Finally Jessie agreed she needed to see her mental health care team, and we had our appointment this morning. Her psychosis has been getting worse over the last 6 months, with the last 8 weeks being the worst. She’s had a couple of quite frightening experiences. Hence my relief Jessie attended the appointment.
I was so proud of her. She talked openly and honestly for the best part of 45 minutes before clamming up and wanting to leave. They’re not experiences she likes talking about twice. For them to stop is what she’d like. Jessie’s psychiatrist is concerned – I had a phone call an hour later asking us to come back in. An appointment has been made for just after we return from our annual pilgrimage up north.
Jessie has aural and visual hallucinations, or the feeling of being in a distorted reality. She hears people talking around her, although they’re not actually talking to her. The voices don’t tell her to hurt herself or do bad things, which is apparently a differentiating factor from schizophrenia. Tapping, high pitched beeping or buzzing, and scratching noises are other things she hears. She often asks me if I can hear the sounds too, but there are no sounds.
Figures moving quickly in her peripheral vision, faces appearing in front of her, a woman dressed in early 20th century outfits walking into my room, and a little boy are all apparitions she see’s. Nightmares had been haunting her, and lingering until the afternoon. Jessie has salt next to her bed, and I was given a small bag of white sage last week. I put some in her pillowcase and she hasn’t had a nightmare since. Either it works in warding off bad spirits, or it’s psychosomatic, deep in that curious and amazing brain of hers.
Less recently were delusions of magical abilities, although they may have gone underground! Her fire controlling ability wasn’t working the day she and a friend decided to try and control burning wax and tissues in a baking tray in her room. My initial reaction was, naturally “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??!!!”! It just came yelling out of my mouth – hence the word ‘reaction’! It’s pretty hard to backtrack from that, but with Jessie now freaking out, holding this tray with liquid wax ablaze and unstable in her trembling hands, I had to goddamn try!! First thing – DEEP breath. Second thing – solution. Suffice to say it ended safely with the only victim being my baking tray. Easily replaceable!
Jessie has called me into her room on a couple of occasions. She has been lying there motionless, frightened, and feeling strange. My voice was too loud, she needed quiet. She couldn’t handle being touched, she just needed me to be with her until it passed. Afterwards she has no clear memory of it. Being epileptic myself, those symptoms are very familiar, so we need to find out what’s going on.
A visit to our lovely GP is the next step. Jessie’s psychiatrist has already spoken with him and faxed a 2 page letter bringing him up to speed. She needs a full medical to rule out environmental factors, which includes a blood test. A few negative experiences having bloods done has lead to her fearing and so refusing them. Now’s the time she needs to be proactive and push through her anxiety. I’ve bought Emla patches which will anaesthetise the area, and I’ll get her to listen to her music. We’ll see if that helps.
We need to get referrals to have an EEG and and MRI done to look at brain activity. I don’t think any of us believe she has epilepsy, but best to cover all bases.
Another possibility is that she can see and hear the spirits around us. Not that I can say that to medical and psychological professions! Whatever the reason, she’s too young to deal with this yet. She needs to be a teenager.
So what for now, dealing with psychosis?
Jessie will be put back on an antipsychotic medication in January With any luck that will minimise or stop her symptoms either way. She just wants it all to stop, so hopefully she’ll continue to do what she needs to do to help herself, as we all want to help her. Until our appointment next month, we keep dealing with it like we have been. Jessie’s a trooper!