It’s 3 am…. My 18 year old wakes up, sobbing and screaming “Mommy!”.
I rush into her room, knowing that she didn’t take her anti-psychotic medicine.
“I’m bleeding, my hair, I hit my head when I fell and now it’s bleeding. My brain, inside my head… I’m going to die. I am dyeing Mamma. Oh my God…. Buddy [the family dog] he’s DEAD! Oh my God, I love him, why did he have to die?”
I assure her that Buddy is not only alive, but overweight and in need of a walk with her tomorrow. I rush to my bedroom, retrieve the rat terrier, and carry him quickly to my girl’s room, placing him directly onto her. I know that if she has a tactile, a ‘grounding’ moment… it will help her ‘argue off’ the voices that lie to her in her mind. She is still insisting that she’s bleeding in her brain, that there’s now blood over all of the pillows, that the neighbors now hate her because she woke up in the middle of the night. I assure her that she and I (as well as Buddy) are the only ones who know that she’s awake. We’re the only one’s aware of her hallucination. She now tells me that we need to move, and move soon.
Just the other day, we were traveling from Attleboro to Mansfield. Carrying a new found treasure. A chair that Christa bought from Savers that cost a whole $7. She told me, in strict confidence, that she could hear the people talking in the vehicle behind us. That they were saying horrible things about us. They were not only complaining about us doing the 35 mile per hour speed limit, but they were taking our license plate number down, calling the local authorities to report that our trunk was open and we were travelling. After 5 minutes or so, I informed her that the car behind us turned off onto another road, and that we no longer had to deal with those people, that they weren’t talking about us, and we would be fine.
I can’t say when I stopped sleeping through the night. I don’t like going to bed until I know that my children are safe, content, and fast asleep. My baby girl, at 18, has now flipped the charts of parenting on me. Because of the chemical imbalance in her mind and body, it’s not unusual for her to be awake in the wee hours of the morning. Many days my husband will wake for work, 4:30, 5am to go to work… only to find that our girl is still wide awake. She’s awake because she’s fighting the demons in her mind. The one’s that show up and tell her a myriad of lies. The one’s that taunt her, make fun of her, tell her falsehoods.
My girl never got the opportunity to complete high school. I will save THAT sordid story of administration failing epic ally (and politics that were played) for another time. She never went to a prom, any high school event, ever. Didn’t really have a ‘high school experience’. After going through the hellaciousness of middle school nastiness… one would hope for a dance, a semi, a some sort of extracurricular activity… my child’s chemical imbalance robbed us all of that.
There are days, nights mostly, that I spend with my girl, working through her thoughts, talking out the issues that are resting on the surface of her mind. She’s an old soul trapped in an 18 year old body. She “gets it” when she’s not struggling with the ‘Bad Man’ or the ‘old ladies who argue and judge’. She’s a grateful soul. I didn’t have a nth of what she has when I was her age. She discusses holistic societal issues. How people should treat one another, what the ‘hang ups’ are with each generation. I can tell you that if Wall Street stock pickers, sociologists, politicians listened to her, they would gain a wealth of insight into how the world is, what the stripped down, no PC added, issues are with our society, wants to figure out a way to combat her disease without taking SSI to survive. (That’s kind of an issue, considering that she struggles in social situations due to social anxiety disorder, beyond the schizoaffective disorder). She wants to volunteer time to local organizations so that she can actually ‘pay it back’.
What breaks my heart? When she’s sobbing, apologizing for doing her perceived wrongs… when she’s done absolutely NOTHING wrong. And then she says... “Momma… no one will ever be able to love me. I will never be able to find love. I won’t have anything. No family, no career, no nothing. I might as well die right now.”
What the hell. She is very lovable… it’s the disease that’s nasty, but, it’s controllable. I wonder…. If there’s any hope for my sweetest Twisted (a nickname I gave her when she was very young due to her macabre and sarcastic sense of humor).
I don’t know how this ends, but I know that it never will. Not for my Twisted, not for myself, until I take my last breath. I will be here, helping her fight the demons and making damned well certain that there’s time, a goal, and something, anything, to look forward to.
Posted by Susan Harrison