It is time.
I have been sharing much about our lives with you over the past months, intimate details of our life, mostly good and a few of our struggles. Today I will share what was, historically, our biggest and our most time consuming struggle/challenge. I can do this because of how far we have come, we have come so far it will no longer have this title in our life very shortly, if not already.
Denis was diagnosed just under 10 years ago with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Five years ago this month we met and though we had no idea at the time we were about to embark on a journey that would change both our lives we knew something was a little different this time. If someone had told us the work, the hurt, the frustration and the challenges we were facing we may not have kept in contact after meeting at that wedding in Ireland. I would talk about my changes but tonight is about Denis.
A year after he came to Canada he was fully off the medication he had been placed on since his ‘break’. He worked hard, we had a team of doctors, psychiatrists, nutritionists, and of course our Heilkunstlers working with us, giving us the skills, the knowledge and the support we needed. He was so violently ill for one month that it was all we could do to keep him hydrated and getting some nutrients. His mind wavered in and out of healthy states, but he and I were determined to work through it together as a team.
There are times even now where he has to fight to marshall his mind into working with him and not against him. He studies everything he can get his hands on to empower him and give him clues as to what, why and how he can truly gain his health. On bad days the paranoia still haunts him, it tests our bond when he tries to push me away because his mind will tell him I am not on his side but messing with him. His way of pushing me away is normally with anger and accusations. This last time it was so bad that he threatened to leave Lily and I and went so far as to start to look up flights out of Canada.
Yep it hurts and at times I’ve wondered if I have the strength but you know what, I just had to focus on that feeling that was is so strong… that he is my person. Now I see the light at the end of the tunnel, he is winning, the worst days are long. Our fights used to be so frequent that a bad day we could fight multiple times in one day. I would not know what trigger might set him off, I would tiptoe around what I thought would cause and issue and that would cause a problem. It was hard. Then it got a lot easier as he starting winning his battle of retraining his brain. I stopped being so diligent and invariably I would do something to trigger him and I would start seeing signs in his behaviour that a blow out was coming. Now we are able to talk through most of them pretty quickly, quiet a few colourful words are in that talk but there is a lot of love too.
I tell you this because he inspires me, because it is not always easy and sometimes I don’t have all the time I want for other things because we are hashing out some acute paranoid thoughts that are harassing him at the moment, but all in all those days are fewer and fewer. He is winning, so we are winning.
My life truly is blessed.