Friday, June 1, 2012

Splitting, not cracking up

Dear Rossa and Ian,

Just to let you know that Chris and I have had four lessons in May and will then have 3 in June. I will then be away for a few weeks and back in mid-July. I have been very worried about him for the past few weeks. He seems to be drifting again, and in lessons I'm not able to get through to him and to communicate in the way we were able at the start of the year.

To me it feels very like the last time his condition deteriorated, and I'm concerned that he might not be taking his medication or that the balance isn't right.

I'm sure you are aware of this as well, but I wanted to pass on my concerns. Please don't hesitate to ring.

Yours sincerely,

Chris's voice teacher
This well-meaning message that I received yesterday is a prime example of a good reason not to divulge your relative's diagnosis to other people almost EVER, and a reminder of how the public has internalized pharma's message. I think I know what's going on, and I'm doubtful that it's relapse (although, once again, it has all the hallmarks), but I certainly can see where his teacher is coming from. I phoned her immediately and explained the way I see it. Chris is tired of voice lessons, doesn't feel like he's progressing, and has found musical theatre and a small job to be a welcome change of pace. But Chris doesn't yet have a firm foundation of self, and allows his conflicted self to act like he's splitting apart. "Normal" people expect a person to show a consistent face across different spheres of activity. Chris hasn't mastered this technique.

In March, he took a month off from voice lessons and I encouraged him not to go back for a while because, from what he was telling me, he needed a break Apparently, he resumed his lessons in May, probably out of some misguided sense of selflessness and fear of disappointing his teacher. CHRIS - THIS DOESN'T WORK! You are either there and fully participating or you are physcially not there. But take a stand! Don't be there but be mentally vacant! Stop being all over the map!

(N.B. Chris's psychiatrist tells me she's pleased with his recent progress. Go figure.)

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