Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The beginning of recovery or the beginning of relapse?

One evening towards the end of September 2008 I found Chris outside our apartment building, looking sad.

“Did you keep your appointment with Dr. Stern?”

“I stopped on the bridge and couldn't go on. I just held on to the railing. It seemed so far away.”

I fought the panic that was beginning to stir inside me. I had never thought of Chris as suicidal, but I also sensed that he had been drawing closer to reality in the past few weeks. This is a perilous transition. I wanted to probe further, to see where his despair lay. “It” seeming so far away can have many possible interpretations: The boiling river down below (shudder), his aspirations for his future or whatever else he may have been feeling.

Back in the apartment, I made a minute steak and small salad for him and encouraged him to eat. He barely touched his food, letting it go cold on his plate. His eyes were reddening. He had been planning to go to his appointment that afternoon with Dr Stern, but first stopped off at a store to pick up an item for Taylor.

“When I walked in I realized then that the store was not my store, it was just a store. ” Chris started to cry. This was encouraging to me, though painful to see him in such pain. I felt he was beginning to make progress as a human being.

“And then what happened? ”

“I walked along the street where the trams are and then I had a coffee.”

Chris continued to weep. “What have I done, Mom, what have I done? I am not God!”

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