by Neecee in Alabama
My mother was a very attractive woman at one time-- she almost resembled a model. Something was wrong with her thinking; it drove her and whoever came in contact with her away. I can remember when I was eleven years old and my mother accused me of going with her boyfriend and calling me names. When I was thirteen, my mother would tell us lies all the time. She would make up these bizarre stories about these children to keep us in line. It took me years to shake the majority of this thinking.
I spent a long time being ashamed of my mother. As her mind faded, her looks soon left. She began thinking that God told her to do things like lay on one side and not move until God told her to move, and then sometimes she would just sit in one spot for hours and hours naked and wrapped up in a blanket. She said that God told her to do this, We would come home from school and she would be sitting in the same spot and the apartment would look the same as we left it that morning. I had to clean up, wash, cook, shop for groceries, and make decisions. On the day that she came out of her spell (which I learned later that this is called a catatonic state), she fought me and hit me and cursed at me. After this, she told my sisters and brothers how I was no good. She turned them against me every time she could.
The next few incidents over the years, from age thirteen to eighteen, my mother would think there were odors coming from her knees and she thought that everyone could smell this odor. She was constantly hearing voices and would get angry at us for not saying yes when she asked us if we heard these voices. My mother also thought she had cancer in her throat, so she was constantly spitting. My mother spit in everything and then she would say that she saw eyes in her spit and get us to look at it. My mother also believed that her spit was holy and had healing powers. My mother drank lotion to make the inside of her body smell good. At times and later in her illness, my mother began saying to us that our family was our enemies and they wanted her dead. She told us that if we told anyone about her we'd just go from pillow to pole because no one wants us and she didn't either. She would yell and cry and had days of depression and regrets for what she had done in her life and with her life. One day after telling us that people thought that she was a dog, got a bowl of pinto beans from our garbage and then walked outside put the bowl on the back step and kneeled down to eat out of the bowl. She began to yell out that Y'ALL THINK I AM A DOG ANYWAY SO I BE YOUR DOG! During this same year my mother would chase the neighbors, run up to the neighbors, and she accused me of desiring a boy that was one of my brother's friends. This was very painful and hurtful.
I was full of pain for all of these years. Dealing with a mentally ill person is very hard because their mind picture is real to them. My mother then told me to get out because I was no use for her anymore since the welfare people took my name off of the welfare check. She said that I was her enemy and I told the welfare people to take the $50 that I contributed to the household up until I turned sixteen. I graduated from high school and I left home.
I received a call at my job that my mother was chasing people and pulling up her clothes and running up to people and saying things to them. A crowd had gathered. The police had come out and I called my Uncle Ben for help. I was crying and did not know what to do. Social Services took the youngest two and my brother went to stay with friends. I did not stay there after she left. I do not know if it was because of the bad memories I had in that apartment or if it was because I was trying to get myself together.
I do not know but I resented my mother for not being there emotionally and not being responsible enough to understand that she had a problem and needed help and that in order to keep her children and remain a free individual she needed to take her pills. I resented her so much. It was me to the rescue again. Rescuing my parent as usual.
My mother had three stays at our local mental hospital but this time, since she had gone off her medicines, she was worse and needed a longer stay. One of the city bus drivers had seen my mother out walking one morning after the incident when I had to come down and he said she looked as if nothing was wrong with her. I think the thing that made me angry was the fact that my mother had attempted to get herself together after she lost her children. There were several witnesses against her and her behavior. It was sad. My mother was so confused that she could not even answer the judges questions. She was rambling.
I was sad for several reasons--her children were gone, people had testified that my siblings were never in the apartment but hanging out, including the youngest who was messing up pretty badly. Needless to say, the judge shook his head and sent my mother to the hospital. I firmly believe that the judge wanted my mother to be alright and wanted all of this to be some fabrication, but it was all true. From there my mother went to a group home and to a smaller group home and now has her own apartment. She is not taking her medicines as she should, she is constantly not sleeping, and is always in another zone with her thinking. My children come in telling me of the things that grandma says.
My children are eighteen and fifteen. My mother recently told me that she needs another stay at the institution because she is getting worse. I do not know if my mother will get so far gone that she will not return. A portion of her is still here but she is slipping away. I have a broken heart. I have often asked why did I have to have the mother with the mental problems, the mother that could not and did not know how to help herself. I used to wonder if God did it on purpose.
I spent the last few years of my life waiting for schizophrenia to strike me. I was concerned until I turned 25 years old and I still keep looking over my shoulder because I knew it was coming. I am forty years old now and have spent the better part of my life working with the mentally ill.