Monday, June 15, 2015

Lost and Found

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What do you do when you're lost and you can't find your way back?

What do you do when all you can do is wander in circles unsure of what to do next?

Well, Thomas has been like this lately and I haven't the first clue how to help him. Last week with Thomas's change in the "weather" of his symptoms, one of the symptoms he grappled with was this sense of feeling lost. I know just what he feels because sometimes I feel it myself. For him, though, it manifests every morning and what it looks like is a young man wandering the house unable to take direction from me about what to do. Everything I suggest for him to do he hesitates, perhaps considers it, and then says it's not something he wants to do. I hate when this happens to him because just like him, I don't have the answers. I watch as he wanders around the house with this blank look in his eyes and he's slow and methodical in his steps and in time I end up having to do something for him to knock him out of this feeling. Usually I begin with a big hug.

My best answer I have found is to suggest that I make his breakfast for him. He always seems to settle on that but as I'm making it, he's still wandering around. I'll get him into the kitchen to take his meds and he'll wait while I prepare his power smoothie. It's times like these that I put extra protein and extra fiber into them in the hopes that somehow that'll get him out of this lost feeling. I know, it doesn't make much sense, but to see him like he is, I become desperate to find a way to take the feeling away. Once he has his smoothie in hand, he disappears into his room to watch YouTube videos and drink his smoothie. I know it's not the cure-all but it does at least get him going a little bit.

I'm really not sure what is going on here. I can tell you that for myself, it feels like I can't settle on any one thing, my brain is scrambled and nothing sounds like anything I want to do. Just like Thomas, I wander the house looking around hoping something will grab me and pull me out of my lost-ness. It was really sweet of Thomas a couple of weeks ago when this phenomena was happening to me and he picked up on it. He followed me for a little bit and then asked me what was wrong and I told him I felt lost. There's nothing like having someone who totally understands what you're feeling. At that time, he asked me if I needed a hug and I gladly took one and I held him at arms length afterwards and I told him,

"See? I know exactly what you're feeling when you're lost."

We stood together in a kind of understanding of each other's struggle. It really is pretty nice and I am so grateful for his company. The other thing it shows me is the level of empathy that Thomas is capable of showing. So often he is wrapped up in YouTube or something or he's lost in the negative symptoms of his schizophrenia that he seems totally disengaged from life so I'm never sure how much in touch he is with people around him.

I gave some thought this last weekend to what was happening with Thomas's lost feeling over the last week or so and I came to the conclusion that perhaps this time, it's because when he wakes up, I'm already in the middle of getting ready to go somewhere and I don't spend a lot of time with him before I'm off to do what I need and want to do. It must be hard for him to wake up to a flurry of action and he's still trying to shake off the 14 hours of sleep he just came out of. I have another busy week this week so I'll keep an eye on this and I'm hoping that I am right about what I am thinking is causing this. I'm not exactly sure how to remedy it since often the places I go, I have to go to but I'm going to try to be mindful of how I can make this transition from sleep to wakefulness to finding me rushing around the house and then finally leaving, an easier time for him.

In the meantime, both he and I share something that few understand. We get lost from time to time but are found again in each other's hugs and a shared understanding of what each of us feels.

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