Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Out Of Control

Ever since last week's therapy and the suggestion that Thomas set some goals for himself, he has hopped on the rails like a train barreling down a steep hill with a big curve at the bottom that is threatening to derail him.

I wrote about him wanting to move out of the house and that goal has been the catalyst for all that has followed since then. To his credit he faced his anxiety and went in and asked his manager for more hours. What he got was exactly what he asked for only they scheduled him to work on Sunday 5-10pm and then again on Monday 5-10pm. As you are well aware by now, he fights what he terms his "time anxiety" and with working two days in a row it became very hard for him to cope. I tried everything I could to calm him and keep his life stable for those two days he worked but by Monday night before his shift, I came in from outside to find him sitting in his uniform, on the couch, in utter silence and the low light of the living room with 45 minutes still to wait before his shift. He was stressed beyond anything I had seen from him in a while and I asked him what he needed from me to help. All he wanted was my presence beside him so we sat together and watched some TV. From my vantage point I watched as he melted down, checking the clock practically every minute and I wanted so badly for him to have some peace from his crippling anxiety. As I drove him to work he fought back a level 6 anxiety and as he got out of the car I told him how much I loved him and wished him a good night at work.

The thing is, he is now so bound and determined to leave home that he's willing to endure the anxiety he feels and when I asked him if he felt it was still a good idea that he work the extra hours he vehemently said "yes". He is unmoved from his plans to become more independent which is now adding to everything else that he's been dealing with prior to the ill-fated goal setting therapy session. I am watching an out of control, delusional young man sink yet again into his illness.

While in that session, the subject of his drivers license came up also. It was fleeting and I thought it had somewhat gone over his head. With his voice that comments constantly on what he's doing and with his meds that lessen his ability to focus on things, I just don't think him getting his drivers license right now is a good idea. Then last night when I came home from my dad's, Thomas came out of his room and excitedly announce that he is "back into cars again." I asked him what he meant by that and he said he was looking at car customizations. I asked him what he had in mind for a car and he said he was planning on customizing the car we promised to give him if he got his drivers license. My heart sank because I knew what this meant; he was adding getting his drivers license to the already overzealous plan to move out.

As I explained this new plan of Thomas's to my husband last night I had to wonder to myself, "am I looking at this wrong? Is this the efforts of a young man who is getting well?" I am torn because what my gut tells me is going on is that he has taken this plan of moving out, of increasing his work hours, of rebuilding the car and he is running far and fast while cloaked in a delusional belief that he can now, all of a sudden, do it all and he is now hell-bent on succeeding at that. The problem with all of this is that he hasn't truly thought through any of it. He stands firmly rooted in front of me and tells me he can do all of this and yet he can't even go to work without feeling immeasurable anxiety, he forgets his pills often and will take them only after I've reminded him, he only showers when I remind him and even then he often refuses and the list goes on and on. This young man is far from living life on his own and I am unable to stop him at this point.

I emailed his therapist and told him what is going on with Thomas and about the extra work hours and he came back with a suggestion that Thomas again cut his hours back and tell his manager to instead add just 2 hours a week and then add more as Thomas becomes more stabilized. There is was again. Stabilized. That is the word that comes from a doctor's mouth that indicates that your loved one is still sick, still struggling and far from realizing such ambitious dreams.

So, I don't know what I'm going to do now. I've tried having casual talks with Thomas about the truth of what he's trying to do with his goals and he's hearing none of it. Every time, and it's not been too often because of the resistance I meet, he stands his ground and refuses to listen to me. As I said above, he is a train on downhill tracks with a curve at the bottom. I'm standing by watching as he careens, out of control, down this hill and I am dreading what fate will bring him at the bottom as he nears the curve.

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