Commit me, too! I’m ready!

Chris’s holistic psychiatrist provided an updated list of supplements before she left on Christmas vacation as a last ditch effort to get Chris through this crisis. She was not in favor of putting Chris back on an antipsychotic, although if push came to shove she reluctantly recommended a mood stabilizer that would also help with the psychotic features. Ian and I welcomed the idea of the mood stabilizer, figuring that a mood stabilizer administered for hopefully a short period would be easier to withdraw from than an antipsychotic. We put Chris on a mood stabilizer, in part to satisfy Chris’s psychotherapist, Dr. Stern, and in part to cover ourselves with Dr. Stern should the situation deteriorate further. Then there was the community pressure (well meaning people) who kept reminding us something was wrong with Chris.

The complexity of administering the supplements and making sure that Chris took them as prescribed nearly drove me over the edge. It was all the worse because this time I was dealing with a psychotic underfoot. I lined up all his supplements for the week ahead and taped them into little paper packets, twenty one packets in all. I labeled them “1” “2” and “3” for swallowing at morning, lunch and dinner. He was now taking sublingual lithium drops and sulfur drops twice a day in addition to the mood stabilizer and the other supplements. I measured out the drops and stood over Chris twice a day to make sure he kept them under his tongue. I poured two liters of water in containers for him every evening and in the morning I mixed the powdered and liquid supplements in the distilled water for him to drink throughout the day. I slathered a detoxifying cream over his liver twice a day, and dabbed a special niacin cream that is supposed to work wonders with psychosis on both temples, wrists and the back of his knees. I supervised his detoxifying epsom salt baths which he did every second day. I watched while he put his detox footpads on every second night before bed.

In short, I was becoming a bloody psychiatric nurse. Actually, I was doing more than a psychiatric nurse would do. A nurse at least gets to go home and isn’t concerned with administering supplements. I entertained fantasies of putting Chris in the mental hospital to relieve me of my round the clock caregiver duties. The only thing that prevented me from doing so is that he would have been immediately put on an antipsychotic as the price of admission.

A slight change in his supplements, the addition of the mood stabilizer and my spending a lot of time talking to him about his feelings and his responsibilities over his actions enabled Chris’s condition to stabilize a bit over the Christmas period. This intense experience convinced me that Soteria and Kingsley Hall and the Jacqui Schiff home based approach worked better than what the critics reported. However, their approach needs a staff. I was simply exhausted and doubted whether I was up to the job.

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