Thursday, November 19, 2009

Troubling signs

Oh, no, please...not again! We've had about nine blessed months of relative calm, at least in regards to Gabriel's schizophrenia. After our five months of hell last year, when the doctors started messing around with his medication, he's been functioning fairly well, thanks to his Clozapine. Well, I do use the term "functioning" fairly loosely. He still has major cognitive problems, he sleeps about 18 hours a day, and his hebephrenic silliness seems to be increasing. But the delusions and hallucinations have been kept at bay, and that's something.

But I'm seeing troubling signs that things may be deteriorating. Now Gabriel has always been somewhat quirky and obsessive about certain subjects. Over the years his consuming topics of interest have been fast food (through severe anorexia and back), video game systems (he rarely plays video games but loves to discuss the pros and cons of all the systems that have come out over the years), the stock market, Men in Black (the source of many of his previous hallucinations of aliens), etc. Now his favorite topics of conversation (monologues) are the Mafia and the Queen of England.

The Mafia has been a frequent component of previous delusions. During his last decompensation, fears of aliens suddenly gave way to fears of the Mafia trying to kill him. Now, with daily exposure to Sopranos reruns, he talks frequently about the Mafia. Do you have to be born into it, does it have a lot of money, isn't it different from the Mob, and on and on. At this point, it doesn't seem to have devolved into real delusions, but when he ruminates on a subject like this, one that has a threatening element, it can be a troubling sign.

His other obsession is the idea that his birth mother is really the Queen of England. This one seemed to start as a joke, and still retains some of that playful quality, but it seems to taking hold as something of a delusion. He asks how many police and body guards would accompany the Queen if she came to Forest Hill to visit, and jokes that someone is at the door asking for John X (his name at birth) as his birth mother, the Queen, wants to meet him. I really have to bite my tongue to keep from blurting out, "No, actually, your birth mother was Tina Turner!" (That was HER delusion...)

At this point, I'm hoping that these ideas are just manifestations of Gabriel's quirky thinking and not the beginnings of genuine delusion. I'll bring them to the doctor's attention at his next appointment. Meanwhile, though I feel guilty admitting it, sometimes it's a relief that he sleeps during so much of my waking hours, as the obsessive monologues wear on my nerves at times. I'm looking into some cognitive remediation training, but more on that in a later post.


Thom said...

I find it interesting that two people I know had similar obsessions in the way you describe. One was being followed by the mafia and aliens and the other was always expecting the Queen of England to arrive. Is it that these are iconic figures that one can latch on to, or it is just coincidence?

Galen said...

That's funny, Thom! I can understand the mafia and aliens, since they are ubiquitous in movies and TV shows, which seems to be the source of many of Gabriel's delusions. But the Queen of England? When was the last time you saw her in any media?

billie lou said...

Oh, Galen, how tough this problem is for everyone involved. The tortures Gabriel endures and the ones he cause you. My dear friend of 35 years has a son with drug induced schizophrenia. His delusions include being implanted with cia chip at the dentist, the Masons, certain actresses being in love with him, and on and on. Their life is equally troubling. I'll add u to my prayers for the strength and wisdom to handle what comes. And thank God Gabriel has you.

Galen said...

Thanks, Billie. "Tortures" is exactly the right heart goes out to any of these tortured souls. You know, Gabriel has always been the most laid back guy. I could count on one hand (and probably have a couple of fingers left over) the times he ever did anything the least bit aggressive like pushing or hitting someone, even as a kid. So far we've been very fortunate that none of his delusions have led to violence, though right before they finally committed him last time, he was beginning to kick and punch at the Mafia guys who were after him. And I feel thankful that he's content to live at home, that he stays here where it's safe and hasn't wanted to take off and land on the streets. That is my biggest fear.