An older lady who’s been dealing with her son’s illness for years told me to never spend my energy trying to figure out what’s going on inside my son’s head because there’s never any way to know. But, as usual, I’m not so good at following what I know to be good advice.
My son, both on & off meds, had been stable for a very long time up until about a year an a half ago. He didn’t follow doctors orders exactly, but he had insight, recognized when symptoms were getting outside of his control & would either start taking his meds again or increase what he was taking. The doctor knew he was doing this, and instead of giving him a lecture, asked to be called if he made a big change or started to have big problems.
I keep thinking back to what happened back then. One thing that happened is he must have recognized that something was going very badly because he wanted to see a therapist in the worst kind of way - and we found one.
She was more for substance abuse than anything (he was on large amounts of suboxone & klonopin - all prescribed, plus he would drink with it to enhance the high). Soon after starting to see her, he became pretty obsessed with her and developed this whole fantasy that included hearing her say things she didn’t say when he was in visits, believing they were intimate, seeing visions of her when he was at home that he’s rationalized into being psychic or having ESP, and thinking they were planning a long-term relationship (he knows she’s married) including children (he believes she was pregnant, then he had to watch one of his visions where she forced herself to lose the baby - this is the most hurtful one for him.)
So, now he hasn’t seen or spoken to her in about 7 months, although he will still call her number when he’s very symptomatic and leave messages. Sometimes, he’ll call & just leave the phone off the hook because he thinks she can see through the phone.
However, these last few days to a week, he’s started talking about how he just hurts. When I ask what hurts, he says his heart.
So, I get it. He’s heartbroken. And, he keeps saying he should have married her. That she said “I do”, but it was when he asked her if she hated him.
Yesterday, we had a long talk & I told him that everyone gets their heart broken, that it’s part of life and absolutely everyone has either had, or will have, their heart broken. He wouldn’t be normal if it didn’t happen, he’ll probably get his heart broken many more times, and marriage was no shield against it. He asked me if his dad had ever broken my heart - and I said yes, many, many times over the years, because it’s very true.
I didn’t mention that he, my son, breaks my heart without even trying all the time.
I also told him that the difference was he can’t seem to get over it when it happens to him, and that he can’t let this drag out for years. He needs to put it out of his mind, move on, and there will be other people. Some will break his heart, and for others, he’ll be the one to break their heart.
He took a nap a couple hours later, and when he woke up, he said he spoke to someone in his dreams, a favorite actor from a sitcom, and he put it in a way my son could understand, and now he felt better.
So, as psychotic as that last part sounds, I’m very hopeful that he’s put this little bit of pain away because I’m thinking this is what started his massive decline and is also why the meds seem to be so effective in the hospital and then slowly seem to stop working. In the hospital, he’s distracted, and he makes friends, and he forgets about it for a little while. At home, he isolates, and eventually his mind goes back to the therapist, then he gets racing thoughts & feels the heartbreak again.
This also might be why the delusions are different this time. Before, it was always government conspiracies, time machines, etc. Now, it’s about things that would make him important in someone else’s mind - having special powers, knowing famous people, having lots of money, etc - very little about anything that would, in his mind, get him killed.
Sorry for writing a book, but I can’t help but want to bounce this off someone & see if anyone else thinks they’ve came up with what’s behind some of their family member’s delusions.
Somewhere, behind it all, there has to be some kind of logic - even if it’s a twisted logic with some false ideas.
The good thing is, because there’s always something good, he is not really abusing anything right now. Right before his first hospitalization, he quit the suboxone & klonopin cold turkey and hasn’t went back on them. There’s none to take anyway. He smokes like crazy, but don’t most people with MI? He does crave alcohol at times because he says it gives him some relief, but most days, he’ll be happy with a tall beer and right now he likes the Chelada’s that are only 3.5% alcohol, so that really amounts to one really strong beer, but it takes him longer to drink the extra volume so it makes him happier. I think to go from enough drugs & alcohol to kill some people to a little beer each night in less than a year is definite progress.