Thinking about Willie this weekend as I passed the second anniversary of his death. Thinking on how he couldn’t see past where he was to when things would be different and better… how I tried so many times and so many ways to convince him that it WOULD be different and better someday… the realization that I carry guilt that I feel like I failed him in that I couldn’t make him better. Knowing that the guilt isn’t accurate does nothing to lessen it.
After his death, reading his journals and hearing.. really hearing… for the first time maybe, his voice and the strength of his belief that not only would it not get better, it was probably only going to get worse. Talking with psychiatrists and counsellors and understanding that with mental illness, especially psychosis, the reality is that it may NOT ever have gotten better for him… that he may have been right… that it might have only gotten worse. Coming to the realization that all of my assurances were really just based on me wanting to make him believe it – regardless of reality.
Because the truth is, we had nothing to go on. No diagnosis other than depression and anxiety technically. A diagnosis based on what Willie chose to share with his doctors and not based on what he was sharing with others close to him or what he filled his journals with. We can look now at his journals and what he did share with a few people and see that it was far beyond depression and anxiety… that he was exhibiting symptoms of early psychosis – symptoms he was incredibly adept and determined at hiding. The facts are that I had nothing to base my promises on other than my desperate desire to believe that it was true that it would get better. Because the option that it wouldn’t wasn’t possible in my mind. When he would insist that suicide was the only option for him I fought that with everything – trying to make him believe that he was wrong… the strength of that belief based solely on my fear of loss and the inability to even conceive of a life spent without my child in it. But not based in fact or truth… just hope…
How ironic now that hope is the one thing that eludes me…as it did Willie. Ironic because I so adamantly held to hope then and now it feels out of my reach most days. I glimpse it every now and then and even feel it from time to time but the belief isn’t there. I want it to be, but I don’t feel it.