The situation with Mr Mans health continues to be confusing for me.
His Table Tennis nights had dwindled down to once a week towards the end of the summer, but now that the season has started again he’s back to playing four times a week. Despite playing more often, the anxiety he experiences before he goes out seems to be getting worse instead of better, even on practice nights. But once he gets there and starts playing he seems completely fine, unless he is just doing an amazingly good job of hiding it, like he did at the wedding the other week.
When I went to pick him up last night he was chatting away to other players, and you could almost forget there was anything wrong with him at all. But once we returned home he kept telling me how unwell he was feeling and he even reverted to banging his head repeatedly on the wall – something he hasn’t done since the last time he was admitted into hospital in 2003.
When I think about it, he hasn’t composed any music for a few days now, and he’s nearly set fire to the kitchen twice recently, so I suspect he is struggling with concentration at the moment. Until recently he was coping quite well with cooking – something he has been doing more of since the worsening of my own health this time last year.
I get it so wrong sometimes when I’m looking after Mr Man, even after all this time, probably because the level of what he can cope with keeps changing. It’s so confusing. Also, it’s hard not to react to a situation sometimes. After hearing him banging his head repeatedly, I went into the kitchen to give him a cuddle and some reassurance. However, when I walked into the room he was just sitting there in the chair whilst the chip pan oil was burning and filling the room with smoke. “What on earth are you doing?” I shrieked. “I’m just waiting for the oil to cool down” he replied. “But the gas is on underneath! It’s burning! Look at the smoke! Can’t you see it’s burning?”
I should have thought more rationally about the situation before I freaked out the way I did. My reaction only made him feel worse. It’s never a good idea to freak out at someone suffering from psychosis; it only adds to their anxiety and confusion. He has enough going on in his mind as it is. If I had thought about it calmly I would have quickly concluded that he obviously wasn’t feeling well and shouldn’t even have been attempting to cook food. He’s never done anything like this before; he usually knows which gas setting to use so he obviously wasn’t thinking clearly. I should have just switched the gas off and given him his cuddle. Why did I even think he would be well enough to cook food after he had told me he didn’t feel well?
The confusion psychosis causes can be frightening and disorienting, like thick plumes of smoke.
"She Shouts" by Philippa King
So the question “Progression or Regression?” should really be aimed at me. Am I progressing or regressing in my role as carer (or even wife)?