May 4th, 2018 Missing Pieces: GREY ZONE
“Thank you for sharing Garrett. I’m going to step out into the other room with your mom and ask her some questions. Are you going to be ok?” “Yes,” came his reply. Wow, that was short I thought to myself. We only saw her for about 10 minutes. Usually she meets with us for about 20 minutes. I was actually feeling that maybe it was so short because Garrett was being just Garrett. He talked about the things that happened over the week and did his signature clicks and flapping on the legs. He was talking about recreating his past, about his pictures, his movies, and how they are going to save the world one day. Garrett has been talking about this for the past 6 years so that is pretty normal. I was happy that the doctor was finally getting to see the real Garrett.
I followed the doctor down the narrow long hallway of tan carpet and brown stained doors until we found an open office and stepped in. I sat down and looked up to see deep questioning lines furrowed in the doctor’s brow as she looked to me and said “I am seeing a severe psychosis in Garrett today, more than I have ever seen.” That statement was like a sound of a record scratching as it is being taking of the turntable and time seemed to freeze. Silence! I was knocked off guard with that statement. Severe psychosis? (Again, remember that time is frozen while I am processing that). Severe? Before I could answer she continued, “I’ve been struggling to find a baseline for Garrett so that I know how to treat him.” Again time seemed to hold still as the flashback of Garrett’s life from birth till now and his actions, his likes, this tantrums, his pain, his fears, his happiness, his drawings, his movies, his drive to make everyone find happiness, his ability to bring love to others is happening. Suddenly it dawns on me I need to answer her and I took a breath and said, “what you see is how Garrett is--that is is baseline.”
That hit the doctor because her face gave away her response even though no words did. She now took time to process what I just said. While her brow furrowed even deeper in her thoughts, I was also having an internal examination of what was happening. I said to myself: this is who Garrett is. He is happy. He is visiting his world he can talk to me. He is finishing his schooling with his homebound teacher. He is playing with his siblings again. He is going to the library. He is riding his bike. He is swimming, he is eating, and he is sleeping…I’m cut off in this list by her words. “Are you okay with this behavior?”
I actually catch my breath and say, “who you see in that room, is Garrett.” That statement once again, seemed to freeze time. Suddenly could visually see the faces over these past 18 years of people staring at us, at Garrett, and our family. The comments that we have a “crazy” family. I was suddenly realizing that they were saying “CRAZY” like the doctor just did. My brother has said that I have lived in a hurricane for so long that I don’t know what life is without it. He has said things like, “wow! Everyone come outside the winds are only 200 miles an hour today! This is a great day! Usually they are 400 miles per hour.” Those statements were hitting me that this crazy was what our family must REALLY look like to rest of the world.
Garrett has been this way his whole life. Was the doctor saying that Garrett has lived in psychosis his whole life?? My facial expression must be giving away something because she interrupted my thoughts with this statement, “If this is his baseline then why did you take him to the hospital?”
I shot back, “I took him in because he was NOT eating, sleeping, or acting like himself. He was not happy, could not draw, was having hallucinations, and nightmares that were terrifying him. He was creating cures for himself by saving all of his fluids, and he was going to mix them together to cleanse himself. He tried to run into traffic because he was being chased by the nightmare. THAT is why I took him.” The doctor was quiet again. I was thinking about Autism--about the world that is has given to him. Autism allows his to create, to find happiness, to have a world to escape to. That isn’t psychosis. That is Autism!
She must have been reading my mind and said, “he clearly has Autism and I’m not suggesting that he doesn’t. What I’m wondering about is if we have been treating him for the wrong thing.” She talked about the medicine was to lower the psychosis. I said, “that the medicine was numbing out who Garrett is and it was creating an angry, forgetful, and sad Garrett.” She was quiet again. I then told her about his pattern of about every 9-10 days that he starts to fall into that shadow so I give him 1 med and for 12 hours I have a zombie Garrett but then he is back to being happy and “normal.”
The two of us just looked at each other. Clearly we both need more time on this. She then asked me to keep a journal of everything for a month and with that we can go from there. We left the little office and headed back down the hallway to the room where Garrett was. He was in his world marching about the room and enjoying his characters, his movie, his place. He saw us and sat down. His smile lingered then fell away. Suddenly he started turning from side to side and started to panic. His words came out jumbled it was happening before us right here. The doctor asked him if he was ok. He said nothing to her but looked at me. He wanted to go home. The doctor looked at me again as if to say, “good luck.” I kept my focus on Garrett and prompted him to take some breaths, and I asked him who he was. “I’m Garrett. I like to create. I like to draw. I want to go home!”
Suddenly he stood up--I followed him, and we walked out the door through the long hallway and to the lobby. I turned back and promised the doctor that I would keep the journal and see her in about 1 month.
What is going on? Are you all as confused as I am? Yes. I had to write this out to see if it helped my find any answers. Honestly, no, but it’s at least written down. It’s at least recorded. Nothing is really solved, and the writing could be better, but at least it is here. Hopefully by writing about this will lift me out of this GREY ZONE and I can get back to my hurricane. I at least know what is happening there.