Friday, December 12, 2014

Seeing The Light

Yesterday couldn't have been a better day. You should have seen Thomas. I don't know for sure what is happening but whatever it is, I love it.

I had a light with me yesterday and his name was Thomas. What a beauty he was. He was quick on his feet in conversation, he was smiling a real smile, he was engaged in conversations, he was asking questions about things in order to better understand them, and he held his own in therapy, keeping up with the pace of it and joking with Dr. K. about things. Even under some pressure in therapy yesterday he faltered only a little bit but recovered like a champ and moved on to the next subject. Who was this kid that I had with me yesterday?

I was lucky enough to have him with me all day. We did a lot of talking about SSI and what it means for his life now and we made plans for his future. I took him to Staples (an office supply store) and I bought him a file box, a rental agreement template, a power of attorney template and some file folders. He is SO EXCITED about signing a rental agreement which I just love. I love it for him because we talked yesterday about how with SSI he will finally be completely financially independent. If he's paying rent, if he's contributing to 1/3 of the household expenses then he is, for all intents and purposes, on his own. Granted he's still home with Dan and I but he and I both feel this new freedom. Each time I mentioned his independence, he smiled the biggest smile. He wants this so badly. I know he's not ready to leave home completely but this sure is a big next step for him.

I sat him down and talked about having his job and having SSI also. I was afraid to ask, but finally did, if he was planning to quit his job now that he has SSI. I asked him that because he had hinted at that back when he was really hating his job and I didn't like that he would quit his job for that reason. What he told me was exactly what I wanted to hear and that is that he wants to keep his job and make as much money as possible. I am thrilled!

As we spent the day together yesterday I found myself and my own mood light up because I finally had a partner, a friend of sorts, in my kid, in fact he wasn't really my kid at all. He was a stranger but only in the best ways possible. His bright, engaged mood was a ton of fun to be around and I enjoyed every conversation we had.

In therapy Dr. K. could see the same thing that I had seen all day and he was a bit surprised too. He questioned Thomas about things, put him through a few quizzes and Thomas sailed through each one for the most part. He spoke in complete sentences, was able to articulate perfectly his feelings and thoughts and he laughed with Dr. K. and I as he would yawn repeatedly and Dr. K. would jokingly ask him if he was boring him with therapy today. He was doing so good that Dr. K. even forgot to ask about his numbers. He checked in with him about his anxiety and paranoia but there was no rapid fire questioning asking Thomas to rate with numbers his various symptoms. It was clear yesterday that Thomas was having virtually no problems and with him like that it cleared the way for more productive work to get done. A couple times Dr. K. mentioned SSI but knew nothing of the decision that Social Security had made on that and each time it came up, Thomas and I looked at each other and smiled a secret smile at each other, neither one of us revealing the decision about SSI that had been made the day before. I relished those secret smile moments because he and I were so connected in our mutual excitement about his future and what SSI meant for him.

Finally, we got a chance to tell Dr. K. about the SSI and Dr. K.'s reaction was exactly like mine yesterday. There's first the "congratulations" and then the moment where you stop and realize that the reason the SSI is in place is because Thomas has schizophrenia and will the rest of his life and the government recognizes that and puts it in black and white, pretty much cemented for all time. Dr. K. was right in his observation that ultimately the whole decision is bittersweet. He said that word, bittersweet, and I was filled with the same aching that I had when the decision came down. It's so good but yet it's so sad too. One thing that Dr. K. did do for Thomas, but I felt like it was more for me, was to tell Thomas that when big events happen in life, like getting SSI, that he should give it 6 months before he makes any big decisions like moving out. I liked that he said that because I want Thomas to take moving out slowly. He's young still, he's still not completely stable and I think moving out is a big step that shouldn't be taken just yet.

All in all, though, yesterday was simply blissful for me as Thomas's mom. The light in his eyes and his body language was something to behold and I found myself hoping that this new, bright, shiny Thomas is here to stay a while.

(Note: Thomas was unable to write his "Friday's With Tom" post yesterday because we spent practically the whole day together and by the evening time his meds had hit him and while he wanted to write the post, he felt too tired to do it. I told him that he could do it today and that I would just post it later. So, it's coming today, just a little late. Be on the lookout for it in your timelines this afternoon!)

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