Friday, October 18, 2013

Racing Against The Clock

Since Thomas was in the place he was yesterday it was an opportunity to talk to him about what is going on in his head. I don't think I'm being subtle anymore with my questioning but we made a deal in therapy that I could say to him that I wanted to ask 'x' amount of questions and that he would have to answer those without getting frustrated. We also agreed that when he did get frustrated that he could tell me that he was done answering questions but he had to do it in a nice way. I think he really liked the idea of being able to cut me off when he wanted and I, then, began to realize that I needed to be very thoughtful and concise about my questions so that I could get enough information to have a window on his world.

Yesterday he was kind enough to carry on a few conversations with me throughout the day and I learned a few things. Since his hallucinations are at an all-time low I thought I'd learn more about the delusions. Specifically I wanted to talk about what I had learned in therapy. You see, we have been digging for weeks into the source of his delusions and have found some. His therapist drew up a sort of flow chart of their evolution and then asked him if he believed these things on the chart to be true. He did but changing them will be a whole different story.

Delusions are very interesting to me because, at least for Thomas, they come from traumas and anxieties and grow into these massive delusional worlds that are unshakable. It's heartbreaking to me because he's come to deal with things in this manner and I hate that the schizophrenia is the culprit. I've had traumas and anxieties in my life and never have they led to the places Thomas' do. Schizophrenia is a nasty little illness that robs Thomas from normal coping and resolution and it isn't fair. It just isn't fair.

He had told me a few months ago that one of the reasons that he fights to keep his delusions is because he doesn't know what to put in their place if he were to give them up. This seems fair, in theory. People find all kinds of ways of coping with things by over eating or hoarding or alcohol or good old fashioned avoidance. To me, TO ME, these have always seemed like treatable coping mechanisms especially in light of what I have witnessed with Thomas' delusions. There will be no rehab, no professional organizer to toss out the trash and sell the over-accumulated belongings, no Over-Eaters Anonymous, only a therapist and a mom trying different angles to chip away at something that according to Thomas yesterday, isn't going anywhere anytime soon and unfortunately seems to be feeding on itself and getting worse.

I did ask him yesterday if we could come up with something that could take the place of the delusions would he then be willing to give them up. In his wonderful, sweet way he said he would but then turned dark and said that he didn't know how that would happen and in all honesty he really just doesn't want to give them up at all.

So, then I think to myself, how on earth am I going to come up with something to take their place? My mind doesn't even go to the places his does, let alone it can't seem to come up with anything more healthy and perhaps clever to put in their place. He's so entrenched in his thoughts and they're wound around so many aspects of his life that it seems to me that untangling them will be tantamount to trying to achieve world peace. According to him, while they sometimes scare him to death, on the flip side they offer him great comfort and sometimes even pleasure. How can I take that away from him?

We, his therapist and I, have our work cut out for us. We are racing against a clock, in which the batteries powering it are schizophrenia. I have had successes in catching fledgling delusions in the making and stopping them but these fixed ones that have been around since he was 12 seem nearly impossible and are always being added to and reinforced. Racing that clock is the plan and it will only be time that will reveal what success will be had.

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