The room was heavy and it felt almost dark when I walked in for my part of the appointment with Dr. N. on Tuesday. The ride up there with Thomas had been a quiet one as I felt I should leave him alone. He's not been doing great lately and I thought he just needed his music and the open road to clear his head. Then as we waited in the waiting room Thomas kind of just stared at his phone, he hadn't brought his handheld gaming system like he usually does and he seemed lost. I hoped that whatever was bugging him would come out in his session with Dr. N.
When it came time for me to come in, I looked at Thomas and saw something wasn't right and Dr. N. wasn't his usual animated self. The room felt closed in and twilight-y, like the sun was beginning to set and I knew I wasn't going to like what I heard. Dr. N. asked me if I had anything to report and I told him about what I felt was a growing depression in Thomas and I told him I just felt like something wasn't right. Thomas sat there slumped in his chair not meeting either of our eyes and Dr. N. spoke. He brought up the Cymbalta and he started talking about side effects and what to expect. I was confused, hadn't Thomas told me he didn't want to be on it because of the side effects? It appeared we were talking about adding that in to the regimen and I sat there a little confused. After Thomas' announcement to me that he didn't want to take it, I figured we would have a fight on our hands in the future trying to get him to try something new if need be. So what was happening now? Why the darkness?
As we sat there I began to realize that Thomas had admitted something to Dr. N. that I wasn't privy to, which is fine. Of course I wondered but I wasn't going to ask what it was. At least Thomas was talking to someone. Dr. N. went on to discuss the starting dosage and how it would give Thomas energy and I latched on to that. It's not that I don't want him to have more energy, I just don't want his sleep disrupted. I looked at Thomas and willed him to look at me and I said,
"Thomas? I know your sleep is important to you. How would you feel if the Cymbalta made it so you couldn't sleep much? I know you sleep 14 hours a day but do you want to limit that? I feel like your sleep helps you and I'd hate to see that interrupted."
He agreed and Dr. N. said we would keep an eye on any interruptions in sleep.
Then Dr. N. said it. The "it" I have wanted to hear him say for a while but somehow now felt like I'd been slapped. Not only were we going to add in the Cymbalta but he felt strongly that we shouldn't change anything about the meds Thomas was already on. He was quite adamant about that and after his last few attempts at trying to cut something out of the mix, I couldn't believe he was now standing strongly behind keeping what Thomas is on in place.
The "twilight" room got darker and it hit me that we were facing something big again. Not touching the existing meds and adding one more in was a big lighted sign pointing down at Thomas that was saying,
"Something's going on, your kid is struggling big time."
I hated that sign. I wanted to unscrew each bulb in it and grab Thomas and run.
Schizophrenia isn't going to do this to my boy again.
Failing my ability to unscrew even one light bulb I took Thomas across to the next town for lunch. I asked him if he wanted to stop anywhere and shop hoping that he'd grab on to some fun and we could take our minds off of whatever was plaguing Thomas. Solemnly Thomas looked at me and said that he'd just rather get lunch and go home.
Oh God. Please. No.
You see, what I'm trying to say here is that I see my kid's spirit dying a little. I see something is eating away at him and I'm fairly certain our nemesis schizophrenia might have a hand in it.
Look, a part of me knew deep down inside that this was going to happen. For 3 years now, come the Fall season, Thomas has shattered to pieces and the months of goodness we had enjoyed previous to that had slowly slipped through our fingers until what we had left was a paranoid, delusional, anxious, sedated, unable to finish a night at work, young man.
I know, I know. Cymbalta is just Cymbalta. It's an anti-depressant. Practically the whole world is on an anti-depressant, this should mean so little to me. But not changing his other meds AND adding in Cymbalta, that darkened room with that neon sign hanging over my kid, all of it is yet another moment I now find myself in as I grieve for what has been lost in the last couple weeks and what I just know will be lost in the next few months.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope it'll be November and I'll be sitting here writing about how great Thomas is doing but if history has anything to say about it, come November, I'll be grieving the loss of my boy and praying for better days and holding on to my old friend "hope" and waiting out the inevitable.
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