I know I have been primarily focused on my newly diagnosed 17 year old son.
But believe me, my 23 year old, Joey’s symptoms and episodes are at a pivotal peak. I am not sure if he is triggered by his little brother, Noah’s new diagnosis, the change in meds, or if it’s just unfortunate timing. Could be all of the above.
Joey’s been having series of teary break downs almost daily for the past week. After yesterday’s serious talk with him, I realized that the voices, ‘demons’ that torture him are making him feel like it’s his fault that his brother Noah is not well.
My poor son also gets these extreme beliefs (delusions) that his current meds are just not helping at all. So he’ll ask his Psychiatrist to switch them about every 4-5months. I feel like it’s a new roller coaster ride that I get to go on with him each time. This is the third switch in meds in 13 months.
Four week ago we began weaning then stopping his Zyprexa/Olanzapine (20 mg) and adding Risperidone (4mg) antipsychotics so he can get back on the Invega Sustena injection yesterday.
So far, with this change it seems that his psychosis of hearing voices and his distorted delusions have only become much more intense. It’s been a nightmare!
Although Joey’s been taking antipsychotic meds for over a year now, he says he hears several voices every single day. There is one main voice that sounds like his eldest brother (living hundreds of miles away). Then there are the many other voices, “The Whole World”, that also live inside his body. These voices call him names,shout degrading insults, tell him.he doesn’t belong home, they tell him to go kill himself. They can talk directly to him or to each other at any given time of his days. He has reported that these voices get worse when he is trying to have a conversation or around people. The meds seem to have helped give him a small.relief as he is able to ignore them for a bit since they are no longer shouting, now they are speaking low or whispering all of the time.
These last two days have spiked my concern with this med change. Now Joey has shared a new twist to his schizophrenic symptoms. He says he has these brand new sensations that he can not breath or he feels his heart is stopping. He believes these voices that live inside him have now taken full control of his body and now they are going to kill him. He says he is scared and worried because they can now do things to physically harm him. “They” are stopping his breathing and his heart. He says the Voices can and want to kill.him!
As his sits on the ground hugging his knees rocking back and forth, non-stop tears stream down his face. After a bit of silence, he began wailing that he doesn’t want to live like this anymore. “I’m scared”, he shouted. He says he feels his body shutting down from the inside. They want to kill me he says repeatedly.
As he sobs, he goes on to say he fears that no one understands what he’s going through and that he can never have a normal life. He says normal people have fun and have jobs, but his job every day, is to have to fight for his life with these voices, these demons that never leave him alone. Today, he feels he is fighting for his life more than ever because they want him dead. He has his hands on his head. From time to time he’ll lower his head down to bang it repeatedly out of frustration.
At one point, he asked me to take him to a clinic where they put dogs to sleep so that he can be put to sleep like a sick dog and no longer have to feel this way again.
My God this is killing me. To hear and see my son, suffering so much and there is not a thing I can do to relieve him. I feel helpless. I must stay calm.and strong and cry from the inside during his episodes.
Of course, all the while, I am saying kind and caring words to him. I hug him. I remind him that these voices are lying and that he is stronger. I tell him that his family needs him. That we love him. I even lie, out of desperation, and tell him this will pass soon and he will feel better. My “coaching” has helped him this past year, but this time is different. My words and affection do not seem to help calm him. This is truly a Nightmare!
As for the meds, I feel like he needs the Zyprexa/Olanzapine along with this Invega shot because he was getting the Haldol shot and taking the Zyprexa along with it. I felt this was a good cocktail. However Joey said he knows his body and how he feels and didn’t want to take either anymore. Ugh, I’m just the caretaker observing him 24 hrs/7 days a week, but I know nothing right?
Him thinking that he doesn’t need any meds is just a part of his irrational thoughts! But once he gets something in his mind that he wants to do, there’s no stopping his obsessive thoughts.
I am doing my best to think positive and view this as a case of ‘Symptoms worsen before improving’ with this new med change. I was so hopeful with all the last two med changes. However the last two antipsychotics only gave a very slight relief from the voices that harass Joey daily.
I’m praying for the Invega to kick in soon so it can curb these awful hallucinations, voices, and delusions to give my boy some relief.
Dear God, where is that light at the end of my son’s tunnel?