(picture credit: shutterstock.com)
Since the heartbreak of all of these new things with Thomas (cognitive issues, weight issues) never seem to end lately, of course yesterday something else would come up. These sorts of things make me sad for many reasons. The first is because they make me sad for him, just like you would get sad for any person who doesn't have schizophrenia. Then I'm sad because of how he reacts to things because of the schizophrenia. Then, there is my own sadness as I watch my boy struggle with different things.
Now, perhaps, you guys won't think this is that big of a deal but with everything else going on with Thomas's weight gain this just seemed to be another difficult thing to face. So, yesterday he came to me and he lifted up the arm of his shirt and there were these dark, blood red, lines across his upper arm. It took me a second to process it but he asked before I could figure it out,
"Mom, are these stretch marks?"
Ah, yes, that's what they were. Of course! But oh my gosh, now there's another thing for him to have to face. I gently told him that, yes they were, and I gently explained to him why they were there. He has gained weight so quickly lately that his skin can't keep up with the gain. I told him that he really needed to get serious about losing weight and I told him that they would fade with time but that they would be there the rest of his life and appear as scars. I told him that I got them too when I was pregnant with him and that I got some when I gained a ton of weight from meds, myself, years and years ago. I told him that so that he wouldn't feel alone. He listened and seemed to have just about zero reaction. The part of me that gets sad for him is the part that doesn't understand why he doesn't grasp the meaning of things like this. It makes me sad, that when asked how he feels or what he thinks about what I just told him, he comes off as someone who doesn't care. I don't mean that like a person who is saying,
"Screw this! I don't care! It's my life and my body! What's wrong with having them anyway?"
No, instead, it comes off like someone who just isn't present in his body and in his mind. It's a tough thing to witness. How can it be that I am feeling a million things for him and he appears to feel absolutely nothing?
I hate this!
Where did he go?
WHERE DID HE GO????
Why don't I see him much anymore? I mean, I see him, he's right there in front of me, but I don't "see" him anymore, at least not very much.
Oh how I miss him.
So, we talked about the fact that he needs to lose weight and eat better and get some exercise and he agreed in his stone-faced, flat, kind of way. It's so easy what is in front of us, at least it should be easy. Change his eating habits and get him out for exercise. Both things easier said than done. I haven't been home a lot lately so I can't monitor his food intake while I'm gone and because I'm not home much, I'm not there to encourage him to go out for walks or to go for walks with him. I'm trying to give him room to become independent, I'm trying to build a life of my own without him in it all the time, but nothing's working.
Somehow I feel like he and I are like the flakes of snow in a snow globe. We settle down, the landscape is beautiful, and then someone walks in, schizophrenia in this case (isn't it almost always schizophrenia??) and flips the globe upside down and the snowflakes that are Thomas and I go fluttering around in chaos.
We are in the chaos right now. The globe has been flipped and thanks to some angry, red, stretch marks on the arm of my boy's pristine, young skin and thanks to increasing cognitive difficulties, heightened emotions and perhaps me being gone from the house just to name a few, we are flying around in chaos.
I want the snow to settle.
I want the stretch marks to go away.
I want him to lose weight.
And most of all I want my boy back, more present in his life, and acting like the kid I remember just 5 years ago before schizophrenia came along and took him away.