Bad Moon Rising

It’s nearly a full moon tonight. Sunday will mark the third full moon of 2010, already. Hard to believe there’s been that many already this year. We’ve been very cognizant of the lunar cycle since Tim was a small boy. Although psychology rejects the notion, I’ve charted Tim’s manic cycles and psychosis to a fairly reliable 28 day cycle, peaking on or around a full moon.

It’s a long held belief that the moon has the power to change mood. The words “lunatic” and “lunacy” come from the Roman word luna, meaning moon. The moon is often blamed for rises in crime, birth rates, and payouts at the craps table. When I was a teenager I volunteered as a candy striper at a local hospital. Even back then, as I worked the front desk, I saw that there were more admissions to the psychiatric ward around full moons than other times of the month. Maybe it’s because I worked evenings more often during the full moon, I can’t remember. But I remember making the correlation.

There was a study in Great Britain several years ago that saw a correlary between the degridation of schizophrenia patients at the time of a full moon. Maybe it was coincidence – their normal mood cycle – but then why would they cycle during the full moon?

Tim is actually doing pretty well during this particular full moon. We feared he was beginning a slide into psychosis last weekend. He was highly agitated, his more demeaning voices were too loud to drown out, and he was paranoid that his classmates and the staff didn’t like him and didn’t want him around. But a med adjustment and a few days on a different ward seem to be helping him level back out. A decline in hygene is also a good indicator that psychosis is settling in – we will see if this marker exists when we visit him tomorrow.

So maybe the moon doesn’t have much to do with Tim’s moods. Maybe it’s coincidence, or superstition on my part. Maybe I just need something to blame and it’s easier to blame long-held folklore than God or genetics or vaccines. I’ll keep charting, though, noting when the moon is full and when it’s not in Tim’s mood cycle. Who knows – maybe in 10 years I’ll have enough evidence for my own semi-scientific study.

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