My phone started ringing at 4:37 am Sunday morning. It was Jacob and that could only mean one thing, an episode.
The group home he's been staying at was very accommodating to him at first. He had his own room and bathroom on the main floor, a good distance away from the other residents whose rooms were all upstairs. They couldn't promise him it would stay that way but, they told him it would be very unlikely if he had to switch rooms or, have a roommate. This was working out fine until a couple weeks ago when out of nowhere, they moved him upstairs into a room with someone else. Up to this point, Jacob had not experienced an episode since the last one here at home in June, almost five months ago.
As I answered the phone knowing this couldn't be good, I didn't have any panic in my chest. I wasn't terrified nor did I spring from my bed in a state of fight or flight, heart racing. No, I was calm and collected. It's the first time ever, I've been the one on the other side of the phone. It's a strange feeling, a disconnected feeling. I'm not numb although, I don't exactly feel anything at all. I'm not there, and he's not here.
My sweet son, who carries the weight of the world in his beautiful, perfectly innocent heart. This perfectly, imperfect human who shows me daily what true love is. What it is to not judge, to not hate. That forgiveness is instant, and sometimes it doesn't need to be asked for, just given unconditionally, did not have his mom this time.
When I answered, he was also calm. He wasn't emotional just stated to me very clearly, "mom, I'm pretty sure I just had the worst episode ever in my life". He has said this before. He asked if he could tell me what happened, he always asks if he can tell me something, always. After agreeing to hear what he had to say, he began to tell me a story that may as well be as old as time. The voices were bullying him, they wouldn't let him sleep. The voices come from people he knows, current and former friends and family. They tell him he's a little boy and, his mom is not his business. They say these things to him repeatedly, over and over in his mind until he bursts. It's not always the same phrases, but they're always bullying.
He destroyed his PlayStation 5, and of course the television. I don't know how any of this affected his roommate but it can't have been good. This is a recovery from addiction center after all and, Jakes the only one on the spectrum. He is also the only one not in recovery and, I'm pretty sure this was not a good idea. My options were limited then, as they are still today.
I just got the call, they are moving him back to Alter temporarily to stabilize him. It's just to much for him but they don't see him. They don't see Jacob for who he is, rather an idea or perception of who they think he should be. They can "change" or "fix" him. It's ridiculous but here we are.
For how many more years will he have to suffer?
How many more days, birthdays, holidays, will he have to feel alone?
This is a weird analogy but, sometimes it feels like I'm playing one of those video games where if you die, you have to go back and start over completely. It doesn't matter how many coins you gained or, how many levels you passed, you could be almost to the end of the game, almost about to win the whole thing and this giant, scary creature comes out of nowhere and totally kills you.
Until next time.
P.S. Jacob has approximately 9 aunts and uncles, 4 grandparents, a father, and multitudes of 1st cousins, some who are adults living their best lives. I am the only one who calls, texts, visits ever. Yes, it should sting and yes, if you feel guilt or anger reading this then, you're paying attention so do something about it.