October 11, 2013

my son

     His right leg bounced up and down, quickly and repeatedly.  There was no rhythm or song in it.  It was more a muscular twitch that was far, far beyond his control.  While eating his Cheetos, his fingers had a fine tremor to them.  Not the large tremor of someone with Parkinson's, but one with a very small frequency.  Again, involuntary.  It did not seem to prevent him from devouring the Cheetos, though.  His eyes....his beautiful eyes that he inherited from his mom, often stared blankly with dilated pupils across the room focusing on nothing in particular, even while talking.  Because the hospital was quite cold, he wore a sweatshirt, one purchased from his parents at REI to be used when hiking with his dad.  He had the sleeves pushed up, exposing the 54 individual self-inflicted cuts marring the inside of his entire left forearm.  Though being right-handed, even his right arm was not spared the cutting.  Life was unbearable, filled with nothing but suffering.  He wished it to end.  Now.  Maybe it was not even a desire, but instead a need, an itch that simply must be scratched.  To him it was an inclination as natural as breathing.  He had pondered Hamlet's predicament and found no dilemma at all.  In his broken and suffering mind, it would be better to end "The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to".

   This is what mental illness looks like.  This is my son.

2 comments:

Cary Reams said...

Unimaginable. All we can offer are prayers for his peace and yours.

April Ellis said...

I'm so sorry. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts.