Ch.30. Some Mornings are Full of People.
This morning Pat woke up trying to speak with several people. These people had various jobs to do and Pat was supposed to help them. But she couldn’t find them. Pat was distressed because she felt she wasn’t doing her share. She asked me where they were, stating that I too had spoken with these men and women.
I couldn’t see or hear anyone. I was certain we two were the sole occupants of our home. That’s what I told her in what I hoped was a neutral voice. But Pat didn’t believe me at first. She was positive I’d seen and heard the same people with whom she’d been communicating. Pat was becoming confused, anxious and angry. This in turn worried me since from past experiences I’ve learned that the longer this disoriented state continues the worse it gets. If we couldn’t cut it off, she might reach the stage where she feels “crazy” and loses her sense of personal identity: “I don’t know who I am any more. I don’t know what’s happening to me.” This has only happened a few times; it is painful, very painful, to witness, much less experience.
So, what could we do? The answer today was to grab a bite to eat and take a ride in our car with our two loyal canines. I could feel Pat first calming down a little and then gradually reorienting to our shared world. Later, we did yard work together. Three or four hours after the beginning of the episode Pat told me she felt fully reconnected.
I imagine mornings are tenuous because Pat gets caught in what has been labelled as REM sleep disorder. She seems trapped in a stage halfway between awake and asleep. What bothers me the most is when it lasts not for minutes but for hours. That’s when I realize how hard Pat’s brain must work to keep her safe and stable.
Pat’s comments on Some Mornings are Full of People.
It never struck me that my brain is working to keep me safe and stable when an episode continues for a longer time. However, shortly after this awareness that I’m talking about now I have learned that I can thank the people who seem to be here to me and tell them I’m not a counselor anymore and tell them to go somewhere else.
When I do say “thank you but I don’t do this anymore, so you’ll have to go somewhere else” almost always these people leave. This is a real relief to me.