This is a very good point (along with many excellent points!)
It seems that if I remember to show him what tools are available. The unseen things.
For instance, he often says he doesn’t want to do ------, because either Dad or I will think he’s a burden, a moocher, all sorts of derogatory names. I have a discreet note written to myself to remind me that:
He does not ask for hugs, but needs them. I have offered, and frequently have discovered that I am holding a crying child who was very upset. He didn’t look like it, and for some reason, didn’t ask for help.(I don’t get it, as there have been plenty of times where he has started screaming for Momma. BUT, hugs? We’re a huggy family, he didn’t respond much to hugs when he was younger, now?) It’s something he wants but does not ask for. Hence, a very tiny note on my “To Do” list each day. Ask him if he wants a hug…that’s all. If he glares and says “No”, well, I can’t take it personally. Too many times though he has said “yes” and started sobbing.
He doesn’t know what “normal” is. He really just wants to know. I was afraid to say “normal” or not, as that seemed to emphasize he is different from “us” (kinda like we’re chosen, special, perfect, implying he is not), Turns out that he already thought this, and simply wanted to be taught what “normal” people do.
Hmmmm…okay buddy. Here’s a few things we discovered, and the way he smiles with each realization is heartwarming.
To discover that “normal” has many different interpretations. Also helps with his personal delusional belief challenge: that of being a burden on us. He is NOT, but this triggery thought leads to self harm and suicidal ideations. For years, when he saw the price of his medications at the pharmacy, episodes would blossom within the hour. He’s quiet, I didn’t know the price of the prescriptions was the cause. One thought, led to another, and I have a son who is walking into oncoming traffic. It does NOT occur to him to tell me “Why”.
Hence, for us, a few statements to define our “normal”:
“Normal” people also grow weary of visitors. That’s why we have lots of ways to politely end visits.
“Normal” people take medication. They also track their medication, order refills and pay the price asked.
“Normal” people worry that they are being watched through their phones.
“Normal” people worry about the end of the world.
“Normal” people wonder what they are going to do with their life.
“Normal” people don’t know if college is in their future.
“Normal” people go to the psych hospital. Yes, they do.
“Normal” people are hurt and offended by internet trolls.
There is plenty of stuff relegated to the land of schizophrenia. We know this…
for him, sometimes just hearing that “normal” people feel the same seems to make a big difference in his reactions.
“Normal” people are embarrassed by pimples.
“Normal” people wonder if the girl likes them.
“Normal” people think what they drew/wrote/or thought was wrong.
Then, at other times, there is nothing I can say or do but hold him.
He had a rare moment of disclosure yesterday. He told me that my checking on him in the morning (husband recommended giving him the early dose of meds VERY early, around 5am, in order for him to have some portion of the day left to function in) really helps. I didn’t know that it mattered. He said it’s nice because he is reminded that we want him around. When I stroke his cheek and cover him with more blankets. When I told him that IF he killed himself, I would lose half my mind and all of my heart, he’s that special to us. He (he’s a very young almost 14yo) who doesn’t talk much. I didn’t know that the morning routine was so significant.
That sounds sad, but for him, the suicidal thoughts are the most challenging. Suicide makes sense to him. Waking to dark thoughts, the same ones he fell asleep to is rough. I didn’t know he actually heard and remembered what I told him in the early morning hours. He says that it helps.
Uggh. I didn’t know.