Well, I'm very excited and optimistic today! My mother has decided to place security cameras inside and outside of our house. This is excellent news because it can only help us progress with this delusional disorder. She has the constant belief that my father physically hides things from her so cameras will certainly clear up some of those thoughts (I can only hope).
These last couple of days, her symptoms have been somewhat mild. Two nights ago she did become irritated because she couldn't find her keys to her safety security box at the bank and immediately suspected that my father had taken them. She then went on about how she's tired of having all of her things hidden and that she would contact the police if he didn't give them to her. I managed to calm her down (I've become an expert at this) and made her go to sleep (it was about 2:00am when this occurred). Yesterday was much better since my father and brother left for a couple of days to go check out apartments for my brother (he's moving away to college in a couple of weeks).
Every time my father leaves for a couple of days, things usually get calmer at home. I always thought, 'well, there's our solution.' But earlier in the year, my father had to be away for a month and a half and even though things started out great, they ended up miserably. I have been the person she has trusted throughout her whole entire life. I have never been accused of anything by her because she trusts me (which is very rare for a person with delusional disorder). However, in that time, she began to think that I was trying to poison her because I was tired of having her around. That really upset me, to say the least.
So, my father being away is certainly not the cure; it merely helps for a few days.
Well, I will let you know how the security cameras deal goes. Wish me luck!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Well, you may have found yourself here after attempting to find a message board or forum that gave information about how to live with a loved one who suffers from delusional disorder. That is exactly how I decided to write this blog; I couldn't find such said place. Then I thought, 'Well, if no one else is documenting about this situation, I guess I could give it a try.' And so, this is my "try".
My mother has suffered from delusional disorder for about twenty years now. I was about two years old when it all began, and here I am, twenty years later, still searching for some light being shed. Delusional disorder is characterized by the presence of recurrent, persistent non-bizarre delusions. By "non-bizarre" it means that the delusions are physically possible (i.e. being poisoned). Here you can find much more information about this disorder.
One of the incredible things about this disorder is how normal a person can behave to the outside world and how well a person can lead their life. In many cases, only the persons who are around them (i.e. family members) notice this disorder. My mother's case is one such case. Her disorder began when she was about 30 years old. It began with a strong fear of a religious group. She was hospitalized for a few days and then diagnosed with paranoid disorder, which is what delusional disorder used to be called. She was given lorazepam (for anxiety) and the anti-psychotic drug haloperidol. Today she takes lorazepam and fluphenazine. She also attends two therapy sessions weekly at a university with PhD students. Actually, it is also the university I currently attend.
I am not sure how different cases may be day to day, but in my mother's case, she has completely depended on me since I can remember. What I mean by "depended" is that I have pretty much accompanied her to 90% of places (ranging from the supermarket to the doctor's office) since a very young age. When you're young, you have to usually spend a lot of time with your parents, I suppose. Perhaps this is why it wasn't very notable to me, until later years, of how important my company was for her. Her fears completely overshadow her ability to go to places alone. Thus, I've pretty much had a full time job of being with her almost all day long. When she is with me, she feels safe. There are many days when her symptoms are very mild (i.e. she might not even mention anything in one entire day) and there are other days when they are a blow to the face (i.e. she thinks she is being followed by a police officer).
For me the most difficult part is fully understanding her train of thought. Since throughout our normal day, her symptoms are kept hidden, it's almost as if my mind forgets about her disorder altogether and I assume her mind is nice and healthy. Then come the blows. It's almost a constant disappointment; to act so normal in the morning only to hear outrageous stories at night. To give you an example, we were having a fantastic afternoon and decided to go rent movies with my dad. Well, off we went. When we got back, my mom immediately noticed that she had left the light at the front of the house, on. However, it was now off. She said she knew it had been my dad who was responsible because he hired someone to come turn it off in order to scare her. That is what a non-bizarre delusion is: physically possible but very improbable since it had no basis.
People with delusional disorder are oversensitive (i.e. take things the wrong way on many occasions), easily angered, distrustful of almost everyone, very sure about their accusations and delusions, come to conclusions with very little information, and over-invested in thoughts all day long. I've come to understand how difficult it is for her and often try to overlook how difficult it has been for me.
I have been very involved with this disorder. I have met with all of her therapists and psychiatrists (even at a young age). I have comforted her, accompanied her, tried to reason with her (which is extremely difficult), given up going away for college, given up spending time with friends, but I do not regret it and I certainly do not feel like it's a job. My days revolve around her. In fact, I would say that our family's life heavily depends on her daily moods. Like I've said, this makes it quite difficult for us. The main delusions that my mom has include: being followed, being poisoned, and having things hidden from her. Most of these, unfortunately, include my dad, which is what made my childhood extremely difficult. Basically it consisted of my mom screaming out loud her delusions. When you're young, you feel helpless. As I got older and understood more, I became more involved and began to intercept these thoughts and fights as much as I could. I, myself, became over invested in this probably as a defense mechanism; listening to these things all day long is not very healthy for your mind.
Now, I'm finishing up my bachelors and in the process of applying to medical schools. Basically, I'm going to attempt to document weekly about the things that occur in my life and how I try to cope with this disorder that my mother suffers from. I hope that somehow I'm able to shed some light into our world in the hope of having someone relate to it in a positive way.
And rest assured, my mother has been an incredible mother in spite of her disorder. I am very proud of her and love her very much.