Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Progression or Regression? Part Two

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)?


uphilldowndale said...

Whohaaaaa, sending a blog hug! (:o)
I would have thought your reaction to a smoking chip pan purely instinctive! and one of preservation for yourself and MrMan.

(on a practical note some fire services have deep fat fryers available free of charge!I have always been scared of chip pans!)

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you UpHillDownDale. I suppose in a situation like that you act first and think later, but it didn't help Mr Man.

Thanks for the tip about the deep fat fryers. To be honest I've never liked electrical ones; they're so awkward to clean. Mind you, these days I could probably find one with a pan that lifts out like a bucket for easy cleaning (if that makes sense).

Slurry said...

Sorry to hear things are tough at the mo, tho i think the reaction to the chip pan thing was only human, you cant think like a carer all the time!

Its hard, as you know schizophrenia is a ever changing illness, and diffrent symptoms appear at diffrent times, is MrMan due for a reveiw? as that maybe helpfull and getting some support for yourself aswell, thats important. *hug*

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Slurry, your comments are very kind. I know you're right, but I feel like I shouldbe able to think like a carer all the time!

It's true; Schizophrenia is a bizarre illness due to its ever changing quality. I had always associated the head banging with quite severe relapse, and yet in other ways he is coping so well. It's very confusing.

Mr Man sees his Psychiatrist the second week in October, but surely she'll just say "that's the nature of the beast"?

Thank you for your support Slurry.

anonymous mom said...

mmw - you can't hold it all together all the time. you're allowed some time to be human after all. you can't always be "superwife".


Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Anonymous Mom. But if I just managed to be "superwife" occasionally I'd be happy!

Thanks for your hugs and support.

Kim said...

You are Superwife! Don't beat yourself up about the fire freak out, it's pure instinct. Yes, you want to give a safe place for him, but you can't do that if it's in flames. Don't put the blame on yourself for his feeling bad, he would have felt much worse if he had burned the place down. You are amazing!

Mr Mans Wife said...

*sheds a few silent tears*

Thank you Kim.

Roses said...

Oh honey. I'm sorry I haven't been about regularly, many, many hugs for you and Mr Man.

You can't set yourself such impossibly high standards and expect to achieve it all the time. Sometimes you have to react how you feel and I'd dare anyone to NOT freak out when confronted with that situation.

Methinks you are both run down, tired and worried, so your reactions are going to be raw.

Is there anyway you could steal an hour to have a long bath and pamper yourself with girlie smelly things? I know it's probably the last thing on your huge list of priorities, but it sounds like you need to do something frivolous to recharge your batteries.

Again, many hugs.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Roses for your kind words and hugs.

I did actually get away for the weekend, but I spent most of it worrying about Mr Man and feeling guilty for leaving him in respite again.

I plan to write about that soon.

Catherine said...

Maybe you are just having a bad time of it as of late. I am glad you had a weekend to yourself - it sounded like you needed it.

(btw, your reaction to the stove was completely normal in my book)

Mr Mans Wife said...

Hi Catherine, thank you for your reassurances.

I'm glad to read that you are doing better now. I hope you're not as tired either.

Roses said...

Hi honey.

Just thought I'd drop by and say 'hi'. I hope you are both well.

Hope you have a good weekend.

Many hugs.

Mr Mans Wife said...

Thank you Roses, that's very thoughtful of you.

I started writing another blog post last night, including an update. I hope to post it soon.

Thanks again for your well wishes.

Catherine said...

I've thought more about Mr Man lately than I have about real people, possibly because he reminds me of myself. Could it be that he knows he is not well, but is trying to appear well to others? Then when he gets home or he is with you, he is so exhausted from trying to "fake it" with everyone else that his illness really shows? Or is this not like Mr Man?

Mr Mans Wife said...

Catherine, that is exactly like Mr Man. You have hit the nail very squarely on the head.