**Part 1 of 2, His First Episode
A few weeks after my son Noah had turned 17, our lives were changed forever.
He did not start off his birthday week very well. Unfortunately he thought it was a “Cool idea” to wake up early (4:00a.m.) to “celebrate” his birthday with a hotbox snap chat party in his bedroom with his 15 year old brother, while the rest of the family was still asleep!
The smell of smoke awoke me. I was so furious at them both for breaking rules and being so inconsiderate. I grounded them both, which meant they could only leave the house to go to school and no where else. They were housebound without cell phone service and wi-fi/internet. They were Completely disconnected from friends. After a few days, Noah told me that I was overreacting and accused me of being too strict and told me I should cut them a break. Nope! I thought this behavior was absurdly disrespectful.
After being grounded for close to two whole weeks. I decided to unground my two teen sons a couple of days early. I figured they had a miserable two weeks on “lockdown” and I felt that was enough time for them to think about what they did wrong. Also, It was going to be Thanksgiving holiday weekend and both my sons would be leaving town in a couple of days to visit their father who lives in nearby city. They would be gone for a whole week and I wanted to give them the chance to go hang out with friends or girlfriends.
So, mid morning, I popped my head into the family room to give them the good news. My younger son (15) immediately had a big smile from ear-to-ear. I noticed right away that there was hardly any reaction or expression on Noah’s face. Then, as I ended my announcement and set my conditions and expectations of them, I realized there was an almost horrified, then sad look on Noah’s face.
I recall immediately feeling strange that I had gotten two very different reactions from my boys. I told myself that maybe Noah was just trying to act mad at me for keeping them grounded for so long. After all, there have been many other times he would get dramatic or even condescending if he thought I was being unfair.
Anyhow, about 15 minutes after this, I see my youngest 15 year old son rushing to do his chores so he could get ready to go out. He even asked me for a ride to a friends house.
I glanced over and saw that Noah hasn’t budged from the couch at all. So I asked if he was going to get ready to go out. He said he didn’t want to go out anywhere and was staying home. I asked “Don’t you want to see your girlfriend, she hasn’t seen you in two weeks”. He snapped at me, “I already told you, I’m staying home!” I walked away to my room, confused. Yet I told myself not to over analyze.
Minutes after, Noah came into my bedroom to tell me that he was worried about Little Brother and that he didn’t want him to leave and that I shouldn’t let him leave the house either. He had a panic in his voice along with a very worried face. I asked him why not. I asked if there was a problem that he knew of. He didn’t answer me. He just turned and walked out.
Well about an hour later, Little Brother was ready to leave so all three of us hopped into my car to drop off Little Brother at his friends house. I told Noah he needed to speak his feelings now or forever hold his peace. He then turned his head back from Where he was sitting in the front passenger seat to look towards where his brother was seated in the back of the car and he told Little Brother that he should just stay home where it’s safe. Little brother got irritated and reminded us that he has been home for weeks.
Shortly after, we arrived at Little Brother’s destination. Little brother gets out of the car and into his friends house.
Because I could see a genuine worry from Noah as he squirmed in his seat, I drove slowly towards the apartment exit to give him a chance to tell me what in the world was going on. I sternly told him, “Noah if your brother is any sort of danger, I need you to tell me this instant so that we have the chance to turn around and pick him right back up and bring him home with us.
Noah then says, in a very low whisper, “I’d tell you but you’ll think I’m crazy.” I immediately stopped the car, looked at him, and told him that there was nothing, NOTHING, that he could ever tell me to make me think he was crazy. I demanded he start talking And he had better talk quickly to let me know why my youngest child was going to be unsafe…This is when the situation PEAKED!
In a very low whispery voice, Noah said “That’s not my brother that we just dropped off”. He only looks like Little Brother and sounds like him.” I gasped, ” What do you mean? You’re joking right?” But no he wasn’t as he proceeded to say, “Mom don’t believe everything you see. People can be copied easily. Even my other brother, Joey was copied. There are some smart genius people out there Mom. These guys just look like my brothers but they’re really not them.”
I thought, Oh my God! This was not at all what I expected to hear and it did not make any sense. At that moment, I realized my youngest child, ‘Little brother’, was not in any danger and began to drive off. However, I also knew that something was severely wrong here with my Noah!
My only concern now, was to try and quickly figure out what on Earth was going on with Noah. Ugh, my heart was palpitating now, I could actually feel my whole body tensing up with extreme worry and intense fear of the unknown. Never, Ever, has Noah acted so strangely Ever!
I drove us back to our house with my mind racing with silent questions the entire way; was he on drugs? No, he hadn’t left the house in weeks. Hmm…maybe someone at school gave him something?
As I pulled into our driveway, Noah began to whisper again and said he had a lot more to tell me, but that he could not tell me there (at home). “I can’t trust him he says”, as he motioned his head and pointed upwards towards our second story window where his older brother Joey was watching television. I told him I was tired and we could talk there in my car with the windows up, that no one would hear us. He began squirming again in his seat and appeared physically agitated. His voice got louder and faster as he firmly said we could not be there, we were not safe! That we didn’t even know who the stranger was in our house, that the stranger just looks like his older brother Joey but he is an imposter. He kept saying we need to leave, get out of there and drive. I could see and hear the panic in him, so off I drove, hoping to get some answers.
Needing to hear more of what was really going on with him, I decided to take him for a drive down a long straight road. I knew I had to quickly decifer wether or not my kid was on drugs or having some kind of mental breakdown/experience.
As I drive out of our neighborhood street and entered the main road, Noah begins quickly looking back and forth frantically at each car driving passed us. He says we are being followed, he says “They are watching us.”, Who?”, I asked. Just minutes later, he was so worried he forgot why we were driving around. Since driving around was obviously causing more anxiety for him. I attempted to pull over into a “safe spot” where we could just talk. With a scared look on his face, he began shouting, “No dark streets!”, “This is sketch, are you setting me up?” So I drive off again to find another spot that perhaps he’d feel comfortable with. He didn’t feel safe at the next couple of other spots either. At this point I’m scared and very confused. Earlier he was afraid for Little Brothers safety and now he feels unsafe?
I ended up getting on the main highway to drive again. He then says we need to get out of town. He ask me to keep driving and not to stop. We’ve been driving now for about half an hour by then. I was feeling very Frightened. I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what to do.
I finally told him to go ahead and tell me all he wanted to tell me, while I drive. Noah finally began talking, talking quickly and none of what he said made any sense at all. He proceeded to tell me all about not trusting anyone. He said he’s been getting signs everywhere. “It’s all in the signs”. ” I can’t trust my girlfriend either.” He began crying a bit and then I really couldn’t understand him.
I was asking questions in between his short pauses, trying to get clarification on his many statements, but his brief and incomplete answers seemed only to leave me with more questions!
Then after another 45 minutes of driving, stopping, driving, my boy begins to cry non stop with many tears streaming down his face, all the while he continued to look around with a frightened expression and uttering more senseless ramblings off and on. Then he kept crying tears that soaked his T shirt. He says “Maybe I have Trust issues, Maybe it’s paranoia”.
After over an hour of driving, his words were becoming increasingly abstract with each passing minute. I asked, “Noah is there something you’ve ingested? Did you take any Pills or drugs? Have you swallowed anything at all other than food?” With tears he wails out a definite “No”. “I don’t know why I feel this way, I don’t want to feel like this.” As I took a good look at my son in that moment, I notice he was wearing his wooden Rosary around his neck and a matching wooden saint bracelet. He really did feel unsafe. Ugh, my heart was crushed. I felt completely helpless.
Now, about two hours after originally dropping off Little Brother, I was finally able to convince Noah that we’d be safer back at home rather than the stranger filled streets.
Right when we got home, I quickly made him Chamomile tea and gave him Hyland’s homeopathic nerve tonic. He sipped his tea and told me he felt better having talked to me. He allowed me to check his eyes with a flashlight. They dilated normally. I told him to please try and relax and reminded him that Little Brother should now actually be returning back home soon too and suggested that they rent a movie to watch together.
I was so exhausted from the almost three hour long ride that I told myself that we were all just going to try and relax the rest of that evening. We were both home safe and Noah was calm and ok for now. I felt I could revisit all of this in the morning then figure out what would be next.
However, the situation Escalated much later that night, early morning. Around midnight, Noah came running into my bedroom door asking loudly if he could sleep in my room. He woke me and my husband from a deep sleep. I immediately noticed that he appeared scared again. I would even say he had a look of terror in his eyes. So of course I said” Yes you can sleep in here, if you promise to relax and sleep because we both need rest”. He said he would sleep but pleaded with me to make sure the house alarm is turned on “stay” and that all the doors and windows were locked, including my bedroom door!
After he settled down in my bed (in my husband’s now vacant spot), he began tossing and turning to get comfortable. In the midst of this I heard a metal rattling and asked what that noise was. It was then that he told me it was a a box cutter and he needed to sleep with it to protect us from “them”. Umm….now at this point, I began feeling a little unsafe. What the blank_______ is going on??!&$
Every sound outside my bedroom window was a new worry for Noah. He Kept checking the window and closets after every noise made by the cars driving passed our home.
By now I was more than exhausted from this long bizarre day. I firmly told the boy he needed to rest now and that if he wanted to stay in my room, he would have to take Benadryl and go to sleep!
I reassured him that we were safe in my locked room and alarmed house. I also told him that we would figure out together why he’s feeling such intense emotions first thing in the morning. I told him he was going ti need to take some Benadryl to help him relax and sleep. He took the Benadryl from my outstretched hand and just before swallowing them, he glared at me and asked, “Are you really my Mother?”. I said “Of course I am.” He suspiciously examined his glass of water I gave him, before swelling the pills with it. Then he told me that he would rest his eyes only and that he didn’t need to sleep. He finally tired out. But then I lied there next to him worried that he may hurt me because he didn’t think I was his real mother. I prayed and cried myself to sleep.
What a day and night!
I invite you to visit the link below to read Part 2 of 2 of this blog post, Day 2 when he was admitted the next morning.