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My Mother Is Crazy - But I Still Love Her....

My mother was diagnosed bi-polar about 15 years ago.  It was one of te times I had to put her in the hospital after we found her lying naked on the sidewalk, crying her eyes out.  I'm the dutiful oldest daughter, so I did what had to be done....now that I think about it, my sister was still a teenager....I was the only one who could do anything....

Once she started outpatient treatment, she was hooked up with a psychiatrist who convinced her she was not bi-polar because she did not manifest the "classic symptoms" - like compulsive shopping or sex....time went on....she went unmedicated and life got crazy....

Last year, she came to live with me because she was in a very bad way and my sister was only making it worse (she's an alcoholic who keeps finding men who beat her).  Withing days of getting to my house, it became obvious how bad she was....she couldn't get out of bed, she cried all the time, she got angry so easily, she had no logic, she could not even cut her own food....it took 3 more months to convince her she needed to be in the hospital...once she did, she found a doctor that was able to convince her that she really was bi-polar....there are varying degrees and different symptoms....her not shopping or chasing sex all the time did not minimize the reality and seriousness of her disease...FINALLY, some answers and the hope of some relief...but it took nearly a year to find the right combination of meds...it was grueling...for her, for me, for my children, for my sister's children (also living with me)...

Christmas got really bad, because she was in between insurance coverage and her meds lapsed for three weeks...by this time, we were in Albuquerque...I took her back there to get her settled before moving to Hawaii...it was me and my two youngest children staying with her in her tiny house for a little over a month, getting her all set up....Christmas Eve and all hell broke loose...

We argued.  Not because I wanted to, but because I said something to her and she got really defensive and angry.  Details don't really matter at this point.  I knew I should back off, but I could not let it go.  Even if I had backed off, she was beginning to spew mean-spirited untruths from her screwed up pespective...before long she had thrown me out of her house with my 8 and 6 year old daughters on Christmas Eve.  I had spent all the money I had on her, and it would be a few days before I would have anymore...I was literally penniless...no credit cards, no cash - only a car with very little gas in it....through my own ingenuity and resolve to take care of my children, I managed to get them fed and get us to a homeless shelter...yep...we spent Christmas Eve in a homeless shelter....it was surreal...

But, my daughters were real troopers about it...and we made the most of it...the next day, money came, solutions made themselves evident and I was able to get to Hawaii where my husband was waiting for us...(those details are another story...he was just as powerless as I was that night...and 5000 miles away...)

I had vowed to never speak to her again...but, time has passed and I do talk to her...we don't speak of that time, and the truth is I am guarded when I talk to her...I have not forgiven her...I've just accepted that I cannot change what happened or what is wrong with her....I will not expect an apology from her, because I know I will never get one....she is still my mother, and because of that I will continue to love her....she does try very hard to love me in the way I need...her failings are not intentional...I do believe she is doing, and did all along, the best she could...the fact that it is sometimes not good enough is irrelevent, now that I am adult, able to care for myself and my family....

I hate this disease...it has weakened my mother and robbed her of many, many years.  She was a beautiful, intelligent young woman with so much potential - all lost to the ravages of a disease that made her look like nothing more than an irresponsible flake.  She has found some peace, but at nearly 60, it does seem too little, too late. 

SS

 

SerenitySeeker SerenitySeeker 41-45, F 6 Responses Jul 20, 2008

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I didn't realize compulsive sex was a warning sign...my mom has had very bad episodes.she was sick about a month sept_to october.she was so paranoid she said someone was breaking in to kill us.she would get a towel go in the bathroom stand there like a hour I'd tell her are u gonna take a shower or what!!??no there's cameras in there I can't.she would stare into space like a maniquinn.I'd lock my bedrm door at night(I have a room with my 4yr old)she'd be trying to get in and unlock it.she wouldn't eat becuz it was poisoned.if we went to the store she'd start crying and freak out.se is on 8 meds right now doing much better sigh of relief for the moment.just know u are not alone and take care of u.our sick parents need someone to look out for them...

I am going through this right now with my mom. Every day is a roller coaster and I feel like I've been put through hell. I hope it gets better soon because the description of your mom once being beautiful and intelligent, and having it all go down the drain reminds me a lot of my mom and it makes me very sad to picture her future sometimes. I am also the oldest of my siblings, looking out for her as best I can. The disease runs in my family, too, so any bouts of depression that I might have sometimes, I work extra hard to correct. I hope you're doing well. Thank you for sharing your story with us. :)

I have a sister who is bipolar and she has a son. It's so amazing how he loves her unconditionally. She's got it really bad, to the point where most people would look at her and think she is very strange, and laugh at her or take advantage of her. She is young and beautiful. When she had my nephew she was only a teenager, and when she was well, she dressed him up every day and took damn good care of him. Unfortunately she got sick, but we still have pictures and memories of what a great mother she was. now she is not the mom she use to be but she still loves him and manages to send him clothes from the live-in hospital she is in. I love my sister so much but I couldn't handle taking care of her. I wish I had your strength to bring her into my home and care for her. I understand how difficult it is and why there are so many mentally ill people who are homeless because their family just couldn't take in their own family because it is much to difficult. I try to be there for her son, but there is no replacement for a mother. And I'm not trying to replace her because she is still there for him, even though she is so sick with her bipolar disorder. She finds ways to show that she loves him. Even though she can't take care of him the way she use to.

I read your experience with interest and I think that you are a very strong woman! It is hard to deal with mental illness within a family, but it appears that you have done so, without running the other way. Be well and Enjoy your special times with your Mom. Hugs to YOU....Peedeedog's Mom :-)'s to U

It can be tough to have a mom who is just not "normal"....but, I must admit that I would not be who I am had it not been for her....and who I am is pretty good...it's the whole making lemonade out of lemons thing....peace....SS

my mother is & i prefer the old term 'manic depressive'.<br />
it is a horrible illness that has robbed me & her of a true relationship.<br />
i understand what you're going thro.it is not easy