You know what keeps shocking me over and over again? It’s the change in my role recently. For the first 5+ years of his life, I spent a huge amount of energy trying to get medical professionals to hear me when I told them that Carter was not OK. Now, strangely, the shoe is on the other foot; I deny and minimize and the psychiatrist and psychologists have to decipher and interpret Carter for me, tell me when I’m looking right at symptoms and not seeing them.
Carter is psychotic and has been for over 2 weeks. He’s having hallucinations in three of his senses – sight, sound, and touch. I look past the symptoms, or create stories to make the symptoms into something different, because I’m afraid. Today, Carter screamed and carried on and refused to wash his hands and face before we left the house. I know that refusal of personal hygiene is a symptom of psychosis, but I couldn’t put it together for myself. Carter’s psychologist had to connect the dots for me.
I haven’t learned much about psychosis yet (all that fear, you know), but I’m relieved to find out that, rather than being this huge bogeyman of always-catastrophic proportions, psychosis can be mild (as Carter’s is right now). Some people even live very functional lives with ongoing, mild psychosis. While it’s definitely not a small thing. it doesn’t have to be this terrible monster I’d built it up in my mind to be.
Unfortunately, hallucinations and delusions do seem to be a growing phenomenon for Carter, something he experiences at less and less severe levels of mania. (Egad, the boy isn’t even raging much and still he’s hallucinating!) That doesn’t seem to me to bode especially well for his future, but Carter’s psychiatrist assures me that we have a very good chance of getting him stable. In fact, she’s quite certain that we’ll do so. I try to hang onto that because during our long (LONG!) days together, when Carter has spun off into space and I can’t get him back down onto the ground, I lose my sense of perspective.
We’re off to see the psychiatrist tomorrow. Say a prayer that she and I make good decisions, so the little guys with arrows who live on our stairs can take a hike. I’ve got enough to worry about around here without them making more trouble!