so the other day was going quite well or so I thought. We were up early because hubby had to got the dentist so the youngest and I sat on the porch and played Yahtzee he won two games and it seemed like the day was going well.
Then I asked him how his day was and if he had watched the video assigned for him to watch from his therapist and he said” it has been a bad day , but the video helped. ” Wait what a bad day. And I was puzzled , perplexed even. All the external signs pointed to a calm day even good but internally something else was going on.
So this disease is so confounding and unpredictable. Again I am in awe of the doctors, therapists and nurses who try to come up with a plan for these patients. It is as individual as they are and yet society groups them all together. Individually their needs are different but one thing they need collectively is understanding , patience, and kindness from everyone around them not just their families. Society tends to group people with serious mental disease as outcasts, untouchables because of , I believe, fear. And while there is fear there is no knowledge and of course the media doesn’t help. Think of the movies about mental health systems the portrayal is appalling and of course every gun death incident recently almost always has in the script ” he was known to have a mental problem” . As the parent of someone with a serious mental disease, I am thankful that the youngest has chosen to stay at home, but there are others not so fortunate. I pray for them and their families for their peace of mind because this broken world is not kind to regular folks much lees to those who have serious mental illnesses.
So here is my hope for this day – that everyone will try to get some knowledge about mental illness even if it just a little, because the youngest and others like him deserve compassion, mercy, love ,hope and peace even more than the rest of us at times. Once you have some knowledge ( not internet false knowledge) perhaps the fear will subside and you will reach out and lend a hand to those who are part of the least of these.
so the other day the youngest says to me “if you check my pulse, I will tell you one good thing” now he usually balks at the one good thing gratitude therapy so I jumped on board and took his pulse. His one good thing that morning was “I feel happy today” Wow, happy has not been in his vocabulary for a while so I was pretty elated to hear him say that. Then only a few hours later it was ” I am angry” but he wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me about what he was angry about – I think had a conversation with his brother and then of course I get texts from his brother about how annoyed he is at the youngest. All I could offer was patience and more patience but these days everyone’s patience is wearing a bit thin. Then the day proceeded downhill from there with his dad getting morose and bout of them pouting and I felt like I was drowning in a sea of black cloud and sticky, gooey mire Psalm 13: again How long Lord , How long will you turn your face from me!!! I even quoted some of this to the youngest just to show him that despair has been around for a long time. So it was a long , long day.
Over the next few days things did get better , slowly lifting by then I was in a mess , truly and my devotion was about bringing all yourself to God, all your feelings , the good , the bad and the ugly. So I did I had it out with the Supreme ruler of the Universe and let Him have it all – it was not pretty but the up side was that I did learn something. 1. He/she the Supreme Source is a very gifted listener 2. Nothing surprises this Supreme source. (Psalm 139)
So we are fragile, crushed but not broken, perplexed , confused but not lost , Psalm 13 ends with I will praise the Lord and another Psalm says He will lift me out of the mire, so my part is to look up, focus not on the circumstances ,which can be overwhelming, but focus instead on the promise “your name is written on my hand, I will not forget you and “I will never leave nor forsake you”
I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. This disease called schizophrenia with all it’s nuances can really be a poser. My youngest is chronologically 21, soon to be 22 but developmentally this is not his age. The voices in his head and his psychosis robbed him of developmental milestones. Like all the exploration teenagers do when deciding a career path, like being independent, like sorting all this out while still under the care of parents who guide and guard and direct. But how do you do that for someone who has lost those years? Where do you start and how much leeway do you give them to explore when then have a tentative grasp on reality? How do you start the conversation about looking to the future when you can not answer the question about possible relapse? Some days I wonder what age the youngest really is because we often seem to float between being age 21 and age 12. How do I know where he it at on any particular day is a mystery which I am confounded by almost daily. This disease makes no sense to me and certainly not to outsiders who say things like ” well he should get a job” or why aren’t you making him work” or “does he do anything except play video games? ” These are hurtful questions, mainly because I have no answers and I don’t even know if I am asking the right questions.
I am not sure when the youngest really started into psychosis which this would be nice to know because then at least I would have a fix on where he was developmentally when this disease robbed him of so much. As a former child health nurse, who talked with parents about milestones it is annoying that I have no clue, not even one about what my own child’s developmental age is – annoyed doesn’t quite cover it.
So I look and pray for wisdom because the good book does not have the answers I am looking for right now. It does have wisdom, and it does help to be constantly and consistently reminded that there is One who is in all, over All and through all things . And it does continually let me know that I am not alone, and I am loved and I need to persevere, but on some days it just makes me cry because it just isn’t enough at least not right now. But persist I shall because I am of the stubborn nature – ask the hubby lol or any of my other children after all they received the stubborn gene from my side of the family lol!!! So PERSEVERE and pawn forward through the tears , tomorrow is another day which will be unlike today because that is just the way schizoaffective/schizophrenia is always challenging never boring but also incomprehensible.
Today my morning reading was Psalm 40 , you know the one about the slimy pit from which the psalmist gets lifted from by the hand of God. As I was reading about this, I thought yes, I know that pit and some days it feels like I am deep down in that pit. I hear my aunt say “Now just get off that pity pot – it isn’t going anywhere!” I smile because she was so right and had a way of cutting to the chase, no holds barred kind of way to say move on or as they say in chess pawn forward!! I must say that some days the pit of despair is right cozy, you can whine and complain and generally bemoan your lot in life – it doesn’t get you anywhere and after a while it is boring so pawn forward and move!!!
My second reading this morning reflected on Matthew 7:11 “how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask Him” well I have done a lot of asking and praying and the questions and requests remain unanswered . So then Oswald Chambers posits that we have to know that God is in control even when it doesn’t feel like anything is in control . Because nothing comes to us except that it has passed through His hands first! Which means a perfect attitude of trust and an eagerness to ask and seek. Well I am far from perfect and am humbled daily . Again Oswald proclaims to “keep the notion(idea) that God is behind all things strong and growing. Which brings me back yet again to Ephesians 4:6 about God being in all things, over all things and through all things and resting in this promise. When we are confronted with a trial there are more ways to answer that trial than one can imagine. Today I wanted to just curl up, cry and feel sorry for myself , but after these readings I feel ready or at least almost ready to face whatever comes and know that God is present – always even when it doesn’t feel good, even when prayers aren’t answered even when my choice is not the best, even if I am in the slimy pit . Yesterday was hard nothing went the way I thought it would but with this disease that is probably the standard rather than the unusual. We had a blood draw and although it went fairly well the youngest was off the rest of the day and by the time he had settled it was 4 p.m. and I longed for a break, a reprieve, a conversation which did not happen all this was still on my plate and I was again reminded of His Presence this morning.
One last verse Joshua 1:5 ” I will never leave nor forsake you ” and I am thankful that He is faithful even when I am not.
Today I went to the bank and the grocery store!!! This may not seem like much after all people do it every day. But the youngest has been stuck and I have been with him trying to unstick him and I think we are finally getting some traction, so this is big in a small way.
Even bigger because we got up this morning to the loud crash of thunderstorms and lightening which always gets the youngest tense. And then to find that a pipe had burst under the house sent the hubby and myself into urgent action to stop the pump and call the plumber and through all this he remained fairly calm. So when I asked how he would be if I went to the store and the bank I fully expected him to say “let dad go” but he surprised me and said “I will be ok, how long will you be gone?” So off I went and although the bank was a bit busy – I texted him to let him know what was going on and then to the store, he did fine!!! This is a good thing one small step for the youngest and hopefully many more small steps to follow. He even said he might try to go to church , but sit in the classrooms at the back not in the sanctuary but at least it would be out ; another small step. When we started this journey with this disease we were told to lower our expectations, I am not sure that is good advice but for now I will take each small step, Praise the Lord who is in all, over all and through all things and I am thankful so very thankful (Ephesians 4:6).
While I have been away from church these last few weeks, the study class has been studying Job. I am glad I have been absent for I fear they would all look at me as if I had some insight to Job and all that happens in that book. Well I don’t , I do know the feelings of Job sitting in my ash pile (pity pot) and I do sometime feel that no one is caring – even God. Then of course I get a scripture on my devotion or by accident ( not really) turn to Ephesians 4:6 instead of Philippians 4:6 and read ” one God , father of all, in all things, over all things and through all things.” This has become my mantra for the last few days because no matter what I do it isn’t enough.
This weekend my elder son came home first time for a while and I was concerned that the youngest would have another infusion of stress chemicals which whack his brain and set him into a spiral. It happened when the grandson was born but fortunately only lasted about three days. We are doing better – at least I think we are and he just doesn’t seem to want to believe it. And there’s the rub. Trying to talk sense and reason to someone who has a fragile grip on reality is hard, your find yourself repeating things over and over,underlining and highlighting the same stuff over and over. It can be frustrating. No, it is frustrating.
back to Job and Ephesians – here’s what I know . God is a mystery, He reveals Himself as He wants and does what he pleases to accomplish His purpose. This included sacrificing His only begotten Son, so that the door is open and we can come into His presence, cry Abba, father and weep our hearts out which I do regularly, and He will never leave, nor forsake you. He may not answer your question, or give you a time line of how anything will work out but He is continually working for good. It is His nature of pure , true love that sustains. One day I will be able to have a word with Job and he and I shall exchange what wisdom we have learned from our trials because our trials are no different from anyone else’s. I have learned so much from leaning towards the Source that I do not want to lean any other way and this too is hard for some who do not understand , some times when I think of the youngest saying the light goes when you leave and I am truly humbled that I am a light for anyone. And I don’t want to mess it up. So I rely, trust and hope in the one true God. This God who is in all things, over all things and through all things has my name written on His hand and even when I feel out of sight and out of mind it is not true I am cherished and loved continually with an everlasting love and I am humbled.
Today I was awakened at 4:23 by the buzzing of my phone, the youngest ” can you lie down with me” you see sometimes when he wakes up he can’t get back to sleep and the invasive thoughts do just that – invade his mind and well anxiety gets ramped up. He doesn’t often ask but lately he has asked for help which means I lie down with him until he goes back to sleep. I am thankful that he feels he can ask me for help – there are others with this disease who are caught in a web of mistrust and paranoia and can’t seek help even if they need it because of the paranoia. So I am thankful even if it means that I am awakened early in the morning.
today I was pondering about gratitude, attitude and how they are connected to well-being. The youngest is being taught gratitude therapy. This is where he is asked to think of ” one good thing” and focus on it. This does not seem like a hard task but for him it is. Some days when I ask about one good thing he will say things like”no, mom, I’m not playing this game” or “there is no good thing” And I let it be. Today I asked for one good thing and he gave me three ! Wow, one of them was”I woke up today and I feel pretty good” another wow!
I have read a little about gratitude therapy. It seems that being grateful or thankful changes the brains chemistry and reduces anxiety, makes positive endorphins and boost the immune system!!! So I looked up gratitude in the concordance of my bible and found 12 verses cited for gratitude or thankfulness and I also looked up attitude; there wer 4 verses about attitude.
I read them and the two that struck me were Philippians 4:5-8 , and Philippians 2:8. Philippians tells us not to worry but in EVERYTHING through prayer and petition WITH THANKSGIVING bring your requests before God. I am sure there are many time I bring my requests without thanksgiving – this is something I shall work on. The other verse spoke to attitude. We are to put on the whole attitude of Christ who HUMBLED himself, and became a SERVANT in OBEDIENCE to the Father. Wow, I am sure I would rather not be a servant and be humbled but more and more I am a servant for the youngest , humbled by the fact that so many things he is not able to do – at least right now it hopefully soon. Just some thoughts for today.
Today was a good day. And I am thankful for these precious good days. Today I have seen glimpses of my youngest without the high anxiety. His face relaxed and even smiled a time or two. He was also on one or two occasions able to tell me ” one good thing” that had happened today. I think they call it gratitude therapy and supposedly it excites the parasympathetic brain and sends off positive endorphins. We need all the positive endorphins we can get here.
today he also let me scrub his feet and cut his toenails. This may not sound triumphant but for us it is a big deal. He soaked his feet for 20 minutes, then I scrubbed the calloused feet and applied the cream I had compounded per the doctor. He even said they felt good and one of his ” good things” was that his feet were clean!! Small things may lead to bigger steps and hopefully he will soon be able to let me go out on the world again to do things I need to do we will be thankful for the small things and ever hopeful.
Today we have also practiced aroma therapy. I have to say it must work. We had gotten the youngest an oil infuser set for Christmas and he hasn’t used it much. Early on when he was in psychosis candles and scented candles seemed to calm him so we got the set. So I lit the little candle and poured some lavender oil on the infuser and it did smell good. Soon both the youngest and the hubby were having a nap and I got to be downstairs enjoying the quiet. Nice ! So we will keep the aroma therapy going for now and if it clams everyone that is a good thing.
today my verse is Ephesians 4:6 and I am struck that God is the Father of all, in all ,over all ,and through all things. I am calmed by this verse and shall keep it close to the surface , it resonates with me right now.
Where are you going? It is a simple enough question but take a deeper look, what does it mean? I am asked this question many times a day and not always from the youngest . So I find myself saying things like, “I am going to the kitchen, I’ll be right back”, or ” I’ m off to the bathroom I’ll be right back.” So the where are you going is standard and I try to let the youngest know where I am going and what is going to happen as much as possible because the unknown causes his anxiety to rise to uncomfortable levels for him. If he goes upstairs to his room and I don’t come up I get a quick text message “you coming ?” And so it goes through out the day. This has been going on for weeks now and I have only left the house once for an hour to get my mammogram done.
so last night the hubby asks”where are you going” as I gathered my phone to go upstairs and replied” upstairs where else” yes it was a bit snarky but really my house is not that big. I can be found by anyone at anytime. I thought the question rather silly but on reflection maybe not. Where are you going? What path are you on? Is this the right path? Is it the best way?
Psalm 13 begins with How long will you(God ) hide your face from me ? And indeed some days I have felt the cry of how long! But read the whole psalm because it ends with “I will praise your everlasting love” some days I also feel that everlasting love.
Am I on the best path? is it the right one for The youngest? Is there a better way? I do not know the answer and I seek daily the wisdom and insight from the Spirit Source to guide me as I walk this path with this mental illness and wonder how long? And where am I going?
today I was awakened at 5:52a.m. By the buzzing of my cell phone. It was the youngest “CMP?” Which is shorthand for check my pulse. As I staggered down the hall and go into his room , he is sitting crossed legged in his bed, arm out wrist extended for me to check his pulse. So I do and of course it is fine ” do you want some coffee?” “No, but I would like a pancake” so off to the kitchen where the cat awaits his treats, coffee machine on, pancake made, let the chickens out , and get a cup of coffee. So begins the day.
I was thinking about time, after all the Psalmist says “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” And so we can choose to rejoice or not. One of my elderly members of my used to be Sunday School case would say” any day above the dirt is a good day ” and I can still hear her say it even if she is now with the Saints in heaven. Kronos , the Greek word for time like the hours and minutes of the days as I listen to the clock ticking I think about this moment and what I am to do. After all, the Lord made this day and I have been placed in it. Or perhaps I should be thinking about Kairos another Greek word for time but opportunity rather than minutes. Being here in this place something that sometimes the youngest has trouble with, like a few days ago when he was restless and said he couldn’t figure out where he was to be, which room he was to be in and for what reason. Those moments are when you just remind him of appointments or not, and when things are going to take place and what day it is and what time it is as well as pray for anxiety to decrease and clearer thought processes.
Perhaps we should all abide in time and in opportunity to be kind, love more and be ever listening to the Creator Source for our placement at this specific moment. Sometimes I reflect on the question posed to me, “Who is this child, that God placed him under your care with your unique talents and background and what does He have planned for this child and for you? ” I don’t know the answer to either question .