Friday, May 29, 2015

I'm seemingly not living very well. The 4 C's and Acceptance

'I'm seemingly not living very well.' Is what my son said to me yesterday when I pointed out for the umpteenth time that the patio table was not an ashtray. No he is not functioning very well at the moment.

The fact that he recognizes that he isn't living/functioning very well, I think is a good thing.

I don't know if it's that I'm perhaps a bit fed up with schizophrenia or if it's that I have been going through a phase of acceptance. Both I guess. On one hand I don't seem to have the motivation to be blogging, tweeting etc about mental illness. I think I just needed a bit of a break from it on social media and honestly I'm staring it in the face 24/7 at the moment and that's enough for me right now.

To a certain extend I have always accepted schizophrenia however I'm not sure I accepted how little control I have over it. On Monday and Tuesday evening my hubby and I attended a group through ADAPT for caregiver's of concurrent disorders (addiction and mental illness). Yes I pointed out that according to the DSM that addiction is now considered to be a mental illness ;).

For the first time I am seeking help in dealing with or coping with what our family is going through. It feels good. The 3 C's came up with a twist and I really liked it. The 4 C's: I didn't Cause it, I can't Control it, I can't Cure it but I can learn to Cope. I have always accepted that I didn't cause it and even that I don't have very much control over it however I have still been trying to control it to the best of ability. That ever present hope that if I do enough then my son will go into remission and start to build a life for himself.

I still have that hope however I can't build his life for him. I can't cure his schizophrenia. I can't...

It's been just over 2 weeks since I took him off the Latuda and started the Olanzapine. It's felt like a long 2 weeks. I have to keep reminding myself that it's only been 2 weeks. If someone broke a limb no one would expect recovery in just 2 weeks. You are looking at months at least. Even with the common cold it can take up to 3 months for the cough to completely go away. Yet here I am thinking: It's been 2 weeks, why hasn't the medication fixed this yet? *face palm* I really do know better. It's just hard to watch and wait.

Something that has been on my mind lately is something I read in an article about asylums or better yet how we need long term facilities. We do. I remember reading that people going through crisis had a place to go and just be or adjust, taking all the time they needed. I wonder if my son needs time to just be and adjust. Time to learn and recognize his own schizophrenia.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been noticing things. When I ask my son if he is hallucinating I don't get the auto-response of no. Now it's I think so. He is learning to recognize that what he sees, I don't. One day I noticed that he was very clammy/sweaty and asked if he was having an episode and he answered with I think so.

So I'm thinking: If I jump in and up his medications is this the right thing? On the surface the answer may seem like a yes. I'm not so sure. Maybe he needs to be in a place where he is stable enough to be aware of what schizophrenia is doing to him so that he can learn or see what it is also keeping him from doing. Living!

He seemed to be slowly improving until Wednesday when he went to the library with part of a group through PACT. He came back a bit more symptomatic and that night didn't sleep well. Yesterday he was off again and I even caught him masturbating in the living room. Can't say I was impressed with that ;). I let him know that I didn't like it and asked him to not do that in the living room. He agreed...

I think the stress of going to the library was too much for him right now. For a bit I actually wondered if he smoked marijuana with someone however I didn't see the other signs and he wasn't relaxed at all so I'm ruling that out. When I told him that he needed to get ready to go he said he didn't want to.  I reminded him that he had told his case worker and nurse that he would go. I got him clean cloths and got his backpack ready for him. I didn't tell him that he had to go or that he could stay home. I let him know that if he found it too much that he could come home and that I think he should at least try that getting out may be good for him.

What struck me during the above conversation was like a flashback to when they are small and don't want to go to school. That's another twist that schizophrenia has thrown at us. He has been childlike for lack of a better word. Even my hubby has commented that sometimes when he answers me it's like he is a kid. Him not wanting to go to group was like a child not wanting to go to school. He went because even though I didn't tell him he had to, I didn't tell him couldn't and like a child he was in a way doing what he was told.

My main goal this last couple of weeks has just been to keep him on a good schedule for bed and spending time with him. I have been massaging and scratching his back whenever he asks which is 3-7 times a day. Sometimes at 6 in the morning... oi. It would be nice if it was after I had my coffee but oh well. When he asks, off I go. Every night I spend time with him, just cuddling/holding him. I was a little uncomfortable with this in the beginning however I have lightened up about it. When I first started massaging his back I could visibly see and feel him relax as I was doing it. I think it's been a good experience for both of us. It seems to be bringing us closer together. Hubby has been vacated to the smaller sofa while my son and I occupy the big one, while we watch our TV shows after dinner. Sometimes he puts his head in my lap. Yesterday I even got him to take 2 omega-3! The day before 2 multi-vitamins. I smiled when he walked away because I don't think he even realized what had happened. He stopped beside me while I was getting hubby and I our supplements, I handed him the multi-vitamins and he took them. :) Same with the omega-3. I offered him 2 and first he said no so I asked him to take just one and he decided to take both of them!

It's been a lot of going behind him and putting stuff away. Making sure things are turned off or reminding him that he has things turned on, like the deep fryer ;). I have been pointing all these things out to him however I have been doing it with a very loving tone. No judgments or being mad. Just letting him know that he isn't doing them. I think that is why he was able to say or see that he isn't living (functioning) very well. He knows that he hasn't been able to do these minor things.

I haven't been taking him out much. Realistically I think that even grocery shopping would take more energy then he has right now. I haven't told him that he can't come with us however I have stated that being clean needs to happen for him to come. Since he doesn't have it in him to really do this then he decides not to come. No worries he still gets his fair share of treats and usually McDonald's that we pick up for him on the way back.

With the hygiene thing... Again I have been pointing it out and again with a loving tone. Last weekend we got him new track-pants as he lost some weight and although the same size, they fit him better due to the style. That night I let him know he needed to get clean and put on clean cloths. He asked if he could not shower. I let him know that he didn't have to but I was going to clean him. He replied: You're going to clean me, ok let's do this... I washed his pits, neck, face and hands and had him put on all clean cloths. He even asked me to get him clean underwear. ;)

Slowly he seems to be becoming more aware of things like his own body odor. Baby steps right?

I'm in the middle of making flat bread as hubbies family is having a get together tomorrow. Not sure what to do about my son. Yesterday he was asking about the date and checking his bank account. Addiction... While he wants to come tomorrow, as soon as he realizes or remembers the date again... Take him with us when he will have triggered symptoms again or leave him home alone with no one making sure he isn't burning the house down ;)

I almost forgot. I finally booked camping! Next Saturday so that should hopefully give him something to look forward to.


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1 comment:

  1. Dear schizophrenia mom- would you like me to help you? Please read some of the things I do and we can talk about it, if anything connects with you. I hear you, like I heard my own mother once, and it made me get well!