So I e-mailed Dr. Stern asking her what she saw that I didn't. And in return I got a list of behaviors that Chris was showing that were causing Dr. Stern to think he should be back on a low dose of Abilify for the time being. He was continuously late for his appointments, he kept forgetting to buy an appointment book (despite her many reminders) he was talking very negatively about himself and his body movements were becoming less coordinated. According to Dr. Stern, he is showing prodromal symptoms. For several months, Dr. Stern has been taking a wait and see attitude with regard to possibly reinstating Chris's med.
Before telling Ian (my husband) about this latest development, I asked him how he thought Chris was doing. "Getting worse" wasn't his answer. He thought for a while, probably wondering what answer I was hoping he would say, and then said something to the effect that he's doing okay, there's always room for improvement, etc.
The last time Chris relapsed was when his youngest brother went away to college, the same period when Chris was finally off all his medications. Is this coincidence or not? I honestly don't know. When I asked Chris at the time, why he relapsed, his answer was that he missed having Taylor around. With his little brother gone, he got more and more weepy, and he took on all of the prodromal symptoms of what is called "psychosis," which eventually put him back in the hospital and back on medication. This time around, our middle son, Alex, has moved out. Sept. 15th to be precise. Chris is already expressing his sadness at not having Alex around, even if he only saw Alex for a minute in the morning or a little bit a night.
In the meantime, here's what I'm doing to handle this crisis, in no particular order.
- I'm trying to be positive and upbeat.
- I'm using mindfulness techniques and visualizations.
- I'm giving Chris practical advice (and, yes a few ultimatums) for organizing himself. One is get a mobile phone by Friday and load all of his contact numbers into it. Two is to get a bus pass. No more excuses of being late to appointments because he doesn't have change for the bus.
- I'm trying to put this latest piece of news in perspective. Chris has generally been doing well, so this is just a bump on the road to eventual full recovery.
- I'm taking a renewed interest in helping him find his way.