Darkness has enveloped me and kept me prisoner. Adopting a cocooning form toward all the pressures against me, I know when the time is right and I am ready, I will emerge equipped to overcome the latest battle. While in my cocoon, I gather strength and courage to do what is required. I soul search. I pray. I seek the highest wisdom in the face of my struggle. To some, it appears that I am unmoving, immobilized, stubbornly refusing to "deal with it", perhaps even standing in my own way at these times.
A long time ago, a gentle friend reminded me that even a snail's pace is progress. She also offered the gem that even a broken clock is right twice a day, useful for me during my earliest steps in my evolution from the doormat I had become. All that to say, I am progressing. Slowly, deliberately, mindfully. It might take me a lot longer to get there, but that doesn't invalidate my journey. It is just different than yours might be. Joined as we are, we set out on our odyssey, parallel at times and perpendicular, others. As we embark, one hand should extend back to aid the one behind on the path and the other hand, reaching forward, touching the next level like a lifeline, a beacon in the night.
Schizophrenia came into my life uninvited. It has made its home in my beloved son's head. He is so young, I am alternately angry and then in disbelief, even though six hospitalizations in 10 months and worsening symptoms make it undeniable. Perhaps this is what my mind and heart do to protect me, to save me, to offer me some grace. A respite of sorts.
I mourn for my son, I see him in my mind's eye, growing and forming, his smiles, his dreams...morphing and changing, growing. And with him, my love and my dreams have also grown, alongside taken-for-granted expectations about how his life would naturally unfold. School, dances, girlfriends, cars, sports, music, growing taller and more handsome...Graduation, college, career, wife, children. Yes, all this in a moment.
And now I revise and am forced to take one day at a time and accept that some days and nights will be filled with his hallucinations, demons he can't control and things and people the rest of us can't see, moments of intense agitation, anger, and rage...and still other times, the son I raised...the sweet, loving, caring, compassionate, beautiful spirit shines through the madness. I live for those moments of sweet lucidity. Ah, but they are too few. A mother's heart breaks. And breaks again. Will I ever have my stolen son back??? His bedroom is empty now and it hurts me to see it. But see it I must and it is like picking a scab involuntarily. Parts of my life feel like the abyss and I seek the safety of my cocoon. So when you notice long gaps in my blogging, know that I am trying...trying to get back to myself in this ever-changing landscape.
~ Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair. ~ R D Laing
All the same, my depression and self-hatred, my desire to mutilate myself with broken bottles, my numbness and crying fits, my inability to get out of bed for days and days, the feeling of the world moving in to crush me, went on and on. But I knew I wouldn’t go mad, even if that release, that letting-go, was a freedom I desired. I was waiting for myself to heal. –Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia
I’m living under water. Everything seems slow and far away. I know there’s a world up there, a sunlit quick world where time runs like dry sand through an hourglass, but down here, where I am, air and sound and time and feeling are thick and dense. –Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
All their “helpful” comments imply that if I’d only do _____, my problems would be solved. Like it’s all within my grasp, able to be managed and mastered, if only I would try harder, longer, better. As I nod my head in polite and pathetic appreciation for their input, I scream inside, “Shut up. Shut up. Unless you’ve been lost in this particular section of hell yourself, don’t you dare try to give me directions. – Unknown
You wanted to get well. You never had a conscious moment in which you were not aware of being sick. You could no more, while conscious, forget your sickness than you could forget to breathe. Asked your greatest wish in life you would have replied at once—sanity. How remote was the world in which sanity was taken for granted. In the world outside, people longed desperately to be millionaires, movie actors, club presidents, and even, tell me little gypsy what force creates this one, even novelists. True, a bad cold, a touch of heartburn, an allergy to a favorite dog could blot out for a time the desire for money, power, and fame. During the period of the running nose, the stomach ache, or the asthmatic wheeze physical well-being would stand alone in the spotlight of yearning. But nowhere, nowhere save the madhouse, did mental health get its share of prayers. –Mary Jane Ward, The Snake Pit
We all fear at some point that “our” world and “the” world are hopelessly estranged. Psychosis is the fulfillment of that fear. –Michael Greenberg, Hurry Down Sunshine
A broken leg can be remembered and located: “It hurt right below my knee, it throbbed, I felt sick at my stomach.” But mental pain is remembered the way dreams are remembered—in fragments, unbidden realizations, like looking into a well and seeing the dim reflection of your face in that instant before the water shatters. –Tracy Thompson, The Beast: A Reckoning with Depression
We are all born mad. Some remain so. –Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot