Thursday, June 30, 2005

But I think I love him even more now than when all this started.

I’ve been with him almost every day for over three months.

For much of the time there’s been just the two of us. Two people alone together often get on each others nerves however close they are.

We didn’t.

We’re good mates.


Today was his birthday.

He spent his last birthday locked up in hospital too.

We brought him to France to try to escape that.

He tried to leave the ward when we were leaving today and when I gently restrained him he threatened me with his fist close to my chin.


The last week or so with Sam in hospital has been much more stressful than when I was alone with him. I could cope with caring for him and sorting out all the day to day problems in a foreign country. I just can’t cope with visiting him in that place, with worrying if we’ll get him home safely, with not knowing what is going to happen when he gets home.

I just worry and worry and worry.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today he could talk.

But it made no sense.

At times agressive.

But it was hard to converse.

Beause his speech was slurred in a way I haven't heard before.

The effects of the medication.

We say nothing to staff.

We want him out next week - and home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Sam seemed good on Sunday.

Monday we weren’t allowed to see him because he had relapsed. So they changed his medication. Two different neuroleptics - Haliperodol and another we hadn’t heard of that is supposed to have a calming influence.

Today we managed to get an appointment with the doctor We were subjected to half hour lecture on his theory of schizophrenia. Some of it was in English and some of it in French. But of course part of it is clearly that the parents are to blame so they cannot be involved in any therapeutic care.

Yes, okay, but when can we take him home?

He seemed to want to keep Sam there. Maybe they’re short of interesting patients.

In the end we got him to agree to us taking Sam home in a week – but it seemed even then to be at our risk. He wasn’t accepting any responsibility.

So it’s the same the world over. The nurses sit in the office whilst the patients are on the ward. The psychiatrists know everything and accept responsibility for nothing.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

in my usual spot
watching the light change across the olive terraces
and the sun setting in that gap between the trees

I don't want to leave

I like it here


Saw Sam again today.

Remarkable progress.

Until we discover he has been on an antipsychotic in the hospital here.

Loxapine - anyone know anything about it?

I hope it's not contributing to the problem we were trying to solve.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

“Can we go home now, please?”

Sam’s been so polite the last few days.

Maybe you learn to be like that in institutions. It’s the way to get the staff on your side.

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. To be locked up in a closed psychiatric ward when you know you are sane. But to be locked in there when nobody can understand the language you speak …

Sam looked so forlorn. So sad. So dispirited.

Yesterday and the day before we’d been allowed to use a meeting room to see Sam. Today we were only allowed on the ward.

Perhaps they had realised the danger of him escaping.

We’d been in Sam’s room before but now we were locked in with him.

The locked area consists of a corridor with doors off to the bedrooms and a small shared area that contains a white plastic table and a few white plastic chairs.

Sam shares a room with another man who seemed very friendly and polite who was happy for us to use their shared bedroom to meet with Sam.

While we were on the ward the staff were locked in the office at the end of the corridor where patients went to get a light for a cigarette once an hour. All the patients on the ward seem to be men apart from one young woman. She is so vulnerable. There was nobody on the ward to ensure her safety. That cannot be right.

All the clothes and toiletries we had brought in the day before yesterday had disappeared by yesterday. Today the nurse said Sam had given them away so now they were locked away for safety. So he still hasn’t brushed his teeth, had a shower, changed his clothes – because their philosophy in independence.

In recent weeks he has been in tears occasionally through thoughts troubling his mind.

But today he was tearful because he was upset. He couldn’t stand being there. Somehow Jane managed to remain calm to hold things together but I found it hard to speak being as close to tears as Sam.

We stood and gave each other a cuddle.

We’d taken in some paper and a pencil. Sam was eager to use them.

He scribbled away on the first sheet.

“You don’t know how good this feels,” he said.

He scribbled with a little more design on the second.

We asked him to write his name. The gendarme had told us that they had asked him to write his name. She showed us the piece of paper just covered in scribble.

Sam started to write his name for us then changed it into a familiar joke name that Jane uses for him sometimes. Then he started to cry.

We tried to explain how we were trying to get him out, that we had to get the doctor’s agreement, that it was the weekend, that we had to book the plane tickets …

But he is the one still locked up in there with the man on the corridor constantly talking and talking and talking and talking - in French of course.

Suddenly Sam stood up and strode down the corridor.

We rushed after him.

“Sam! Where are you going?”

“We’re going home now.”


Outside I had to walk ahead a little to the car until my tears had dried.

Friday, June 24, 2005

We took a friend with us to the hospital the next day.

Although Jane’s French is quite good when you are put under stress it can suddenly disappear.

L understands the situation, speaks great French and has a better understanding of the nuances out here.

Jane was keen to use the necessity of signing this form as a bargaining tool to get to see Sam.

At one time she had the almost completed form in two hands ready to tear it up! This was even after we had discovered that signing it gave us rights as well as them.

It was all about keeping Sam safe through being able to stop him wandering off from the hospital – but also about us having a say in what happened to him. Otherwise if he wandered off again the gendarmerie could detain him and we might not be able to get him out for months.

Jane milked the situation for all it was worth. The poor, kindly administrator was on the phone to the doctor trying to help sort it all out. In the end L managed to talk with the doctor and persuade him that if we were to take Sam home we needed to see him to know he was fit to travel.

Eventually everyone got their way.

The form was signed and we got to see Sam.

But today Jane has had to copy the whole form out by hand for it to be legal!

We also had to see the admissions administrators. Sam has no insurance – after all he left hospital in England against medical advice. The E111 will cover for up to 80% of the cost. It looks like we’ll have to pay the rest.

Sam didn’t ask to be admitted. We didn’t ask for him to be admitted. They won’t let him out. And each day it looks like another fifty quid or so on the bill! So I guess we’ll pay it and argue later. It’s only money!

We’ve seen Sam again today. Yesterday we could see a distinct improvement in him. He couldn’t remember much about his disappearance other than it was another adventure and he was going to save the world. There was also some worry about a nuclear incident. Today he was even better. Except that as we got up to leave Sam said,

“Ok, let’s go now.”

“No Sam. You have to stay here until we’ve got the plane tickets sorted and the doctor is happy for you to leave.”

“You,” he said to Jane, “pick that bag up.”

Pointing to her handbag.

“We’ll get everything then leave.”

This is progress.

A few days ago Sam could barely string a sentence together. However, given that getting Sam back onto the ward was quite hard, we worry that the staff will feel that our visit has unsettled him and ban us again. If he continues to “get better” at this rate they may decide to keep him in for even longer!!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

On Monday evening I was walking up the lane at the side of the house. It was a lovely evening. I suppose like lots recently but that night I had time to pause, to look at the colours in the sky, to stroll round the old olive terraces.


Because Sam had gone missing again.

I’d already spent hours scouring the countryside by car and foot. Now I was strolling up the lane to try to meet a friend who felt the need for one last look up there.

It had been a strange day. The main event was supposed to be an acupuncture appointment we’d booked for Sam in the local town. We got there early to find it and park and had too much time to wander around before the appointment in the baking heat of the early afternoon. Sam ran off but just ran round the block and returned.

We decided to go into the very posh block of offices that were all filled by different medical specialists. We managed to get Sam inside though he was unsettled by the whole event. At least there was air conditioning in there. But we waited and waited.

We could see the doctor/acupuncturist running between two consulting rooms. She looked stressed and had an angry face. She didn’t look like the kind of person who was going to help sooth and calm Sam.

Eventually it came to our appointment. Our first visit? She looked perplexed. It had all been arranged on the phone before.

She showed someone else in ahead of Sam.

Jen and I looked at each other. We knew this was a bad idea.

I took Sam back to the car while Jane went to explain to the receptionist.

Sam was fine about it all. We praised him for his patience in sitting in the waiting room and being so good about the alteration to our plans. We promised alternatives.

Back home I offered to play with Sam in the pool or to go for a walk.

“Stay here.”

I managed to entice Sam into the pool for a while. I don’t know why but he is wary of this and won’t spend time in there. He threw the ball and caught it from me walking round the pool as I splashed about and tried to entice him back in. After a while I got out and changed and even managed to almost get Sam changed back into his clothes – minus his underpants and with bare feet.

I went to make some tea. Sam joined me. I tried to chat with Sam but got little response. Sam tried to make his own tea by adding cold water to the teabag from the tap. He wandered into the garden while I finished off.

A few moments later I went into the garden with two mugs full of tea. One for each of us.

No Sam.

He must have gone to the toilet.

I went to look. No, not there.

Perhaps in his bedroom? – No.

The other bathroom? Other rooms? Maybe further afield in the garden?




No reply.

I roused Jane from her rest and she looked further about the house as I jumped into the car to search the nearby roads and lanes. He’d only been gone a matter of minutes. It would be easy to find him.

Wouldn’t it?

Several hours later I’d driven to the motorway, along it and back, visited the nearby towns, driven to a local swimming spot he’d found the other day with a friend, walked around local lanes, tired myself out.

He was nowhere to be found.

We’d already been to the Gendarmerie. Closed. It was after six. Strong steel shutters were pulled down. Later they told us that of course they were hard at work inside and if only we had pressed the buzzer …

We rang the local hospital. No – nobody of that description.

We slept – well, a bit.

In the morning we rang the hospital again.

Bare feet, English, confused, shorts and tee-shirt?

They had the perfect match.

Lots of details requested.

He was fine with sore feet but in the psychiatric ward. He’d been admitted late last night. Brought in by the Gendarmes.

Eventually we got to speak with a very helpful and friendly nurse on the ward who reassured us that Sam was okay.

So when could we visit.

No, no!!! That was not possible.

Why not!

It was not authorised.

How could we speak with the doctor?

Perhaps later.

We would come now.

No, no, no. It was not possible. It was not authorised.

Yes, it would be fine, we would come now.

No, it is not authorised. Phone back in an hour and we could speak with the doctor.

We phoned the local doctor.

We should not go to the hospital. This was how it was done here. He would phone and get back to us.

We phoned the consulate who knew nothing.

We phoned the psychiatric team back home who looked at the Eufami website (if only I looked at the links on this page) and found us a helpline for families in Paris.

We phoned the helpline.

We phoned the hospital again and again and again.

Phone back in an hour. Phone back in two hours and someone can speak with you.

(When I say “we” phoned – I mean Jane whose French is so much better than mine and who was getting increasingly distraught as I sat by trying to offer what is strangely called moral support.)

We visited the Gendarmerie.

We visited, at the end of the day, the local doctor.

He had spoken with the hospital psychiatrist.

Sam was calm. It was normal for him to be kept quiet, in isolation, without visitors to be assessed. They hadn’t pumped him full of drugs. He was just on a slightly increased dose of the benzodiazepines that we had been giving him. The hospital doctor wanted to talk with us perhaps we could visit the next day or soon after.

Had Sam been sectioned – well the French equivalent?

No, no, no.

So we went back home, had dinner and got a phone call from a friend.

There was a phone call. There’s music in the village tonight! Come and join us! Have a few beers!

So we did.

There was no Sam to look after. He was at least now safe and there was nothing more we could do that night.

Why not have a few minutes for ourselves?

So we did.

It was good. When you are so used to having to think of someone else first and suddenly not having to – it was really good. A guilt ridden relief.

Kind of like when the kids were little and you got an unexpected baby sitting offer – but much more release of stress and much more feeling that it was somehow wrong but also a remembrance of when life was like this all of the time.

We left early – pausing to listen for a few moments to a jazz band playing further down the road.

In the morning Jane finally got to speak to the doctor. He was nice, was keen to listen, agreed Sam would be better back in a UK hospital, but was unhappy to authorise visits just yet.

There was nobody else left to phone.

So we decided to have some time to ourselves.

So like naughty school kids bunking off school we jumped into the car and drove to Italy for lunch.

Well? Why not?

By the time we got there Italy had almost stopped serving lunch but we found a nice little place that was still prepared to serve us. Later we strolled in the humid heat across to the old part of town and found ourselves climbing a narrow, brick paved lane up to the small cathedral perched innocuously amongst the ancient piles tenements.

We’d tried two of the doors and thought it closed before a helpful local woman pointed out the third door that swung open. Inside a beautiful Romanesque church with a carved altar of almost Celtic design.

The coolness and the beauty were so welcome as we sat and rested our minds, our spirits and our bodies.

What was not welcome was the ring of Jane’s mobile phone.

The hospital.

Forms to fill in.

About keeping Sam safe.

Was this the equivalent of sectioning?

That was yesterday – I’ll try to catch up and bring you up to date tomorrow, but there is still so much happening and the insects are devouring my feet and arms as I write.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Yesterday morning I was very low.

I was close to tears most of the time, finding conversation difficult not sure of how I could carry on with this. I just felt emotionally drained.

But Sam was with our friend. Jane and I were able to wander around the village, buy some bread and stop for a drink at our favourite bar. I just sat as Jane tried to boost me with positive conversation.

We’d visited the doctor on Friday. Sam coped well with that but started to walk out when mention was made of starting him on a small dose of anti-psychotics to help him through this difficult time. Before we went he’d been pacing round and round and I doubted we could even get him there. But once we said where we had to go he stopped and got in the car without demurring.

Sam’s made positive strides this weekend. Having the friend here has taken some of the load. He’s spent a lot of time with Sam and has managed to engage him and make real contact without getting him overexcited. He's worked hard and has really helped Sam to make some progress.

So today I’m tired but feeling a little more positive.

Maybe we can still make this work.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Sat by the pool with a glass of pastis watching the early evening light on the vineyards beyond.

Sam’s been calmer today.

We even managed to get him in the pool for a few moments.

A friend is here for weekend who is a well known mental health professional. He’s been brilliant with Sam.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Sometimes I just want someone to come along and say

it’s okay
you’ve done all you can
you’ve been wonderful
you can’t do any more
don’t worry
we’ll take over now

and give me a cuddle

then take Sam somewhere safe
love him
be kind to him
help him get better

and let me crawl away
into a quiet corner
on my own


But each time that has happened - Sam has been sectioned.


And they didn't love him.

They weren't kind to him.

They didn't help him get better.

So what do we do next ...


Thursday, June 16, 2005

I’ve just come off the phone to my mum.

About my dad’s treatment for cancer at the hospital today, about my sister in law’s pregnancy, about which is the least dangerous part of the world for her, my brother and their new baby to live, about my sister and her problems - and of course about us and Sam here and the wonderful support we are getting from caring, concerned professionals – all off the record of course.

At the end I tried to say to my mum to look after herself. She’s so busy worrying about everyone else she forgets to think about herself. I know. I’m like that. But I’ve learned.

But it’s the first time I can remember having that kind of conversation with her.

Sam’s been settled (-ish!!!) the last day or two.

I spent a few minutes taking photographs of butterflies on the small terrace meadow.

I wonder if any of them are any good?

(The unofficial professional view is that Sam’s current behaviour and other symptoms such as vomiting, etc are a direct result of the sudden coming off anti-psychotic medication. What to do next is a difficult call. Back onto the medication to come off slowly or sit with it and hope he comes through? Answers on a postcard please …)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Last night was the most violent storm since we’ve been here.

Not just the thunder and lightning and huge hailstones but Sam’s behaviour.

He’s been very difficult to engage with recently. Some people came to see him yesterday and the day before and we’d tried hard to et him engaged. Maybe too hard as he ran off after we took him to the local climbing wall.

It took us a while to calm him down again and get him stable.

Then the thunder and lightning started.

Sam was out there looking up to the sky. Reaching up imploringly.

The rain started slowly, then faster until is was crashing down on him.

He could not be enticed in.

Once huge hailstones as big as golf balls started to fall we managed to drag him in.

We managed to restrain him and get him in the shower then to his bedroom where the shutters and windows were shut.

However much we tried to calm him it was to no avail. He was talking and shouting to us in a made up language, running around, jumping over the bed and throwing the pillows at us. Whatever we tried he could not be calmed.

I sat on the floor with my back to the door but in an instant he’d managed to open the window and shutters and was out again in a new deluge.

He ran round and round the garden then out onto the main road before coming back into the garden. The next moment he had jumped into the swimming pool - not that he could have been any wetter - and was then running round the garden again.

Eventually we got him inside again and calm tough it seemed to take forever.

Today, so far, he’s been calmer.

I was sitting on a terrace just above the house looking across a small gentle meadow of purple flowers filled with butterflies of every colour. Sitting, wondering just how much more we can take of this. What is the next step? What does Sam need to help him get better from here? Yesterday was the worst I can remember having seen him. He’s supposed to be here to help him get better not to make him worse.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The last couple of days it has been difficult to communicate with Sam. He is often silent and still. Then he’ll maybe pace up and down a while then sit again and roll a cigarette.

Questions receive no response.

Sometimes tears will start to fall and he appears distressed but this can be followed by laughter.

In the village today we bought a light beach football for a couple of Euros.

At first Sam just stared at it.

Then he picked it up and started kicking it in the air, doing tricks, heading it and running around. His face became full of smiles.

Suddenly he was having fun.

But after a little while he came walking towards us, his face looking distraught.

“What is it Sam? Have you lost your ball? Can I help?”

“Please help me find my ball.”

It was the longest sentence he’d spoken today.

Friday, June 10, 2005

a minute
or so
in the garden
he was screaming
he saw
looking at
and flinched
and shouted

He’s still pacing around outside now.

A little while ago he ran off up the lane.

No there are three of us here – we have to negotiate decisions on immediate action.

A little while ago I would have had to decide for myself and go with it.

Now there are three of us to decide.


He came back.

Now he’s not pacing.

He’s been screaming and shouting.


That’s okay.

There’s only us to hear.

Jane suggested I give him his tranquilizers now.

He screamed at me and pushed me away, face red, eyes bulging.

“I’m sorry,” he found space for amidst the rest.

Then he took the two tablets.

Maybe they’ll help him settle.

I think it’s good. There must be so much emotion there.

Some screaming and shouting may get it out.

Last night was the first time he has been violent towards me here.

Nothing serious.

He’d been racing about the place whooping.

I tried to calm him.

He grabbed me by the arms and pushed me back up against the sink. It was over in a moment.

I'm tired now.

He woke at four and neither of us have slept properly since.

I'm about to set off for the airport to pick up Jane. It will be lovely to se her again.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sometimes I just want to hold him in my arms and kiss him better exactly like when he was a little boy.

So some of those times I do.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Why is silence so difficult for some people?

I was trying to clam and relax Sam last night. We started a game of chess. I’d put a jazz album on low that was a favourite of both of us.

Jane’s brother, N, came in. He was chattering to nobody in particular about what he was doing as he went along. We ignored him for a while, trying to keep the mood, but the occasional irrelevant chatter continued. I looked up from the chessboard at Sam. He was looking at me. We exchanged an amused grin.

(As I’m typing this Sam is asleep on the settee and Jane’s brother is telling me a long story about a walk in Scotland – please don’t ask me to reproduce it for you. Hasn’t he noticed that I’m typing?)

I don’t know if Sam was laughing at the same as me but if he was it was a moment of lucidity and communication. If it was though it was for the last time that night.

The mood was broken.

Sam started making moves that were very interesting and creative but certainly not in the rules of chess. So we decided to stop.

From then Sam got more and more difficult.

He decided that N was going to have to go to prison and that he, Sam, would have to go as well to protect him. It all got very confused with Sam becoming confrontational and talking about violence. He was whooping and screeching, racing about the house, and facing us with karate positions.

Such a change from the earlier quiet game of chess.

At one point he was facing me aggressively in a karate position. I just held out my hands to him. On a ward the nurse would have activated his alarm, Sam would have been pinned down and forcibly medicated.

Later Sam agreed to go to bed with me (Jane’s still away) so we could look after each other. He let me take him by the hand.

I spent ages talking quietly and calmly to him, trying to sooth him and relax him almost hypnotise him into going to sleep. The all of a sudden he jumped up and rushed downstairs. I found hi in N’s bedroom staring at him aggressively.

“Sam!!! That’s not your bedroom. Come out!” I said sternly. Surprisingly Sam did as he was told. I took him by the hand again and he came back to bed.

I started again with the calm whispers of beautiful things. For a while I could hear nothing. I wondered if he was still alive. Then eventually I heard the louder rhythmic breathing of sleep. I tried to calm myself enough for my own sleep.

This morning I gave Sam the choice of a walk with N or coming to the supermarket with me. Sam hates shopping so I knew he would go with N.

He chose the supermarket. He was managing ok. Helping a bit and only wandering purposefully to no purpose up and down the isles on occasions.

We made it to the checkout without incident. We were quietly waiting our turn when suddenly there was an almighty crash. Sam had swung back his leg and deliberately kicked hard a display stand. Fortunately little harm had been done. But little middle aged French ladies looked round in horror and tut tutted amongst themselves.

What to do?

I went over to Sam and gave him a hug then led him through to the other side of the checkout wondering how to find the French to explain to the checkout girl if she queried what had just happened. But she was far too polite – and well, we were English, what would you expect?

Sam’s still sleeping on the settee.

I wonder if we’ll get any sleep tonight?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A brief respite.

Such kind friends.

Despite toothaches, lively children, work and lots of things I have no concept of …

they offered to have Sam overnight.

Sam had calmed a lot but was incommunicative.

It looked dodgy – but we went ahead and it went …

well, perhaps you’d better ask them, but they said okay.

As I said, they’re very kind.

And now we’ve got Sam back again!

What fun!!!

If anyone else in the South of France wants to meet him for a night or two just email me!!!!

Monday, June 06, 2005

He was lying on the lounger when I asked,
“Can you help with dinner by washing the potatoes?”

Out of the question.

He was contemplating his navel.

No. Really. He was.

There was a black speck sitting alongside his belly button.

“It’s an alien baby.”

I joked with him about what he said.

“We’re not playing ‘Alien Babies’ now we’re playing getting dinner ready. Shift monkey.”

He laughed. I hadn’t been sure whether it was psychosis or a joke or something in-between. I don’t think he was either. But though I tried hard to turn it into a joke it looked like it was creeping into psychosis.

After dinner he became stranger. I tried hard to converse with him and reason with him but the discussions were becoming increasingly tense. I was desperate to try to get him into rational mode and not to sink into those other areas of his mind that are so much harder for me to follow and which so often lead to irrational and dangerous actions.

I was already tired. I hadn’t slept well the night before. We’d driven to the airport and back to collect Jane’s brother who was going to stay for a while to try to help. But this was a situation to be thrown into that an outsider couldn’t get into. An increasingly psychotic Sam and an exhausted me trying to have a conversation that had any connection.

I can’t remember the threads now.

I do remember once sitting on the settee with my eyes closed, trying to rest and compose myself as Sam barraged me with a series of irrational questions and comments. I ignored them all except for those few that made some sense.

“I love you dad.”

“I love you too Sam.”

Later Sam followed me to the bedroom. I was worried about him wandering off but the current exchanges seemed to be exacerbating the situation.

He talked with me as if he was Jesus in a different voice. He had regressed me back through previous ages and lives and returned me to the present. He had healed me. I too was now special and could heal other people.

“I want to go to bed, Sam. Please can we go to bed now.”

Eventually I went to bed but Sam kept coming up to my room.

I got him to join me and he went to sleep laid alongside me on the bed.

For a while.

Until he started hunting on the floor for I don’t know what.

He came back to bed putting something precious beside me. It was a large insect upside down.

“Do you love it?” said Sam.

“Sam! Please take it away!”

I didn’t dare swat it away from me, off the bed, as it might be such a precious and special thing for Sam that hurting it would enrage him.

“Please Sam. Take it away.”

Sam was being gentle with it. He surrounded it with his hands for protection.

“I need to go to sleep Sam. Please take it away.

No response.

“Sam. I’m so tired. I need to go to sleep. Please, please take it away.”

Eventually Sam put it carefully back on the floor and was persuaded to turn out the lights.

I tried to calm my rushing thoughts and get back into a state for sleep.

I’m frightened now.

That his current psychosis might stay at this level.

What would we do then? I can’t cope with him easily like this. He couldn’t go on an aeroplane in this state. So getting him back to England could be hard. And if he did what would we do? Surely after all we’ve been through we wouldn’t let them put him back into hospital and medicate him?

But how to keep him safe?

And how to maintain our own strength to do it?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

It was dusk.

He suddenly decided he was going out into the woods further up the hill at the back of the house. To climb to the top. To see over the other side.

To see over the other side in the dark.

He was angry and confrontational.

His eyes had that wide wild spaced out look.

He was unable to listen to argument or reason.

He didn’t calm but as it got dark maybe decided against his idea.

But he’d been climbing in the dark lots of times on his travels at the other side of the world during his gap year …

The mood didn’t improve.

Then he decided he wasn’t taking any tablets tonight. Last night he’d insisted on reducing the dose. Tonight he wasn’t taking any.

There was clearly little purpose in arguing – though I did for a while.

He insisted he would be able sleep.

We went to bed.

I lay awake worrying about all sorts of things but all the time listening to see if Sam was about to get up and disappear.

He slept till three then got up for a while before returning to bed.

At four thirty he was up again and wandering about the house for the rest of the night. He was still awake at seven but at eight I found him lying on the settee sleeping peacefully.

All this has been yet another reminder of how fragile all of this is. We’re so pleased with how he is doing. But his serious symptoms could come flooding back at any time.

And if that’s tomorrow ...

What do I do …?

Friday, June 03, 2005

Sam's been sleeping better the last few nights.

About eight hours which I guess is good - especially as he is taking a tranquiliser before bed and he still seems very alive in the morning.

The only problem is me wanting ten hours!!!!!!!

He's been doing bits and pieces of work for friends for some of the day the last few days. It's given him a purpose and made him feel valued. It's good for him to spend time with other people and he's enjoyed that.

He's also had a couple of emails from the media and managed to reply to them very sensibly. A phone call this morning may set something up.

I think he's really quite pleased by it. He refers to it occasionally and chuckles when I mention it!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

If Sam is going to stay well he has to want to be well.

I'm still not sure he does.

He is still so close to psychosis, its lures and entrapments, that he finds it just so enticing to go back to that place.

The 'normal' world is inhabited by people who are unhappy, he thinks.

Whereas in that other place he is just so happy all the time.

Last night he talked with me about this.

He's only sticking with it because God has told him to be 'normal'.

But tomorrow he may change his mind.

I can see it in his face as a constant difficult choice.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I've been thinking about Sam's adventure again and the way he's coped coming off the anti-psychotic medication.

Perhaps he had to stay reasonably sane because he had to look after himself, to find a way to travel, somewhere to sleep, something to eat and drink. Whereas we care for and look after people with psychosis. We institutionalise them and stop them doing things for themselves.

Okay - as usual about three or four days was the limit before Sam brought himself to the attention of the authorities.

But since then he has been off all his anti-psychotics and is coping just as well as with them.

Okay - he's not perfectly well, whatever that means.

But it's progress.

The anti-psychotics were no longer doing him any good.

Sam found his own way.

"Don't try this at home!"

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