Monday, January 25, 2016

The bumpy road we've been down

I was thinking back to when the mental health problems began. My son was only 8. He began talking about hearing voices and seeing things that were not there. It was always negative voices. The voices would tell him he was stupid or bad. He saw teenage boys that would say bad things to him. These were just delusions of boys. Sometimes he would shake his fist at them or call them stupid back. Sometimes he would yell, and bang the walls. The delusions were very upsetting to him. This lasted a year and then the medication seemed to even things out enough that we could have normal days.

When he was in 7th grade he wanted to get something for depression. The doctor put him on Zoloft and he became delusional again. It was scary and my husband called the police. When we took him to the psychiatrist, we were told it was the Zoloft and we took him off immediately. He went through 7th grade pretty well. He had some anti social behavior and started smoking cigarettes and using drugs. By his sophomore year in high school he was having all the symptoms of schizophrenia. He was paranoid, delusional thinking, confused speech, and voices.

His sophomore year was tough. He missed so much school because of the illness that he didn't pass his sophomore year. He started having trouble with anger which we hadn't seen in years. I remember driving down the road and he put his feet on the windshield and cracked the windshield. Another time he got in an argument with a teacher because he wanted to go home. Most of the time, it was unusual behavior that had us concerned. One time he rocked back and forth in the fetal position crying because he thought a friend had died. Once I was called to the school because he was talking to something that was not there. Another time he was riding the bus home from school and thought everyone on the bus was talking about him and he got off the bus and called me to pick him up. That was the last time he rode the bus. Once he was on the front porch and a neighbor was talking on their cell phone. He thought they were talking to him and yelled at them. They were so concerned about the confusion that they came and apologized to him.

The next school year was full of delinquency. He would skip classes to smoke marijuana. He would perform candle rituals with his friends. He had lots of ideas about the supernatural. One day I was coming home from ladies bible class and I saw him run across the road from the high school with the principal chasing him. He had left campus and when he was returning they wanted to talk to him and instead he ran. It wasn't much after that I decided that high school just wasn't going to work. He'd never get his credits with missing so much class time. I decided to home school him on the GED and he passed it his first time.

During this time he took drivers education. He passed the course but when he went to take the test at the DMV he failed it 4 times. He's 19 now and still doesn't have his license.

Over the next 2 years he was frequently psychotic. He would talk about wolves and things he would see that no one else saw. He could be very manic not sleeping well. He was not taking medication and would have really strange conversations that were very animated. I was afraid to leave him alone and was only working a few hours a week. One time we went to Walmart and he ran out. He called me that he left the store but couldn't tell me where he was. He said the voices told him to leave Walmart. I found him an hour later at the mall across the street in the fetal position.

We wanted to take a family vacation so we booked a cruise to Cozumel. On the drive down there he was talking non stop about flies buzzing around. It was not normal. We should have turned around. The first day of the vacation went well. He loved dancing to the music and eating at the buffet. We were going to Fine Dining the second night and got him into some nice pants then he disappeared. We decided to go on to Fine Dining without him. Later that night, around midnight, he returned to the cabin, yelling. He would go out one door and then back in the other door yelling the whole time. We were afraid he would throw himself over board when he tried to go on the balcony so Paul tackled him on the bed. They struggled and Paul was bit. We got security of the ship involved. They doctored Paul's arm. Our son was completely psychotic. He couldn't answer questions and talked non stop through out the night about strange things. They had us in a room with a guard by the door. We were told the next morning that our son would have to leave the ship. Paul took him on a flight back to San Antonio but he was not well. His speech was very confused. He spent a week at a mental hospital then was transferred to a longer care facility. He was still not taking medication. He returned to normalcy and was discharged but once out he was walking naked in the woods behind our house and the police were called. No charges were pressed but it was just another strange thing for the books.

We got him on latuda and things got better for a while. The Latuda seemed to make him angry and we had many anger outbursts. He broke dishes, hit holes in the walls and hit Paul several times. In 2015 he was hospitalized 3 times. He started cutting and cut too deep in June and had to be hospitalized. We added depokote for the anger issues. It seemed to help at first. We took him on vacation to the beach. He had disorganized speech and would cry uncontrollably, but we had some good times. The last night he disappeared and called the next morning to say he was at the police station. He said he was sleep walking. The police brought him back to us.

In September the cutting got worse and we put him in the mental hospital. They suggested the state hospital. That would have been a very good idea. I wish we would have pursued it because things got much worse. He pulled a knife on me while he was hearing voices. He was sent to jail. He is currently out of jail. We changed his medicine to Invega and it seems to be working well. We still have the court case ahead of us but he seems to be doing well on the new medicine. I don't know of any anger outbursts, delusions or voices in 7 weeks.

Someday I would like to be able to tell my story in such a way to help others. That is the only blessing I can see from all of this. He is a unique individual and I pray that one day he can use his gifts to be a contributing member of society.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Living with Schizoaffective Disorder

We've had a month of "normalcy." I close my eyes and I can still hear the yelling. He would yell ALOT. He went back and forth from crying to laughing. None of that is going on now. He seems to be functioning. We had a medicine change, but I don't know if that is the reason all the bad behavior has stopped. It's all so scary. I don't know how to function. I don't know when all the craziness will come back.