Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Choking Phobia

My brother has developed what the doctor refers to as a choking phobia.  Since he has no physical condition that warrants a fear of choking it has now been diagnosed as a phobia.  

Really?  We need one more thing to get fixated on?  He already thinks he is drowning in the shower, can't see because of pollen landing on his head, and what else.......oh yeah, intermittent blindness.  Not to mention paranoid schizophrenia.  

I'm making light of the situation because if I don't I'll be crazy as a bitsy bug myself.  This new phobia has been going on for awhile but it comes and goes depending on whether he is blind that day or not.  Blindness trumps choking I guess.  But anyway Mike called me last Friday to tell me he was having suicidal thoughts.  Now suicidal thoughts are not to be taken lightly so I immediately took off work and drove to his house.  I started the conversation by asking him what had brought about these thoughts.  He replied, "Choking".  



"So you are afraid you will choke to death?" I asked.


"Well, let's think about that.  You are afraid of dying so you are going to kill yourself.  Does that sound like a solution to you?"

"Ummmmmm no, I guess that sounds kinda silly."

"I said, sounds like overkill to me." (pardon the pun) 

We spent about another 2 hours talking about his fear of choking and why offing himself wasn't an appropriate response to his fear and then we contacted his psychologist and set up an appointment.  

Each morning when the phone rings (promptly at 8:05) I never know what the day ahead holds for Mike.  It may start out (in his words) a great day or it could be a day filled with exaggerated fears and paranoia but I can assure you it will not be dull!


Olga said...

Thank Goodness that you can have such a great sense of humor.

Arkansas Patti said...

Poor fellow. As hard as it is with you to have to cope with his phobias, his having to live with them must be a nightmare.
Like Olga said, thank goodness you can find humor and logic to ease him and yourself. You constantly amaze and impress me.

Patrick said...

Wow! You have got a challenge and a half there! One of Patti's MS symptoms is dysphagia and that plus cognitive and short term memory issues can can leave her between actually choking or 'thinking she is choking'. It sure does change the dynamics of meal time.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

Olga said...

You know, I laughed at your post--in the inappropriate way we can laugh at those less fortunate, but I feel for your brother. I think it is because we share the same birthday. Also, I woke up last night coughing and feeling like I was choking--post nasal drip from allergies--and I started thinking that maybe his fears and phobias are more closely related to pollen than he is able to express. Anyway, I can't promise to stop giggling through your posts, but I do wish you all the best.