Sunday, December 08, 2013

Why I Stay (Part IV in a series on families affected by schizophrenia--"A Crack In The Foundation")

I know for some of you (and often my mom too) it's not easy to understand why I stay with my husband. My mom always tells me she loves him but he's got some qualities that are maddening. Nobody is perfect, including me, and so I cut him some slack. What I haven't told you are the reasons I stay and it's those things that keep me where I am.

While he doesn't have much und
erstanding of schizophrenia and how it manifests in Thomas even though I've tried to explain it a hundred times, he has these amazing moments when it comes to Thomas that I can't deny. Last year when Thomas was suicidal and the police showed up, I wasn't home, but he was. After the police left he sat with Thomas and held him and talked to him about how tough life can be sometimes and the two of them cried together. He remained with him until I got home and then we sat and talked as a family and along with me, encouraged Thomas to go to the hospital to get some help. He was there when I wasn't and had stepped up in a big way. He had every opportunity to make Thomas' life more miserable and instead found a kind of love and support for my suffering boy. Even in our worst times as a family I remember that.

When Thomas had his psychotic break in May, it was my husband who got up and found him trapped in his room. He came and got me and was so scared for Thomas and helped me help Thomas find the courage to leave his room and again go to the hospital. He was there in that moment and I was grateful for that.

Where he fails miserably is in sustaining that compassion. Let's face it, he fails miserably when it comes to sustaining anything emotional. He is a very closed off man, very very rarely even in touch with his own inner feelings, and it is in moments like the other day with the punching bag incident that he somehow, for reasons I still haven't figured out after 13 years of being together, finds those emotions and it becomes bigger than life and Thomas (mostly) and I pay the price as he unleashes everything he has squashed down for weeks or months at a time.

Thomas will always be the target of his outbursts because what my husband wants more than anything is for he and I to begin a life where just he and I can live without worries and just be together. He abandoned his own children for that reason and it's not surprising to me that he does the same to Thomas. It doesn't make it right, it doesn't make me happy but I understand that about him. We both had a different life planned for ourselves and schizophrenia came in like a wildfire and left the landscape barren. We are simply trying to rebuild a life with the new rules in place.

He's insensitive when it comes to Thomas in every day life and even stumbles with me a lot of times but he also does so much to contribute too. When times are tough and I can't get going to maintain the house or cook our meals, he does those things for me and Thomas. When Thomas wants Burger King and he's had a rough day, my husband will brave the 15 minute (yes, 15 minute) drive through time to get Thomas his triple Whopper with the exact ingredients on it that Thomas likes. He installs Thomas' air conditioner in his window every year and makes sure it's secure and Thomas feels it's secure so that he'll be certain that nothing and no one can enter his room from the outside. He takes the time to teach Thomas how to set up the entertainment center downstairs showing him step by step where each wire goes and why it goes in those places. 95% of the time when Thomas is sleeping in because he's had a late night and needs to sleep all morning, he is quiet around the house making sure not to disturb him so he can get his rest. When Thomas was having a tough time in junior high with his peers, my husband sat with him and told him stories from his own childhood in junior high relating stories to Thomas about how he, too, was bullied. I could go on but I've taken up enough writing space.

I absolutely HATE his insensitivity and I'm resentful when I can't get through to him but just like all of us, he has many good qualities too. Yesterday's posting won't be the last one about my fight to defend Thomas to him but I write about those times because it is my hope that someday we won't have fights like that and that someday he will accept the fate that has been given to us. ALL of us. My heart and soul will always be focused on Thomas and Thomas will ALWAYS be my first choice and if the time ever comes that I am through with the B.S., I will not hesitate to ask my husband to leave for good. One of my very best (and sometimes perhaps worst) quality is that I have hope and I have faith in the human race. I believe change is possible for anyone and I will never let that go. It's why I'm here. It's why I created this page. It's why I write. So many people told me there was no way I would succeed at changing people's minds about schizophrenia but I have since learned that I have done just that, changed minds and taught compassion. I have watched some crumble in the wake of this illness but even more so I have watched many step up and stand strong and I believe the same is possible for my husband someday.

So I stay. I stay with him, I stay with you, I even stay with the ones who have tried to bring me down and I will fight until there is nothing left to fight for and then, in the end, I will leave knowing I did the best that I could.

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