(Picture credit: thenextweb.com)
I have been gone a long long time.
I have been silent here on my blog.
I have a reason that is nothing short of a miracle.
I have been watching THOMAS BEING BORN AGAIN.
I'm not sure exactly what's happening and his doctors seem baffled too but I swear to God, I am bearing witness to some kind of miracle.
Throughout the last few weeks I have likened what's happening to Thomas to the movie starring Robin Williams and Robert Deniro called Awakenings. I included a 3 minute clip from the movie below for you to take in. It's short but it so eloquently describes what is going on with Thomas. In the movie, the patients are institutionalized because they have serious Parkinson's Disease and they are basically frozen in time. Then, the doctor (Robin Williams) comes in and after much consideration decides to put some of the patient's on L-Dopa (a dopamine stimulating drug). Time passes and then one night it happens.....
...They start to wake up. Previously physically and mentally frozen, the patients begin to dance and talk with each other and play the piano. After years frozen, stuck in wheelchairs and beds, they are alive again.
It's beautiful and Thomas, his awakening, his rebirth, is beautiful too. Often, when I am in his presence lately, I marvel at my child who no longer looks or acts like a child. He is a 21 year old young man, making plans for his life, that I now fully support and encourage, and he's blowing through milestones in healing at lightening speed. For a few weeks I have thought about writing about each thing he's accomplished but I've been scared to. I've been scared to dare to hope that what I am witnessing is something that will stick.
But then it happened. Something so HUGE and SHOCKING that I can no longer keep the secret.
Two weeks ago, in therapy, Thomas talked about getting his driver's permit. He was nervous about it and Dr. K. and I talked with Thomas about the steps he'd need to take in order to get it. I didn't think for one single second that anything would be accomplished with it. My historically anxious, paranoid, vacant kid was changing but getting a driver's permit seemed like a near impossibility.
Over the next couple of days I watched as Thomas took the initiative to navigate the DMV website and learn everything it takes to get a permit. When he had questions that he couldn't find answers for I told him to call the DMV and ask. Before I go on, it was just 2 weeks prior to that that Thomas was saying there was no way, no how that he would dial a phone number to speak to ANYONE, even family, Well, twice Thomas called the DMV, twice he had ZERO anxiety, and twice he was successful in getting the information he needed. In two weeks time he went from being terrified to being completely 100% capable of making phone calls.
So during those two weeks I urged him over and over to study for the test and he basically blew me off and I just gave up and let things be. Then, Monday night, he announced to me with conviction that he wanted to go, at 10 a.m., to the DMV the next morning and take his test. I was dumbfounded. He hadn't studied and here he was with lofty plans to just wing it and go in and take the test.
Suddenly this all felt so familiar. Suddenly it hit me that he was delusional again. I mean, seriously, who goes in and takes a test without doing any studying not to mention a person with schizophrenia who previously couldn't keep track of things from one moment to the next? I became very sad and I told him there was no way this was going to happen.
He fought me on it.
He fought me in true delusional form. The familiar angry eyes, the insistence, the stubbornness, and I left the room in anger and in sadness. I thought for a few minutes about what had just transpired and I went back to his room and sat down with him and had a talk about delusions. I explained to him that he would be able to recognize a delusion because they are usually something where you expect to do the impossible and do it 100%. He listened quietly and afterwards, I, again, walked away.
Then Dan came home. We went in to change our clothes and in a desperate whisper I told him what had just happened. I explained that Thomas, in fact, wasn't getting well after all because he was becoming delusional again about this test taking. Then Dan calmly said,
"Just let him do it! He wants to do it, he feels good about it and the worst that can happen is that he'll fail it and he'll learn that he actually does need to study."
So, I went into Thomas' room and told him that his dad said he could go ahead and take the test.
Of course he was THRILLED.
So at 10 a.m. on Tuesday we went into the DMV to take the test. My anxiety was sky high. His, on the other hand, was NON-EXISTENT.
He went over to take the test and I went out to sit in my car and wait.
Within what seemed like a very short amount of time he appeared at my car window and I opened to the door to hear what he had to say fully expecting the worst.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Not only did he pass the test on his first try after no studying and YEARS of cognitive issues, he missed just 3 questions and he needed me to come in and pay for his permit.
First of all, I was shocked. Then I started laughing.
This was the laughter of a mom with a son with schizophrenia who had been waking up for the last 3 months and who had crossed a major hurdle and did it like a pro. This was the laughter of a mom in complete shock and UTTER AND COMPLETE JOY.
We went in to pay and then we went on our way.
When we got home I texted everyone and told them about this miracle and I sat in stunned silence for a while.
Then fast forward to yesterday. With GREAT TREPIDATION I agreed to let Thomas drive us to therapy. When Thomas was first learning to drive 6 years ago he narrowly avoided accidents, he zoned out while driving and he blew through a couple of red lights completely unfazed. 6 years ago I thought that there was NO WAY I would ever EVER let him get behind the wheel of a car again.
Then he got very sick.
As you well know because we've all done it, I began to let go of my dreams for his future.
With his awakening, though, lately, I timidly got into the passenger seat of the car, said a little prayer that we'd make it to Dr. K.'s office in one piece and Thomas took off driving. Let me tell you something...
Thomas drove like he's been driving for years. Every speed limit was followed, every law was followed and as I looked over at him a few times, I saw that he had zero anxiety.
HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE???
After therapy we had to go across town to the pharmacy and the route to it is fraught with many challenges of merging and typically crazy driving on the part of the others on the road. I told Thomas I would drive to the pharmacy. He surrendered the keys.
After picking up his prescriptions, I decided to throw caution to the wind, to relinquish control, and I gave him back the keys and once again got into the passenger side and said another prayer. I was about to set him loose in serious traffic and he was going to have to cross a bridge where he would have to drive next to a wall in a narrow lane with, really, nowhere to go if he made a mistake. I asked him if he was nervous about the bridge and he brightly said, "No!" and off we went. As we neared the bridge I looked at him and saw....
We drove onto the bridge, he was in the lane next to the wall (this is the bridge)
(Picture credit: dreamstime.com)
and without any...well...ANYTHING...no anxiety, no shaking, no nervously eyeing the wall, he buzzed across the bridge, got to the other side and turned the corner.
He turned the corner. He turned the real corner and he turned the proverbial corner.
HE IS AWAKENING.
I rode along with him the rest of the way home furiously trying to figure out what had just happened.
WHO IS THIS KID WHO LOOKS LIKE MY SON BUT SOMEHOW IS NO ONE I RECOGNIZE???
We got home, he parallel parked the car with just a couple minor adjustments and we got out of the car and I followed him to the front door.
I was, and am, in shock.
For weeks now I have watched as my son with schizophrenia, with previously serious cognitive issues, with previously serious anxiety, with previously serious paranoia, and with previously lofty delusions, turn into a young man. A REAL young man. Not a man who appeared and behaved like a child. For weeks now I have watched as a light, as if on a dimmer switch being slowly turned up to brighten, has lit up my son.
Parts of me don't know this young man. Parts of me are completely awestruck and confused about what has happened to him over the last few weeks. Parts of me are seriously daring to believe that he can do...
...ANYTHING HE WANTS TO DO.
And that bright shining light of his warms us all now, bathing us in what can only be called a miracle.
Everyone is shocked. I'm sure you all are shocked too.
Everyone has questions about how a young man with schizophrenia can just WAKE UP.
In spite of the questions, however, we are all enjoying these times and we will never let go of a single minute of Thomas' awakening.