Wednesday, November 06, 2013

In Today's News

A young man who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia woke up this morning tired from a rough night's sleep and feeling the after affects of his medication, a sedation he can never seem to shake.

He brushed his teeth, cleaned his retainer that has been chewed through from nights of grinding his teeth because of stress. Then he used the bathroom and went back to his r
oom and got dressed in his Carhart work pants and an old t-shirt, laced up his work boots and then lumbered into the kitchen for a hug from his mom. She gave him the hugs all while asking questions about his night, like whether or not he slept well, how he felt and others, all asked with a tiny bit of worry leaking into her voice that she tried to keep steady so as not to make him feel like he has to take care of her emotions too.

He took his medications and carried a tray containing his breakfast into the living room to watch TV and eat. For breakfast he had a yogurt, some fresh strawberries, a glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast milk made in an attempt to get enough nutrition into him and a glass of juice used to take his meds with.

He sat down and tuned into the Today Show and while he sat there he sometimes piped up to talk about some fun story they were showcasing. When he got up to clean up his breakfast dishes he--without being asked--took out all of the recycling.

He sat the rest of the morning before work his head resting on his hand drifting in and out of sleep all while watching TV.

His weekend was relatively uneventful except for a very scary moment for him when a major fight broke out between his friend and his friend's step-dad and this young man with schizophrenia was witness to it all. As the anxiety built at warp speed and as he fought off encroaching anxiety related hallucinations he texted his mom and asked her if he and his friend could come home to get away from his friend's dad.

When he got home he was wide-eyed, shaking and directionless as he tried to calm himself enough to help his friend sort through the boxes of stuff they had brought from his friend's house to protect it from his friend's father's violent tendencies towards his son.

They went downstairs and played video games and things calmed down. By night's end the young man came to his mom and told her how scared he had been and told her that he wished he had been able to take an anti-anxiety pill but he ended up being able to calm himself after a long time.

That night, and last night, he went to bed after spending a good part of his time isolated in his room. He came to his mom last night very early in the evening, eyes drooping and saying to her that he was going to bed early. She hugged him, told him to sleep well and have good dreams and he disappeared into his room for the night.

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This is the face of paranoid schizophrenia. It's an average every day person just trying to get through their day fighting off symptoms. While in a threatening situation he did not lash out, no guns were drawn, no blood was shed, there was just a scared kid looking for a way to safety, which meant getting home to his mom.

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This is Thomas and this is our every day life. Nothing exciting. Even in it's worst moments my son looks for safety, not to harm others. There are people with schizophrenia living quiet lives of fear, anxiety, isolation, self-harm, and just general desperation but they are living their lives just like the rest of us. There are many with schizophrenia who wake up, are medicated, are in therapy and are highly functioning holding jobs and maintaining marriages and raising kids.

My point is this. The newspapers don't report on them. They're just boring average everyday people. They're not sensationalistic subject matter, they would hold few people's interest, and so they are forgotten. They don't get their quiet voice heard saying, "Hey! Look at us! We have schizophrenia and we're just like you!"

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I just wanted to attempt, today, to give them a voice.


 

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