Sunday, November 29, 2009

The dark cloud to the silver lining

For the last couple of days, we've had the pleasure of Gabriel's company during our normal waking hours. Usually he wakes up after midnight, stays up for only 6 or 8 hours, and goes back to bed in the morning. Needless to say, this is not a very good schedule for him, as it limits his socialization with the family, his activities, his exercise, and his regulation of his diabetes. But it has been a very difficult pattern to break. But since he got up for an early Thanksgiving lunch at my mother's and stayed up the rest of the day, he actually managed to stay on a more normal schedule for two days. I was feeling pretty good about this, and tried to give him some positive feedback ("great to spend some time with you, do you like getting out more since you're up during the day, etc").

But last night I realized that this might not be as positive a development as I had thought. We went out to eat and Gabriel was fairly morose and withdrawn. During the day he spent most of the time with his headphones in his ears, with his Walkman radio blasting. And in the evening, as I watched TV and worked on the computer in my room, he came in and hung around, talkative at first (more gangster and Queen of England talk, along with other topics). But then i realized that he was sitting silently on the daybed in the room, staring at a fixed point on the floor, then sitting miserably with his head in his hands. I asked if he was OK and he said yes. But then I got more specific and asked if he was seeing things or hearing voices: affirmative on the former, negative on the latter. Questioned further, he said they weren't scaring him or threatening him. But he stayed up until 3 or 4 AM, and that wakefulness often indicates a certain amount of agitation or fear of being by himself. I went to bed with that familiar knot of apprehension tightening in my chest.