Sunday, November 02, 2014

A Crisis Of Faith

I write this today on a day of faith for many believers in God. I write this as a mom struggling with new information about my son concerning his own beliefs in God and the devil. I write this hoping that you'll reserve judgment about what I say as I find myself in territory that I don't have experience in so you'll have to forgive me as I wade through this from inception to fruition and hopefully with help from you all and your vast experiences and knowledge. I have only begun to learn about what I'm about to say as I am now a mom who fears for the spirit of her child but who doesn't have the proper education (yet) to make a truly informed decision. Bear with me as I bare my soul and my son's soul as he and I together look for answers and comfort in this crucial time in his illness. I alluded to this in my birthday post about Thomas yesterday but felt its place was not for it to be discussed on a day of celebration rather saving it for a day of faith. I ask, again, for your compassion and for a forum to share my thoughts and feelings without judgment, not to mention for others to share theirs here in the comments section.

Here we go.

This began last Saturday when I walked with Thomas and discovered new symptoms he was exhibiting. I tried to take in stride what I heard but as you know I was brokenhearted that symptoms were back. One such symptom stuck with me though and that was Thomas's belief that there was something inside of him, something "occupying" (Dr. K.'s word) his being. I first I wrote it off as a symptom of schizophrenia, certain I had read somewhere that this was a common one and I kind of let it go.

Then we saw Dr. K. and we all learned, again, that Thomas had a long-held secret, something he had suffered with for years unnoticed by those closest to him. While I knew of "the occupier" prior to therapy, I didn't have the context of another opinion other than my own about this and after listening to Dr. K. question Thomas I began to fully realize that what we were dealing with was much bigger than just a one sentence, one word answer to a seemingly innocent question on my part. Dr. K. asked Thomas about the nature of this "occupier" and gave him many words to choose from to describe what it was and as the list was said, Thomas sat unmoved until Dr. K. asked,

"Is it wicked?"

That's when Thomas jumped on that word and confirmed that whatever this was, it was wicked. His "occupier" was now no longer such a simple concept because now it had a personality of sorts.

Wicked.

I was chilled to the bone when I heard that and once again I found myself holding my breath as the conversation unfolded and I found myself hurting for my boy as I learned that this "occupier" had been there for years.

Years.

Again Dr. K. and I were stunned as we, yet again, learned that Thomas had in fact NOT been well but had hidden, or just thought that this wasn't something that needed reporting, this information for a very long time. Almost to the day 2 years ago when we sat in that same office and Thomas revealed the depth of his paranoia and delusions that Dr. K. and I knew nothing about, here we found ourselves again, Dr. K. and I, sitting and listening in disbelief, he and I connected in our now enlightened concern for the young man that sat before us.

My boy feels he is "occupied" by something wicked. What was I supposed to do with that information as we wrapped up that session and he and I left and got into the car to go home?

When we got home I sat with him and held his hands and I looked at him afraid to ask the question that was running around in my head. I took a deep breath though, the need to know stronger than the need to hide from the truth, and I asked him if he thought it was the devil inside of him. His answer?

"It's an evil spirit, maybe the devil but it's something really bad."

Unarmed with a solid faith, unarmed with a vast understanding of religion and filled mostly with the ever-increasing information spewed from various cable channels about ghost hunting, demon possessions and the like, I didn't quite know what to say and I didn't know what to think. All of everything I had ever learned in my years in church somehow evaporated before me and I began to fear for Thomas's very soul.

Was this the cruelty of schizophrenia or was this truly a faith-based crisis?

Then it came time to take Thomas to get dinner and as we drove in the car I talked to him about God and church and prayer and the devil. I asked him if he believed in God and he said he didn't know. I asked him if this "occupier" was the reason he didn't go to church and he said, "yes". I asked him if he didn't believe in God because, "why would God allow him to have this evil inside of him?" He said yes. I explained to him with my limited knowledge but with a strong faith borne mostly from the events of the last two years as I watched my dad slowly die and then finally cross over, that God does not abandon anybody even if they believe that they have something "wicked" inside of them. I said that in fact God wanted more than anything to save him and make him whole. He quietly pondered this and said nothing. Years and years of him believing that he was evil was stronger than beginning to find faith in something bigger than himself that had nothing but love and hope for him.

I'm not going to lie, the side of me who was raised a Christian was scared for my boy's soul but the side of me who has been immersed in this wretched illness, schizophrenia, for years began to rationalize everything and began to do research online about both sides of this coin. As usual Google returned information supporting both theories one being that someone with this same belief that Thomas has is somehow wrapped up in a fight for his very soul and then the other being that this was all delusion and some hallucination.

And so I find myself at a tipping point. A crisis of faith if you will. I am new to this belief of Thomas's so you'll have to forgive my ignorance if you feel that is what I am but I hope if you struggle with this too, you will journey with me from this point forward as we struggle to find Thomas's answers. Whether it be a faith-based issue or a schizophrenia issue or maybe a little of both, I hope what you'll have to offer me, Thomas and the others on this page who read my posts and people's comments is nothing less than support, compassion and love. I am in new territory here and right now, right here as I sit in front of my computer after a few days of taking all of this in on my own and trying to sort it out, I am open to all opinions, all evidence, all faiths and belief systems and hopefully, no haters. I give you, yet again, but in a bigger way, a piece of my heart as I search for answers for my boy and for myself and ultimately find him peace.

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