It is heartbreaking. I have no words. My son and I visited this afternoon.
Went to visit my mom today at the mental health facility.
Her dementia is far more evident now that her bipolar and aggression are under control, and it is sad to realize how much she’s losing. She clutches a piece of paper with my number and my dad’s in her hand all day long.
She was happy to see us- Maisie gave her hugs and kisses. Maisie was allowed in as long as a nurse was there to supervise.
My mom’s odd, frontal temporal lobe, filter lacking sense of humor shone through when I filled her in about the dodgy assisted living home owner guy. I mentioned to her that he’d been insistent that she needed to divorce my dad.
Mom: “What did he say?!”
Me: “He said you needed to divorce dad, he was insisting and asking when this would happen”
Mom: “I don’t remember spending time with him, did I give him a blowjob or something? Why is he asking this??! I don’t remember giving him a blowjob…”
She laughed and then said “Get me out of there, I don’t like that”
A few minutes later, with a straight face, she said:
“You need to tell your dad I want a divorce”… and she was back in her sad dementia loop again.
We could only visit for an hour, as visitation is 7:30-8:30 pm only.
When I got home, she called crying, saying we left too early. She read the sign, then saw the clock and realized we left at the right time.
She was both funny and heartbreaking tonight.
I have a sick pit in my stomach.
Trying not to have a panic attack right now… woke up to a call from the social worker at the psych ward my mother is currently in. Apparently, she can’t tell me much, due to some confusion as to whether or not my mother has given consent to release information.
HIPAA law is an asshole, in my opinion, at this very moment.
I am her POA (Power of Attorney). I’ve been having her ‘flag down’ a nurse every time I talk to her to give VERBAL CONSENT on the telephone since she’s been in this facility.
We did not have this type of runaround at Pine Rest, so it is very frustrating.
Things my mom’s current social worker DID/was able to tell me:
1. No, my parents aren’t compelled to divorce as per the group home owner’s questioning.
2. She is compiling a list of ‘safer’ homes that would be (in their mind) a better fit. AFC homes aren’t locked facilities. The doctor recommends a locked facility right now, as she is not stable on meds.
3. When I asked about the paper I received last night re: the mental health court hearing on the 6th, I was told that I should contact the court house- specifically a person in the probate court that the hospital itself deals with.
Apparently, there may not even BE a court hearing that day, as she was given 3 options and one was to waive the hearing- which would mean she would be agreeing to treatment.
Left a message with the guy the social worker directed me to and received a call back. He confirmed that my mother had indeed met with her court-appointed lawyer the other day and signed a waiver agreeing to comply with medical treatment… when I asked if this means I should still pursue the guardianship or not, I was told to absolutely do so.
Now I have to go to visitation tonight and have her sign a written consent form to allow these people to talk to me.
I am really anxious about this, all of it.
Pursuing guardianship is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. I do already make almost all of the health decisions and do the legwork for my parents, but not in any official sort of capacity. My sisters don’t want the responsibility- they live far away and are very ill themselves.
Leaving guardianship up to a stranger would be unhumane and irresponsible, in my opinion.
I am going to vlog the rest. This is too much too type for me this early in the morning.
I am super exhausted and depressed today. My lupus is flaring from the stress and I can’t get out of bed.
I will probably get a lot of flack from relatives for posting this, but I simply don’t give a SHIT. I cannot fathom bottling this up and hiding this like we have for so many years. It’s killing us all.
I am rarely ever depressed and spent most of yesterday crying- so did my oldest son, Sam.
My lack of depression is due to years and years of therapy, high doses of vitamin D3 (NOT antidepressants, they don’t work for me), and changing my mindset/lifestyle.
Yesterday was my youngest son, Connor’s, 17th birthday. For the first time in years, all three of my sons were home for this occasion.
Sam, the oldest, recently moved home from Chicago, where he’d been at college and living for quite a few years. Jay, my middle, spent a year at college in Houston, TX with his father-before that, he’d been living on his own. Only Connor and Maisie are at home now.
My mother has battled her entire life with Bipolar NOS. When I say “battled”, I mean she mostly battered US when she lost her mind and had her cycles, because she surely didn’t get help for it. There was nothing to be done about it when I was growing up- psychiatric medications and treatments simply did not exist as they do today. To compound things, she now has early dementia at 71- which is likely due to small strokes from her Factor V Leiden genetic clotting disorder (which I also have and take heparin daily to prevent. I had 2 small TIAs- little strokes- before being diagnosed). Her memory isn’t the greatest, at least the short term. Her long term has always been selective at best as well.
Little things have ALWAYS ‘triggered’ her. To her credit, she’s been much less violent since getting older/dementia, but it’s still no cakewalk.
When she is “GOOD”,she is funny, charismatic, charming, engaging, loving. When she is “BAD”, someone may end up in the hospital, things destroyed, people may get hurt physically.
I feel so horrible for my poor father, who has always had to care for her and now is in bad health himself. She leaves on the 21st of September to go back to the Philippines and we’re all waiting with baited breath for this.
When she goes off, I FREEZE… and fall to pieces, as if I cannot defend myself at all. Oddly, if anyone ELSE tried the same shit she did to me, I would defend myself and others probably to the death. I am so not submissive- except with her, I turn into a scared, anxious, frightened child again. What I have is not uncommon in people who suffered long term physical and mental abuse as children- and luckily, I am not as bad off as my poor sisters.
As a result, I want better/calmer/more peaceful for my own kids. I cannot live like this anymore. I can’t. My older 2 were exposed to her/my mom helped raised them and the oldest is very like me in his responses- the middle is EXACTLY LIKE HER, down to the bipolar and rages. Connor was not around her much during her worst times/when he was small because I lived in Wisconsin. He’s probably my most well-adjusted kid. I am a much different type of parent with my younger children than with my older 2. I feel guilt and shame when I think back and realized that I ALLOWED my mother’s ‘wisdom’ and will to color my parenting style- and that I left them with her at all, truth be told.
Now she also has dementia on top of this and my dad and I are the only caregivers she has in this country. My siblings won’t help- they live too far away and she’s much more abusive to those girls than to me. My oldest sister can handle her to a certain extent, but the poor woman recently was diagnosed/is going through a horrible lupus flare and works 12 hours a day.
So, anyway, yesterday I tried to make EVERYTHING perfect: I baked Connor’s favorite- a New York Cheesecake with sour cream topping. R bought cookies and snacks for my mom. The boys tidied up the house, made coffee in preparation for their grandparent’s arrival. It was just the children, my ex, R, and my parents. We were so excited.
Poor R hadn’t showered that day and left his ball cap on because he felt grubby and had been running around town buying last minute gifts and food goodies. The boys rough housed in the dining room like old times. My oldest, Sam, got on the piano to play “Happy Birthday” so we could all sing while Conny blew out his candles.
My parents arrived and mom sat down. R came from my office with his hat on. She yelled at him that it was disrespectful to wear a hat indoors and he said “I haven’t showered”- AND SHE LOST HER FUCKING MIND ON HIM.
So, R STORMS out, the door slams- which isn’t like him at all, but she is always mean to him, calling him “That fucker”, etc. She starts screaming at ME, at Connor, at EVERYONE. She SCREAMS at Jeff about him ‘allowing’ R in our house and Jeff says quietly to her: “Mama, I have no idea what’s going on”- so she screams more and chucks her car keys at his face.
In the midst of this, I am behind Jeff and holding my baby in my arms. I see the knife near the cake and whisper to Connor- “grab the knife, please hide the knife”- because I HAVE SEEN HER TRY TO STAB PEOPLE IN THE PAST. I am getting yelled at and holding my baby and looking at my feet, scanning for escape routes just in case, just flight or fight mode x10000.
My older sons eventually somehow get her out to the porch and try to calm her down. Jeff says to me “I want her to leave”, but nobody makes that move. I can’t call the police, because she has DEMENTIA on top of this and my father can’t afford the damned bill of hospitalization again so close to her departure date for Manila. Dad ended up finally taking her home and I spent the rest of the night worrying how he was faring at home alone with her, but I did not dare call him lest it cause her to go insane again.
It went from joy to feeling like a fucking FUNERAL.
We eventually were able to blow out the candles and let Conny open presents, but his poor face was so sad. I won’t even post the videos. They make me cry every time I watch them. We took C out for a huge dinner at our favorite restaurant. He received a new Xbox One and tons of games for his birthday, which he did not expect at all.
I kept having flashbacks to an earlier birthday party at our old house, many years prior- I think it was Sam’s- when she threw hot coffee in my face and I had to lock myself in the bathroom and brace the door closed with my legs while calling 911 because I LIT THE BIRTHDAY CANDLES BEFORE SHE TOLD US TO. This was when she was still reasonably young and healthy…
…or the time when Sam was 4ish and Jay was a year old and I lived at their house. It was winter and I wanted to take them outside to play in the snow. Jay was bundled in his little snowsuit and Sam was almost ready, but she lost her mind because we COULDN’T FIND A GLOVE. I was not dressed, barefoot, in the snow holding my baby. My father was outside, too. I had a DREAM OF THIS EXACT SCENARIO A MONTH PRIOR BEFORE THE SNOWS CAME AND TOLD MY DAD ABOUT IT- in my dream, she shot us all and our blood was over the white snow. My dad called it bullshit when I told him about the premonition…
Dad and I were in front of the house and she came outside. Dad held baby Jay and she tried to beat my father with a snow shovel. She abruptly went back inside the house and I exclaimed “OMG DAD, THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE MY DREAM I TOLD YOU ABOUT!!”- so he tosses the baby to me and sprints to the barn.
I only got as far as to hide behind the tire of one of the cars with my hand over my year old baby’s mouth.
I hear the door open and I see her with the shotgun and she is SCOPING. Suddenly, I hear shots fired- I peep around the corner of the car where I am crouched and SHE IS SHOOTING INTO THE PUMPKIN PATCH.
She went back in and I ran to the barn where dad was and said “WE HAVE TO CALL THE POLICE- WE NEED TO GET HELP” or something similar.
He agrees and I walked BAREFOOT IN THE SNOW through the woods holding my baby- where she cannot see me (we lived on an isolated 20 acres, about 1/8th of a mile from the road) to the neighbors… and called the cops (this was before cell phones).
When the cops came, my dad told them I was lying.
Did I mention that my dad was ALSO a cop?
When I asked my dad later why he lied to them, his answer was:
“What good would it have done anyway? It’s embarrassing, yadda…”
So I took my children to my best friend’s and moved far away for many years.
Since my middle son started to go through similar as a teen, I have been a HUGE ADVOCATE for getting healthy mentally/mental health screening/therapy. My father never came around and didn’t support this at all until my middle boy moved in with him and he had to go through this himself.
Hiding and making excuses for mentally ill loved ones is DANGEROUS AND LONG LASTING IN IT’S DAMAGE.
I am still crying typing this. I can barely function today.
I hate untreated bipolar. I hate abuse. I hate dementia. I hate living in fear.
If you want to beat someone- become a dominatrix. If you want to be beaten, hire a domme.
DON’T FUCK INNOCENT PEOPLE’S LIVES AND YOUR OWN.
My 2 stories are mild ones in my family. I have more that are far worse.
If anything resonates with you, if you’ve been through the same, I send you hugs.
If you are like this- get FUCKING HELP NOW- YOU *CAN* DO IT. DON’T WAIT TIL IT’S TOO LATE AND YOU’RE 71 YRS OLD AND HALF YOUR FRONTAL LOBE IS GONE.
End of my rant.