April 18, 2004

Well I went back for my follow up ap. with the clinical psychologist and I don't have ADHD. I have tendancies toward bipolar ll. This was pretty much it. We did some testing and found that I had a major amount of anxiety as a child. Now that I am older I get the panic attacks and my stress is shown physically. this is why I have some extreme behavior similair to ADHD. I was also told that yes I do have issues, now isn't that what everyone wants to hear. Issues. I could have told her that. Any way she is a great lady and my meds are going to be changed next month, so hopefully I will find something that will balance me out some. I actually do look forward to it and am really excited. I am thinking that maybe after I get my RN I will steer my nursing toward psychology. Needless to say this last month for sure, I have done a lot of soul serching and found out a few things about my self. the reasons why I am over wieght, why I feel the need to be vocal all the time. things like that. Maybe I will talk about it some time. I have been really tired lately and just recently found out that my thyroid is low, that is getting checked next month also. I just tell everybody that if they were in my head they would be exhausted too. lol. see ya next time.

Posted by Erin at 09:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

April 08, 2004

the things we learn

I apologize for not making any entries lately. It has been a busy semester and many things have happened and are curently happening. first thing first, I made a comment in one of my entries about how I thought that us kids had some effect on the duration and severity of my mothers episodes. That somehow it felt like just our presence seemed to help feed her mania. I just want to say that it is not true. Since she is not having treatment of any kind and has suffered from this illness for forty some years she is what many call a burned out schizophrenic. She was and always will be a horrible mother, she should never have had kids. but I think god every day that she did, because I would not have my brother or sisters, their children, and I myself would not have had the privelage of having my own. things in this world and in our personal lives happen for a reason, that reason sometimes is unexplainable, and its importance is not clarified until some years later.
recently I was evaluated for different learning styles and to see if there were problem areas that could be improved. this was done through the nursing program at school and I have to say many things have come up. I filled out test after test and answered endless questions. At the end of my session I was referred to a man in the area who dealt specifically with ADD and ADHD. I have been told that I show many similaritys to someone who has ADHD. This was brought up in shcool quite a few times and it got me to thinking that maybe there was something there that needed further investigation. I have never been tested with any disorder of any kind accept depression. I followed through with my curiousity and saw a clinical psychologist who was closer to home, Actually I just got home from her office an hour ago. I have only seen her once so there is no diagnoses of any kind yet. what surprised me is that not only is she trying to eliminate ADHD, but bipolar also, this brought tears to my eyes. Reason why is that about a week ago my older sister who is 30 was just diagnosed as bipolar. She wanted me to get tested and evaluated because she felt I was struggling still with some issues, and its heredity. I have gotten fairly good results from paxil, but I always felt that it didn't help enough. I have had two, probably three episodes of depression and from what I was told a manic episode usually follows with someone who is bipolar. Many times the person not showing these signs until late twenties to early thirties. Also there are many similarities between the symptoms of ADHD and bipolar, They can get mixed up in diagnoses. So needless to say the profesional who does the actual diagnoses has to be careful and fully test for each disorder. From what I hear, back in the day many times a person who actually had bipolar was also misdiagnosed as schizophrenic. of course that was not what I wanted to hear. There are times when bipolar can be so severe that their manic episodes include delusions and who knows what else. this was why they were frequently mistaken for schizophrenics. I have a follow up apointment next week and will be back, so until then, goodbye.

Posted by Erin at 12:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 11, 2004

my sister susan

when I was about eleven I remember one of my mothers larger episodes.I don't recall everything about what happened but I do remember a few things. My older sister Susan was about fifteen at the time and was told by our parents that she needed to quite school. I think this came from mom mostly, dad I think was told that it was Susan's choice. She was to quite school so she could take care of Christine and David who were very little at the time. Some times mom would talk in tongues or a babbling that no one understood, and we would sit at the bar in the kitchen and listen to her. She would tell some interesting stories. I don't recall many of them. But none the less she had our attention. We had no clue as to what was going on, and no understanding of anything. Susan held a lot of anger for mom because she had to quite school. She later decided to get her GED and go to beauty school. She could tell more about what all happened here then I could. Mom was almost completely unresponsive before dad put her in the hospital. She couldn't walk, or talk. My sister was so angry at her, she didn't know what to do. We had a picture of jesus, we were fairly churchy at the time. Well any way, she shoved the picture in moms face and I don't know exactly what happened except that she deffinately got her attention. This is the only thing that mom says she remembers from this whole break down. Ever since she believed that susan was trying to kill her. She always felt threatened by her kids in one way or another.
This reminds me of a time when I was five. I was daddies little girl, I was still the youngest, christy wasn't born yet. When dad came home every evening I would just get so extatic. I would run to the door and jump in his arms. I craved this attention and waited for it every day. One day right as dad drove into the yard mom explained to me that I needed to stop greeting dad at the door. I was a big girl now and that kind of attention was strictly for a man and wife. I was crushed. I never hugged or kissed him again. For that matter I don't remember getting much affection from mom after that. Dad never knew what mom told me, he said that he thought I had gotten to the point where I didn't need affection from him anymore, and he never pushed the issue. We were all taught that any affection was strictly for man and wife. We even stopped telling people that we loved them. So this made trips to grandmas house kindof uncomfortable because they hugged and kissed. We always got hugs and kisses on the mouth when we showed up and when we left. Even though the whole mouth thing was weird at the time, I will always cherish those memories, because I know they were good ones.

I remember getting up in the morning and trying to sneek change out of the junk droor for lunch money and getting caught. Mom was permaneantly on the couch at this time. I swear I was so quiet, but she still heard me and told me to get out of the droor. Nothing seemed to get by her. Growing up we didn't eat school lunches. We weren't allowed to. We qualified for free lunches but mom and dad refused to let us. We had to take our own. This would have been fine except for what we had to bring. I remember feeling ashamed and embarrased becuase I always had something that was wierd and not really filling. Mom had this thing about eating healthy. Healthy doesn't bother me, I know its good. but there can be a line that if crossed it can do more damage than good. Food was always an issue at home. I remember trying to make a honey and peanut butter sandwich out of this bread stuff that mom had made. It was heavy flat and crumbly. I would carefully put it in a sandwich bag and that was my lunch. When I was eight it was hard to explain what my lunch was so I wouldn't eat it, or try to hide it while I ate. We weren't allowed to eat sugar, cafiene, additives, preservatives, white floor, milk, beef or pork, soda, juices and just about anything that seemed normal. There were times when I would steel food or lunch tickets at school. I just wanted to be like everyone else. Well one day I got caught steeling a lunch ticket. My teacher sent me to the principal and I just cried. I was so ashamed. I couldn't tell him why I had done it. But the end result was my parents ended up getting me free lunches. It came to a point that my mom was disgusted with buying groceries for her six children that she had dad install a lock on the refrigerator. She felt she was spening too much money on food. by this time I was thirteen. Most of our meals consisted of a piece of baked chicken, half a tomato and a green onion; this was our dinner. there would be some lite variation. but not much. Our diet was very strict. At breakfast time we would measure out one cup of granola that mom had made for us. Lunch was left-overs or two eggs, or whatever we scrounged up. Dinner varied some with maybe half an avacado, or raw asparagus (absalutely disgusting), or raw brussel sprouts, or raw spinach. We never went hungry I can say that, but we ate very basic foods.
I love my sisters very much. Susan was always there for us untill she moved away, which is another stor in itself. I just wish I could be there more for her now. She is doing fine, but still fighting her own battles.

Posted by Erin at 01:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 02, 2004

The Letter

I added my last piece of writing to explain some of the situations that mom had to deal with, or rather couldn't. A lot happened and talking about it gets me all fired up. so if I seem rather abrupt I am sorry. some times my mind works faster than my hand. I would like to paste part of a letter I wrote, it would explain many things about some of the episodes our mother had. this is just a highlight, and I can expand later.

My mother was diagnosed at the age of 49 with paranoid schizophrenia. This was about seven years ago. Since then all of us kids have been trying to put some of the pieces together. We believe she had her first episode when she was 17.

In doing research on schizophrenia I have found that she has had just about every symptom of the disorder at one time or another. We were brainwashed from the time we were young kids until adulthood. Our parents were involved in the mormon church. Many of their religous practices didn't actually come from the mormon religion, but rather a spin off of what she learned at church.

She says she remembers hearing voices all the way back to the age of four or five. We grew up with both parents, my father worked all the time and as far as I know he never had the privilege to see and hear some of the things that we saw. He chose to ignore a lot of things and not confront them if he did.

Religion was a big issue when we were younger. So, there was always an excuse for what was happening. When I was eight years old my mother told us kids that she was going to die, or two men would come and take her from this earth. Dad never tried to explain any of this to us, he just took us to the movies and she was to be gone when we got back, or dead.

A lot of this came from the fact that she believed she would never live past the age of 37. She had a fear of getting old. But, low and behold she was still there when we got back. Of course all of us kids were scared and our father told us to open all of the doors, windows, and cupboards. He was going to bless the house and tell all the evil spirits to leave. This was something that we were used to. It was a practice that our father did every time we moved into a new house. We sat in a circle as he prayed for guidance and requested that if there were any evil spirits in the house they were to leave now.

What made the event even more terrifying was that as he said those words the front door slammed shut. This was evidence to us, made us believe that what he was doing was working. He continued the prayer more fervently, when he finished we closed all the doors and windows and had a family counsel. As the next few days went by our mother got better. This is just one example of her episodes.

As I got older my mother's episodes seemed to last longer. We no longer went to church and my parents became Agnostic. She seemed to spend months or maybe even years building up to an episode. She seemed rather normal to most people. They thought she was kind of strange but ok. It was when no one else was around that she would talk about the end of the world and what would happen to our family. She had her own views on things.

She would tell us stories that were more like "fairy tales". She always had an answer for everything. She called the voices her "guides". At one time she believed them to be God talking to her. We would ask questions about the things she said, and every time she couldn't come up with an answer for us she would say that we were not ready to hear it.

One thing that I remember the most about how we all felt was the massive confusion we all had. These episodes that she had would start out very small or slow. They would escalade and progress over months dramatically, once she began to realize that something was not right. For instance she would tell us certain things would happen and when they didn't she would get confused, incoherent, speak in tongues, tell wild outlandish stories; she would stop eating or eat just raw meat. These are just some examples of what she would do. And sometimes she would get catatonic, but that was usually the last stage of an episode.

One time she had the two youngest children help her gather everything in the house that was blue, any and all candles, incense and incense burners, deodorizer sprays, except the vanilla ones, and put them in large trash bags and deposit them on the steps of the churches around town. She burned sage on the dining room table to cleanse the house. She tried to tell my sister that if she would take a certain herb (i can't remember what it was) it would work as birth control.

So she took it for two weeks and had to stop because she became very weak, bruised all over, and very anemic. She was later told it was a blood thinner only to be used for a short period of time. These kinds of things went on my whole life. Our mother is receiving no therapy of any kind now. She did for a couple of years and went off of everything. She has her own excuses for what is wrong with her, severe post traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, depression and anxiety.

But, she still can't explain the voices which she still hears. She does though accept them as part of her and who she is. Since her last episode the children split. We no longer talk to her or see her. For the sanity of ourselves we have to keep our distance. She knowingly allowed criminal deviants to care for us when we were younger. Many things that happened can't be forgotten. Our mother allowed us to get very close with her disorder. I have not found much information about that particular aspect of it.

Most stories I have read talk about how the person with schizophrenia fights against the people who are trying to help them. I believe that we may have fed her episodes. Even prolonged them without knowing how we really affected her illness. Now as time has passed her episodes, from what she has told me, last three days and she is catatonic, as long as she is left alone. She explains these as a type of self hypnosis. I believe otherwise and so do the rest of the kids.

Since we last saw her we have had to do a lot of personal growth and development. The issues that we kids have had to deal with on a personal level are different from kid to kid, but the source has always been the same. I know that my family past is a unique one. But so are many others.

About six months ago I got in touch with my parents for the first time since 1997. It might have been longer I don't know. I spoke to mom on the phone when her mother was dying. Mainly to let her know. And of course things escalated and i cried she cried. We spoke via emails for about a month. She continues to blame us kids for her problems. We were the cause of all of her grief.

She refuses to accept that her illness is what it is. Since then there has been no contact on either side. When I left seven years ago, I left because I had to. I stoped all communication with her this last time because I wanted to. what was the point. She was no longer a mother to me. We did not see eye to eye on anything. She wasn't actively seeking any help of any kind. And I had already dealt with the death of my parents. My parents died when they stopped protecting the little girl who needed it most. Actually all of us, except one.

I didn't mourn though untill I was 22, that is why I had so many of my own problems to deal with. I waited too long. A lot of kids did. I would really like one of my sisters to write in here. We'll see.

Posted by Erin at 02:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 27, 2004

In a Very Large Nutshell

There has been a lot of abuse in our family. Most beginning with the pedifiles our parents had baby sit us. My older sister could expand more on that. by the time I came around the older siblings would take care of the younger.

When I came into the picture, or rather my first memory of this was of an old man who gave us candy for sexual favors. I don't know or remember how old I was when it started. And I couldn't say if he was the first or if my older brother was. The old man's name was Bill. We called him dirty Bill. He had a very bad past.

We lived on a farm then and my mother would sell or buy farm animals from him. I believe it was sheep. But not sure. Our parents new of his past. He had spent quite a few years in prison for child melestation and on more than one account. But even knowing what kind of past he had they still alloyed him to spend time with their children.

One occasion I remember well was when the family got together around the kitchen table with my dad on one end, dirty bill on the other and the rest of us in between. There wasn't a chair for me to sit in so I sat on one of my parents lap. I don't remember which. Dad asked all of us if dirty Bill had ever touched us in any way. Of course we all said no wanting the confrontation over. Dirty Bill swore he never touched any of us kids and no longer lived that kind of life.

At one point he asked if I wanted to sit on his lap. I agreed because I would get a piece of candy if I went over there. He always had a bag of candy on him and we werent allowed to have candy, but I knew that my parents wouldn't say anything. As dad was talking to everyone dirty Bill would have me play with his genitalia while I ate the piece of candy. Quite ironic actually. My dad even questioned me being over on Bills lap but they never told me to get down or take me away. I was six at the time.

This kind of thing happened quite frequently over a two year span. Somewhere there is a picture of me half naked. This was taken when I was seven. Dirty Bill was later put in prison by another parent who's son told her that he had tried to touch him inapropriately. My mother even visited him in jail. And as a family we visited his home after he had gotten out. At this time we were confronted and asked if bill had done anything and we all said no. I didn't know what the consequences would be and our father was an inimidating person. I didn't want to get in trouble. That was the end of that.

At aproximately the same time my older brother was doing his own fondling of his sisters including myself. I don't remember when he started but the earliest thing I do remember was my fear of being left alone with him, I didn't want him to touch me. I was four. He was abusive to all of us girls and I later learned that he tried to molest my oldest sister.

She was old enough to fight him off so that didn't last long. Next came the second oldest girl. He got farther with her becuase she was four years younger, about eight or nine at the time. By the time he reached me he would take things even farther. I am eight years younger than him, almost nine. By now he was trying everything including penetration. I was scared to say anything because he threatened to beat the crap out of me. He used that on all of us, he was so much bigger.

When I was almost nine years old I decided to finally fight him. He had me on his bed and I was crying and trying to push him off when my oldest sister started banging on his door and yelling at him. He jumped up and got dressed and left the room as if nothing had happened. When I got out my sisters asked me if he was trying to have sex with me. I was shocked they knew or suspected anything. Come to find out the bedroom window was open and one of the girls were in the back yard and told the other that she heard me crying. The oldest girl was about twelve or thirteen I think. She confronted our brother and told him that if he ever came near one of us again that she would beat the shit out of him and cut off his penis and tell mom and dad. Well nothing ever happened again. He was seventeen.

Our parents disgust me. There were so many times that something should have been done. But they were clueless, refused to see the signs. Mom caught my older brother wearing her nighties and we told her about his pornos and what he was doing and she laughed at him. I don't think anything was done over that.

When I was fouteen my older brother had moved back in the house. I was having a lot of problems with this and my sister told her why. Now everything was out in the open. I thought that now everything would be taken care of. But I was still afraid. Mom sat me down in her room on the bed and asked me what I wanted her to do. That put me in a spot. I told her that I didn't know. What fourteen year old knows how to handle a situation like this. She proceeded to tell me that he was older now and had a family of his own and was a different person. I didn't believe that. He still tried to over power and abuse us physically. That was the end of that.

Looking back I always wondered what the heck she was thinking. I am a parent and if I ever suspected anything was happening to my little girl the person involved would be put in prison. And I certainly don't associate with pedifiles and allow my child to be around them. I have learned a lot from my parents on what not to do. She now denies ever knowing or being told about anything. I guess that would make her liable. She has a lot of guilt. So much so that she can't admit anything even to herself. Accepting responsability was always a problem. But at the time we did not know that she had a mental illness. Enough for now.

Posted by Erin at 11:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 22, 2004

Introduction to Me

Hello to everyone who might be interested in learning what is was like or rather share feelings and past experiences with me and my family who have lived with a parent that has been diagnosed and currently living with untreated schizophrenia. Honestly I don't know exactly where to start. There are so many experiences to choose from. I think I will start with describing myself and what kind of person I am today.

I am twenty-eight years old, married and we have a little girl who is three. I am in nursing school, my second semester of LPN. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but almost three years ago my sister inlaw helped me get an interview at our hospital here in town. I was going to be hired for the desk secretary on the med-surge floor, but later I became a CNA which is what I am doing now. When I did my orientation I remember being so pumped about the nursing field. I was so excited. I remembered my therapist at the time telling me that the perfect job was where a person can help others and make decent money at the same time. What I saw was my oportunity to definately help others. I sat on my dicision for over a year before I decided that getting through school would be easier if I would enroll. Silly me. Nothing happens unless I make it happen. I had always heard that little saying but it took almost ten years for it to sink in.

I am a good person I think. I don't hurt other people intentionally. I try to keep myself on the straight and narrow. Sometimes it is a daily battle. Every once in awhile if I feel down about myself I try to do something good for someone. For instance shoveling the neighbors driveway because I know they can't or playing secret santa at christmas time. Doing these things anonamously is the way I like to go. It keeps the uncomfortableness of them finding out at bay. Plus it's not necassary or important if they do know.

I do smoke and social driink occasionally, but so does half the world. I would like to quick smoking someday. I feel I need to get my wieght issues taken care of first.

I have been in and out of therapy a couple of times. The first time was when I was twenty-two. I was on the virge of a physical breakdown. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I couldn't walk ten feet without haveing to sit down. I didn't sleep well and was always tired. I began to loose wieght (deffinately suspicious) and had no appetite. So, I went to see my doctor and she asked me if I wanted to take two little quizes and I agreed, apprehensive about how it would go. When I finished she took them out of the room and came back about ten minutes later, telling me that I had depresion and anxiety. I almost started crying. She informed me that some people are born with depression and some have it because of past issues or experiences. I believe the latter is where I fell in. I explained that my mother had schizophrenia and was recently diagnosed about two years before at the age of 49. I also told her of my fear of having to be on medications for the rest of my life. I didn't want to be crazy, and that was my initial thought.

Being dependant on meds at that time was scarry for me. My fear of having something similar to my mother or as a result of was not what I wanted. But we don't always have a choice as to our mental health. I was close to loosing my job because of attendance and I wanted to feel better so I went on to therapy also.

I was on paxil for about a year and quit. I quit therapy at the same time because I was moving accross the country to follow my boyfriend who is now my husband. I didn't feel therapy was doing much for me, I only went for six sessions. He told me that I needed to follow up with someone in Illinois. I recieved the same surprise from my doctor when I told her that I quit paxil. So she gave me a prescription for a year to take with me. I stayed off of everything untill my daughter was about four months old.

Now having a kid brought up all kinds of issues. I love her more than anything or anyone in the whole world. But she was not the easiest child. Still isn't for that matter. I was going through major post partum depression. My husband is in the reserves and he had left one weekend. I was scared for him to leave. I didn't trust myself being home with the baby alone. I had not slept for five months and this time I just knew I was going to lose it. I felt the urge to just throw her agianst the wall, or leave her somewhere. I didn't care. I took all of what I had left to keep my emotional well being in check, to remind myself that she was helpless and that yes I did love her. I was never so glad to see him than when he returned that sunday night. This took me back to the doctor who suggested therapy and returning to paxil. I was so adament at that time to stay off paxil and so for the next year I did just therapy sessions on a weekly basis.

This went well for me I thought. My therapist told me that I had platoued and I could quit therapy for now. About three months later I called my doctor and said I wanted back on paxil. Now I know paxil is what I need for the rest of my life and I refuse to quit taking it. I was so emotionally drained that I couldn't concentrate on anything.

Now to change the subject. I am the fourth child of six. There is four of us girls and two boys. The boys being the oldest and the youngest. I have informed most of them of me writing the blog and would like them to share their point of views with everyone.

Our parents are now living in Washington near Seatle where they are close to my older brother and his family. I call them one unit. The rest of the kids don't talk to or see them. We have disenfranchised ourselves. I will get more into that later of course.

What brought me to writing a blog began with a research paper I am currently doing on schizophrenia in my comp II class. I wrote a letter to NAMI which is an excellant site if anyone cares to check it out. I wanted to know if there was any documentation anywhere on children who have parents with schizophrenia and how they have dealt with it. There is little to no literature on the subject. I didn't get very far, but I did get a couple of feedbacks from some people from the bullitin I posted. I wish to expand on what I have found and what I have experienced for later educational purposes.

I am driven to do more if I can. If I can help others by helping myself. I love to talk. I am of course my favorite subject. My best friend can agree to that.

I will stop here because this is meant to be an introduction. I tend to get carried away.

Posted by Erin at 01:29 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)