Tuesday, April 15, 2014

His "Condition"

Last Thursday in therapy Thomas wanted me to talk to his therapist about him going on disability (SSI). I have been mulling him going on SSI over and over in my mind lately. I've written about this before and told you how I feel like SSI in a way is a "death sentence" in terms of facing the fact that he has a lifelong disability. I have avoided going through with getting the process started because I just can't face that yet another person or entity (the government in this case) will confirm, yet again, that he does indeed have schizophrenia. It's always been one thing for me to utter the word schizophrenia and to talk about it because somehow it's caught in my world, this little bubble I live in. It's another thing altogether for the outside world to acknowledge it and say the word to me or about Thomas. One of my hardest places to face that he really is sick is in his therapist's office. I am forever waiting for him to tell me that Thomas has anything other than schizophrenia. Oh what I would give to hear that diagnosis change to anything other than what it is. I am bipolar and while it's hard to deal with, there is one thing for sure, I pretty much keep contact with reality 99% of the time. I may get "crazy" with mania or heavily depressed but those are both things that I am able to get through and have found a kind of strength in. Sometimes I wish that his diagnosis is bipolar like me so that I would know what to do to help him.

To me, schizophrenia is not like that at all. For one, the person with schizophrenia is completely out of touch with reality a lot of times and as a mom and caregiver that is the most difficult symptom to deal with. Take for example this thing with the police that has cropped up with Thomas lately, I, now, cannot go anywhere in my car without seeing a police officer and for a split second thinking about Thomas' world view where they are concerned. Right away I am in his mind and trying to assimilate that with my rationality is just plain crazy-making. While sneaky, that cop hiding in the parking lot in the dark last night catching speeders, is completely expected and always gets a cheer from me that he has a good hiding spot. If I ever get a ticket I am going to offer up kudos to the officer for catching me without me knowing how he did it. It's a game of sorts for me and one that humors me a great deal. Seeing it through Thomas' mind though changes everything and it just doesn't make sense to me, not in the real world anyway.

So, back to the SSI thing. I asked about Thomas going on it and we discussed it a little bit and then the part came that is still resonating with me 6 days later and plagues me in my quiet moments. His therapist said as a way to confirm that Thomas should definitely go on disability,

"Thomas just isn't able to work an 8 hour a day, 5 days a week job. He probably won't ever be able to with his condition..."

I pause here because this is where he paused in what he was saying and I swear it took me a split second to start praying that Thomas' "condition" was anything other than schizophrenia. It's funny because I held my breath and waited for what came after that (what felt like a) long pause. What he said was of course what we all know and what I can't face, he said,

"He probably won't ever be able to with his condition..............schizophrenia."

And there it was. Damn it. There it was straight out of the professional's mouth. Thomas does indeed have schizophrenia and he should go on SSI. I can't get that thought out of my mind. I can't stop thinking about the cold, hard truth. The professional said he has schizophrenia and belongs on SSI and I just can't hide from it anymore.

So I spent yesterday picking up the piece of paper with the names of some disability lawyers on it that I need to call. I'd pick it up, feel sick and then put it back down again. This went on all day. The fact of the matter, though, is that the words were uttered and it's time for me to follow through. So, that is my plan for today. I have to at least make that call to the lawyer and get this started. I hate this. There is so much about this illness that needs to be faced. No....that gets thrown in your face and speaking from experience, all of the efforts to hide from it only prolong the inevitable. Today I make the call.

I hope.

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