Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Boy I Used To Know

During a previous therapy session that I wasn't invited in to Thomas and Dr. K. talked about Thomas picking up a hobby or some way to socialize. Thomas mentioned to me that they had talked about him joining a model train club. When I went in to his last therapy session Dr. K. had pulled up the train club's website and announced that their once-a-month meeting just happened to be falling on the following Tuesday. That was 2 days ago.

I couldn't read Thomas on this announcement. I couldn't tell if he was anxious about it or if he really truly wanted to go. He said he did but he said it so flatly. When we got in the car he did say again, when I asked him, that he did want to go. I told him to look the info up on the website for himself and make the necessary call to find out when and where the meeting takes place.

First let me say this. This young man who gets anxious making any phone calls managed to make this one with little to no anxiety. He didn't hide from me in his room like he usually does to do things like this and he wrote down all of the information he needed. All of that was new territory for him. I was very proud of him.

Then Tuesday arrived and all day long he was unfazed by the upcoming meeting. There was no anticipation anxiety and he even didn't panic when I was late getting him his dinner. As I drove him up to the meeting in the Veteran's Home we talked about the meeting and finding the room and who he would meet and he acted like a pro.

He was the boy I used to know.

You see, Thomas, before schizophrenia took him away from me, could make friends like it was nothing. He went into every social event completely confident and always came away with 2 or 3 friends. I always admired his ability to do that because I have a touch of social anxiety myself--I wished all of the time that I could be like him. So on Tuesday night as he got out of the car to go to the meeting I watched the boy I used to know go in.

When I got home, within 5 minutes, I got a call from him. He told me that the nurses told him that there wasn't supposed to be a meeting there and so he didn't know what to do. I told him I would look up the phone numbers of the president of the club and give them to him so he could call them and find out where they were. There were no protests on his part begging me to just come get him and take him home. Instead he said, "let me get a piece of paper and pen to write the number down". I gave him the numbers and we hung up.

I didn't hear from him again.

The meeting lasted almost 2 hours and I got a call around 9 that he was ready to come home. He was a little subdued when he got in the car but I soon discovered it was because they had mostly sat around and talked about how they have no money to run the club. The entire meeting had been about what to do and where to hold future meetings. It was a bit of a disappointment for Thomas as I am sure he would have rather talked about and maybe even played with some trains. I asked him if he had introduced himself and he said that he had and that it had been a little scary. It turns out that they made him stand up in front of everyone and introduce himself and tell a little about himself and even talk about what model train(s) he has. He told me he had to take a guess at it because it had been a long time since he'd even seen his trains. The thing was, even in his nervousness, he NAILED the type of train he owns and after his introduction he was welcomed into the group officially.

As I drove home with him, in my head, I shook my head in happy disbelief. The kid I had missed for so long, the kid who fit into every situation, was sitting right there beside me in the car and I realized how VERY DESPERATELY I HAD MISSED HIM. In fact, I had just about forgotten he had ever existed because the weight of schizophrenia had colored my world so dark that I couldn't even see back into the past where some things were concerned.

In the end he really did like the meeting and he told me he would go back. I couldn't be happier. My boy, the boy I used to know, is back.

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