A Multitude of Recoveries Through Alternative Mental Health Treatments
My experience with mental illness started in February 2003 when my 20-year old son called me in the middle of the night saying he felt weird. He said he thought he was dreaming. He is a junior at UC Riverside and has always been very smart and made good decisions but I still had a feeling that maybe he was using drugs. I asked him, and his reply was yes, he had smoked some weed. As we ended our conversation, he said he would be fine. I spoke with him the next day and everything seemed fine. 2 days later his girlfriend called my house early in the morning and told me I needed to pick my son up. She said he had gone crazy and he would not lay down and go to sleep. I am at this point convinced that drugs are taking over. When i go to pick my son up he seemed calm, and actually acted quite like his "normal" behavior. The girlfriend was crying and appeared out of control ? After talking for a while, we could see my son needed sleep.... he was still talking as normal and the girlfriend was still crying and acting "strange". She was describing my son’s behavior over the last couple of days as paranoid. I went back into the room where my husband had been talking to my son. My husband had noticed odd behavior from my son at this point. For example, my son thought his girlfriend was evil and had put a spell on him. He thought she had programmed the TV set to send him messages. He then tried to show my husband on the TV set... but he was flipping channels so fast we couldn’t see anything. We took him to our house to rest. We decided to leave the house so it would be quiet for him to sleep. We fed him a big breakfast and as he lay down, we left for the day. When we returned we found he did not sleep at all that day. He locked the dog in the bathroom because he didn’t want the dog to see what he was doing. He also had CD’s in the computer playing them over and over again saying they were describing his life. He kept repeating that he was going to be a "rap" artist. He was obsessed with rap music. While listening to this he would get a panic attack, so to distract him, I asked him his events of the last week. His answers were very detailed. He had gone to work the day before while being totally in psychosis. His co-workers figured he had been out drinking. He told them he was ill and wanted to go home, but they would not let him. During this work day he described he had been through extreme disbelief. He believed that rap artists were sent in there to evaluate him to be a star, and big name rap artists at that! He saw boxes sent by UPS to the bank and believed that it was equipment for him to start his own rap studio. Then he told me that night (I asked him about the night before) he and his girlfriend spoke of marriage. He told her he felt like he needed to tell her of his unfaithfulness. He said she went "crazy" and couldn’t handle it. He told me then is when he thinks she poisoned him. At this point I took him to the emergency room. I was convinced he was poisoned. It was a holiday weekend and we were in the waiting area 6 1/2 hours. Mike was somewhat paranoid, thinking some of the patients were there to watch him. We talked about the past, and many of his feelings seemed normal. Then he would slip out into something he thought was real, but he sounded overly suspicious of things. At last he saw the doctor and had a drug screen. They found no poison. The only drug they found was marijuana. The doctor wrote diagnosis of "schizophrenia," gave him prescriptions for Haldol and Ativan, and told us to follow up. I went to a follow up with a psychologist and psychiatrist 2 days later. They added Resperidol and said “see ya in a month.” I didn’t like that so I made a private appointment with a psychiatrist. He did exactly the same thing.....keep on meds see ya in a month (after 4 min. visit). It had now been 8 days. I never gave him the Resperidol. I continued the Haldol and Ativan. During this week there was no psychosis, but he had extreme panic attacks and was extremely moody. I fed him 3 nutritional meals a day, and encouraged a regular early bedtime. (He also usually took short naps in the day). The whole 8 days he begged me to re-consider him taking meds. He told me he didn’t like the way they made him feel. The doctors were insistent that he continue the meds telling me " the absolutely only way he will be able to have any type of normal life is to continue the meds.” I found NAMI Natural and Safe Harbor on the internet. Dan responded to my email, gave me some information, and referred me to Pam from the NAMI Natural group, which is close to me. This was very enlightening. I then called again another doctor, a psychologist who said he was willing to experiment without the drugs under his supervision. My son was seen 3 times a week by this psychologist. He was on Haldol 8 days, then we took him directly off. He had panic attacks daily for the first 3 days. When these would occur, he would take an Ativan and lay down to take a nap. As the week went on the panic attacks lessoned, and as they did, they lessoned the Ativan. After 1 week he was taking no meds at all. It is now three months later and I am happy to report that my son has been back in school one month now and he will be returning to his job in one week. His visits to the doctor were at 3 times a week then decreased to 1 time a week. As of today the doctor has released him, saying of his prognosis, “I think he will be fine.” My son lives with roommates 20 miles from me. He stayed at our house about 2 weeks in the beginning, then decided to move back to his place. I made sure he had groceries and was eating well and called daily or visited him to make sure he was doing O.K. He now has trust in the girlfriend and she has been of great help. Recently, another boy at his school has had this happen to him. (approximately 2 weeks after my son’s incident) The parents have introduced themselves and have been corresponding. Their son has been admitted to the psychiatric ward over 6 times in the last 2 months. Hhe is 19 years old. He is on several different meds, and at one time so many meds the hospital had to detox him because he had a bad reaction. In his return home last week he tried to commit suicide!! IS IT THE MEDS? Thanks especially, Dan Stradford and Safe Harbor for your time and concern. You’re doing great things. I wish I could convince this last family to see that meds are not working and to try some other method!!!!!!!!!!