isolation.

Which brings me back to Thomas. Often when he was at his worst or even a little bit now too, he seems to be closed off and as he approaches for a hug or reassurance, he seems very stiff and dark. Even in those times he will ask for a hug (or several over a short period of time) and while he does hug me back I feel an emptiness in him. In different moments though I will ask him if in those dark moments my hugs are helping, he emphatically says they do.

When he was in the hospital this last time and he was in crisis he was obviously in another world but I knew with every fiber of my being that my touch, my tight grip on his hand, my arm around his shoulder holding him, was keeping him somewhat grounded. There is not a soul on earth that will ever convince me that just because it says in his treatment notes that he has blunted affect, that he isn't benefitting from my love and affection.

I hope that those of you that care for someone with schizophrenia and don't yet realize this, will now no longer turn away from offering your affection and stable influence to your loved one or friend.

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