Monday, November 24, 2014

"You Won This Round (Again)"

I sit here yet again rubbing my forehead with my hand, shaking my head and sighing a defeated sigh as I think about beginning to write about this. Ever since Thomas's post on Friday I have been struggling with this. I told you that he had written something in his post that I didn't know about him. Side by side with you I learned some things about Thomas that I didn't know and I considered it a privilege of sorts to be able to take this journey with you instead of on my own, discovering how Thomas copes with his illness. It turns out, however, that what he had to say ran much deeper than the surface things that he wrote. As I drove him to work Friday night I managed to unwittingly zero in on something that broke my heart.

If you remember, he wrote about how he manages to talk himself out of worrying about being watched when he's at work. He then went on to say that he does feel like he thinks he sees people shoplifting and that he thinks they "look shady". I don't know about you but I took this at face value. In the past he had told me how he would find open packaging and as part of his job he was to take that straight to a manager and let them know. He had experience with dealing with shoplifters in that way so thinking that he sees someone shoplifting, while new information for me, was still something that I considered "normal" for the type of job he does.

It took a sad turn though when I started talking with him about it on the way to work.

"What are you supposed to do when you see a shoplifter?"

"I'm supposed to call a phone number and report it."

"Why aren't you just supposed to go report it to a manager?"

"Because we're supposed to call a phone number."

"Well, that's weird. How do they expect to catch a shoplifter if you're busy on the phone to some unknown place expecting them to solve the problem?"

"I don't know. We're supposed to call the phone number. Maybe we are supposed to tell a manager though, I don't know."

I just thought the whole thing was weird but he was adamant that calling the phone number was integral to catching a shoplifter. Needless to say, he had let a few shoplifters go probably, I thought, because of his anxiety about calling people in general. I didn't really know. So I went on talking to him about it and then it became clear.

"Why don't you call the phone number?"

"I don't know. I guess I think it's because they won't believe me. I see a lot of people I think are shoplifters."

Then it dawned on me and I asked the question that would reveal the truth.

"Do you not report it because perhaps your paranoia is playing a part in what you think you are seeing? Are you afraid you're going to get in trouble if you call too often and it turns out you were just paranoid about a person because they didn't look right to you?"

He looked down at his phone in his hands and quietly said,

"Yes."

There it was. The truth. I thought what I read in his post on Friday was the truth. I thought he was doing spectacularly well at work managing to distract himself from feeling like he is being watched. Instead his paranoia had only shifted to something new. Now HE was doing the watching and making judgment calls on people and all of it was filled with that hateful parasitic paranoia. Dang it.

No.

I know I've said it a thousand times, perhaps even more than that, but I hate this illness. I hate it. I hate that something that's supposed to be so good is marred by something to do with this illness. Thomas's post on Friday made me so happy. It was like reading the best book you have ever read. You loved the story line, you fell in love with the characters and you thought the author had nailed the whole thing. Alas, no, the story was not what it seemed and instead of enjoying everything you had just read you are now finding out, like one of those hidden object pictures, that contained within it all was a monster lurking on the edges.

That dang paranoia. Will we ever be rid of it? I have to admit that I did wonder what schizophrenia would bring us next. Before the Fall season started and the symptoms set back in, I was so happy he was doing so well but a part of me felt dread because I knew he wasn't cured even though he had gotten rid of a lot of his old delusions and paranoia's. All I could wonder was,

"Okay schizophrenia, you turned him loose now free from a few delusions and such but what are you going to put in its place? I have a feeling you aren't going to leave those empty holes empty for long. I just know you're going to concoct something new to fill those holes instead of just leaving my boy alone. Hmmmm...what will it be?"

And I pondered that and knew it could be anything.

ANYTHING.


 So, to schizophrenia I say, "Kudos, you won this round (again). Dr. K., Dr. N. and I had gotten rid of something and you managed to leave us all in the dust and leave behind something new to be worked on. Gee. Thanks a lot."

Now here we all are. Standing here covered in dust, Thomas covered the most, wiping dirt from his eyes, trying to get his bearings and keep on his feet.

I so wanted to win this round. I so wanted to be victorious and be able to write about it here and say, "We did it!" but here I am, sitting in the early morning hours rubbing my forehead and shaking my head and sighing a defeated sigh.

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