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Schizophrenia: My Other Mother

(Page 3 of 3)

After hours of being on an emotional roller coaster ride entirely over the phone, it was almost time for me to get ready for work. Naturally, I was going to call in and say that I had a family emergency, but then my mother became oddly calm. She began to tell me that the intruders weren’t home invaders, but that they were beings from outer space or from the devil, and they had entered her body and were beginning to “morph” her into their shape. She said that the calm she was experiencing was because the worst part was over, or seemed to be over, with “them” having taken her body over. At this point, I knew I was dealing with the disease, and not with my mother or some dangerous home invader. It had been a long, exhausting night, and it was the beginning of over a year of such nights. At one point, I had to fly back home because my mother was “missing.” The police finally found her living in her car behind a convenience store. She said that the “aliens” hadn’t found her there yet, and because of that fact, she was able to finally sleep. She refused to be taken to a facility for observation, so there was nothing further the authorities could do, except tell her that she couldn’t live in her car behind the store.

That was over seven years ago, and my mother still has yet to receive proper medical help. Partly because the laws protect her right to refuse medical help, and partly because the medical professionals that I’ve taken her to see aren’t interested in her case. Luckily, the “aliens” have been bothering my mother less and less, and where they were once the main topic of highly energetic phone calls on her part, they no longer are mentioned when we talk. That’s not to say that they aren’t still there, or that they won’t reappear when she comes under some sort of stress. When I was an angry teenager, I hated her, and not the disease. I now love her, and hate her disease, knowing that she has done the best she could with what she had to work with; the biggest shame being that her extreme intelligence could have taken her any where, but it instead helped to contribute towards her illness. Don’t get me wrong. There were moments, as there are still moments, when I get my mother “tuned” in, like with a radio station and a receiver. She is lucid, articulate, charming, enchanting, brilliant, and actually makes a lot of sense. During these episodes, when I’ve had her frequency free of mental static and demons, I’ve had the best of moms. She introduced me to culture, to art, to opera, to classical music, to literature, to cinema, and to life in its greatest sense, and with such verve! She could be a June Cleaver and a Martha Stewart all rolled into one, but the disease could make her more like a Joan Crawford or Frances Farmer. Either way, I am grateful for my experiences with her. As a child, I was hurt and frightened by what I didn’t understand, and as a young adult, I was full of hate and anger over something I didn’t understand. As an adult who is approaching her 40’s, I find that I am full of love, compassion, sympathy, and most of all, forgiveness towards my mother, but it will always remain as something that neither she nor I will ever fully understand.


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