(picture credit: kmmsam.com)
While my personal life (outside of caring for Thomas) is slowly falling apart lately, I have been trying to manage a bunch of things and haven't been successful at it. I thought about not writing this morning because I am dead tired but since I have so many new members on the page, I thought I should write and let them see how this page works. Part of the draw to this page are the personal stories and I don't want to let my crumbling personal life get in the way of telling those stories. So, it shall be, let me tell you about Thomas and how he's doing.
I'm usually gone in the morning exercising when Thomas wakes up but when I came home yesterday I could tell he was off. He followed me around as I put things away and took off my shoes and he was asking for a lot of hugs. I asked him if he was okay and each time I did he hesitated and then simply stated:
"I just have a lot of energy."
I hate this "energy" that he feels because it unsettles him so much and often there is no explanation for it which makes it all the more difficult to alleviate.
After several hugs and a conversation, I went about my morning routine of showering and getting ready. I had places to go yesterday so I was going to have to leave Thomas alone. When I came home at 4:30 he was a wreck. He looked both tired and agitated and he told me that he still had the energy and that he had taken the dog, Cookie, for a second walk.
First of all, the fact that he helped himself cope with his energy by going out on a second walk is a huge thing for him. That happens so little. He's usually pretty unable to self-regulate his emotions. He, then, came in for another hug and I asked him how he was doing now. That energy was still around.
I asked him what he's been doing all day and he told me that he was making a YouTube video (he wants to share it here for you guys so I'll review it and post it soon) and I could sense that he was quite excited about it and he was.
Because I was so tired and wrapped up in my own little broken world, I promised him I would watch it later. He paced the house a little bit more and then went back to his room.
This morning something occurred to me about his energy. If I had to guess, I would say that the energy was excitement about making his video but he was unable to cope with the intense feelings. This is one of those things that I don't like about this illness. It has a knack for taking a perfectly good emotion, that's supposed to bring something positive to his life and instead it becomes so overwhelming that it crashes to the side of being something negative for him. Being unable to regulate his emotions fully and trying to live for a certain time period with an intense emotion is just too much for him. It just seems so unfair! I've always understood that stress is hard on him, on anyone with schizophrenia, but happy things are stressful too. That's hard to reconcile. Somehow the brain is unable to process any emotions and eventually it turns them into something that is nagging and disturbing with the end result, in our case, being a Thomas that paces the floor and needs a lot of hugs.
Perhaps, too, Thomas is picking up on my own distress. I always think I'm hiding it from him well but I'm not always successful and lately I think I've been horrible at it. It's hard to live a personal life, meaning a life outside of Thomas, without it spilling over into our relationship, his and mine. Perhaps, though, too, the fact that I've been gone a lot lately during the day doesn't help things either.
At any rate, once again I am reminded that him feeling any emotion in an intense way is too much for him to handle, even when they're good emotions. I just want a life for him where happiness is just happiness and excitement about the accomplishment of creating a YouTube video is the same excitement you and I feel about accomplishing something we are proud of. I want, for him, to be able to feel....anything....and let it rest instead of it turning into something distressful and capable, at it's most intense, of causing symptoms of paranoia or some other schizophrenia symptom.