Life kind of limped along and always there were the moments...little moments in time where I'd see something, as if from the corner of my eye, and then it would disappear as I turned my head. I could never shake the uneasiness I felt but figured it was my own anxiety in overdrive and I did my best to squash it down and shake it off.
Then one day, one day it happened.
A letter had arrived for my son. It was in a small envelope and had no return address on it. I was curious but left it on my son's table in the living room to open when he got a chance. Later that day, as my husband and I sat in our chairs, my son walked over to his table and looked down at the envelope and contemplated it for a moment. He then disappeared into his room and came out putting his respirator mask on as he approached the table and he stood over the letter once again. I was taken aback at what was transpiring before my eyes. The mask became no longer a fun item amongst all of his other things in his room. As I watched in horror as he put it on, the mask suddenly became a monster glaring at me saying:
"So you're in denial, huh Melanie? Well, just try and deny me now."
My son tentatively picked up his envelope and examined it carefully turning it over and over in his hands. My husband asked him what he was doing and my son tried to play it off as no big deal and then my husband asked the now glaringly obvious question:
"Do you believe there is some sort of poison in that envelope?"
My son smiled, embarrassed, and said that he did and the room grew silent.
"Why would someone be trying to poison you?" I asked.
"I don't know, it's just that there is no return address on the envelope and I don't know what's in it." he answered.
It turned out that the letter was from the local National Guard recruiter (to this day I'll never understand why the guy hadn't put his return address on the envelope) and contained just an innocent, informational letter to my son. The letter though became a catalyst for me finally realizing that there was something far more wrong with my son than just garden variety anxiety and depression. For him to believe he was the subject of a genuine terrorist attack made it difficult for me to ignore any longer. All of everything I had witnessed over the years came flooding over me like a powerful tsunami and it was after that that I begun to be swept along by his burgeoning paranoid schizophrenia. I would now, forever be grasping at whatever I could, to try to make sense of the things that I witnessed thereafter.
That ghoulish, mocking, gas mask on my son's face would be the first outright, direct indicator that my son was sick and needed more help than what he was getting.
And so the march toward his first psychotic break began.
(My Facebook Page About Schizophrenia)
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