It has been some time since I have chimed in or provided an update, so I thought I would take a moment to write this afternoon.
I was trying to describe what it has been like to be a mother and caregiver for my 21 year old Sz son to a friend recently, and what came to mind was when I was at an amusement park a long time ago and I thought a roller coaster in the dark would be something fun. Ahhhh, no!
Somewhere between the fear of what is coming next, chaos of the unexpected and upside down spins, the unknown trajectory at great speeds, the harsh and painful corners that cause whiplash and misery when you can’t prepare for them or see them coming, and so much escalation and falling from great distances that it makes your sick to your stomach…that is what it is like. When what feels like a crisis moment is over, you exit the ride, and for me…I remained feeling quit sick to my stomach for some time. In fact, I needed to sit to recover…so much so that I missed all of the other fun life moments of that park. I told myself I would never entertain that again if I had a choice.
I wish we had a choice with Sz. I wish that my son and I could get off this ride.
I will say, since we executed the last petition to hospitalize him, gained guardianship, and now that he has been medicated for 4 months on the Invega shot…although I don’t feel as sick as I did from the ride we had, I have been a little out of commission in my life. I am still resting…or maybe it is that I am hiding? Either way, I am learning how to navigate this better as we discover what his baseline will be. I told myself that on June 1st, I was making myself turn a corner.
The medication is an imperfect science, but it has improved the quality of his life some. He still has sleep trouble, breakthrough symptoms, and his short term memory is compromised. His many negative symptoms remain. He has very poor decision making, and describes getting caught in a thought loop. He still has no awareness, and with the court order surrounding a conditional release for medication expiring, I have been creative in getting him to agree to the shot. He has had one on his own. This month’s shot he is likely to challenge. We shall see. I might think a med dosage change would help, but this is the first time he has been compliant with any kind of medication at all. We are working on autonomy in decision making…helping him stretch his independence while we hope for more improvement. Right now we are hoping the small improvements continue.
In the meantime, I am preparing myself for what will likely be an approved SSI claim and him leaving us because he will have money in his pocket. I am trying to weigh being a mother, a safe and desirable home/family to return to…or if I want to continue to fight decisions and police him with guardianship. It only makes him push harder to be away from us. He is a flight risk when he feels trapped or that someone is taking away his right to choose. He has signed HIPPA and a Medical PoA, so I am contemplating side-stepping guardianship so we can improve and maintain a relationship of trust. We still haven’t fully decided. I continue to tell myself, “I can support my son…I will not support schizophrenia,” and I try to decision make from that place.
For us…sadly, we feel we are at the lull before the storm…or better stated, on the tic-tic-tic-tug, going up the climb for an unknown fall and direction on this roller coaster in the dark. Perhaps the first time around will help me brace, react, and prepare for what now are expected turns, expected chaos…I sure hope so.