My 27-year-old son sits in a chair in his childhood bedroom. Since his diagnosis of Schizo-Affective Disorder, he has taken up smoking. I walk by his room with a basket of clean clothes and peek in. Today his lips move as he silently talks to his spiritual friends. He smiles and laughs today and gestulates with his hands and his cigarette to make a point. I feel relief. He is not in pain. Yesterday, as I walked by his room with my 2nd cup of coffee, tears streamed down his cheeks as he rocked back and forth, patting himself on his hand as if to say “everything is alright; you are alright.” Then I feel sad and discouraged. I try to comfort him but he is talking to God and “sometimes gets emotional.” When my son was growing up, he loved to hug me tightly. As a teenager, he liked to pick me up and swing me around. Now, I try to teach him again how to hug. “Give me a hug!” He puts his arm halfway around me. “Two arms,” I say. “Now squeeze!” “I love you, mother god,” his name for me now.
After 4 years, 7 hospitalizations and several medication adjustments, his mania is under control and he can sleep. I believe in his recovery. He can sit around the table with family and celebrate a holiday. He can focus on his guitar some days and still sound a little like he used to. He remembers now to shower and change his clothes. He feels hunger and remembers to eat most of the time. Where is my talented, funny, loving and affectionate son? I miss him terribly and when I see glimmers of him, I thank God and I believe again in his recovery.
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