Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A New Puzzle To Decode

I find myself in a familiar place with Thomas again and it's disturbing me greatly. You see, in the last two weeks he has seemed stable for the most part but in the place of the absent "positive" symptoms something else has taken ahold of him. For months Thomas would call in sick to work because of his anxieties over the crowds and the security cameras, just to name a couple things. If he didn't call in sick then I would inevitably get a call from him just an hour into his shift asking me to come pick him up because he was so overrun with anxiety and fear. Well, then with stability came a decrease in the calls to and from work. Then last week that all changed.

I was in Vegas for 4 days last week and my being gone took its toll on Thomas. He was anxious, scared and lonely without me home during the day with him. Because of that, I understood why he didn't go to work one of the days I was gone and called his dad to come pick him up early on another day I was gone. I understood that because I understood what he was feeling. Now, however, things have changed as far as the fact that I am now back home with him every single day and he's still either not going to work or is calling me to come get him after an hour or so.

The other day he came to me and told me he felt depressed. I tried to let it go in the interest of not causing myself to fall into the worry trap again. Further into his depression he finally told me that he's depressed about "all the work" he is having to do. I was puzzled about this because he really hasn't been working much at all. He's been scheduled to work a lot more than normal but he hasn't actually worked many of those hours. Then yesterday he expressed again to me how depressed he was about working and instead of me falling into the worry trap, I found myself in an old familiar place, that of the mother of a teenager doing anything he can to get out of doing something. This familiar dance harkens back to junior high and high school where I would get angry at him and ground him or take something away from him and he would take his "punishment" but would continue the same behaviors. I spent years "punishing" him for what I thought was some form of defiance and since then have beat myself up for not understanding more what he was struggling with inside and that was his burgeoning schizophrenia.

Here I was yesterday though feeling angry that he was feeling "depressed" about work and not wanting to go. I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to get into it with him but I was still mad. Then he got ready and went to work. I was pleased that he went and seemed in a halfway decent mood as he got out of the car. Then, as I was sitting down to eat my dinner, I get a text from him. It was a little over an hour into his shift and he was texting me,

"Can you come and get me? I'm feeling clammy, upset stomach, dizzy and light headed."

I told him I'd be right there but on the drive over there I became very angry. Here he was, in my mind, yet again, coming up with some excuse to not work. He'd been "depressed" about work and not wanting to go and now here he was drumming up a reason not to be there. All of the old feelings from the past bubbled up and I got very mad at him. He got into the car and I began my questioning of him to try to get down to what exactly had happened. He did look sick but I couldn't really see that because of my anger. And then it hit me.

Here we are back to our old patterns, him not wanting to do something and me being mad about it. It was such a familiar feeling in that moment that I stopped myself from saying what I was about to say to him in anger. Instead I decided to open a dialogue with him. I explained to him that I felt that what was going on was like what we went through when he was in school. I also told him that I still beat myself up for punishing him all of those years when what he needed instead was love and compassion. I told him I didn't want us to return to that place. We sat in the driveway and talked for a while and I finally said to him,

"Thomas, this feels to me like the past and knowing now what I didn't know then, I have to wonder if this is the beginning of another crash. I really need for you to keep open communication with me about what you are feeling and thinking. If the voices are back, if the strange thoughts are back, I need you to feel like you can come to me and tell me those things so that we can get you some help"

He said that he would and we got out of the car and went into the house.

So, in the end, I didn't go down that old familiar path and dream up some punishment for his behavior. Instead, I found the compassion I didn't seem to have back then and I erred on the side of this being something to do with his schizophrenia and I let him go. I am kind of lost now though. What I'm seeing isn't the usual stuff that I have gotten used to over the last couple of years, what I am seeing is the olden days and a kid who is struggling in some way. I am letting all of his calling in sick and his coming home early go and now I work to figure out what is going on inside that mind of his.

Leave it to this illness to switch things up and throw in my direction a whole new set of issues to wade through and decode.

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