My dear son,
Once again at five am this morning I was awakened as if you were nudging me from the corner of my bed, as you did so often growing up. We would leave the bedroom door open, so I could hear you moving about thru the night. Even at eighteen months old, you were amazingly adroit in maneuvering with your hands. You would scale the height of the baby bed, climb over the railing and shimmy down to the floor. After that gymnastic stunt, you would then open the door of your bedroom – no small feat considering you had to twist your wrist and pull the door at the same time, something the developmental books stated wouldn’t happen for a while… No safety door lock kept you out!
Soon after, well before you were two years old, you scooted down the stairs to the kitchen, where I would find you in the pantry… on a stool you had pushed over. Thank God I slept light. I would’ve never been able to witness your amazing, unbelievable acts firsthand… Like when you and your twin brother scooted downstairs, pushed a chair to the pantry after opening the door (which, yes, had a child-proof lock on it)… By the time I overpowered that doggone Sleep Fairy and got downstairs, you both were covered in peanut butter! Your hair, your cute little pajamas, your adorable little faces… What smiles! It took FOREVER to clean you guys up, between my laughter and your giggles. Yeah… adorable.
I miss you, son.
While I was sleeping last night, I dreamed of the time you and I overcame your fear of sliding down the waterslide at Cedine Bible Camp. Do you remember that? What am I saying, how could you forget?! Lol! I know! We have so MANY stories of overcoming together… AND THEY’RE ALL TRUE! That’s what’s so awesome about us, son! They’re ALL true… You and me in the swimming pool when your father (after watching too many tv shows, LORD!) threw you into the five foot water, believing you to naturally hold your breath and swim. You, my naturally fearful child! You shrieked so loud but I got you, son, and didn’t let go. Well, I wouldn’t have even if you didn’t have that vice-like death grip on my neck… It was you and me when you were on the swim team, years later, after finally overcoming your fear of the water. I knew you saw me racing alongside and even heard me above the coach, encouraging you on. You ran right to me when you finished! It was SO awesome! You didn’t come in first, second or third… but to ME, you were totally in first place, I was so freaking proud! It was also you and me when you had to present your very first composition, that amazing story you wrote all by yourself, in front of your fifth grade class… You did so well! No one knew of your paralyzing fear speaking in front of other people, nor the many hours of speech therapy you had to endure. Your teacher’s response spurned your love of literature and your desire to become a writer. I couldn’t have been more proud!
Not only was I there to support your growth and amazing accomplishments in soccer, baseball, football, track and academics, for many years, I was your Room Mom, the mom who came to read to your class and I also chaperoned quite a few of your school field trips. Remember?
Yes… all three of my children are quite different, aren’t they? God develops us all uniquely, in His way, with our own incredible gifts and talents. We’re ALL very special, son. Yes, I know you have needed me a bit more than the others did. And that’s okay! I do hope you would agree that I’ve done my very best to be there for you when you’ve needed me most…
Even now. ESPECIALLY now, my dear son. Admittedly, I’m at a gross disadvantage with what we are now facing. Please forgive me. Each year of your life, starting in the womb, I read many books and studied what you were going thru, physically and developmentally. My friends called me Mother Earth because I knew so much about my children’s formation. Had I known a sign to watch for, that this could occur, or that it was possible to ward this off, I would’ve done things much differently. Paranoia schizophrenia. Wow. After I carefully raised you, equipped you, prepared you for the world and sent you off to college. My God… I’m absolutely dying inside.
After blindly following the mental health “experts” who led us to our greatest fail in treating your condition, I’m back researching. With a vengeance! What I’m learning is at complete odds with what I’ve been told over the now fifteen-month hellish journey in the mental “health” system. Paranoia Schizophrenia is becoming frighteningly common among young adults in our society. New cases are at dramatically increasing levels all around the world. Most parents are NOT informed or even alerted at the most crucial time in their young adult’s life, when there are definite signs we should all be informed about. The mental “health” industry regards schizophrenia as a debilitating illness, with no possibility of recovery. The industry as a whole is resolute in prescribing medicine to control the symptoms of the disease, adamantly stating there is no alternative. They unleash fear, as we’ve experienced firsthand, by purporting the brains of the afflicted will become more and more damaged over time, when in fact, many psychiatrists (who actually recovered from the illness prior to going on to obtain their medical degrees) publish documents proving recovery is achievable WITHOUT medicinal use. These professionals, like Dr. Daniel Fisher and many others with ‘lived experiences,’ prove that diagnosing medicine, in the way the industry currently does, HURTS the reality of recovery! They say so-called rebels who defy anti-psychotropics (medications used to treat psychotic symptoms) actually do better in recovering! Studies show Open Dialogue and Peer Support approaches, which both use little to no medication are the most successful in the world! Heck, even what we call developing countries, too poor to afford medications or treatments, have a dramatically higher rate of recovery than we do… It has been determined that schizophrenia ISN’T a disease with a life sentence, at all… It’s merely a condition, sometimes borne out of stress, trauma, despair and/or limited defense mechanisms. Psychiatrists developed therapies and non-medicinal treatments more than seventy years ago that have been proven to aid in FULL recovery, my son. Many people since then have achieved complete recovery…
And yet, here you are suffering alone, right now as I write. And what a horrible journey you’ve had thus far… Within your first six months, many “experts” coaxed me into convincing you to commit yourself into psyche wards all around Atlanta (to the tune of five times!), which I now have learned are the absolute WORST place you could have experienced at nineteen years old… Skyland Trail, supposedly the best voluntary treatment facility in Georgia, has determined you unfit to continue treatment because you expressed your god-given desire to no longer be treated as a drug rat. You expressed your choice, after seven months in their residential treatment facility, to NOT continue to have a slew of different psychotic drugs (in their attempt to find “the right one for your symptoms”). After dealing with one side effect after another, while still experiencing the symptoms of this condition -and- feeling zombie-like and sluggish, you said you’d had enough! Despite their being one of the “bests” in handling paranoia schizophrenia sufferers, despite being accustomed to the affected’s common aversion against being drugged, despite the progress they reported you previously made, they issued an ultimatum and effectively discharged you… Discharged you to face this supposed life sentence ALONE. Because you quite sanely detailed why you no longer wanted to be experimented upon, why you no longer believed in the process, why you elected to choose an alternate route to recovery… and true healing.
Clearly, any human being should be able to make such a well-educated, rational decision. Whereas before I was horrified and fearful of your choice to stop medication, after my research, I’ve since discovered I agree with you! Once again, I’m quite proud! Trouble is… after I pursued conventional recommended treatment for you over these long fifteen months… you no longer trust me. I know I have a long road ahead of me to regain your trust so I can help effect your recovery. Many of those who’ve fully recovered (those whom we say have ‘lived experiences’) affirm unconditional love, consistent rituals like family dinners, talking therapies, daily connection and strong support systems are what brought them thru…
Son, you’re my hero! And I could NEVER be ashamed of you, what you are experiencing nor what you have endured! You WILL come thru this, just as you eventually slid down that waterslide at Cedine! I’m here for you. Ready to give you the loving, supportive environment you need. While I know you’re not quite ready to trust me again -yet… I’m ready to earn your trust, one step at a time. I believe in you, as I always have. Somehow, we’ll figure all this out… Somehow. Together. You and me.
Much love, forever ever…
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