Schizophrenic Delusions

Well, the psychiatrist visit didn’t go quite according to plan. I thought we were just going in to get something to help Javan sleep, but after presenting the doctor with my notes on Javan’s behaviors per usual, he had a different reaction than we expected. Normally, I give him the notes of what’s been going on since we’ve last seen him and his reaction is that it’s nothing too severe and I leave feeling comforted. This time, he read the notes and then just held his face for a while before gently saying, “Look. I know this isn’t what you want to hear. But we really need to get him back on an anti-psychotic. His schizophrenia is obviously progressing.”

His main cause of concern is Javan’sleep current delusion that if a baby touches anyone between the ages of seven and twenty, that person will die from baby germs. I’m pretty sure this evolved from confusion over some of our recent discussions of “big boy hormones,” since puberty is unfortunately a thing that exists. (Why, Nature, whyyyy?) His body is changing and his hormones are changing, so maybe he’s incorrectly inferred that big boy hormones replace baby germs and that those experiencing puberty are somehow fatally effected by baby germs until they reach adulthood and become immune. Of course, this is all just an educated guess about his thinking process on my part, but even if I’m wrong it’s obvious that his thoughts are highly disordered.

This delusion has made it especially difficult to attend homeschool park day, as of course there are several babies that attend. I’m still trying to push park day as I know when we stop attending it makes it that much harder to get back into that routine later on, but we don’t stay long and I have to be hyper-vigilant about keeping an eye on Javan while we’re there. This week, I had to approach a stranger who isn’t part of the homeschool group and explain to her why we needed to keep her adorable toddler, who was obsessed with Javan’s low-to-the-ground three wheel bike, and my son apart. I explained that he has schizophrenia and all about the baby germ delusion. That’s a forward and awkward amount of information to confide in a stranger, but I felt that it was a safety necessity. Luckily, she responded with understanding and kindness, telling me that her mom works with developmentally disabled adults. She didn’t seem disturbed or accuse me of having my son in public when I shouldn’t or any of the myriad of other negative responses I have to mentally prepare myself for before such encounters. While returning to “the mom table,” I noticed Javan riding off from said table while the moms giggled helplessly. My sweet friend, Janis, who never misses an opportunity to joyfully greet my son, knowing full well that his responses are unpredictable and loving him enough not to care, received this response to her greeting that day, “I’m sorry, but I can’t hear you over all of my not listening to you.” That’s the joy of having friends who know your situation. They laugh it off and keep trying.

Other presenting signs of disordered thinking, which is what Dr. Fulsom kept pointing to as the indicater that Javan’s schizophrenia is progressing, include having trouble completing thoughts or taking an unusually long time to complete thoughts, OCD characteristics like refusing to count backwards or alphabetize words because the numbers or letters will get stuck in his head forever (and beating his head when they do get stuck in there), stating that “when his brain tries to confuse him with words, he gets a red flash of pain in his brain and feet,” and weaving a startlingly detailed story in Dr. Fulsom’s office about how he goes out at night and collects the world’s supply of Idiot Repellant, which he pretended to spray the doctor with repeatedly throughout our visit.

We agreed to try the anti-psychotic Seroquel, which can help order his thinking, reduce or eliminate delusions, and help him sleep. This allowed us to decrease his Tinex, which was given for tics and behavioral issues, which should help with his chronic constipation. The most unfortunate side effect ofor Seroquel: it causes weight gain. We just got him to a healthy BMI after taking him off his medications last year and now this. I’ve explained to him that weight gain is a side effect of his new medication and, at least in theory, he agrees that eating healthier and getting more exercise is in order. Since starting the Seroquel three nights ago, he is sleeping through the night without interruption for 10-12 hours. YES! Can I get an AMEN!

We did get two full school days accomplished last week, in which Javan became unwaveringly convinced that Thomas Jefferson is a fictional character and that Vincent Van Gogh was sending us a message through his famous painting, The Starry Night. 

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“Wait! Those don’t look like stars. I think they may be time-space portals!” According to Javan, when such portals align in a particular way, such as in the painting, they can form a powerline, which can lead to the destruction of most of the Earth’s human and animal population. When the powerline reaches the moon, the moon will rotate 180° and cause a central portal to appear. The central portal is forming in the middle of the painting. Contrary to popular belief, that’s not wind. It’s the end of the world as we know it. Attempting to lead him away from this line of thinking, I asked him if there was anything in the non-sky portion of the painting that interested him. “The tree in the front. It’s in the middle of the powerlines.” From this, Javan inferred that Van Gogh was leaving us not just a warning, but a clue to a potential solution. Maybe an antidote for the powerline can be found in tree bark! Impromptu nature walk, here we come! We collected tree bark and flowers on our walk to aid in Javan’s scientific investigation of powerline antidotes.

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You may be wondering if this is a delusion or merely childhood creativity. I’m not sure. I’m thinking just creativity, because although later that day he went on another walk and collected twenty or so more baggies of sticks and twigs as test samples, those samples are still sitting untouched on my kitchen counter. Sadly, that’s probably not the strangest thing you’d find on my counter. The point is, he didn’t perseverate on actually making an antidote, so logic would point to him not actually believing an antidote is needed. One thing I do know for sure is that he’s made real connections to Van Gogh’s painting and is learning to identify details in art that give that piece of art meaning to him.

The weekend, we’ve been completely couch potatoes, taking care of a sick Daddy and trying to decide if Javan and Mommy should get sick too. We’re still of the fence. Either way, we’re ready to tackle another week!

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