Monday, November 17, 2014

The Fog On The Valley Floor

I noticed something yesterday about myself that I'm not thrilled is happening. The overwhelming wave of a special kind of panic is washing over me. Now, this is not panic in the sense of a panic attack which lasts a short time and can be helped with relaxation and breathing. No, this panic is the constant tightening of the chest, brain-swirling thoughts about what to do and how to handle it and a need to fix it NOW. What I'm dealing with is what I deal with about this time of year, every year now for 3 years. Granted it comes at other times of the year but I feel it most acutely now because I have my own bipolar symptoms to deal with and all of it gets mixed together. My panic is about Thomas's worsening symptoms and I feel like he's slipping away from me in a slow, painful fashion--painful for both he and I.

Saturday night at our house is called "Fat Saturday." This is the night in the week that we throw all concern about our diets out the window and we go and get fast food. The trips to get dinner are usually done by Dan and I and we use that time of togetherness to talk about our day. However, this time Thomas asked if he could go with us. He NEVER goes with us. It felt weird to me that he wanted to go but the dawning realization that he didn't WANT to go but rather NEEDED to go took me over. Whenever his behavior changes like this I know something's not right.

We all rode together in silence, lost in our own minds, and while I'm not sure what everyone else was thinking, I was asking myself,

"Why is Thomas with us tonight? What's wrong?"

Then with those questions, that familiar panic washed over and I looked back at Thomas and said,

"I love you kiddo!"

It's all I had to offer him in those few minutes of driving to the pizza place. Really, it's all I had to offer myself, a moment of comfort to waylay the panic. I love him I love him I love him. Please God let my love be enough.

When we stopped and Dan got out I turned to Thomas. I asked him,

"How are you doing kiddo?"

He looked at me with no expression and said he was fine.

No...he wasn't. Then I recalled his last therapy session and I remembered that he reported that his paranoia was increasing. It's a 3 now, out of 10. I said to him,

"I didn't know your paranoia was growing. (He nodded) I'm so sorry that you have to deal with that fear kiddo."

There it was, the sorry out of me that won't change a thing though I wish it was the band aid that could cover the wound of paranoia. Then I asked,

"What is it your paranoid about?" thinking it might have something to do with this whole negative/demon thing he feels inside of him. He hesitated and then I asked,

"Is it the government stuff again?" (Yes) Do you feel like they are watching you again?" (Yes)

Dang it! It's back. I thought we got rid of it. I thought the therapy and the doubled up antipsychotics and a few months break had annihilated it for good.

No.

It's back.

So, we rode home again in silence and I felt that weight on my chest and swirling brain and I wanted to come up with the answer that could take it all away from him.

All of it.

The paranoia.

The demon thing he believes is inside of him.

The fear.

The meds.

All of it. Every last piece so that he could be whole again. So that there were no hospital records stating in black and white and may as well have been written in real stone, that he has acute paranoid schizophrenia. All of the talks with the doctors about how he has a lifelong illness and will decline as he goes into his twenties. The conversation with his first PNP that he is treatment resistant and that our lives were always going to be a roller coaster of medication trials and switches.

I want to take it all away.

But I can't

And so that panic sets in slowly like a fog in a valley high up in the mountains. From above it I see it's white blanket obliterating my view of the valley floor but underneath it, Thomas and I wander, out of the sun's warmth, surrounded by monsters called "paranoia" and "anxiety" and, you name it.

All I want is that panic to go away. I want Dr. K. to come up with the magic bullet therapy technique that is going to change Thomas's mind. I want Dr. N. to find and settle on the right meds that will make this all stop once and for all. I want to be able, myself, to take it all away by loving it away.

None of them are working right now and so I turn to hope. There is always a light at the end of a tunnel, they can't go on forever. So I grab hold of hope again with one hand and hang on for dear life, my other hand holding Thomas's.

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