Are Things Better?

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This – or a variation of this – is the question I keep getting asked in the almost month since my young adult son, Blake, came home from his second hospitalization. Blake was hospitalized with severe depression after a recent spike in his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related intrusive thoughts. He made a plan to end his life, and he’d planned to carry it out. Yet, that is not where the story begins, nor is his release from the hospital where it ends. They are pieces in a long journey.

I can’t speak for my son and what it is like to be him. I can, however, speak as a mom who has watched her child suffer for a very long time. There have been twists and turns on this road over time and lots of things have contributed to where we are now as a family. The bottom line is that my son came to the point a while back where he decided that this world was not for him. He’s been clear about that with us. He lost hope somewhere along the line that he would ever feel better. And we have been living with this as a family for some time. His hospitalizations did not represent a sudden departure from the life we lived with him. They were just the most obvious signs to the outside world. To many, I guess it appeared we had a sudden crisis along the road and that the hospitalizations were about addressing that. Maybe they were. But they didn’t “fix” a problem; they just kept my son safe for a period of time. Maybe they even reinforced his view of himself as a failure.

So now people ask me, “Are things better?” or “Is he feeling better?” I understand that they care and that they are being kind. And I feel like I disappoint with my answer. Bluntly, the answer is, “No.” That’s not what I answer, though.

“It’s going to be a journey,” is what I say. That’s the truth. Simple. Pure. I don’t know what direction my son is going to go in. It kinda kills me as a mom to move through life knowing that my child, who I love dearly, believes that each day he is here is torture. But, this is not the end of the journey. Not now. I don’t know where it leads, only that it is.

12 thoughts on “Are Things Better?

  1. Thank you for this update. Incidentally, I realize that your son has the same birthday as my daughter. So we are connected for life in this regard, and it will be a regular reminder for me to keep your family in our prayers.

  2. Luke

    Angie, I am so sorry. I’ve been following Blake’s journey for a long time — years before I finally received treatment of my own — and truthfully have been inspired by his courage. It’s not easy living with any mental illness, but the never-ending cycle of obsessions in OCD can be particularly draining and taxing. When I am having a rough day, I often think of Blake. Please tell him for me that he is not in the trenches alone.

      1. Luke

        Thank you! I get the impression that I am close in age to Blake — if he ever needs to chat with a fellow warrior, I’m all ears.

    1. Hi Luke. Thanks for this wonderful comment. As you probably know I’ve been in treatment for OCD for 31 years and counting… I had a tough day today. I needed to hear that I was not alone. Thank you. -Paul

  3. Sending Love to you, Blake, and your whole family Angie. ❤

    There are so many mysteries in life that we may never understand and that are beyond our control. It is maddeningly frustrating. Examples pop into my mind: Why after 31 years of treatment do I still not have my own OCD under control despite consistent effort? Why did one of my father‘s friends lose two of his three children? One in a car accident, and another to a brain aneurysm. The mysteries go on and on and on. Sometimes all I have to keep my head on straight is “The Serenity Prayer”.

    I don’t have answers, but as you well know you are certainly not alone. So many of us are fighting hard battles. I wish more people would share their stories. If they did I think far fewer people would use the word “failure“. Life… For so many of us… Is simply a very difficult journey. Sometimes the difficult times come and go quickly. Other times they seem to go on forever.

    Sincere Blessings…Paul

  4. Angie-
    Blake’s story has always given me reassurance that I am not alone in this mental war. Living with OCD is literally living a nightmare.
    My heart goes out to you and your family and to everyone who suffers from this terrible illness. Something that comforts me is the promise at Isaiah 33:24, that very soon no one will be sick.
    Please let Blake know that he is not alone in his struggles. He is not alone at all.
    And his story is inspiring to those of us who know the pain of living with this disorder.

  5. Angie 🙂
    I just noticed you have been blogging for eight years as of this month. That is an amazing and wonderful accomplishment! Just imagine the countless people you have helped by sharing your story! THANK YOU… for helping so many of us!

    Thank You…

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