Friday, June 19, 2015

Checking Out

(Picture Credit: florinopran.ro)


I write today because I want to tell you all something. You have been great blog/page members and you have been so supportive of Thomas and I so I feel like I need to explain something.

Something odd is happening in my life lately. Slowly I have been checking out of my life. Piece by piece I have let go of the things that I used to love and what's baffling is that I don't know why this is happening. I talked to my sister and described to her what I'm about to describe to you and she told me I sound depressed. The thing about that is, I am not mopey, I am not crying, I don't sit around all day and watch TV and I'm not over eating which are all typical signs of depression for me. Instead, I am keeping up with my exercise, in fact, I've added a few more miles to my workout and I am spending a lot of time with my mom which is keeping me social. I'm out and about in town running errands and having coffee and when I'm home, I'm dressed with make up on and ready to go out if need be. I have very little down time lately.

What has been happening that is different and is the hallmark of my checking out is that I haven't been present on this blog and on my Understanding Schizophrenia Facebook page. Maybe you have noticed and maybe not but I am struck by my lack of ability and motivation to keep it up. For me, with my blog, this all began with the conference. I was so excited about it and felt so honored to be there and I learned a lot from it but somehow it took something from me too. I fought for whatever it took, tried to bring life back to my work here and I have fought a losing battle that's slowly chipping away at my desire. I was offered, by PsychCentral, an opportunity to write a couple of articles for their website and again, like with this blog, I have completely dropped the ball, finding it impossible to make contact with the founder and CEO whom I met at the conference who told me he'd take my work directly and get it published. This is a dream of mine and somehow I have lost touch with it all.

Beyond that, I have all but completely dropped out of my very best friend, Steve's, life and have only in the last day tried to rekindle our friendship. He has been with me through everything and deserves so much better than the kind of friend I am being but somehow there is a block I have put up that I can't seem to tear down. I love this man dearly and he is truly amazing and I wish I could figure out what's happening to me. It has nothing to do with anything he has done because he has been nothing but supportive of me but I noticed, after a while of me not returning his phone calls, that he finally just stopped calling. I don't blame him one bit. I wouldn't call me either.

Most importantly and probably saddest of all, I have pulled away from Thomas. With my life being so busy, I haven't been around much to see him. When I am home I am usually running around to get ready to go somewhere. I spend a little time with him but not much. He's handling this mostly by feeling lost, like I described in an earlier post, and I am letting him go through it because I don't know how to help him. I don't see any other symptoms emerging however I am not around him enough to keep a close eye on him either. He is remembering his meds now, though, and he's gotten on a shower schedule of showering every Sunday and Wednesday (still not enough but at least he's on schedule). I see, by looking in the trash, that when I'm gone he is snacking like crazy on all sorts of junk but I don't call him out on it much because I don't want to cause a problem with him where he begins to hate himself for not having better self control. He knows what he needs to do to stop the weight gain and even lose the weight and he doesn't need me policing the whole thing.

Then yesterday, for the first time in months and months, instead of going to therapy with him, I dropped him at the door and left. Part of my checking out is this need to get out of his life and get out of his therapy. I'm not sure anymore what I contribute to the whole thing other than to remind him to talk about certain things but I think he needs to fly solo with this for a while. At least that's what I'm telling myself now.

Beyond that, now, I am in therapy. It's pretty intensive and I can't say that I blame therapy for my checking out. It takes up only 2 hours of my week but does provide me with things to think about between sessions. It doesn't consist of talking about Thomas, about parenting him, or about being his caregiver, it has been basically some "me time" to work through other things like my continued grief about losing my dad.

There are many more things I am checking out of but the two things that most disturb me are checking out of my blog/Facebook page and Thomas's life. Somewhere down deep inside I feel horrible for not doing what I've done for years--caring for Thomas--and for 2 years--writing this blog. But I am gone now. The Melanie I once knew is gone and I see her somewhere in the shadows behind me but I can't seem to go back for her.

So, all of this, this whole post for today, is my explanation for why I have dropped the ball on this blog and neglected all of you. I know that many of you depend on me for various reasons and I feel terrible for abandoning you right now. All I can ask is for you to understand that right now I am finding myself. I am not happy about the state of being that I am in but I seem unable to change it as I watch myself disengage from my life piece by piece, day by day. What I can tell you is that I am not shutting this blog or my Facebook page down and when I can, I will post something but it's just not going to be the stellar page that I felt I once maintained. My hope is that I will not lose you guys in the process and that you'll hang in there while I search for what I am missing.

Every single day you are on my mind. You are not forgotten.

I'm just lost right now.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Melanie

    Thanks for being so honest. I am sure I can say, for all your readers, that we understand! Take whatever time you need to have your own space, a place where you are comfortable and happy.

    Like you, I really don't think you are depressed. I truly think that you were so emotionally wrapped up with Thomas and his mental illness that you were at a high level of anxiety at all times. You worried about everything and anything and this eventually took a toll on you. You slowly lost your perspective about life and your place in it.

    Thankfully, your body and mind told you to back off and take care of yourself, You are the priority, not the articles for websites or the 24/7 care for Thomas. You owe it to yourself to be the person you want to be. Take this time and enjoy it. Find new interests and things that give life meaning. By doing so, you can ultimately be a better caregiver to Thomas and advocate for mental illness. This next go around, it will be on your terms.

    What you are doing is so good for your well-being. Instead of saying you are lost, which really isn't the case, you should announce you are in a period of transition. You are discovering yourself again, so that you can live the life you want, while also being the best mom to Thomas.

    Don't worry about your internet friends. We always wish you the best and will continue to be here when you check in from time to time!

    Take care.

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  2. Sometimes we need a break. A break from Schizophrenia and advocacy. A chance to regroup and regain our vigor. Remember mental illness is a family issue and it affects as all. We are looking it in the face 24/7. Don't feel bad about taking a break.

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  3. I feel this is a common theme with mothers of children with schizophrenia. Your picture explains all.

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