Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Prayer For The Struggling

I write today about a woman I met yesterday whose teenage son is descending rapidly into this illness. Like all of you have at one point or another, she is watching her son, who used to be so lit up in many ways, intelligent, wise beyond his years, happy and engaged in life, disappear into what seems to me to be disorganized schizophrenia. This type of schizophrenia I have not been personally touched by on this blog, that I can remember, and now being brought into this mom's world and the pain she feels reminds me of watching my own teenage Thomas descend into this illness in a different, yet somewhat, same way.

I'm taking this Sunday to write about it because it's a day, for many, of faith and I believe that this woman deserves all of our prayers, from those of you who pray for the health and safety of all of those who suffer from this illness and their loved ones who helplessly stand by and watch their loved one disappear. This illness is one of the cruelest kinds as far as I am concerned because "madness" is so unfair. To begin with, there is no cure, we are left to grieve and finally accept that our loved ones will have this illness for their entire lives. Beyond that we are set in overdrive and finally into speeding cruise control trying to find the right doctors, the right therapies and God help every last one of us (for we all know this part of the journey is difficult) the right meds. We pray constantly, we cry alone at night, we worry beyond imagining and our moments of celebration are fleeting most times as we see our loved ones return to us only to find them robbed again by another phase of this illness.

This woman that I met is walking a very painful path right now because of the type of schizophrenia her son seems to be manifesting. He has lost tested for intelligence points since he got sick, he has slowed down academically, and he is losing his ability to speak coherently often using another word, one that he didn't mean to use, like "spoon", to describe what he's doing. Even more painful is that he knows that this is happening and he can't control it. To me, that is a special kind of pain. The awareness that you are changing and you can't control a single second of it is the worst kind of awareness because you can remember back to a time when things came so easy for you. He is struggling as he descends into psychosis and his mom is hanging onto him for dear life looking for answers from above, from doctors who aren't particularly cooperative, and from inside herself wondering what it is SHE can do as his mom to make him okay again.

We've all been there. We are all there right now on some level. Our loved ones are shuffled on the board game of life from one colored square to another choosing cards for directions having no idea what they might tell us to do next. Oftentimes we're sent back to places we've already been or we're cast forward into the unknown watching other pieces, other people, pass by us and our loved ones into greener pastures, brighter cities, riches beyond belief and finally resolution and rest. Caught on this macabre board game we struggle each day to find solace in even the smallest things, hope in the darkest hour and strength to carry on to the next thing that gets thrown our direction. We are all there on this board game of life, "version schizophrenia".

So, today, I ask for prayers (or blessings or positive energy or whatever your faith has to offer) for this woman and her son. The road ahead is hard. He is young, just 16, and for those of us in the trenches having 20 year old, 27 year old, 40 year old, and 70 year old loved ones with this illness what we can offer is vast experiences, proof that there is sunshine after the rain and hope--because hope has never once failed us even though we refused, at times, to see it there waiting for us.

To the woman I met yesterday, I am here for you, we are all here for you and we are hoping for the very best outcome for your situation. When I woke today my first thought was of you and your son and I said a prayer of healing for him and peace for you. Your journey is long, the road ahead is rough, but there is hope, always hope. Hang onto that and hang onto your son. I, for one, believe that your love for him, your hugs, your everything you can offer him, will help him through this.

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