Clicking

By Henry Boy Jenkins

hands holding jigsawEverything was going to be different now: a different bus, a different building, a different office, a different face. A new soul in my life, a new life beyond this one. Something different from this murky existence of no diagnosis, no treatment plan, and no understanding of what was happening to me.

The bus was late. I started to panic. I reached into my pocket and clicked my trusty floss container in perfect rhythm to a nursery rhyme, clicking my way to calmness like I always had—until I forgot where Jack Horner sat. I turned to the gentleman standing next to me. I had to ask. I couldn’t click. Where was the bus? What happens to Jack? He offered an answer and a tissue. I didn’t realize I’d been crying.

The week before, I’d called the new clinic to see if there was a cafe nearby. I needed something familiar to maintain the ritual I’d established before my previous appointments. Tea and a cookie, time to think, to be around people, pretend to be one. “Yes”, came the answer, “in the lobby of the building”. I’d be met there. I could sit in the corner. Like Jack.

My first therapist’s office was near my childhood home. The surroundings afforded a sense of ease which made opening up feel downright neighborly. But there were also times when elements of trauma found their way through the backstreets and into our sessions. The day he said it was time for me to find a new therapist, trust was replaced by starvation and fear. I went underground. Bad hygiene and no sleep. So when this new person with cat-eye glasses and a welcoming smile introduced herself to the terrified creature in the blue plastic rain coat, something clicked. Better than neighborly. A new soul in my life.

Every inch of data regarding psychotherapy tells you to ask questions and ascertain if your counselor’s going to be a good fit, but this wasn’t so much a Cinderella shoe as it was a mission. I had to hit the ground running and get her up to speed if we were ever going to work together. There was only one statement I knew I had to make. Here’s the deal. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but in the two years prior to coming under scrutiny by government agents and unseen forces, I’ve learned enough to know that I don’t know who I am or why I’m here. I need to survive. Can you help me? Can you help me find me? I’m not real anymore. But I want to be.

She understood. And we understood. Everything was going to be different now.

The stigma attached to seeing a therapist can sometimes rival the illness itself, which is unfortunate because therapy can play a vital role in a person’s treatment plan.  Maybe it’s the caricature of the absentminded PhD scribbling detailed notes about your potty training. Or admitting your frailties to a New Age hippie who’s charting dilithium crystal levels in your diet.  I really don’t care. I’d tell my secrets to either of those cartoon characters if it helped me find my way out of the pain of my symptoms and into a solution that worked. And yes, some people still make rude remarks when I tell them that I’m in therapy, but I can tell you this: my therapist has not only helped me make sense of my diagnosis when I couldn’t, but she’s helped save my life. More than once. And I’m grateful for that.

There’s no amount of ridicule, discrimination, or stigma that will keep me from solving the puzzle of who I am and what I live with. If someone with the credentials and experience to assist me in piecing that jigsaw together wants to be there for me, then I’m all in. I’ll take the help. Schizophrenia is nothing that I care to navigate on my own. Medicine’s fine, necessary even, and the human connection makes the circle complete.

Sometimes we need the stability of an outside influence. If we want to change, we have to be willing to change. That willingness comes from within. No one can tell you when you’re willing to be willing. No one can foresee when change will come. You alone determine that. Your therapist can track your symptoms, guide you toward solution, assist you in asking yourself and your doctor the right questions to help keep you stable and healthy, but in the end, the difference lies with you. When you make the call, you’re making yourself stronger.

It’s a long ride filled with ups and downs, just like real life. I encourage you to find the right fit, the right person to help you discover and maintain your best life. Grow with one another. Click.

 

6 responses to “Clicking”

  1. Jocelyn S says:

    “…but in the end, the difference lies with you.”
    Once again, @Henry, you have said it and it is so! I had a dream last night about not being able to move…and the message of my beloved friends was, ” we told you that if you didn’t get moving, you would end up not being able to move!” Duh!! If I keep doing the same thing expecting a different result …. Guess who’s going to be gravely disappointed in myself?

    I deeply appreciate your clarity here. Your tenacity to get up and do it all over again is brave, courageous and down right heroic!! I love you for telling me that it’s my job to change me and that I am the only person responsible for making me who I want to be. That’s not to say that I don’t get to solicit helpers along the way. And those helpers look like well trained therapists and doctors and even medications, but that I play the central role in my life and without me the play doesn’t get to have an opening, a middle or a closing act! You, my dear friend, have just made my year! Thank you for the best reminder in town!!❤️

    • Henry Boy says:

      Thanks for the kudos, Jocelyn. That’s a great story about your dream! Research suggests that dreams are our mind actively solving puzzles for us while the body repairs itself. So we actually *are* acting responsibly when we pay attention to our dreams. 🙂

      I’m one to admit that I’ll take all the help I can get. I’m not always sure how to go about doing so, but once I learn how, I try make it a pattern – and hopefully pass it on. Your comments let me know that I’m lending a hand, like all the great people in the BC2M community. Cheers!

  2. Carol S@ says:

    Henry, I look forward to reading your story, because, as you know-its my child’s story too. Your courage gives me hope. When my child is losing his, I tell him your story, to give him hope . Thank you !

    • Henry Boy says:

      Hope is what it’s all about for me, Carol. I’m both honored and happy that you and your child find hope in the blogs and the stories we share. In our own unique way, perhaps our little community is its own “therapy session” of sorts. That means we’re “clicking”, too.

  3. Monica says:

    You …. YOU have done it again….the writing, your experiences and your life an open book for us and one that I want to follow as it helps in more and more understanding for my child … You are amazing with your words and just the way it makes sense for those who ‘care give’ and ‘mom’ their child who struggles in similar ways — loving them through all of it!!!! Thank you for your openness and clarity!!!! The blessing in this is that you help so many hear what needs to be said and from a voice who lives it!!!!! I thank you so so much—I look for your latest blogs with dire anticipation!!!!!!
    Be blessed!!!
    Monica

    • Henry Boy says:

      Thanks you very much, Monica. It means a lot to me as a person living with schizophrenia to hear that I’m being of service to other people like me, and of course from the family members and caregivers who live on the other side of the diagnosis. We’re all in this together, learning to manage, developing treatment plans, and dealing with the medical community and with our social circles, schools, etc. It’s more than just an “illness”—it’s our individual lives. I am happy for you and your child, that you’re working together now in a time when advocacy for mental health is on the rise, ensuring a better future. Thanks so much for your comment! Blessings to you both.

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