When You’ve Done All You Can: The Never Ending Revolving Door Called Mental Illness
I have people in my family dealing with mental illness. Their mental illness impacts me directly. It impacts me in ways that have hurt my job prospects, my finances and savings, taken away my time, and most importantly, robbed me of my own mental health. I have so many regrets, because these people are my parents. Parents who have not been the best parents to me. Now that they’ve aged, all of the hidden mental health issues have manifested themselves. Their mental illnesses caused me to be put into foster homes and group homes, forcing me to essentially raise myself. Now, they want, no need those same children they threw away to help care for them. I have several friends that are in similar situations. It’s like we’ve gotten the shitty life on a stick. As soon as we get our shit together, minding our own business, making our own way, here comes the old parents with their mental illness. It’s crazy!
I had to have my mom involuntarily committed after her mother and sister who both lived 10 minutes away from her called me, who lives 3 states and 11 hours away, to “do something” about my mother. She had a gun and was threatening to harm the neighbors. The government was listening to her via all of her electronic devices. She had wrapped her cell phone in aluminum foil to keep the enemy from hearing her calls. She has cut holes on the walls to cut wires. Climbed into the ceiling to remove all old cables and wires that were permitting the neighbors to spy on her. People were always following her. One day, she showed up at an urgent care describing hives that were on her body from “rays” shined through her windows by the neighbors.
The doctors immediately called the police to take her to the psych hospital. She left refusing care. Like she always does.
She is afraid to stay at her home so she takes turns staying with relatives. They are afraid of her. Her own mother doesn’t want to deal with her. This is where I come in. I have to now be the cleaner. No one ever cared about my mental health. Through the beatings, through the sexual abuse, through the neglect and maltreatment. No one came to be the next of kin rescue when I was sent to foster care. But now, I am expected to “care” for her. Forget all of my misery and pain to care for someone who never gave a shit about me. Life’s a bitch!
I come leave my state to go to SC in an effort to have her committed. Mind you, I haven’t witnessed anything, my mom’s mom and sister have though. As I go to the mental health facility to being the committal process, suddenly……..no one wants to be involved. I’m on my own. I get the paper work completed based on hearsay and my own personal history with her albeit not recent. They issue the order and pick her up. It’s a disaster.
She’s humiliated, she traumatized….. it’s hard for all parties involved. In her state the police pick up people for involuntary committals which is not a good way to go to the hospital, but appropriate for someone threatening to shoot people for no reason. We secure her weapons lock up her home and leave.
No one wants any input from anyone outside of the mentally ill person. No one asked what we’ve witnessed. There are no home inspections to verify the holes in the walls, the wires cut in her car, or all the home devices covered in aluminum foil. The police just happen to not have many calls recorded from her calling hundreds of times to report bullshit. They stop recording the calls and redirect her to an “unmonitored” non-emergency line. Yet another closed door for evidence. There is no winning this thing.
Before I can get back to my home, she’s free. The psych evaluator determined that she is delusional, but not delusional enough to be involuntarily committed. They release her back into the community. She is free to get her gun back, and she demands it. We must turn it over to her. Now she is angry, at me and only me. She thinks I have some vendetta against her. I was three states away minding my own business until her mother
There was a hearing a few days after her release that I had to attend where a judge would review the evaluation, doctor’s notes and make a determination on next steps. My mother marches into court with all of the people who called me to help her, including her own 80 year old mother (my grandma). They were there to speak on her behalf that nothing was wrong with her. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had even received a hand letter from my grandma, her own mother, telling me she was afraid of my mother (her own daughter) and she didn’t want her staying at her home anymore, yet she shows up to prevent her from getting the care she needed. I was alone, defending my actions. Yet again, the dysfunctional, turning the blind-eye family rises to the occasion to protect the evil and the illness, further tormenting the victim yet again. Stick a fork in my ass, I’m done.
The judge believes there is “something” there (related to the severity of her mental illness), but she desires to try outpatient treatment first. It’s a win and a loss. A win for me because now on the record there is an official diagnosis, a loss for me because she gets to go back out into the community and torment her neighbors. Sigh! All I can say is that I did my part.
She’s order to complete a six month treatment plan which includes therapy and psychotropic meds. She followed the treatment plan for a little while, but she decided she no longer wants to comply.
“There is nothing wrong with her,” she professes.
Now she’s on the run. She didn’t complete the court ordered treatment, so a bench warrant to remand her back to the inpatient mental healthcare was issued. She placed all of her household belongings in storage, and no one knows where she is. I have tossed my hands of the matter. I can’t do anymore. At every turn, the court system, the hospital, and my own family failed my mom. They failed me too. I’m done.
This experience gave me a totally new perspective about mental illness, homelessness, and care. I know understand why so many mentally ill people are on the streets homeless. They refuse care, and have decided to allow the voices in their head to guide their lives. They are violent, and family members have tried without success to help them. Unlike children, we don’t have the power or authority to force our adult loved ones to take meds, go to therapy, seek substance abuse treatment, and attend mental health therapies. The law protects the rights of the mentally ill. In fact, they are protected in my opinion more than the general public.
Now I see why people with long time mental health issues are able to buy weapons and kill people in mass killings. I see how families live in fear trying to help the mentally ill person in their families. Because essentially there is no place for their loved one to go, they suffer through the revolving door of care which usually results back to their home. The non-compliant, free to be mentally ill person is back in the home to torment and torture their families sometimes physically and psychologically.
I clearly see why so many people live on the streets, walking around major cities talking to themselves, dirty, hungry, and looking “scary.” I understand now how mentally ill children residing in the homes of their parents wake up one day and kill them. It’s quite easy. They are given the right to do it. The rights of the mentally ill person trumps your everyday and twice on Sundays.
I’m off the merry go round. I’m never getting back on. I have made my effort, and there is an official record of it. If anything happens to anyone in this country at the hands of my gun carrying, mentally unstable mother, the blood is not on my hands. If anything happens to her, it’s not my fault. It will be her own. She chose to not get help. She exercised her right to not accept care and get her mental illness under control. I am exercising my rights not to intervene anymore. I think I have suffered enough.
For those with the attitude of turn the other cheek, save your holier than though attitudes and ideologies. I don’t need it. This is a walk on people with mental ill family members can understand. I am tired of people advocating for people with mental illness, without taking a close look at the toll the mental illness takes on families. Mental illness destroys marriages, destroys otherwise vibrant healthy children, destroys families, and the costs are not always easily quantifiable. I understand why people try to put their loved one out into society in an effort to assimilate and be normal after years of attempts secure care and supports for them. It’s called self-preservation. My heart goes out to you.
I have found people seem to not be able to accept or comprehend family dysfunction, especially when combined with mental illness. I live in the South where people toss forgiveness like we toss pennies into a foundation to make a wish. Been raped by a family member, forgive them. Been wronged, just forgive them. Don’t be angry. All the natural, human emotions we suffer and endure we must put them away and bow to someone else’s ideology to found good in the sight of man. Fuck that shit!
I ain’t doing it anymore. My feelings matter. My feelings and experiences are important. I matter! When no one else seems to care about you, you must care about yourself.
They do not allow a person to have his or her own feelings regarding their life situations. Often friends and family tend to inflict their own ideologies and religious values upon us causing guilt, anger, and frustration because our feelings and life situations are invalidated. Tell the to talk to the hand! No need to defend yourself. Your view will never be accepted and validated.
When you’ve done all you can do, especially in the midst of being abused, mistreated, neglected, and lied on, just stand in silence.