Thursday, October 31, 2013

Two Steps Back

I sent Thomas off to work last night after having a late dinner that stressed him out because he finished up close to the time he had to go to work. Whenever we are doing something that he feels doesn't give him enough time to get ready for work, it stresses him out. I felt bad for him as he gulped dinner down and got ready. We went out to the car and he got in and was quiet. I asked him if his anxiety level was up and he said it was a little but when we got to work he got out seemingly fine.

When I picked him up it was a whole other story. He got in and I could sense a heaviness in him. I asked him if he was ok and he said yes but I wasn't convinced. There was something obviously off. I reached for his hand and he didn't touch me and he usually does so I knew something was off for sure. We talked a little bit on the ride home but it was like pulling teeth to get any information out of him and what he said held no clues for me.


When we got home, he walked silently inside, shoulders slumped, a somber look on his face. Once inside, I set my purse down and turned to find him standing there behind me waiting for me.

"Mom? Can I have a hug?" he asked.

I reached for him and hugged him tightly. It is in these embraces that I try to break through whatever's plaguing him.

"Are you ok?" I asked.

"I'm just tired." he quietly responded.

I knew it was more than that but I couldn't get him to say much more. I asked him,

"Are you having symptoms?"

"No." he quietly said.

"Remember kiddo, if you are having any symptoms you need to let me know ok?"

"I will."

I was unconvinced as I pulled away and looked into his eyes. There was darkness there and yes, some tiredness but mostly I saw a sad, dark young man. I went on to talk to him about how he could speak with Andy, his job rehab specialist, or he could tell me and I could speak to her. He nodded and reached for another hug. I held him so tightly and tried to hug away whatever was getting at him.

He went into his room and I followed him in there and asked again how his evening at work had gone. He said he had done the same stuff (facing shelves) and that he cleaned a bathroom too. I shared with him how when I worked at McDonald's I had to do the same thing and it was not a pleasant job and was met with silence.

When I went to bed I left behind a struggling kid and with my heart heavy I got into bed and tried to think through the last 20 minutes with him. I had told him that he was getting paid on Friday and was he excited about that and his response was less than enthusiastic. He said he didn't know how he was going to get a paycheck because a manager had forgotten to go over that with him. Apparently there are 3 different ways you can get a paycheck, two of which he could remember which were a hard copy check or an automatic deposit. I asked him what he wanted (a hard copy check) and I told him that was probably what they defaulted to since they hadn't asked him exactly how he wanted his check. I could get no enthusiasm out of him about payday and that worried me. I have held onto the receipt of that paycheck as something that would make him happy and it just didn't seem to be working.

So, I don't know. As I sit here this morning I am in the dark as to what is plaguing him. Is it the check? Is it the job? Is he experiencing symptoms that he doesn't want to talk about? I'm hoping that when he wakes this morning that I'll get my answer but in the meantime here I am again in my quiet early morning wondering what will greet me when he wakes up later.

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