Friday, July 19, 2013

The Flip Side

As always, this is an ever-changing disease and one you cannot get complacent about. For the past week I have seen things in Thomas that don't really worry me too terribly but I've been keeping an eye on them. Since just before his last hospitalization he has complained a lot of being "bored". I haven't liked this mood state because while he labels it "bored", he comes off as very agitated and there is little, if anything, I can do to help him feel better. Suggestions of the usual activities to stave of boredom are shot down almost as fast as they come out of my mouth and I usually have to come up with something off the wall to pique his interest and even then he participates in a muted, dejected manner.

It always happens this way though (and you think I'd be used to this right now), I am usually sitting and relaxing and he comes to me and says something very casually and as if it really doesn't matter but what comes out of his mouth demands attention. So, last night he came into the living room and laid down in the center of the room and stared at the ceiling and half-heartedly petted the cat. I asked him what was up and he said,

"Something has changed for me lately. Nothing I used to like to do is any fun for me anymore. Nothing makes me happy."

I have seen evidence of this for a while now between the being "bored" and the times where I would find him in his room staring at the wall doing nothing. His mood is palpable but untouchable. After last night, I spent this morning looking up, AGAIN, the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Could this be what's happening to him? The thing is, sometimes he's fine but then most times he's avoiding social interactions (he hasn't seen any of his friends in a couple of weeks and he says he doesn't talk to anyone at work except for Doc and the woman who does evaluations), he's bored, he's laying somewhere staring at something or doing very little that is stimulating and he's in his room more often than ever.

I told him that I would do some further reading today on the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and see if that might be what's happening. He says he doesn't feel depressed so I'm not jumping on that like I normally would. I told him that when he saw his meds doc next week that we would talk to him about this. Here is what saddens me though. If he's not depressed and therefore we could try an anti-depressant, then this is the negative symptoms of schizophrenia manifesting and in everything I have read, there is little to nothing that helps that.

How can this be? I know how it can be, this is the illness, but how unfair is this? He manages to rid himself of most hallucinations and delusions and now he's sentenced to a life without joy?

It is less than a week until we see our next professional so I'll do some reading and keep an eye on him again and see how the weekend goes. Last weekend was one big giant, heavy, agitated, boredom fest. I'm hoping for better this weekend.

This is the flip side of schizophrenia as far as I'm concerned. Either we're fighting demons in some form or another or we're here now in this place, a big empty void.

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