Sunday, 1 January 2012

Driven to distraction

It's interesting how these well-worn phrases take on a very real meaning in our situation.  A massive problem for me is that S is constantly driven to distraction by her conversations with her 'auditory hallucinations'.  When I'm trying to persuade her to do anything  -  eat, drink, stroke the new cats, get ready for bed  -  there's always some vital conversation going on and if I persist she can get very distressed and tell me that someone has 'gone' and the implication is that I'm responsible.  Sometimes, when calmer, she'll say she just needs to speak to her 'friends' and will do what I'm asking 'in a minute'.  Even when I persuade her to sit down for a meal, she hardly ever sits down long enough at a time to make significant inroads.  Strangely, there is far more chance that she'll do this when we are at friends' or relatives' houses.  I have to leave food about and hope she spots it  -  she doesn't really like me to draw it to her attention.  Sometimes, I'll be really encouraged because something full of calories has apparently been eaten, then I'll find most of it on the floor.

I end up trying to distract her from her distractions.  The best, though not infallible, way is to get someone to visit, or failing that, to phone.  Often this is all that is needed to get her to snap out of the conversations and usually other people are more successful at getting her to eat and drink than I am.

The real trick would be to find things that are actually more interesting.  Music used to work very well  -  maybe I've over-used it.  Sometimes unlikely things on radio or TV can work  -  even news programmes or controversial discussions will provoke quite salient comments and a real involvement for a while.  But there's no doubt that he hallucinations currently dominate and take up most of her time and attention.

They're not all bad.  She's still usually chuckling and sometimes singing when I get to bed, even if she's gone to bed 'in a mood', and during the day the happy chat will be mixed in with the angry stuff.  It's a strange world that we inhabit.  I just need to unlock the secret  -  how to promote the happy and defuse the angry.

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