Hello everybody and a happy belated new year to all of you.
Just thought I’d drop a few lines as an update and to air some thoughts that have been stuck in my mind.
Last time I updated I think I might have mentioned I am trying to prepare to buy a house or condo or fancy tent (LOL) through the HUD program in the very near future. It’s another labor of love for my son so that he will be assured a roof over his head for the rest of his life.
Our income is pretty limited so not sure what we will get but I’m giving it my best effort.
Meantime I am still very very slowly trying to stop doing daily things for my adult son who is now 36 and I am little by little leaving things to him.
It’s a lot harder than you might think. Not only because I have done literally everything for his whole life, and it’s ingrained in me now, but because each time I turn something over to him, it is a whole new learning experience and requires patience and perseverance.
Simple things that most people take for granted are challenging for him. It’s not the activity itself it is the process of organizing the steps of the activity in order the way it goes. He’s doing a lot more cooking and meal prep now and that really thrills me. He also has become a little more proactive finding grocery items he wants in the grocery store.
Tonight I made him clean his own coffee maker. He looked kind of flustered so I just said “do this first” then “do this second” etc… and he after that he did fine. I told him to mark his calendar and at least do it once a month. Once he let it go so long I was tempted to throw it away but I managed to get it clean finally. I don’t drink coffee so it’s on him.
He is really good at the household chores except the bathroom. He refuses to clean the tub and that is hard for me to do just because of my back so I told him today that I took a sponge with a scratcher pad on it and a bottle of dawn and I squirted dawn all over the bottom of the tub while I was in the shower and scrubbed it with my feet lol and suggested he do the same. Once the bottom is done it’s easy enough to bend over and do the sides and walls etc…He is fixated that the bottom of the non slip bathmat is contaminated. I told him I keep it rinsed and the dawn cleans it pretty well and I have used bleach before to sanitize it anyway, it’s a thing with him, he still has “things” you just leave them be…let him be him.
Anyway, after we move which will be late Spring or early Summer, I plan on giving him simplified computer lessons and show him how I pay bills. If that doesn’t work we will have to resort back to check writing. He is one of those anti-technology people and has a kind of block against advancing in that area. I hope I can change that.
He already does a great job managing his complicated medicine regiment. He has a system and it works. When we are not in a pandemic he does well making his medical appointments and he writes everything down. Literally everything. He needs that and I support it 100%.
I feel like my life going forward will be a combination of remembering to continue to grow within myself and focus as often as I can on self care and self healing and all the rest of the the time will be educating my son on everything he needs for self sufficiency should I ever not be here anymore.
I use to not know how that could ever be possible and I constantly wondered who would care for my son when I was gone, but after over 10 years of near wellness, total sobriety and good stability except for negative more minor symptoms that are manageable, I really believe there will be a time when he can manage on his own if need be. He is 36 and his maturity is finally caught up to his early 20’s so it’s getting better all of the time.
It was so incredibly hard when he was first diagnosed at age 21 and his maturity level was no more than that of an unruly and belligerent 12 year old who was 5’10 and 200 pounds with a drug problem. Back then I could not envision that I would someday survive all of it and one day be so pleased with my son’s progress and wellness.
I have to be completely honest, had I not been forced into an early retirement due to my own health conditions back in 2010, about the same time my son was prescribed clozapine, I would have never been so fully available 24/7 to guide my son through the hamster maze of his recovery and to protect him from himself. Plus, I have always been a single mom and I have one other son who is older and is married and lives in California and works as a teacher. So for all these years it’s just been me and my younger son. 24/7 365 a year…
Had I had a fulltime job or if I had to run everything past a significant other, my son would have been lost and quite possibly dead. He almost succeeded twice in the early days even on my watch. I tell everyone this so you won’t be hard on yourself when you have to have a job or you have to try to coordinate with a significant other. Everyone’s life and circumstances are very different and you have to work with what you have and just do the best that you can day by day.
My circumstances were unusual in that I could make my whole life about my son’s wellness, and it wasn’t healthy for me but thankfully I survived and am working to make myself as well as I can going forward, I stay in counseling which helps a lot. Moving to a new place that belongs to me and my son will be such a wonderful fresh start for us. I am a firm believer that one can never have too many “fresh starts” in life. I look forward to trying to find a way to start a garden and possible adopt a pet for the first time since my sons were very young.
This pandemic has proven to make my son much more nervous and uneasy and rightfully so, I share his feelings but I am duty bound if we need to go out for supplies he goes with me fully masked and very consciously socially distanced at all times. I noticed his cigarette intake has slightly increased from 13 packs a month to almost 16. I don’t fuss over it I just encourage him to take deep breaths and try to do something to distract himself so as to lengthen the time between smokes and he tries.
One more thing I plan to do maybe not this year but possible next year is to try to get my son back into driving again. I think he will be a good driver if we approach re entry into that world slowly and thoughtfully with some additional practice.
I think I am starting to ramble so I will close here and thank you all for being my sounding board. I know that in caring for mentally ill loved ones sometimes our lives become something new and different but that doesn’t mean our lives can’t still work for us and continue to evolve over time with the right medication and some profound luck.
Best wishes for a happier and healthier 2021.