Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Missing: A Young Boy Has Disappeared, Held Hostage By Schizophrenia
This picture is my son's milk-carton picture. It was a beautiful summer day, hot, perfect for play in the sprinkler. He had been complaining he was hot so I got the sprinkler out. I sat by and watched as my beautiful boy not only ran, but seemed to dance through the rising and falling droplets. He was free here. And happy.
Within a couple of years he stood in the living room before my husband, Dan, and I with a respirator mask on, holding a letter with no return address certain that the envelope contained anthrax and that he would most certainly die if he didn't wear that mask and handle that envelope properly. When the envelope was opened it was just a letter from the National Guard Recruiter, no anthrax, no ricin. That day, two dreams died. The opportunity to be in the military died without us knowing yet but would discover later that they didn't want someone with schizophrenia within their ranks. The other dream, though we didn't know it yet, was that my son's promise was slipping away as he stood there wearing that respirator mask.
Then Slender Man began hunting my son. He showed up on a beautiful day much like is pictured here. He showed up on a sunny day forcing my son to close all of the curtains in the house so he couldn't see Slender Man coming to kill him. He was terrified and from that day forward into a couple of years following, believed Slender Man was outside his window, hidden in the white shower curtain in our bathroom, and hunting him in his dreams. My son began to alter his life to accommodate this monster and an as-yet-unnamed illness stalked him day and night.
Then one day, yet another ordinary one, in a run-of-the-mill therapy session and at the very end of it, the loud thunderclap of schizophrenia made itself known in grand fashion as my son described how he was being followed by the F.B.I., how he was paranoid, and how the government's satellites were all turned to focus on our neighborhood and him as he walked to his friend's house. Terrified that the F.B.I. would jump from a white van or from behind a big bush down the block, just outside the circle of light coming from the street light, his world became smaller as he stopped walking home alone from friend's houses.
Then came the hospitalizations, a constant trial of medications, most of which caused more harm than good, and finally, thanks to 6 medications, all at once, downed every day with juice in a ritualistic, regimented process, my son disappeared.
For years and years I had searched for what stalked him. It wasn't anthrax-filled envelopes from a terrorist, it wasn't Slender Man and it wasn't the F.B.I. What stalked him and stole him from me was schizophrenia, probably the worst monster of all and the only one we couldn't shut out of our house by closing our front curtains, changing the shower curtain or locking it away behind 2 hospital doors where the only way in was to show 2 I.D.'s, endure a search of the clothes I brought to make my son comfortable, and sitting together in a room filled with people all suffering similar fates.
Nothing and no one could arrest this monster, throw it in jail or put it to death in an electric chair thereby insuring it wouldn't come after my son anymore. It is here and it is raging and it is just out of my desperate reach to strangle it before it takes my son away for good.
This is my son's milk-carton picture. I am a mom holding the carton, looking at the sweet boy dancing in the droplets and wondering when he will come back to me, or worse, if he will at all. I am a mom holding the milk-carton wishing for just one more one sunny day that I could hold my camera in my hand and capture the essence of my son before he was so cruelly taken from me. I am a mom holding the carton and taking a deep breath, releasing it slowly, and putting the carton back in the fridge trying to preserve what is left of my son.
Written by Melanie Jimenez
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