Probably a side of me that few people know, but my Mum suffers with Schizophrenia. She started showing signs when I was around 8 years old in the late 1970’s.
Mum has been a recluse since the early 80’s. I can’t tell you how many attempts we’ve made to try and get her outside over the years. Due to this alone, I rather prefer to say that I’ll never see her in France a sort of “self preservation” from disappointment.
It can be near impossible to get her to the Co-Op supermarket round the corner from her place. For something like 6 months in the early 90’s she would go outside if I really pushed her, but then eventually she went back to how she was before.
I can’t tell you the frustration of just trying to get your own Mother to go outside just to do simple tasks.
She is under medication. But there are a number of other problems. My Mum had injections for about 10 years from the late 80’s, a Psychiatric Nurse used to come round every two weeks to administer that.
Then the health authority decided to stop the visits, and make set appointments for my Mum to see a Doctor at the local Mental Health Unit, at the same time ending the injections and changing her medication to tablets.
These are on prescription.
The problems here are two-fold. Ensuring my Mum takes the medication as she should. Unfortunately she doesn’t always. Her cancelling the appointments with the Doctor at the local mental health unit, or not being ready when a taxi or her brother comes round to drive her there.
She also has had periods at a day care unit – but then she started with the same “not being ready trick” when the ambulance came round for her.
Compared to how she was when I was a teenager, the injections she had subdued her a lot. Up until about 1989, she was confining herself to her bedroom and crying/screaming EVERY day – much of the time ALL day (I am not exagerating here – on a couple of occasions our neighbours called the Police). She then started to get worse by crying/screaming and smashing up her room. There were deep pock marks and holes in the wall plaster where she had thown things.
On two occasions she was sectioned to a mental hospital in the later 80’s. Very traumatic when “the men in white coats” came to take her away. Each time she bluffed her way through her hospital stays, making out she was normal. Then of course as soon as she came home she’d go back to how she was before.
She used to lie a lot as well – me and my Dad (and after my Dad died, just me) did the shopping, household chores etc etc – we did everything. So it was frustrating that when she was interviewed by a Doctor or Psychiatric Nurse, saying that she did everything. When in fact she did absolutely nothing at all. Guess who they believed?
So, as we are talking about this? How is she now? Well we got her moved into a nice sheltered bungalow – where someone calls her on an intercom every morning to see how she is. The area is quiet – has no anti-social behaviour, which she/we had to put up with where she/we lived before.
That said – she doesn’t go anywhere. Sits in the kitchen smoking like a chimney and drinking 20+ cups of tea a day. When we visit with Rémy find ourselves in the sitting room while she sits there in the kitchen. At least these days she does do a little cleaning and she does cook for herself. She goes through periods when she doesn’t eat as she should, then her weight plummets. In the early 80’s she had anorexic tendences.
When we stay there, she’ll perhaps make a couple of meals for us the rest of the time we cook. We also pay our way – we buy groceries for her and us. I don’t really mind doing that.
She was declared bankrupt 5 years ago – we had to pay for 50% of the court proceedings. It has limited her spending, but in the past we have had to step in to help her financially. Since Rémy was born we’ve been unable to do this. She went through long periods doing “competitions” this partly contributed to her bankruptcy. AFAIK she still does them, can’t tell you how many times I’ve told her that they are all a con. But then again, anything I say goes in one ear and out the other.
So there you go, a big part of my life out in the open – and about time. I’ll be 40 in January, I didn’t know my Mum had schizophrenia until I was 20.
Friends say I should distance myself from my Mum and concentrate on my own family here in France. Perhaps they are right? However, when we do go to see her accomodation is a problem, added to that my Mums smoking around Rémy. We’ll probably stay in B&B from now on, but that will severly curtail the time we can spend in Leicester. Not a cheap option believe me!