Since I was a little girl, it seemed like my Mom “Tooted to her own drum.” We always just accepted her, for who she was, and never gave it a second thought. My Dad passed away when I was 13 years old and Mom had to get 2 jobs, just to support us. She did a wonderful job raising my brother and I, we never went without anything. If she ever struggled, we never seen it.
About 10 years later, she had gotten remarried to a school teacher, funny enough he was one of my school teachers years back. She met him line dancing. They both sold their houses and bought a house together. At this time I had my first child and was married, off on my own. My brother was off on his own as well. As the years passed we realized he was a drunk, and was into drugs. As she was once in love with this man, we seen their relationship was not good. It seemed like they both hated each other.
About 5 years after the married, we began to see some strange behavior from my Mom. She was stealing his credit cards and maxing them out. One night, he called and asked if I would come over to talk with both of them, to serve as a mediator. I seen that night, things were worse than I thought. He was drunk and explaining they were over $100,000 in debt because of my Mom. I spent a few hours there and not much was accomplished. He was still going to abuse drugs and alcohol and she was using all of her money as his, as her form of drug. I had 2 kids and a husband, and there wasn’t much I could do, but let things happen, they were both adults.
As the years went on, Mom started lying, and after she spent all their money would borrow from me and the family.
This was all so gradual, we became used to her behaviors and missed alot of red flags. I would be talking calmly on the phone with her and out of nowhere she would start screaming at her husband, and then back to her calm voice with me.
About 2 years ago, they decided they had enough and divorced. From there Mom went from bad to worse. At the divorce she got $22,000 from the sale of her house and moved into an apartment. I begged her to let me keep some of her money for her, or to use it as a down payment on a home, but she didn’t and in 5 months it was gone. She got evicted out of her apartment and landed on my doorstep, so we let her move in. At that point she still had her full time job, but we hadn’t realized she had been warned 2 times at work, that if there were any more problems, they needed to let her go. She worked at a call center and was unable to sit still at her desk, and she couldn’t focus. She would be happy one moment and then upset the next, We did not know this at the time. It took 24 hours for me to realize things were alot worse than I had thought. She was talking to herself, and had no organization skills at all. Everything was a mess and dirty. Just moving her in, was painful. It was to overwhelming for her. It took her 3 days to lose her job.
Things got worse quick.. Now when anyone called, she would say she was at work and needed to call them back. She was in my living room, and it wasn’t a lie to ONE person, it was everyone. She would be fine one moment and then lay on the floor crying the next. She was obsessed with my washer and drier, would run it all day, with one pair of socks at a time. The thermostat in my home was set at 72 degrees, I have children. Every night I would explain, please do not touch it, the kids were freezing the night before. And low and behold, she would turn the heat off and we would wake up to 50 degree home. I hate to tape the thermostat, which didn’t work, and then we had to tape the washer, because we are not rich and my bill was outrageous.
Immediately, she began stealing cigarettes, any money we had, she even stole my debit card to pay her bills. We had to buy a safe and put all of our money in it, locked up.
One thing that was strange, was she drinking a half a box of wine, every night. That was new to me, she had never been a drinker. On top of that, any prescription meds we had were disappearing. I went in her room and on her dresser was every pill we had Ambien, Levoxyl, vitamins, old pain killer, cough syrup EVERYTHING. She was self medicating herself. So, we started locking up all meds.
It was about a month after she moved in, and my patience was already gone. She was asking me to find her a job, and although I was putting applications online for her, everyday, I knew she would never get hired anywhere or be able to work. She was looking for an address I had given her, to a job interview and could not find it, she began throwing herself on the floor explaining to me how I will never see her again, because she does not want to live. I gave her chance after chance to take it back. I spent 3 hours in her room, letting her know I was not leaving the room, until I knew she would be ok. She just kept saying I was not going to see her in the morning. Finally, I called my brother and he came over. We told her she is going to see a doctor now, and she could come on her own, or we would call 911. She pushed us both a bit, to get away from her and by the end of the night, we had no choice but to call 911.
At this point, with no job, she had no insurance and the hospital released her a few hours later. I must add, this was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, at this point. As they took her, I cried and cried. I had horrible ideas in my mind of them tying her down, and her begging for help. But, back to square one. Two days later, I was in the middle of doing my daughters hair for a dance, with all her friends here, my Mom said “Have fun at the dance, because it is the last time you will see me.” I apologized to the girls, quit doing hair and went down by her. She needed money and I said I would give it to her after she goes to the doctor tomorrow. I would take her and we would pay her bills and give her extra cash.
My aunt accompanied myself and my Mom to a mental health facility. The specialized with bipolar, and let us know she had sever Bipolar. Of course, my Mom did not answer any of the questions truthfully, but my aunt and I sat in the room answering correctly, and correcting her. We had a few more appointments here and social security immediately approved her for disability, so we knew money would start coming in for her, as well as medical coverage. It was some good news. They put her on meds. The deal was she could stay with us as long as she took her meds, every day. I was going to watch her, till this point, she still had no idea anything was wrong. She did good for a week, we noticed a difference, for the better. She was able to sit still, and focus a thought. It was a step in the right direction.
Two days later, as I watched her take her meds, I seen her throw the meds off my deck. I have two kids and dogs, this was not good. I found the pills after a while and brought them to her room. She threw them against the wall, so I sat and explained I was not leaving the room, until they were found. I would sit there all night. She stripped naked, threw a top and pants on and ran outside, started her car and took off.
She drove to a friends house of hers she recently met. He was suffering with a mental illness, as well. From what we could see, he was in worse shape then she. She stayed with him for a month, and then went into an episode and threatened her life, so to get away, she almost ran him over. They were both suffering with extreme mental illness and both, not on meds, so a complete disaster.
Mom was back on my doorstep. We got a restraining order against him, who coincidentally went to jail a week later, on a few other matters. And back to square one with Mom. Now the deal was different. We had no tolerance, we had been through enough and more importantly, our kids had been through enough. She had a week to find a different place to live. Her mental treatment center had been offering her a great place. She would have her own apartment, but they help her with bills and cleaning etc. So, she had a week to go there or find somewhere else to live. I should explain, by this point, I needed counseling and was told, I need to let her hit rock bottom and not enable her.
Two days later and begging and begging to live here again, we had a conversation that she had 3 more days to find a place to live. She did not want to live in the assisted living facility. She cried and cried and left and said I would never see her again. She raced out of here, and 10 minutes later I received a call from a paramedic. She went through a red light and hit a family head on. That was it, I was done. Her car was totaled, and her second car in my driveway, I had my husband take the battery out of. When she got out of the hospital, the same day, she took a cab here. I drove her to the doctors, and let them know the urgency again. My brother and aunt left work, and met us there. Together we all decided on a crisis center, that was run through her office. She had to stay until they could stabilize her, which 2 weeks. As sad as I was, this was our only option. Now she was no longer just endangering her own life, but innocent people, as well.
When the released her, we had her transferred straight to her new home. It was where we wanted her to go for months. She would have her own apartment, kitchen and life. No car anymore, but they had a bus station and she could come and go, as she pleases.
Her meds would be monitored and given, and she could start the new chapter in her life.
She was finally safe. They became her payee, which I was fine with. I was happy knowing she couldn’t blow her money immediately, or get evicted.
I wanted to share my story with anyone who may be going through the same thing. The journey is hard. I cried every night for a long time. I used every ounce of patience in my body, and then some. I never gave up though. I love my Mom and know no one would ever wish them on themselves. She can not help it. She was not in touch with reality, as you and I may be. I have come to realize our relationship is a one way street now. I give and she has nothing to give in return. That is ok. She is a person, and once was there for me.
It is sad, where my Mom was housed mentioned how glad they are, that we are so involved with my Mom. She said out of the 63 residents, 11 have family. The rest are on their own. Never give up. Simply put yourself in their shoes, and realize how dark and sad it would be if the world and family all turned their back on you. Especially when they have no control over their illness. They can get treatment, and need to. Seek counseling for yourself, if you need to. Talk to a close friend or family member’s. Find support for you, so you are strong enough to carry on.
Even with treatment, my Mom gradually got worse. She is 62 years old and we have had to mover her recently to a 24/7 care facility. With age, came dementia, on top of the severe bipolar. So, she is now in a nursing home with a psych department.