Just when things are going smoothly something comes up that changes things. Such is the nature of this illness and what can happen when the outside world comes crashing in to alter an otherwise stable young man.
Last night Thomas worked and before work, while we were making dinner, he said to me that he was anxious about work and he asked for a lorazepam. He hasn't taken a lorazepam in AGES! We talked about it and it came out that the anxiety wasn't about his usual issue about being on time but was instead about just being at work in general. I couldn't figure out what it was about work in and of itself that would cause him anxiety after all this time. We talked some more and I asked him if he was having paranoid thoughts and he said that he "kind of was". He then went on to tell me something that...well...kind of turned things upside down.
Last time he was walking home from work at night in the dark, apparently some man pulled up beside him in a car and asked him if he wanted a ride.
Yeah...I know...not a good thing to have happen to someone with paranoid schizophrenia just fresh into stability.
Thomas told me that it really scared him but he said that he did eventually get over it. The thing was, the night that it happened, he had come in the front door with a terrified look on his face but when I questioned him at the time if he was okay, he said he was. I never thought about it again. Now, I come to find out that this thing happened and it all makes sense to me now.
Thomas told me that he didn't want to walk to and from work anymore and I told him that I would drive him last night. He was visibly relieved.
Here's the thing, though. My WORST NIGHTMARE when he was little was him being kidnapped. I was probably over the top in my fears about it but that didn't matter. I was scared and I never let go of that. Then hearing that someone had tried to pick him up reopened all of those old fears and I was a wreck last night. What's important here to say is that for the most part I didn't show my anxiety to Thomas too much about that happening. Inside, though, I was physically ill and my brain was swirling.
I tried very hard to calm myself and look at the situation clearly and couldn't figure out what to do next. While I promised him I'd drive him I was wondering what to do the next time he had to work. Do I gently push him to walk home in the dark and work past his anxiety or do I come and pick him up? For the life of me I didn't know what to do. In my desperation for an answer to this whole thing--how to help Thomas feel better and how to help myself feel better--I emailed Dr. K. and told him everything including that I couldn't see past my own anxieties to make a rational decision about what to do for Thomas as far as him walking home in the future.
Let me just say that Dr. K. stepped up BIG TIME for me. He was on top of the email very quickly and told me to drive him for now.
Thank God. That's all I needed to hear was that the professional saw that this was a serious issue and that we should accommodate Thomas and give him rides for a little bit.
Throughout the night Dr. K. emailed with me and came up with all sorts of suggestions of what we could do for the future and he agreed that this was a setback.
Again, thank God. He sees it the way I do and that this was not a good thing to have happen to Thomas.
I am...furious(?) that some stranger would stop my paranoid son on the street in the dark of night and ask him if he wants a ride. I know that is probably something that happens all the time but with Thomas being newly stable I am just furious with the entire situation. I want NOTHING to threaten his stability and now here we are, back to square one when it comes to being independent and walking to and from work.
This situation, though, is unique in that not only did it take Thomas down but it took me down too. Between Thomas and I, the anxiety in this house is through the roof. In this case our fears crisscross and, for me, they are nearly impossible to untangle. I am keeping my anxieties away from Thomas and trying to act like this is just another bump in the road but I am forever changed when it comes to him walking home in the dark. Even if we get Thomas stable again where walking home from work is concerned, there will be nothing that will waylay my fears about this. I have NEVER liked him walking home at night after work but now I'll never be able to sit comfortably in my living room again waiting for him to come home.
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