Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thomas' Favorite Vacation Memory

Now, let's see if I can get back on track here.

During our recent trip it was so wonderful to watch Thomas blossom. I was so worried about how it was going to go for him socially but he had the best time with his cousins. Faisal, the cousin that is a boy and closest in age to Thomas became Thomas' friend at the cabin retreat. Because there was no TV and no WiFi or cell service, the kids were all forced to be REAL kids. You know the kind. The ones that play in the creek, splash around in the pool, hike between cabins and hang out in the rec room.

When Thomas' therapist asked him what his favorite memory of the vacation was, I was excited to hear what he had to say. He had always loved popping up a bag of microwave popcorn and going out and feeding the seagulls as they flew above him in the air and he did that very thing but that wasn't his favorite memory. It turns out that his favorite memory was playing pool in the rec room with Faisal.

This rec room became the major gathering place for all of the cousins and it was a place not unlike the rec rooms of days gone by, my childhood to be exact. Those kids spent a lot of time there playing pool and other games and we knew when we couldn't find them in our immediate area that we just had to go to the rec room and they'd be there intent on winning a game against each other.

I wondered when I discovered that Thomas' electronics wouldn't work, if he would have a problem psychologically because there were no distractions from computers and video games. It turned out being the best thing for him, making me wish that we had opportunities like that for him around here.

At the ocean he began to isolate a little bit. Faisal became withdrawn himself and the boys began to do their own thing. I watched as Faisal sunk into what appeared to be a deep depression and while it disturbed me greatly to see him like that he was a reminder of who Thomas had been for so long. I sat at the long dinner table with the boys and studied them, one being sullen and making little eye contact and saying nothing and one was active with his little brother/cousin and was playful and patient and entertaining. Best of all, out of all of those meals, Thomas had light in his eyes and engaged in the family chatter that went on.

So, when all was said and done, the trip was very good for Thomas. Apart from a little delusional behavior that I caught him in--isolating himself to watch a movie about a government leader of long ago that he idolizes and even considers himself a reincarnation of him and also placing this man's image on his home screen of his phone--he seemed ok. My opinion about the movie watching and phone home screen was that it was done as a way to shore himself up against his bio dad's opposing political beliefs, it was his way to hold on to his own beliefs. I excused it all but now that we're home I am keeping an eye on it.

In that package that Everyday Health did on schizophrenia, one of the things they talked about were the signs of relapse. The movie and home screen image feel well within their opinion of what could be a sign so I am vigilant over Thomas to some degree now wondering if it will go beyond those two things. If I had to guess though, I don't think it will. Thomas still has some of that light that I saw on vacation and he's been thoughtful (hugging me when I cry) and he's been engaging in family meals and doing his chores. I'm going to leave him alone for now, mostly because I don't have the energy to hunt for clues and live hypervigilant of all things schizophrenia

Really, right now, it seems Thomas and I have switched places because my now somewhat out of control bipolar illness is rearing its ugly head. I stand on the precipice of paranoia myself oftentimes and I fight off suicidal thoughts, self-harming behaviors, not to mention all of the lovely agitation, anger, inability to sit still and inability to sleep. I guess it IS my turn though huh? We've been at the schizophrenia thing (and my dad's dementia thing before he died) for so long that me breaking down has not been an option. Now, the house has grown silent, Thomas takes his meds, he does just about everything right and he's still successfully going to work and staying there. Now it's time for me to get help. God knows I need it right now.

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