Visiting my son, Elliott, in that orange jumpsuit was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. Listening to him talk about his delusions about the apocalypse and hearing the absolute certainty in his voice that he’s always on the verge of a fiery death, or that the guards are going to come in and shoot him at any minute, is as crushing.
The peace that schizophrenia stole from my child, I don’t know if it’s ever coming back. The medication has curbed the voices, the suicide attempts, and the hallucinations but this constant underlying fear of the apocalypse is robbing him of sleep. He isn't eating right because he sleeps through meals because he’s up all night pacing his cell. I just want a pause button for his brain so he can have some rest. We’re nearing a year of this paranoia.
I’ve resolved myself to the understanding that, when medicated, I’ll see that child in the photos occasionally and, when I do, I’ll cherish it. I’ve also resolved myself that I’m now getting to know another person who seems to inhabit my son’s body. A child that lives in a world where everything he’s learned or believed his whole life is all swirling together in a reality I don't and can't seem to be a part of. I just love him through it.
He’s still convinced that a cartoon called Rick and Morty has something to do with his incarceration. That when we he was involuntarily committed they recognized him to be an awakened one and that is why they perpetrated this plan so that his last days (the world is about to blow up) will be spent away from his family because he sinned against the government by leaving the marine corps.
I don't know if he’ll ever come back completely because his first psychosis wasn’t treated properly and lasted for 6 months of absolute hell. I don’t know what further damage has been done to his brain by all of the self-inflicted injuries he’s sustained while incarcerated. It’s just one day at a time.