It's been a while since I've written and many of you have asked where I am. It is so hard to explain exactly where that place is that I disappeared to but one thing's for sure, I'm ensconced in some kind of little bubble where the world, my world, has grown very small and very distant from the outside world. I made some changes in my own medications, like I do every summer for some unknown reason, and that could be part of the disappearance. I question myself every day as I exist in this world because I am dead tired, and cycling through different emotions. I can't say that I am necessarily depressed but it appears that I am to the outside world.
I think about you all so often and I wonder how you are doing and I invite you, in the comments section of this post, to tell me how you are doing and how your loved ones are doing. Without my daily writing, I miss your stories about your life and I wonder how you are. I'd really love it, if you don't mind doing so, sharing your lives with me.
As for Thomas, I can say that he's doing okay when it comes to the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. I don't really see any signs of delusions and I know pretty much for sure that there are no audio hallucinations going on. He spends, as usual, most of his day in front of his computer watching movies and YouTube only to emerge from time to time for a hug or to ask for a snack. I have tried to give him more independence by pulling away my constant, probably over-protective, analysis of all things Thomas. He is now handling filling his own medication case and seems to be doing really good with that. I have watched his pill case closely, though, to see if he's forgetting to take his meds and he's not. He seems to have a good handle on it.
I think the most stark thing about Thomas's condition is that he continues to gain weight. He came to me the other day and told me that the jeans that we just bought him not too long ago in a bigger size are starting to not fit him. This came as a small shock to me because it wasn't that long ago that we bought the bigger size. All of his t-shirts that he's worn for years and loves now no longer cover his stomach and he's constantly pulling them down to cover himself up. This is very hard for me to witness as he gains the weight because I feel like I'm watching him get physically sicker as he seems to be on a crash course for "metabolic syndrome" where he could develop diabetes and a whole host of other issues. He still comes to me to ask for a snack, as if he's a young kid needing permission from his mom and I am trying so hard to help him make healthier choices but the fact of the matter is, he is not a little kid so he's going to eat whatever he wants in the end. We have had many talks about how his medication tricks him into thinking that he's hungrier than he is and I've even gone so far as to asked him,
"Do you think you'll actually die from hunger if you don't wait the hour until dinner is served?"
His answer usually is a "no" but he doesn't sound convinced. I'm not sure how to convince him to realize that he'll be okay without a snack and won't actually die so I often just acquiesce and mentally thrown my hands in the air and mostly just pray that someday I'll get through to him. I tell him he needs to exercise and I encourage him to use the treadmill downstairs for just 20 minutes a day but he remains stuck to his computer chair in his room in front of a screen. I don't know if this is something I should take a more active role in but I'd like to see him want to take care of himself.
He's come to me again lately asking me if the marks on his arms are stretch marks and those seem to be adding up also. When he walks from his room to the bathroom without a shirt on, those dark pink marks riddling his arms scream at me and break my heart. When I was pregnant I got stretch marks and I hated every single one that appeared and I have been hoping that the same thing will happen to Thomas, that he'll look at them and start to hate them and want to do something about them. As is always the case, or seems to be, he is so detached from his body and even his mind, and he seems to accept his fate as exactly what it is. This is one of the hallmarks of his illness in my eyes, this dead-eyes detachment from the real world. I don't know how to ignite the light behind his eyes.
As time marches on and he seems to disappear from me, I have tried to come to accept, once again that this is his fate. Without the positive symptoms, I fool myself into believing that schizophrenia has left our lives but the reminders of it still pop up, now in the form of this ever-present weight gain and continued detachment.
I suppose the truth is, as I have detached from my own life outside of myself, I have thus detached from Thomas's life also. That's not to say that I don't engage with him but I've quit being much like a helicopter, always hovering, always analyzing each movement and word. In a way, I wonder if I've done this as a way to protect myself from facing the truth that surrounds my son and the life he lives not to mention the life that the family lives as a result. As the panic around the severity of positive symptoms wanes, we have all fallen into this abyss of life where Thomas slowly morphs into a stranger, I disappear from my life and his and Dan just accepts the fate that has befallen him as husband and father. We've become a family, fortified in our home, going through the motions of life.
So, the truth of the matter is, as I disappear into this weird bubble that has become my life, my boy disappears into his own bubble and Dan resigns himself to this seemingly unfair new way of life. He doesn't complain, thank God, in fact, for me, he seems to try to love me more, I think in an attempt to love me out of my bubble. He, too, has distanced himself from Thomas but voices to me from time to time that he's unhappy with the way things are with Thomas. He has a right to feel the way he does.
We all do.
But it's sad what has become of all of us. In a way we are strangers in in this landscape that is our little home in a little town in a world full of people resigned to similar fates.
Where did it all go awry?
I don't know...
One thing's for sure, the longer we stay lost and isolated, the more we will lose of ourselves, all of us.
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