Thursday, April 03, 2014

Into The Night

Last night I did the bravest thing a mom of a young man just now getting well from a round with serious schizophrenia can do. I sent him off into the night to hang out with friends. Sure it doesn't sound like much but it totally wrecked me for the evening and I couldn't go to bed until he was home safe from his adventure.

Yesterday during the day Thomas came to me so excited because a group of his friends invited him to play a night time game of capture the flag. I've got to say, it thrilled me to death to see him so bright-eyed and excited as he told me his plans for the evening. One of the best signs of a young man with schizophrenia getting healthy again is that they begin to become social again. It's what we get asked about by his doctors every time he sees them, "Are you socializing Thomas?" This, of course, is usually followed by Thomas admitting that he hasn't been and that he's been glued to his computer from morning until bedtime. Last night all of that changed though.

All day I was so calm but excited for his adventure into the night. I imagined him laughing and joking around and acting goofy and having moments of feeling accepted by his friends. I like these kids. They come from good homes, they have a strong moral background, good parents and most are in college. A mom couldn't ask for better friends for her son. I was doing good about him going, was thanking God for giving my son a chance at a real life and I was calm.

Then, for me, all hell broke loose inside my heart and mind. As the evening turned to night time and still the friends didn't show up to pick him up I began to wonder if they were coming at all. I became more and more nervous about the late hour and I worried that they were rejecting him. Then at 9:15pm our doorbell rang and Thomas emerged from his room to answer the door. He asked his friend at the door to hang on a second and he went back to his room and put on his medical alert dog tag and grabbed a house key and as he walked out the door, said "don't wait up, I'll use my key to get in." Could it have been a more perfect mom-of-a-teenager moment? I said goodbye to him, told him to have lots of fun and he disappeared into the night.

I sat in my chair watching TV and it slowly crept up on me. The anxiety, the worry, the questions, the paranoia--the kind only a mom of a young man with schizophrenia can have. You see, his friends know he's sick and I was worried that they might do something to provoke him. Yes, apparently Thomas comes by it naturally, the paranoia, but I couldn't help myself. My husband and I got ready for bed and I got in bed and my world came to a crashing halt. I laid there on the verge of a panic attack, I tossed and turned, I stared at the ceiling and finally my husband turned over and held me. "Are you ok?" he asked. I wasn't ok, I was scared to death about Thomas and I jumped out of bed, put my robe on and went to sit back in the living room to wait. The hours passed and I longed to text Thomas to see how he was but I refused to do it because this was one of those times I knew I had to let go and stop being a mom.

My medications finally took effect and I felt myself drifting off to sleep so I laid back in my chair, turned my phone volume to high and I set it on my chest and I drifted off to sleep waiting for Thomas to come home safely. At 1:15am a text came in from him, "Mom, I'm coming home." it said. I was elated. Before long my boy came walking in the door. I tried to act casual and I slowly got up and started to shut down the TV and lights. Thomas came out of his room and he asked, "Mom can I have a hug?" Yes yes of course you can I wanted to shout but instead I grabbed him and hugged him tight and told him to have a good night and that I couldn't wait to hear about his evening tomorrow when he got up.

Through it all, for him, I hid every anxiety, every worry, every look of concern and I sent him off, free, into the night to be a kid again. I did the bravest thing a mom of a son just now healing from schizophrenia can do. I let go. I let go and he came back to me.

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