I can always tell when my son’s experience of reality is starting to shift. His sense of time begins to swing in a dizzying circle that generally leaves us both confused. Suddenly something I said yesterday happened weeks ago. And that fancy car he saw 3 years ago, slides into his memory of last week. Some things disappear altogether and we review the same information several times in one day. He starts to apologize for forgetting and I have to remind myself that he isn’t doing it on purpose. I get nervous that he will forget something important, and he says I worry too much. I watch his medication, sleep habits and meals carefully. Is anything contributing to his memory taking a deep dive off a cliff? I ask his doctor who just shrugs. This is what it’s like to live with Schizophrenia.
As holes appear in my son’s memory and he forgets small things like his wallet, to take his meds or eat, there is something he never forgets. His childhood, from birth to 9 years old, the time before we knew him. The time he lived with his mother, stepfather and siblings. The time that was a battle to survive.
He can’t forget being stabbed by his stepfather or getting arrested for running away from his abusive grandmother. Schizophrenia is a cruel disease. If he has to forget, why not the worst parts of his life?Living with my forgetful son has taught me many things. I am not nearly as patient as I need to be. I slow my speech, quiet my voice, and swallow irritation. He feels bad enough that he forgot his wallet, house keys, belt, etc. I don’t need to make it worse by getting frustrated with him.
I am learning acceptance. It is what it is, my new mantra. No one dies from sagging pants, even when we are walking in the mall. It will be ok. What matters is that he is safe.
My priorities are changing. Does it really matter if he remembers exactly when things happened? Probably not. Does it matter of he forgets where we are going 3 times and asks me to say out loud our plans for the day over and over again? No one dies from being frustrated.
Sometimes times shifts so far for him that he reverses day and night. He stays up until dawn and then sleeps all day. All I can do for him on those days is make sure he gets his meds and eats something. He mutters about nuclear bombs in the sky and hears sirens that are not there.The only fix is sleeping for a few days until time shifts back.
And then one day he gets out of bed before noon, and remembers what happened yesterday. For a while he is back, my funny, sweet boy who has become a man.
Kristi Brower is a Writer, Social Worker, Master Healer Radio Producer/Personality and Professional Psychic. She lives in Idaho with her wife, son, 2 dogs and 5 cats. Kristi loves to share her experiences and perspective with the world through the written and spoken word. ~by: One of the 5 Kitties