Monday, December 15, 2014

A Moment To Take A Breath

I don't know what it is in the water piped into my house but I've got to say that something good is happening. I can't hide my happiness as I write this because it makes me so happy to see.

Thomas is doing well.

You know, I have lost faith in medications over the last year because nothing has made a dramatic improvement in Thomas. Sure, things have worked, they've slowed down or stopped symptoms of schizophrenia but I haven't seen anything like I am seeing right now.

For so long Thomas has been missing. He's been flat, he's been depressed, he's been anxious and he's just plain seemed lost. All of these symptoms, that now I think were from a chronic depression, have lifted and in their place stands a happy Thomas. I was a critic of stopping his Wellbutrin XL and putting Cymbalta in its place and I held little hope that things would change but they have. This young man I have sharing life with me right now is remarkable. No more flatness, lost looks in his eyes and most importantly to me, dramatically decreased anxiety. It's the anxiety that I am most happy is virtually non-existent. He does, sometimes, have his before work anxiety but he seems able to control it and even pull himself out of it most times. This anxiety before work was the most crippling, to me, of his mood issues and I hated seeing him so desperate to find normalcy, often failing at doing so. It has been a few days but he has been virtually free of anxiety.

So what do I have to thank for that? I've got to say, I think it's the Cymbalta. I didn't even know it was possible to see such a dramatic improvement but let me tell you, it is. People here on the blog and elsewhere have told me "it gets better" but c'mon, all of you, do you really and truly ever believe that when people say that to you? If you are one who believes that, you are the lucky few because honestly, deep down in my heart, I don't always think that's going to happen. When we live day to day, watching our loved ones stay the same or worsen, the days tend to add up quickly and you see nothing but the now" and "now" is a powerful place to be. When things are painful, "the now" seems to go on into eternity. Then, things like this upturn in Thomas's mood happens and suddenly "now" is hope, now is light, now is exciting.

I will say, however, that the positive symptoms of Thomas's schizophrenia are still present. He's still paranoid and he's still delusional, things I'm not certain will ever go away. They're like old friends and as a person standing on the outside of those two things, I am used to them being a part of Thomas's being. Just like you have arms and legs, these two symptoms are just there, a part of daily life.

Dr. K. has devised a plan to help those symptoms. It's a variation on the two buckets, "normal thoughts" and "schizophrenic thoughts" but I haven't talked about it yet because I'm waiting to see if the plan is feasible. As I said before, delusions are tricky things that if you don't catch them when they're in their creation phase you've all but lost your loved one to the delusion fueled whirlpool dragging your loved one down into its abyss. Dr. K. is very excited about his plan, I am less so only because I live with Thomas the other 6 days and 23 hours that Dr. K. doesn't. I know what happens in that head of Thomas's when it comes to paranoia and delusions and it's just not as black and white as two buckets. It's more a chest of drawers where you file fractions of thoughts into various drawers. I don't know, though, we'll see how it goes over time. I'm on board with the plan, I just think it needs tweaked somehow but how to do that eludes me.

What's important, though, here today, is that Thomas is doing better. Seeing a bright, shiny Thomas day in and day out now for at least two weeks, if not more, is a sight to behold and I plan on hanging onto these moments pretty tightly for as long as I can.

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