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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 March 2, 2004 02:13 AM | TrackBack