Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Gamut Of Emotions

Here it is, the morning of Thomas' very first job interview. So many things are running through my head mostly because what Thomas and I are facing is the great unknown. Let me first start by saying that Thomas came out of his room last night to say good night and he was very excited about what lies before him today. He is also very nervous.

That is where a lot of my worries are this morning. He went through a practice job interview yesterday with the job coordinator at the rehab program and he was given a 2 page list of prospective questions that he might be asked and then he had written down his answers to those questions to practice. As we drove home in the car he read them to me, his voice shaky and his speech stuttering. He wants so badly to sail through this interview with flying colors but that "study sheet" was tripping him up. He could barely read through the thing and when we got home I told him to set it aside for a little while and decompress. As all of you with loved ones with schizophrenia know, anything that generates stress is a little beacon light that things are potentially about to go horribly wrong. I'm so thankful that the interview is today and not a week from now because I think his stress level would skyrocket if he were left to rehash that paper over and over.

Today I will practice with him a little bit and mostly I'll give him hugs and words of encouragement. I want so badly for him to be successful both in the interview and in any job he might get.

Which brings me to my biggest fear of all. Discrimination. He will come into this job under the umbrella of the job rehab program so they'll know right up front that he has a disability but I'm not certain they know what one. I had a talk with Thomas yesterday about how the law states that he doesn't have to reveal his disability and that it's probably not a good idea to since the word "schizophrenia" has such negative connotations and tends to scare people who don't know any better. It killed me to have that talk because, as you know, I'm out here on the front lines trying to educate people and hopefully change their minds about schizophrenia. Having to hide, having to have Thomas hide, really makes me mad at society. Schizophrenia is a part of who he is and is nothing to be ashamed of and here I was counseling him to keep his mouth shut about it. It goes against the grain of who I am but at this point, after my talk with him, I leave it in the hands of my higher power to make sure that Thomas handles things well and/or that if he says something that the manager will look past it and see this beautiful, nervous, faltering young man who really needs a job to make his life better, to give it some meaning.

No mom out there, unless your child has a disability, has to worry about that element of the job interview and hopefully the hiring. The fear and concern is real. Right now I'm looking around inside my mind wondering just where this day will go. There are just so many unknowns and with Thomas walking into this interview today nervous and unable to pull up the right words because his mind is spinning is adding to the anxiety I feel as his mom. I guess what I have left is my calm, my words of encouragement, plenty of hugs and compliments about how handsome he looks in his dress clothes and tie--which reminds me I need to teach him how to polish his shoes this morning.

So, today I ask of all of you, will you say a prayer for Thomas or send some positive energy his direction or cross your fingers or do whatever your belief system allows? I want every possible advantage enacted for him for this big milestone.

His interview is at 11am PST. As soon as I can, after the interview, I'll post an update and let you know how it went from Thomas' perspective. Please let it go well.

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