I am back here now in front of my computer writing this and I am thankful for this in so many ways. I'll keep the list of why very short because what I am most thankful for about being here in this chair in front of this screen is that I am finally home with my boy.
I tried to write yesterday but lost the whole thing when the hotel WiFi went out and I didn't have the energy to write it all over again. Monday had been a rough day for Thomas and my heart was broken and trying to write all over again about it at the time was just too hard. But here I sit, now, and I can finally write.
I hoped that things would be different for Thomas on Monday after such a good Sunday but when Thomas woke up on Monday morning and texted me that he was anxious I knew we had a long day and night ahead of us. I initially tried to fix it by taking him virtual shopping with me so he and I together could find him some new shoes. He seemed to have fun with that but once he picked something out and an hour of silence between us passed I got more texts. He was anxious about work and once again it wasn't about being on time surprisingly. Again I found that his fears lay in actually being at work and the crowds that were there in the store were spiking his paranoia.
Oh God. No. Not the paranoia. Anxiety, yes, we can do that. A little lorazepam and some loving words and he could be on his way. That was not to be though. As I texted with him he told me his paranoia about the crowds was climbing higher and it was, at that point, a 5 out of 10. 5 sets off serious warning bells for me, 5 is not a safe number for him to be at. I sent him a video text as I hid out in a dressing room in Eddie Bauer and I encouraged him by telling him that he is strong and that he's beat this kind of thing before. What I got back from him was a "thanks" and a big smiley face and I thought I'd fixed it.
I was wrong.
By the time I got back to the hotel his anxiety and paranoia was a little higher and it dawned on me that this would be the perfect time to use his "schizophrenic thought blue buckets" that Dr. K. designed. I told Thomas I was going to call him and that we were going to work through this together and fill out a 3x5 card. When I called him he sounded so tired and his words were slurring. He had already eaten his dinner and taken his meds (it was only 3 p.m.) and together with the lorazepam I had instructed him to take a little earlier, he was pretty sedated. That was not a good way to start a night of work.
I explained to him that paranoid thoughts were schizophrenic thoughts and we had to find a challenge for them. He was unable to explain exactly what he was fearful of about the crowds and I finally asked him if he felt they were looking at him and thinking bad things about him or even saying bad things about him. He kind of took to that and while I didn't like putting words in his mouth or thoughts in his head that weren't his own, I wanted to find a way to get him through this. I relayed a story to him about my day with my mom and how we had become tired from wandering the city and we weren't in the best of moods. I told him that a couple of cashiers had apologized to us thinking they were the source of our irritation and attitude and I told him that instead we hadn't been thinking about them at all but were instead thinking about how tired we were and about getting back to our room and putting on yoga pants and having a drink. I told him that the people in the crowds at his work were probably the same way, that they were just looking for some shampoo or thinking about what to make for dinner or worrying about the fight that they had with their spouse that morning. I told him that in all likelihood their thoughts weren't about him at all and that they just didn't care about him being there in the aisle with him.
He wrote down that his schizophrenic thought was that people were thinking or saying bad things about him and then we got to work on the challenge. I reminded him again about the story I told him about my mom and I and we settled on that being the challenge. He wrote it down and put it in the bucket but it was of little comfort to him. There sat the 3x5 card in the bucket and now his paranoia was at a 6.
So much for the buckets.
It was time for him to leave for work and I told him that as he walked he needed to take long, deep, slow breaths and remember what the challenge card said. I told him to commit it to memory to help him get through the night. As he neared work his anxiety was sky high and I finally, in defeat, told him to try to make it to 6 (when Dan got off work) and if he couldn't go on any longer to go ahead and call his dad to come pick him up. I heard nothing more from him.
When Dan got home I told him that Thomas might be calling him but it was 6:15 and there was no call. I was so happy. I thought Thomas might just get through this night. Minutes passed and a text came to me from Dan saying,
"I going to get the boy."
I texted Thomas and he told me that his paranoia had reached an 8 and I was knocked back a notch or two.
I can't even remember the last time he said he was an 8 with anything.
My poor kid.
Once he was home and away from work his paranoia began to subside. He was tired and I told him to just go to his room and rest and he did. By 9 he was tired and he texted me that he was going to bed. Finally, an end to this horrible day for him.
I couldn't help but feel completely defeated. We had implemented all kinds of tactics to fight the paranoia from pure love to videos to lorazepam to the schizophrenic buckets and finally to a last ditch effort as he walked to work to shore him up for the 5 hours he had ahead of him. My love and my efforts had failed him. My fairytale world where the love between two souls conquers the evil that threatens their life evaporated into the ether and the damage left in the wake of it all is irreparable. I don't see how he's going to be able to return to work again or he'll go but he won't be able to stay. Paranoia had won, had taken Thomas away, and every effort to conquer it was in vain.
He has therapy tomorrow and will work again on Friday so we begin again to try to repair the damage or find an answer for how to conquer this hateful monster.
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